Best Tampa Bay Beaches (That Aren’t Clearwater)

I lived in Tampa from the summer of 2018 – the summer of 2020. While I’m a mountain and lake girl by heart, I made the most of living so close to the beach. Anytime there was a weekend I was in town with good weather, I’d try to get out early to the beach before the crowds appeared. Even though I lived in Clearwater, and it was voted one of the top beaches, the amount of people there is just not my vibe. Below you’ll find my top 3 beaches in the Tampa area (that are not Clearwater).

#1 – Fort DeSoto State Park

I’m more a mountains gal than a beach gal (aka why I moved back to PA) but when I did go to the beach, this was one of my favorites to visit. Since there was a fee to enter since it was a state park, it didn’t get too busy and I could plant my chair in the sand and read my book without too many people around. In addition to the beach, there’s opportunity to kayak, visit the historic fort, walk on the interpretive trail, visit the dog park, camp, fish, or even take a ferry to Egemont or Shell Key. It has a lot to offer!

#2 – Honeymoon Island State Park

This is another state park, so an admission is required here as well. This park gets very busy later in the day, so get there early in the morning to avoid having to wait in line. Inside the park you can rent bicycles, kayaks, a 2.5 inland nature trail, a cafe and four miles of beach. This is one of the prettiest beaches in the Tampa area.

#3 – Indian Rocks Beach

This was my go to beach that wasn’t far from my apartment in Clearwater. While I loved visiting the other two, it took me about 30-60 minutes to get to them so this one was a lot closer. You can park in the main parking area and pay for the amount of hours you plan to be there. This beach is smaller in depth than others, so you may want to walk a bit to get a spot for yourself. Again, I recommend getting there early if you’re not a crowd person.

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