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Whether you’re looking for a quiet, sandy beach to relax and take it easy or a lively beach town with plenty of events and family activities, Tampa’s got you covered. Within 30 minutes are some of the Florida’s most beautiful must-visit beaches and nature parks to add to your vacation list! Get ready to take notes because we’re sharing 15 of the best beaches near Tampa.
When in Tampa and looking for a good place to get some sun, sea and sand, the good news is that you don’t have to go far! With warm and sandy public beaches, clear waters and breathtaking sunsets, some of Florida’s best beaches are located as close as 30 minutes away.
Tampa Bay beaches pack a number of activities to do both on and off the sand. When not swimming in the ocean or building sandcastles, there’s boating, kayaking, biking, shelling and birdwatching…and that’s just to name a few. Not even my 8-year-old son can complain that he’s bored and wants to go home!
The best part is that Tampa and its gorgeous beaches are just a short road trip to Orlando for even more vacation fun. Get ready to pack your bags, because we’re giving you 15 of the best beaches near Tampa to check out during your family getaway.
W End Of State Rd 60
Clearwater Beach, FL 33767
One of Florida’s most popular beaches for families, Clearwater Beach is a soft, white sand beach excellent for a day trip or weekend getaway no matter what time of year.
Clearwater Beach is great for active families who enjoy outdoor activities and watersports. On a typical day, you’ll find beachgoers on jet skis, parasailing or stand-up paddleboarding in the calm waters. Rollerblading and cycling are popular activities along the winding and scenic beachfront promenade. The beach itself also has public restrooms and lifeguards, making it a comfortable visit for spending the day with your toes in the sand.
In addition to the beach, the town of Clearwater, Florida packs plenty to do for families. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is home to Winter the Dolphin, star of the Dolphin Tale movies. There are also plenty of casual restaurants and cafes to refuel as well as beach shops to pick up some souvenirs. In the evenings as the sun sets, Pier 60 becomes home to a nightly festival with street performers and craft vendors.
7650 Courtney Campbell Causeway
Tampa, FL 33607
Ben T. Davis Beach is a narrow, yet large stretch of shoreline just right for families looking for a beach in close proximity to downtown Tampa. With white, powdery sand and calm waters perfect for swimming, it is one of the best beaches near Tampa to spend the day relaxing with the little ones.
The Florida beach has a number of amenities to make for a fun day including boat ramps, picnic shelters, grills and concessions. There are also lifeguards on duty from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Ben T. Davis Beach is popular for local volleyball players and also a great place to watch the sunset. Just across the way is the Courtney Campbell trail, a four-mile hiking trail and pedestrian bridge.
14400 Gulf Blvd
Madeira Beach, FL 33708
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Known for its sea-themed John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk, Madeira Beach is a 2.5 mile Gulf of Mexico beach city popular for those looking for sun and sea.
Just 27 miles from Tampa Bay in Pinellas County, this beach town is mostly known for fishing as well as its 1,100-foot boardwalk along the Intracoastal. As home to some of the best beaches near Tampa, there is no shortage of activities for the entire family in the Madeira Beach area.
In addition to the numerous restaurants and shops, there is a wide array of activities to enjoy including boating, watching for sea turtles or visiting one of the several waterfront parks. There are also a number of events that take place including movies on the beach, sporting events and a market with live music, food and local artisan vendors. Madeira Beach also hosts the annual John’s Pass Seafood Festival.
12902 Village Blvd
Madeira Beach, FL 33708
Located on the south end of Madeira Beach, John’s Pass is the #1 tourist attraction in Pinellas County. With a beautiful beach and a quaint fishing village of more than 130 unique shops and restaurants, there’s no shortage of activities to put smiles on your family’s faces. In other words, it has certainly earned its place as one of the best beaches near Tampa.
With a waterfront boardwalk that overlooks the Gulf of Mexico, there are numerous water sports, eco-tours and deep-sea fishing tours to keep you busy. My son gleams over the fact that there are also dolphin-watching and shelling tours. For the active and adventurous ones in the crew, there are also boat rentals, parasailing and jet skiing.
When it’s time for the adults to get out and enjoy the nightlife, there are a number of fun waterfront bars to choose from, including some with live music!
1700 Gulf Blvd
Indian Rocks Beach, FL 33785
Just a short drive from Tampa, Indian Rocks Beach has nearly three miles of beautiful, sparkling beaches along the gulf coast. People from all over the world come to visit its beaches as well as watch its incredible sunsets. It’s also home to a lively Oktoberfest event each year.
With 27 beach access points in the city, Indian Rocks Beach is regarded as one of the best beaches in the Tampa Bay area. It is a very family-friendly beach, with calm swimmable waters that the littlest ones can play in. There are also several retail shops as well as restaurants for when you work up an appetite after a day relaxing and strolling the beach. Don’t forget to bring along your binoculars if you enjoy bird or dolphin watching!
155 Corey Ave
St. Pete Beach, FL 33706
Set on a barrier island, St. Pete Beach is a Florida resort town popular amongst families and beach lovers. In fact, it isn’t just one of the best beaches near Tampa, but it was voted as the #1 beach in the U.S. by Tripadvisor in 2021. St. Pete Beach is also unique in that it’s home to the historic 1928 Don CeSar hotel, a massive pink hotel (yes, it’s actually pink) right on the waterfront.
Families looking for fun and action can head to the Upham State Park where you’ll find a lush “Secret Garden” or to the Rumfish where you’ll find three huge aquariums. The adventurous ones in the family can even snorkel in one of the aquariums and get face-to-face with its inhabitants!
The nearby Postcard Inn is a great place for beach volleyball. And if you’re staying for the weekend, pick up a day pass at the Tradewinds Island Grand Resort for access to water slides, pools, beach cabanas and mini-golf. The adults in the family will appreciate the various beach bars with live music, perfect for enjoying a night out on the town.
On the other hand, if you’re just looking to relax, you have a number of activities to enjoy as well. You can visit the various parks along the intracoastal waterfront, do some shopping in the Pass-A-Grille area or spend your day at one of white sand beaches while splashing in the warm Gulf of Mexico waters.
No matter age or what you’re looking for, you’ll find something to put a smile on your face at St. Pete Beach.
113 11th Avenue
Saint Pete Beach, FL 33706
Located in the historic district of St. Pete Beach, Pass-A-Grille Beach is a wide stretch of white sand surrounded by beach boutiques, delicious restaurants, outdoor art markets and rooftop bars. It is the last beach in St. Pete Beach, and has more than 350 days a year of sunshine!
If the amount of sunshine isn’t enough to convince you that its one of the best beaches near Tampa, the number of ways to enjoy a pleasant day with the family certainly will. In addition to four miles of powder white sand to stick your toes in, there are also tennis courts, fishing piers and scenic walkways. At the Merry Pier (popular for fishing) you can catch a boat tour to the secluded Shell Key Preserve for bird watching or collecting some of its brilliant seashells. When you need a break from the sun and sand, the family can head over to the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum to check out the area’s history and memorabilia.
After dinner, it’s a must to check out the legendary sunsets. Sunset watching is one of my family’s favorite things to do in the evenings. I can already imagine us picking up an ice cream cone from one of the local shops before heading to the Paradise Grille sunset celebration, a classic nightly ritual among locals.
1060 Gulf Blvd
Clearwater, FL 33767
Sand Key Park is a pristine, white-sand barrier island near Clearwater Beach with two sides – a beach side and a park side. It is considered by locals and tourists to be the safest beach for kids near Tampa.
On the beach side you’ll find a boardwalk with a stunning ocean view and white sands. Umbrella and cabana rentals are available, and there are also outdoor showers for when you’re done building sandcastles. On the park side, there are bathhouses with restrooms and a changing area, a playground, concessions and two picnic shelters with grills. In a nearby rare salt marsh, visitors can observe endangered birds nesting and feeding – an incredible experience for the little ones.
One of the excellent things about Sand Key Park is that they offer disabled visitors special beach wheelchairs. And if you have a furry member traveling with you, bring them along because there’s also a dog park!
3500 Pinellas Bayway S
Tierra Verde, FL 33715
A favorite of fellow TravelingMom Terri Marshall, Fort de Soto Park is a fantastic choice for a Tampa-area getaway. Not only is it well regarded for its stunning, clean sandy beaches and clear waters, but this beach also has a bit of history!
Fort De Soto Park has five interconnected islands full of bird life, sea life, plant life and wildlife. The North Beach’s large lagoon is protected by a sandbar and keeps it from getting above three feet deep. This makes it an excellent place to splash around for even the littlest ones in the family.
In addition to the beach are a number of fun outdoor activities to do with the family. You can bike along the 7-mile nature trail, go canoeing or go kayaking through mangroves. I know my son would have a BLAST exploring the old cannons and jail cells in the historic Fort De Soto, which was built for the Spanish-American War.
When tummies start to rumble, there’s a snack bar with hot dogs, soda and other basic items. There are also picnic areas if you want to bring your own food as well as restrooms and showers. At the end of the day, you can relax and look out for exotic birds, dolphins and sea turtles. Or, just sit back and admire the beautiful sunset.
One Causeway Blvd
Dunedin, FL 34698
A short drive away from Tampa, Honeymoon Island is one of Florida’s favorite state parks. With more than four miles of sandy beach and wildlife, this natural barrier island offers a tranquil escape away from the busy city life.
Families can easily spend the day away swimming, fishing, hiking or bicycling. Another favorite family activity at Honeymoon Island is shelling. Fun for all ages, searching for and collecting seashells is something that both me and my son could easily spend hours doing together.
Nature lovers looking for a break from the beach will love the three-mile trail through one of the last remaining virgin slash pine forests. There you can spot unique and endangered animals such as eagles, osprey, great horned owls, gopher tortoises, racoons and armadillos. There’s also the Rotary Centennial Nature Center where visitors can learn more about the park and its history.
Honeymoon Island State Park is also where you’d take the ferry to another Florida favorite, the beautiful Caladesi Island State Park.
One Causeway Blvd
Dunedin, FL 34698
Accessible only by a 20-minute ferry from Honeymoon Island, Caladesi Island is famous for its pristine, unspoiled beach. Its picture-perfect scenery and paradise vibes are what help it earn its place as one of the best beaches near Tampa.
Caladesi Island is ideal for families who are looking for a quiet, tranquil getaway with soft sand dunes and warm coastal breezes. You can easily spend the day relaxing or picnicking beachside while observing wildlife such as shore birds or sea turtles. There are also several other beach activities to enjoy with the family including fishing, shelling or kayaking through the mangroves.
When you’ve worked up an appetite, there’s a concession stand to pick up a quick bite.
10400 Gulf Blvd
Treasure Island, FL 33706
If you’re anything like me and prefer to have plenty of your own space when at the beach with your family or friends, Treasure Island is the place to be. Plus, with a name like Treasure Island, it only makes sense that it is one of the best beaches near Tampa!
Located in Pinellas County, this beach is wider than most beaches, providing plenty of space to stretch out and have an area of your own. The water is extremely gentle, making it a fun and family-friendly beach for all ages. Families looking to participate in watersports can rent paddle boards and kayaks right on the beach, or sit back and relax under a shaded cabana (also available to rent). I know my son can spend all day bouncing around and racing down the giant inflatable water slides. Treasure Island is also popular for kite-flying and home to an annual kite festival.
When it’s time for mom and dad to get out on their own, there are plenty of beachfront eateries to order an adult beverage while watching the beautiful sunset.
6760 Surfside Blvd
Apollo Beach, FL 33572
Located in Hillsborough County, the Apollo Beach Nature Preserve is more for relaxation than it is for swimming (in fact, no swimming is allowed). However, it is still an excellent place to spend the day or watch the sunset with the kids when in the Tampa Bay area.
This 63-acre nature preserve is a habitat for a variety of aquatic species, including manatees. The beach itself is a two-acre sandy beach primarily for fishing, picnicking and sunbathing. There’s also a 37-foot wheelchair accessible observation tower and a short nature trail.
Just a short drive away at Tampa Electric’s Big Bend Power Station is the Manatee Viewing Center, a free way to entertain and educate the kids while at Apollo Beach. However, the center is only open from November 1-April 15 of each year.
1700 Sunset Dr
Tarpon Springs, FL 34689
If swimming and spectacular sunsets are up your alley, you’re definitely going to want to add Fred Howard Park to your list of beaches to visit with the family. After all, this 155-acre beach park on the Gulf of Mexico isn’t on the list of best beaches near Tampa for nothing!
Families looking to spend a nice day at the white sandy beach can easily pass the time sunbathing, fishing windsurfing, canoeing and kayaking. The park also has restrooms, multiple picnic shelters, a softball field, playground, hiking/biking trail and a butterfly garden.
Nature and animal lovers can spend the day watching different bird species fish for food or spotting dolphins and manatees splashing around in the water. As a protective environment for many important Florida habitats such as wetlands, mangroves and sea grass beds, it is also home to some endangered or threatened species such as eagles, gopher tortoises and fox squirrels.
Its scenic one-mile causeway provides the park access to the Gulf and is often used for sunbathing, fishing and exercising. The causeway is also a popular location for filmmakers.
15100 Gulf Blvd
St. Petersburg, FL 33708
Archibald Memorial Beach Park is another one of the best beaches near Tampa for families. With metered parking, restrooms, showers and covered picnic areas, it makes for a wonderful way to spend the day relaxing on the beach with the family.
The beach is easily accessed from the parking area with four wooden walkovers, so you won’t have to walk far. Once on the beach you’ll find two sand volleyball courts, a fun way to get competitive with friends or family.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, you can head over to the Snack Shack, a 1934 quaint seaside restaurant that serves breakfast, sandwiches, seafood and frozen cocktails for the adults.
Have you been to any of these beaches? If so, which was your favorite? Share with us in the comments!