The Best LGBTQ+-Friendly Beaches in St. Pete/Clearwater

From the country's most popular beaches to local hidden gems, discover the best beaches for the LGBTQ+ community.

two women hold hands while walking at the water's edge at the beach

St. Pete/Clearwater is known as a gay-friendly community with gorgeous beaches.

St. Pete/Clearwater has been rising in popularity as an LGBTQ+-friendly travel destination, and it’s clear why. With gorgeous beaches, various watersports and LGBTQ+-friendly neighborhoods, this destination has a lot to offer anyone looking for a laid-back beach getaway.

If you're already picturing the white sand and sparkling water of your next Florida vacation, here are some of the best, most LGBTQ+-friendly beaches in St. Pete/Clearwater.

two ladies standing on a balcony with a view of the ocean drinking cocktails with umbrellas and beach chairs on the beach

At the flagship location of Caddy's on Sunset Beach, you can sip a beverage with your toes in the sand, or head to the rooftop bar.


Sunset Beach 

Sunset Beach on Treasure Island is the place to be out and about by the water. From the name alone, you know you’ll see gorgeous sunsets, but it’s also known for its turquoise water and white-sand beach with plenty of tiki huts, restaurants and bars nearby. It’s been nicknamed “the gay beach” for its mostly LGBTQ+ beachgoers.

After a day at the beach, you can explore the nearby area, go people-watching at the Sunset Pavilion, which often hosts weddings and events, or play with the adorable dogs at the dog park at Roselli Park, where it’s easy to make new friends. 

There are plenty of options to eat near Sunset Beach. Shrimpy's Waterfront is right on the marina and serves up American, Cajun and Creole-inspired dishes. It also has great drinks, including its renowned Bloody Marys, live music and local sports games playing.

While you’re here, be sure to stop by Caddy’s Treasure Island for at least one drink. This local LGBTQ+ hotspot features live music and great cocktails. Lots of people gather here, so you can mingle and make new friends or just sit and enjoy the sunset and live music while sipping a cocktail.

If you're thinking of staying overnight, consider The Roth Hotel. This family-owned boutique hotel has gorgeous rooms and excellent service. The best part is that it's just steps from the beach.


Many people flying kites on Treasure Island Beach's kite festival

Wide beaches and gentle breezes make Treasure Island the perfect spot for a yearly Kite Festival.


St. Petersburg Municipal Beach on Treasure Island

Everyone is welcome at St. Pete’s Municipal Beach on Treasure Island. One of the hidden gems of the area, it’s a little beach with volleyball courts, a playground and a snack bar. If you're in the mood for something more substantial, there are a ton of different restaurant nearby.

Buoy’s Waterfront Bar and Grill has both an amazing location and great seafood. It also serves excellent breakfast – the French toast and benedicts are especially delicious. Don’t miss out on drinks either – they're handcrafted by mixologists.

Also on Treasure Island, Crabby’s On The Pass has an extensive menu of delicious dishes. If you have to pick just one, go for seafood – grouper tacos, conch fritters or the crab and spinach dip.

If you're looking to stay near St. Pete’s Municipal Beach, spend a few days at the Treasure Island Beach Resort. This gorgeous building is right on the beach, complete with a pool and gourmet BRGR Kitchen & Bar on site. It's also close to other attractions such as Sunset Beach and downtown St. Pete.


A drink from a beach bar in Pass-a-Grille

From the Dewey and the Hurricane Seafood Restaurant in Pass-a-Grille to Jimmy's Crow's Nest in Clearwater Beach, rooftop bars are some of the best spots to unwind in St. Pete/Clearwater.


Pass-a-Grille Beach 

Pass-a-Grille Beach, part of St. Pete Beach, offers sugary sand with clear water and fewer visitors. If you're looking for an alternative to the more well-known beaches, then Pass-a-Grille Beach should be your destination of choice.

Take time to explore the beachside neighborhood. There's a large, friendly LGBTQ+ residential community here, so you'll meet people from all walks of life.

If you're the type who enjoys learning the history of every place you visit, then the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum is for you. This small museum details the history of the St. Pete's barrier islands from the 1500s to the present.

There's even a historic seafood restaurant just across the street from the Gulf in St. Pete Beach. Hurricane Seafood Restaurant has served up delicious seafood since 1977. The family-friendly spot offers delicious Gulf-fresh seafood, such as the crowd-favorite grouper sandwich.

For a casual lunch spot near the beach, Seahorse Restaurant is a great breakfast and lunch place to get your omelet or biscuits and gravy fix. The food comes in large portions, which are perfect for sharing.

Check out The Dewey Beach Bar & Grill if you're looking for something more formal and elegant. Located at the Berkeley Beach Club, The Dewey is an upscale dining establishment near the beach and is great for a romantic date night. It has to-die-for truffle fries and a fabulous rooftop bar.

If you'd like to stay near Pass-a-Grille, The Don CeSar is right on the beach close by. Opened in 1928, "The Don" is like a giant pink confection on the sand and offers a world-class spa, gorgeous rooms and a beautiful beach. It's been renovated recently and some rooms are pet-friendly.


Two gay men walk hand-in-hand at the surf's edge on Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach is a gorgeous spot for strolling, swimming and enjoying the sunshine.


Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach has been voted America’s best beach town several times and for good reason. A gorgeous beach with lots of amenities and shallow water, it’s perfect for families and great for watersports.

If you are traveling with kids, then the nearby Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a must for a fun and educational excursion. See rescued marine animals and fascinating exhibits, including a virtual reality theater.

For a vacation splurge, treat yourself at Caretta on the Gulf at Sandpearl Resort. Enjoy fresh, seasonally inspired cuisine right on the beach. You definitely want to dress up a little more here – jackets aren’t required, but the dress code is more formal than your typical beach cover-up.

If you're looking for something a little more casual and with great food, drinks and ambience, Marina Cantina at the Clearwater Beach Marina has it all. It’s close to the beach, so you can enjoy excellent sunsets from the rooftop bar while sipping margaritas and eating scrumptious grouper tacos. The restaurant has its own boats to supply fresh seafood for its Mexican fusion cuisine. 

Stay in luxury in one of America's best beach towns when you check in to the Opal Sands Resort. It’s a gorgeous modern resort tucked into the curve of Clearwater Beach with beautiful ocean views and sleek design – the perfect spot for a getaway.


A man throwing shells in the air in beautiful blue-green waters of Shell Key Preserve, accessible only by boath

Find sand dollars and rare shells along the sparkling shores of undeveloped Shell Key.


Fort De Soto Park

Fort De Soto Park in Tierra Verde is one of the best beaches in America. There is so much to do – not only can you go kayaking, boating, snorkeling and camping, but you can also catch a ferry to the nearby islands of Egmont Key or Shell Key Preserve to explore their natural beauty. With its large campground with waterfront sites, Fort De Soto is also a popular destination for RVers. If camping isn't your style, there are great places to stay nearby if you want to spend more time in this gorgeous, protected area.

One of the closest and best options to stay is the Inn on the Beach, a boutique hotel that offers easy access to both Fort De Soto and Pass-A-Grille Beach.

For a restaurant that’s on the way to Fort De Soto Park, Billy’s Stone Crab is in a great location and serves fresh seafood, such as its famous stone crab.

With so much to do and with so many beaches to visit, each with their own unique qualities, the vibrant communities of St. Pete/Clearwater are ideal for your next LGBTQ+-friendly Florida vacation.

Content by Rachel Covello. Covello is the CEO and Publisher of OutCoast.coman LGBTQ-focused digital magazine and travel blog highlighting inclusive destinations in Florida. Explore LGBTQ Florida on to find the best rainbows in the Sunshine State.