Tips for Visiting Responsibly in St. Pete/Clearwater

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You've been dreaming of sunshine on your face and sand between your toes for some time now. And who can blame you? St. Pete/Clearwater has some of the most beautiful beaches in America, and you've missed each other very much. (Long-distance relationships are so hard.) But now the beaches are open again, and most local businesses are, too! When you're ready to put on your swimsuit and flip-flops, or head out to a shop or restaurant, there are a few things to keep in mind to be sure you (and others) are safe. As you plan your fun in the sun, also check out our updated beach conditions guide on what to expect before you go. Find the most up-to-date information on mask requirements and other safety guidelines here.

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trainer wears a mask at Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Mask Up & Help Everyone Stay Safe

You wouldn't leave home without your car keys, wallet and ID. In today's world, we all need to add masks or face coverings to that list of "don't-leave-home-without-it" essentials. Even if you're just heading to the beach, bring one along. There are places (like the beach concession stand or the bathroom) where wearing a mask is a great idea. And, if you're venturing out to one of our shops, museums or restaurants, a face covering is even more important. In fact, St. Pete/Clearwater now has a face covering mandate and other guidelines to help keep you safe.

Create Your Own Personal Beach

OK, it might sound silly, but it's not. (Trust us. I mean, did you ever think you'd line up at the supermarket at dawn to score toilet paper?) Creating your own personal beach is super-easy. Just settle your beach chairs, towels, umbrella and cooler on the sand, then draw a circle around your space that's six feet out from all of your stuff. It's a gentle reminder to other beach-goers to respect your space. After all, there's plenty of room at the beach for everyone.

Queuing (a Fancy Way of Saying "Stand in Line")

Hey, at some point, nature calls. Whether that means you're hungry and heading to the beach concession, need to make a restroom stop, or simply want to shower off the sand you've collected... you are going to stand in a line. You know the drill, friends. To queue responsibly, be sure to stand at least six feet from the next group. Hey, while you're at it, this would also be a great time to wear a mask or face covering. (Pro tip: bring one that's matchy-matchy with your swimsuit.)

Hang with Your Clan (in Groups of 10 or Less)

The days of "the more, the merrier" are gone, at least for the short term. In other words - now is not the time to plan a beach hangout with lots of friends you haven't seen in just-about-forever. While visiting our beaches, it's important to maintain a group of 10 people or less while also practicing physical distancing. And if your personal clan is less than 10 peeps, even better. 

Hand Sanitizer (and Sunscreen, of Course)

Remember when your mom used to ask if you had sunscreen on? These days, there's a new liquid that's essential for every beach trip. You guessed it - it's hand sanitizer. (You guys are so smart.) Use it before and after buying food at the concession, and before and after using public bathrooms at the beach. If you happen to have access to a sink with soap and water, wash thoroughly for at least 20 seconds - it's even more effective. Hey, if Baby Shark is doing it, we should all be doing it.

outdoor dining at Doc Ford's at the St. Pete Pier

When You Decide to Dine Out

Dining out is one of the great pleasures of any getaway. And, unless you've rented a condo or home with a kitchen, it's a fact of life on vacation, too. Wondering how to dine out safely and deliciously? Take-out or delivery is a great option. Choosing a restaurant that offers outdoor seating is an excellent choice, too (check out this story on Dining Near the Waterfront or this story on the Best Outdoor Dining). If you do decide to dine in, be sure to wear a mask while walking through the restaurant (you can remove it when you're seated). After perusing the menu, break out the hand sanitizer. And be patient and generous with your wait staff - they're doing everything they can to make sure you have a great meal and a good time.

Beach Responsibility Video Series

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Rule #1: Pack In, Pack Out

Leave nothing but your footprints! Whatever you bring to the beach with you, be sure to take it when you leave.

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Rule #2: Pick Up Trash (Even if it’s Not Yours)

The ultimate superpower? Social responsibility! Help keep America’s best beaches beautiful by picking up trash, even if it’s not yours. 

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Rule #3: Don’t Use Single-Use Plastics

It’s time to phase out single-use plastics and phase in reusable items such as metal water bottles and straws. 

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Rule #4: Keep the Beach “Runway” Safe for Sea Turtles

During sea turtle nesting season, from May 1 through October 31, make it easier for them to find their way to the Gulf by knocking down sand castles and filling in sand pits.

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Rule #5: Pick Up Your #1 Friend’s #2s

We have you and your furry friend covered with some of the best dog-friendly beaches in Florida! But we do have one reasonable request…If your dog does a #2, pick it up!

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Rule #6: Don’t Walk On Off-Limit Areas

Sand dunes and bird sanctuaries are there for a reason - to protect the beach from wind erosion and offer birds a peaceful place to live and nest. These off-limit areas are marked with signs. So just do as they say, okay?

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Rule #7: Slow Boating is Good Beaching

When you’re boating outside of a designated no-wake zone, you should watch your speed in case a manatee wanders into your path. Trust us when we say that they are not built for speed.

Here Are Some Ways to Inspire Your Future Getaway!

Sugar-white sands. Sunny skies and signature sunsets. Family fun with a host of outdoor activities. Delicious local food and more. Here’s a little taste of all the awesome things to plan for when you’re ready to head over to St. Pete/Clearwater!

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