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Tampa Bay Beach Guide

Some of Florida's best beaches are right here in Tampa Bay. We have the No. 1 beach rankings to prove it, too: A nationally known expert declared Fort DeSoto (2005) and Caladesi Island (2008) to be America's top beaches. In between these two slices of paradise are our other gulf coast beaches, just waiting to be discovered. This beach guide gives you descriptions of all of the beaches, plus tips on parking, amenities and nearby restaurants and things to do. Whether you're looking for the best place to surf on Florida's west coast, or you're trying to find the best beach that will allow alcohol, this guide will steer you in the right direction.

Photo store: Order prints of beach photos through our archive.


Pinellas County Beaches

The Gulf of Mexico beaches in Pinellas County really offer some of the best Florida restaurants, Florida shopping and Florida nightlife around. And let's not forget Florida charter boat fishing. So fire up some cool beach tunes and scroll down to start planning your beach vacation in Tampa Bay.

North Beaches

South Beaches


Times special reports on the area
  • Our most famous beach resident
    Winter the dolphin, who lives at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, starred in 2011's Dolphin Tale. Read about her amazing rescue and her rise to stardom.
  • Take a cruise along Gulf
    The boulevard that travels 22 miles among beach towns features some surprisingly long-lived, fun and beloved destinations.
  • Learn about sea turtles
    Each year, thousands of sea turtles flock to Florida's beaches to nest. We explain this amazing phenomenon.
  • A visit to Fort DeSoto
    In 2005, the park's North Beach was at the top of the annual list of America's best beaches. In this older report, we document what you'll find there during a visit.
  • What's with the pink palace?
    Ever wonder how the St. Pete Beach's iconic hotel, the Don CeSar, got its name? Behold our three-part story of love, music and mystery.
  • A day at the beach
    Our writers and photographer offer snapshots of the people who live, work and visit the shorelines by chronicling "A Day in the Life" of the beaches.
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