Lounge chairs at the white sand St. Pete Beach and a cityscape view in the background on a sunny day at one of the best beaches in Tampa Bay Florida

17 Best Tampa Bay Beaches for 2023 (By a Local)

Tampa Bay is one of the most prominent coastal cities in Florida, so it’s no surprise that you can find epic beaches in Tampa Bay. 

I’m a Tampa local and in this post, I’ll share what I think are the 17 best Tampa Bay beaches. Whether you’re looking for a popular dog beach or a quiet hideaway beach, there is a stretch of sand for everyone on this list.

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. See our Advertising Policy for further explanation. Thank you!

17 Best Beaches In Tampa Bay 

Fort De Soto Beach

Grab your pup and head to Fort De Soto Park to have an epic beach day

A dog lying on the sand of Fort De Soto with the fishing pier in the background
My dog Athena hanging out in front of the fishing pier at Fort De Soto

📍 Google Maps | Fort De Soto Park Website | 🅿️ Parking: Large parking lots, normally plenty of space | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Residence Inn Tierra Verde

Fort De Soto Park is located in Pinellas County and is home to multiple breathtaking beaches. Fort De Soto Beach and Fort De Soto Dog Beach are no exception. There are plenty of amenities ranging from playgrounds to public restrooms to kayak launch sites. There’s a $5 entrance fee per car, which helps keep these amenities up and running!

Fort De Soto Dog Beach is my top recommendation for dog-friendly beaches in Tampa Bay. It’s the best off-leash dog beach in the entire Tampa Bay area. At many dog beaches I’ve visited, the water isn’t clean enough for me to get in. Fort De Soto’s water is pristine, so I feel comfortable going swimming with my dog. The beach itself is also maintained very well. 

Fort De Soto Park is one of the best things to do in Tampa, so be sure to make a day of it and visit some other parts of this gorgeous Florida State Park. 

Clearwater Beach

Parasail or jet-ski at one of the most prominent and lively Tampa Bay beaches. 

View of the boardwalk and pier at Clearwater Beach during sunset
Clearwater Beach at sunset 

📍 Google Maps | 🅿️ Mostly metered street parking or parking garages, most are $3 per hour | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach is a beautiful, white sand beach that is great for individuals and families looking to have a fun day on the water. Not only is Clearwater Beach one of the best beaches near Tampa, but it’s also one of the best beaches in Florida

This Tampa Bay beach has 3-miles of the shore, two playgrounds, public restrooms, and beach volleyball courts. There are also lifeguards on duty daily. Stay wary of stingrays and rip currents, and be sure to swim in the vicinity of a lifeguard stand!  

Clearwater Beach is also located off Pier 60, which is an elaborate fishing pier that hosts many festivals and local events. The beach and surrounding area are very well maintained by the City of Clearwater. I highly recommend spending a day here.

Indian Rocks Beach

Peaceful beach great for relaxing on the sand or collecting shells

Aerial view of the cityscape and Indian Rocks Beach
Aerial view of Indian Rocks Beach 

📍 Google Maps | 🅿️ Parking: Plenty of parking, $2.50 per hour 

Indian Rocks Beach is a small and picturesque beach right on the Gulf of Mexico. It’s the perfect place for individuals looking to have a peaceful day reading at the beach. Located in Pinellas County, this beach is about a 45-minute drive from Downtown Tampa.  

There are public restrooms and beach chairs and umbrellas available to rent. Many shells wash up on shore daily. This makes Indian Rocks Beach a great place for collecting seashells.

Since you’ll be in the St. Pete area while visiting Indian Rocks Beach, consider making a day of it by also stopping by the Saint Petersburg Sunken Gardens. It’s one of the best day trips from Tampa!

St. Pete Beach

Take in gorgeous views of white, sandy shores and crystal-clear water

Lounge chairs at the white sand of St. Pete Beach and a cityscape view in the background on a sunny day

📍 Google Maps | 🅿️ Parking: Mostly metered street parking, around $3.00 per hour | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: St. Pete Beach Suites

St. Pete Beach is one of the main attractions in St. Petersburg! It’s a beautiful, white sand beach known for its clear water and abundance of amenities. Rent a beach chair and umbrella and relax on the sand. Jet-ski, paddle board, or try a new water sport. Enjoy a drink and lunch at one of the many bars and restaurants that line the beach. 

St. Pete Beach also has many amazing resorts and hotels that are located mere feet from the beach. If you are planning a trip to Tampa Bay, definitely consider staying in St. Petersburg. Check out my article on the best time to visit Tampa for additional information to help plan your trip!

Davis Island Beach

Just a quick drive from Downtown Tampa, Davis Island offers beautiful views of boat-filled waters

A dog relaxing on the shore of Davis Island Dog Beach
Athena relaxing on the shore of the Davis Island Dog Beach

📍 Google Maps | 🅿️ Parking: Plenty of free parking 

Davis Island Beach is a simple beach that is great for anyone looking to have a quiet afternoon relaxing. It’s located just minutes from Downtown, so it’s an ideal beach for anyone in Downtown Tampa or South Tampa who wants a quick getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city for a couple of hours.

Davis Island also has a dog beach. It’s fenced-in, so you can watch your furry friend run around and play without worrying about them getting lost. While there are beautiful views of the water, I wouldn’t recommend getting in because the water quality can be questionable at times.  

Honeymoon Island Beach

Walk the sand spit and look for unique shells washing ashore 

View of the boardwalk leading to Honeymoon Island Beach
Boardwalk leading to Honeymoon Island Beach 

📍 Google Maps | Honeymoon Island State Park Website | 🅿️ Parking: Plenty of parking spots available | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: 3Gulls Inn Ozona

Honeymoon Island Beach is located in Honeymoon Island State Park, close to Clearwater. This beach is especially great for bird-watching, shell collecting, and fishing. There’s a two-and-a-half-mile-long sand spit that provides a beautiful place to take a relaxing stroll. 

The southern portion of the beach is dog friendly, so bring your entire family (dogs included) to enjoy the day. Honeymoon Island State Park has many other amenities like hiking trails, picnic shelters, and paddle boarding, so make sure you make a day of it and explore some other sections of the park!

Madeira Beach

Relax in the sand or enjoy the view from John’s Pass Boardwalk

View of the sea oats in Madeira Beach Florida on a sunny day

📍 Google Maps | 🅿️ Parking: Parking lot and metered street parking | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Barefoot Beach Club

Madeira Beach is located just north of Treasure Island and St. Pete Beach. There are public restrooms, showers, and plenty of space on the beach for your ideal beach setup. From the shore, there’s an unobstructed view of the Gulf which makes it one of the best Tampa beaches to watch a sunset.

One of the biggest draws to Madeira Beach is John’s Pass Village which is an elaborate boardwalk with tons of shopping and dining options. Spend the morning relaxing on the soft sand of Madeira Beach then take the afternoon to explore the boardwalk and dine at one of the beach bars. 

Treasure Island Beach

Listen to the ocean waves as you lay in a cabana on the beach

View of the turquoise blue water of Treasure Island Beach on a sunny day
Water lapping the shore at Treasure Island 

📍 Google Maps | Treasure Island Website | 🅿️ Parking: Mostly metered city parking, $2.75 per hour | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Sunset Vistas Suites

Treasure Island Beach is located in St. Petersburg. Home to powdery white sand and clear water, this beach looks like a replica of the beautiful beaches you would expect to see in a movie. There are plenty of public restrooms and showers. 

There are umbrellas and beach chairs available to rent. And if you’re looking to have an extra luxurious day, there are cabana rentals available, as well. Grab a friend, stop by the concession stand for some snacks, then spend the day relaxing in a cabana by the water!

Sunset Beach

Grab a drink at a beachside bar then watch a gorgeous sunset over the water

Birds flying over the ocean at sunset
Birds flying at sunset 

📍 Google Maps | 🅿️ Parking: Multiple parking lots available, $2.75 per hour

Sunset Beach makes up the southern portion of Treasure Island. If you’re looking for a secluded Tampa Bay beach to spend the day at, this is the place for you! Sunset Beach is lined with fun tiki huts and lively bars and is known throughout the Tampa Bay area for being LGBTQ+ friendly.  

If you don’t already have enough reasons to give Sunset Beach a visit, it’s also one of the best beaches in Tampa Bay to watch a Florida sunset at. It’s even in the name! 

Archibald Beach Park

Spend the day lounging at the beach before grabbing a bite to eat at a lively beachfront restaurant

Footprints in the sand and a calm view of the beach

📍 Google Maps | Archibald Beach Website | 🅿️ Parking: Metered parking spots directly across the street | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Cambria Hotel

Archibald Beach Park is a St. Pete beach in Pinellas County that is great for a day out with family or friends. This beach has convenient parking close to the beach entrance, as well as public restrooms and showers. 

The Snack Shack, a concession stand and beachfront restaurant, offers snacks and refreshments for when you need to cool down and grab a bite to eat. There are also volleyball courts for those looking to play a game or two! 

North Beach (at Fort De Soto)

Collect sand dollars as you walk along the sandbar 

View of the calm waters of North Beach on a sunny day
Calm waters at North Beach

📍 Google Maps | 🅿️ Parking: Large parking lots, normally plenty of space | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Residence Inn Tierra Verde

North Beach is one of the beautiful beaches that help comprise Fort De Soto State Park. It’s known for its shallow tidal pool and large sandbars. This beach is incredibly family-friendly because the sandbars make an excellent place for kids to play in shallow water without having to deal with waves knocking them over at the shoreline. 

Since it’s a Florida State Park, there’s a $5 entry fee per car, but that affords you all the great amenities you would expect. These include public restrooms and showers, playgrounds, a dog park, kayak launches, and more. 

North Beach is also famous for the unique sand dollars that can be found there. Make sure you bring a bucket so you can collect them! 

Redington Shores Beach

Pack a picnic and have a simple afternoon at the beach soaking in some rays

View of the walking pier at Redington Shores Beach on a sunny day
Walking pier 

📍 Google Maps | Redington Beach Website | 🅿️ Parking: Large parking lot just steps away from the shore | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Carousel Motel

Redington Beach is a quaint and peaceful beach in Pinellas County. There is plenty of parking, just feet from the beach entrance. There are restrooms and outdoor showers, as well. 

Tampa Bay is home to many expansive white sand beaches that attract visitors from all over. While the popular beaches are well known for a reason, sometimes it’s nice to get away from the commotion and relax at a smaller, more secluded beach.   

Fred Howard Park

Windsurf along the Gulf coast before a nice afternoon picnic

View of the palm trees, clear blue sky and calm waters of Fred Howard Park

📍 Google Maps | Fred Howard Park Website | 🅿️ Parking: $5 dollar daily beach parking fee 

Fred Howard Park is a fun beach in Tarpon Springs, slightly north of Clearwater. This is a great spot for a family day because of all the added amenities the park offers. In addition to the sandy beach, there are picnic shelters, playgrounds, a ball field, designated swimming areas, and a canoe launch. 

If you like to fish or windsurf, there are designated areas for both of those activities, as well. Pack up the car, grab the family, and head out to Fred Howard Park for some fun!

Ben T Davis Beach

One quick drive from the heart of Tampa will bring you to a scenic beach that’s great for bird watching 

Dogs at the walking paths near Ben T Davis Beach
Ben T Davis Beach also has many walking paths right along the water

📍 Google Maps | 🅿️ Parking: Plenty of metered parking spots line the beach | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: The CURRENT Hotel

Ben T Davis Beach is a small beach that lines the Courtney Campbell Causeway, which connects Tampa to Clearwater. There are plenty of parking spots, picnic tables shaded by palm trees, and grills. A bonus – Ben T Davis Beach is only a 15-minute drive from Downtown Tampa!

This beach is also conveniently located next to Whiskey Joe’s Bar and Grill, which is on my list of top places to eat in Tampa.

Caladesi Island State Park

Take a ferry and have a fully immersive island experience

Sunny day at the empty Caladesi Island State Park

📍 Google Maps | Caladesi Island State Park Website | 🅿️ Parking: You can leave your car at the ferry boat parking lot

Caladesi Island State Park is an island off the west coast of Dunedin that can be reached by kayak or boat. After arriving on the island, you are completely submerged in nature. There are activities like swimming, shelling, and fishing to keep the whole family entertained. 

To help maintain the island, there’s an $8 fee per boat and a $2 fee per kayak. 

Spend the day hiking a nature trail or two, taking a dip at the beach, and enjoying a delicious picnic before loading back up on the ferry to go home! If you want to check out the island but do not make a day of it, check out this Kayak Adventure that starts on the Dunedin Causeway but gives you the chance to kayak through the mangroves of Caladesi Island. 

Sand Key Park

Relax in a cabana on the beach 

Beautiful sea water on the shore of Sand Key Park
The water at Sand Key Park is beautiful  

📍 Google Maps | Sand Key Park Website | 🅿️ Parking: $5 all-day beach parking | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Clearwater Beach Marriott

Sand Key Park is a City of Clearwater beach located in Pinellas County. There are tons of amenities that will keep you entertained for the entire day. 

Take a walk on the boardwalk or a short nature trail. Use the provided grills and have a barbeque with friends. Rent a cabana and spend the day reading while you listen to waves lap the shore.  

Picnic Island

Play a game of disc golf before cooling off with a dip in the water

People enjoying the beautiful beach on a sunny day

📍 Google Maps | 🅿️ Parking: Plenty of free parking | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Sleep Inn & Suites Tampa South

Located in South Tampa, Picnic Island is a great place for nature lovers who want to sit on the beach and relax. There’s a fenced-off portion of the beach for dogs, so be sure to bring your furry friend along!

In addition to the beach, Picnic Island Park provides a kayak launch, fishing pier, and boat ramp. There’s a playground, fitness trail, sand volleyball courts, and disc golf course for those looking to get their blood pumping. 

Since there’s such a wide variety of amenities, Picnic Island Park is the perfect place to spend the day with the family or a group of friends.

FAQs About the Best Tampa Bay Beaches

What is the best beach in Tampa Bay?

Tampa Bay has many great beaches with a wide variety of amenities. Clearwater Beach is a highly popular beach for its crystal-clear water, amenities, and surrounding restaurants and shops. If you are bringing your pup, Fort De Soto State Park offers one of the best dog-friendly beaches around.  

What is the closest beach to Tampa?

Ben T Davis Beach is located on the Courtney Campbell Causeway. It’s a 10-minute drive from the Tampa International Airport and a 15-minute drive from Downtown, making it one of the closest beaches to the heart of Tampa. 

Does Tampa Bay have white sand beaches?

Tampa Bay has a vast array of white sand beaches. Honeymoon Island Beach is one of Tampa Bay’s best white sand beaches. The soft sand makes it a great place for walking along the shore while shell hunting.   


That’s a wrap on the best beaches in Tampa Bay. Looking for another way to spend some time in Florida outdoors? Check out my article on the best parks in Tampa

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate (you can leave feedback after clicking submit)

Help us help you travel better!

Your feedback really helps ...

What did you like about this post? Or how can we improve it to help you travel better?

Leave a Reply

All comments are moderated for compliance with our community guidelines. Most importantly be kind & be helpful!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.