The 20 Best Beaches in Tampa
Today we are going to discuss the best beaches in Tampa. Or, it’s really the best beaches near Tampa since most of the “best beaches in Tampa” are not actually in Tampa itself but rather just outside on the barrier islands.
If you’ve been here long, you know we love the beach! In fact, the beaches near Tampa are some of our favorites.
Before we get to the list of the best beaches in Tampa, let’s talk about how you will get around in the Tampa area. Unless you drive yourself, you’ll need a rental car! If you decide to rent a car during your Florida vacation, I recommend renting a car from Discount USA Car Rental.
Discount USA Car Rental offers the lowest rates through all the major companies, and you don’t pay anything you pick up your car. I’ve picked up cars from both TPA and PIE from Discount USA with no problems at all.
The 20 best beaches in Tampa
Now, let’s get to the best beaches in Tampa. Here they are, in no particular order. However, one of our personal favorites is first.
If you’re looking for the best beaches in Tampa, look no further than the famous Clearwater Beach. Yes, it’s technically in Clearwater, and you’ll need to cross the Courtney Campbell Causeway to reach Clearwater Beach in Tampa.
This beach is located on a barrier island in Pinellas County. Clearwater Beach is often ranked as one of the best beaches in the world!
The water is relatively shallow in spots at this Tampa beach. However, it is still the perfect beach for water sports. Your kids will love parasailing and paddleboarding. You can take jet skis out on the water too.
When everyone tires of the sand and water, head to one of the nearby playgrounds. Well, if anyone has any leftover energy!
You may even feel like walking along the boardwalk and down Pier 60. The nearby restaurants will ensure your entire family stays well-fed and hydrated. You can even grab an ice cream nearby from a snack bar.
If you go to Pier 60 at night, arrive before sunset. This will allow you to experience the sunset celebration. This celebration features all types of street performers. So much fun to watch!
St. Pete Beach
St. Pete Beach is in a popular resort area of Tampa. The parking lot fills quickly at this beach. I recommend taking advantage of the Freebee shuttle as much as possible in this beach town.
There are ten walkways down to the sand. It is one of the beaches in Tampa that offers easy access to the water.
You will find everything you need and want at St. Pete’s Beach. Rent a cabana. Participate in water sports. Or, relax in the sand until it is time for drinks at a local restaurant.
Ben T. Davis Beach
This beach is the closest to Tampa International Airport. It is also a short drive from downtown Tampa in the United States.
Ben T. Davis Beach is perfect for all those beach volleyball games your family loves to play. There are a couple of volleyball courts, so you shouldn’t wait too long to play.
You can sit at the picnic tables between games and use the grills to prepare a meal. There are even public restrooms. A must for those all-day beach adventures!
We’ve been to this beach, and if you’re looking for miles and white of pristine sand, this isn’t it! However, it’s great if you want to get away from the crowds and touristy stuff!
After a morning in the sand, the kids may be ready to go for a bike ride. You can rent bikes and take a ride down the 4-mile Courtney Campbell Trails. But, of course, you can walk the trail too.
This is one of Tampa’s most popular beaches amongst the locals. Arrive early to claim a great spot.
The locals all call Madeira Beach, Mad Beach. There are more than 2 miles of soft powdery sand at this beach. Near this beach is Archibald Beach Park. It’s a great place to visit if you have the time.
This is one of the beautiful beaches that is best seen early in the morning or at night. Long walks in the early morning are peaceful. And at night, the sunset is quite spectacular.
Garrick enjoying Madeira Beach way back in 2017.
You can easily walk along the boardwalk to St. John’s Pass Village during your visit. There are plenty of stores and restaurants there. Perfect for when you are hungry or forgot something for the day. You can even pop into a gift shop for a few souvenirs.
I highly recommend taking a pirate cruise in this part of Tampa.
John’s Pass Beach
There is also a beach called John’s Pass near the Tampa area. This is a hidden beach that offers lots of clear water for swimming. You won’t find miles of beaches here. But there are long stretches of sand.
Plus, since not as many people know about this excellent place, you can usually find a great spot to spend the day—or at least a couple of hours.
Families will love this beach area. There is some shallow water. There are plenty of recreational activities for older kids too.
Indian Rocks Beach
One of the best beaches in Tampa is Indian Rocks Beach. There are more than 27 beach access points. This makes reaching the sand and the Gulf of Mexico extremely simple.
This is one of the most family-friendly beaches in Tampa. The water is relatively calm. Keep an eye out for dolphins. You can usually see them from the sandy shoreline.
Indian Rocks Beach is right next to Seaside Seabird Sanctuary, so I strongly recommend checking it out! We discovered it when working on the 50 free things to do in Tampa with kids post, and it’s a must-see if you love animals!
Sunset Beach is located on Treasure Island. However, it isn’t the only beach on the island.
You will find Sunset Beach on the southern side of the island. It is between two rock jetties. When the conditions are windy, you will find many surfers in the water.
This beach in Tampa is popular with the LGTBQ community.
Fort de Soto Beach
You will find Fort de Soto Beach within Fort de Soto Park. It is the largest park in the county of Pinellas.
Nature lovers will enjoy kayaking and canoeing around the nearby Shell Key Preserve. If you stay at North Beach, be prepared to spend a lot of time in the tidal pool and by the sandbar.
The picnic shelters are perfect for getting out of the sun. There is even a pirate ship playground for those times you need a break, and the kids don’t.
Apollo Beach Nature Preserve
This is one of the only white-sand beaches in a nature preserve in Tampa. You will find this beach over in Hillsborough County.
This is one of the most popular beaches in Tampa. However, it is essential to note that you cannot swim at this beach.
You can lounge on the sand. Climb up to the top of the observation tower. And walk along the short nature trails. It is the perfect spot for picnic lunches too!
Pine Key Island
If you don’t want to spend an entire day at Apollo Beach, you can always venture over to Pine Key Island. This island is also called Beer Can Island. I don’t think anyone can resist visiting an island with that name!
It is best to take a private boat to this island. Just arrive early because it gets crowded here quickly! Especially when there are numerous days of sunshine in a row.
You can head to the tiki floating barge when you are not on these prettiest beaches surrounded by palm trees. They serve cold drinks and delicious food inside.
Pass a Grille Beach
Pass a Grille Beach is near the southern end of St. Pete’s Beach. It is also close to Shell Key Preserve.
While this white sand beach is not in Tampa, it is close enough. You can easily drive there in half an hour.
This beach is near an undeveloped area. This means you can enjoy the sandy beaches without the crowds. You won’t even find this beach crowded during spring break. Keep that in mind if you plan a trip at that time of the year.
This is one of the fantastic beaches that is perfect for snorkeling and swimming.
Redington Beach is in Pinellas County. You can quickly stop at this beach after visiting Madeira Beach. However, if Madeira Beach is too busy, it’s worth the short drive to Redington Beach.
This beach is near a residential area. However, there are public access points.
You won’t find as much action here as you would at Madeira Beach. However, it is one of the best places to go when you need a little downtime.
Fred Howard Park
Fred Howard Park can be found in Tarpon Springs. This is still in the Tampa Bay area. The beach is on one of the natural islands in Tampa. You can only reach it by going over the one-mile causeway.
Since this is a nature park, your family can do much more than swimming. Windsurfing, kayaking, and fishing are all popular at this public beach.
Keep an eye out for dolphins and manatees in the water.
Caladesi Island State Park
A quick ferry ride is necessary to reach this Tampa Bay beach off the Gulf Coast. The water around this island is warm. Perfect for swimming.
Kayaking through the mangroves is popular at this best beach in Tampa. So is hiking along the trails.
Although, you may prefer to relax on the sand. Or collect seashells.
The cafe on the island is the perfect place to grab extra food if you didn’t bring enough.
Caladesi Island used to be connected to Honeymoon Island. However, a hurricane wiped out the land that connected them.
Honeymoon Island State Park
As I just mentioned, Honeymoon Island was part of Caladesi Island. So it is totally worth it to visit both of these best beaches in Tampa!
This incredible island is divided into three areas. One area is the dog beach. The other two areas are called North and South.
The dog beach is self-explanatory, and yes, quite a few of the best beaches in Tampa do allow dogs.
The north area of Honeymoon Island is where the best surfing can be found. After you have caught some waves, hit the trails for a hike.
Down south, you’ll find a beach with picnic areas. However, it may not be as busy as the other end of the island.
Sand Key Beach
Sand Key Beach can be found within Sand Key Park. It is one of the hidden gems in Tampa. You will find this beach about a mile from Clearwater Beach.
It is the perfect place to watch Kemp Ridley sea turtles nest. You can see these sea turtles all year long at this beach.
The sand dunes and salt marshes are a unique feature at this Tampa Bay beach. There is also a boardwalk and picnic area. Although, if you forget to bring food, there is a restaurant not far away.
Egmont Key Beach
Egmont Key Beach is one of the most secluded beaches in Tampa. This is one of the white sand beaches in the area of St. Petersburg.
This beach is on an uninhabited island. You can only reach the island by ferry or boat.
There are no restrooms, stores, or other facilities on Egmont Key Beach. All you will discover is a lighthouse and Fort Dade.
This is one of the best Tampa Bay beaches for getting away from it all, especially if you are ready for a full day of swimming and snorkeling.
Davis Island Dog Beach
Davis Island Dog Beach is one of the amazing beaches in Tampa if you want to bring along your furry friends. Fortunately, many of Tampa’s Beaches are dog-friendly!
I have you covered if you are looking for a beach with a dog park! Davis Island Dog Beach lets your dogs run around on the sand or in the water. No leash is required! If you’re looking for the best beaches in Tampa to visit with a dog, you must check out Davis Island Dog Beach.
Dogs can also play in a fenced area if you don’t want them to get wet. This is also an excellent place to go when you want to meet new friends who have dogs.
You will also find a boat ramp at this Tampa beach. You can use it to launch your boat. Or you can put your kayak or canoe in the water there.
Anna Maria Island Beaches
Anna Maria Island is located near the southern end of Tampa. There are seven different beaches on this island. You can easily visit any white sandy beaches in this area and have a fabulous time.
The best beaches in Tampa
Did this list of the best beaches in Tampa help you find the perfect beach? I hope so! If we missed your favorite, let us know in the comments below. Do you love beaches? Well, so do we! We have so many blog posts about beaches you won’t want to miss any of them.
You can learn about The 25 Best East Florida Beaches, The 20 Best Shelling Beaches in Florida, The 20 Best Beaches near Orlando for Families, and The best place to find shark teeth in Florida, all right here on Florida Travel with Kids.
More things to do in Tampa
- The 12 best places to see manatees in Florida
- 30 Things to do in Clearwater with Kids
- The 21 Best Places to Visit in Florida with Kids
- The Ultimate List of Florida Lighthouses
- The 10 best places to see sea turtles in Florida
About Florida Travel With Kids
Florida Travel with Kids was started by a family who loves to travel the state of Florida with kids! This site will help you explore the fun state of Florida and all of the kid-friendly activities you’ll find hereyou’lllerlite_form form_id=1]
Did you enjoy this post? I would love it if you pinned it for later! Or, make sure to share it with your friends on social media if they are looking for things to do in Florida with kids.