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10 beaches to check out when visiting Tampa Bay

Florida's coastline is filled with beautiful beaches, many of which are located right here in the Bay area.
Credit: Audra Goforth

If you're planning a trip to the Tampa Bay area, our beaches have a lot to offer. And, your experience is going to be unique -- whether you head to St. Pete, Clearwater or somewhere else.

The Gulf of Mexico brings shorelines unlike any other, with sparkling turquoise waters and white, sandy beaches.

Below are 10 beach locations you don’t want to miss.

Honeymoon Island State Park

📍 1 Causeway Blvd. Dunedin, FL 

⏰ 8 a.m. - sunset 

💰 $8 per vehicle

🐶 Dogs must be leashed at all times

Honeymoon Island offers everything from four miles of sandy beaches to hiking trails, fishing, bird-watching trails, bicycling, concessions, picnic areas, spots to kayak, a playground, watersport rentals and so much more. See updates on campground rules and restrictions here.

DYK: Honeymoon Island got its name from a Life Magazine contest for newlyweds in 1939.

Clearwater Beach

📍Rockaway St., Clearwater, FL

⏰ 24 hours

💰Free

🐶 No pets

Known as the no. 1 beach in the U.S. for 2016, 2018 and 2019, Clearwater Beach is home to white sands and clear, shallow water. With plenty to do and see, you can rent a cabana and chill beachside, walk to any nearby restaurant, stop for some live music, or explore downtown.

Sand Key

📍1060 Gulf Blvd., Clearwater, FL

⏰ 7 a.m. - dusk

💰 $5 parking fee

🐶 Dogs must be leashed, dog park 

Sand Key is perfect for a lowkey, family beach day. With cabana rentals, bathhouses, dog parks, picnic areas, great fishing spots, nature trails, a playground and so much more - there is plenty to do.

DYK: Endangered turtles often lay eggs on the beach at Sand Key.

Belleair Beach

📍1800 Gulf Blvd, Belleair Beach, FL

⏰ 24 hours

💰Free

🐶 No pets

Belleair Beach features a secluded shoreline surrounded by lavish waterfront homes. There are no watersports, public facilities or restaurants on this stretch of beach.  

Indian Shores and Indian Rocks Beach

📍196th Avenue, Indian Shores, FL

⏰ 24 hours

💰Free

🐶 No pets

From white-sand beaches and watersports, to local eateries like Crabby Bill’s and fun attractions like Smuggler’s Cove Adventure Golf, there is plenty to see and do around Indian Shores. 

Pro-tip: Be sure to visit the Indian Rocks Historical Museum which is totally free.

Madeira Beach

📍Gulf Blvd & Madeira Way Madeira Beach, FL

⏰ 24 hours

💰Free

🐶 No pets

As a note-worthy beach spot, Madeira Beach offers a two-mile stretch of white-sand beaches that is perfect for fishing or just a day in the sun. Historic John's Pass Village & Boardwalk is flowing with more than 100 shops and restaurants packed in an Old Florida-style waterfront atmosphere.

DYK: Madeira Beach is also known as Mad Beach and is the Grouper Capital of the world. 

Treasure Island 

📍Gulf Blvd and 112th Ave Treasure Island, FL

⏰ 24 hours

💰Free

🐶 No pets

With three miles of white sand and sparkling waters, Treasure Island is known for its popular beach bars, live music and dancing, large selection of hotels and plenty of attractions perfect for locals and those visiting. 

DYK: Treasure Island got its name from an early hotel owner who buried and then "discovered" a couple of wooden chests on the beach which he claimed were filled with treasure. 

St. Pete Beach

📍 Gulf Boulevard and 67th-71st Avenues St. Pete Beach, FL

⏰ 24 hours

💰 Free

🐶 No pets

Ranking as TripAdvisor's No. 2 beach in the U.S. in 2020, St. Pete Beach is loaded with beaches, surf shops, boutiques, lodging, dining options and watersports that are perfect for all ages. 

DYK: St. Pete Beach’s shore is home to The Don CeSar historic Pink Palace resort.

Pass-A-Grille Beach

📍Gulf Way from 22nd to 1st Avenue St. Pete Beach, FL

⏰ 24 hours

💰 Free

🐶 No pets

This laid-back beach town spot is at the far end of St. Pete Beach. This is the perfect spot for shelling or snorkeling and watching dolphins swim by in the sunset. 

Pro-tip: The Eight Avenue Historic District is the ultimate spot for shopping and dining. 

Fort De Soto Beach

📍3500 Pinellas Bayway S. Tierra Verde, FL 

⏰ 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.

💰$5

🐶 Yes, in designated areas both on leash and off

Noted as more than a beach, Fort De Soto covers five islands and 1,136 acres on the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay. Be sure to check out the historic fort and museum, watersport activities, picnic areas, fishing piers, campground, and famous dog-friendly beach park and playground.

DYK: Fort De Soto has the only dog park where dogs are allowed on the beach in a designated area.