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Here's how to drink on the beach legally this Labor Day

Beachgoers enjoy alcoholic drinks near Caddy's on the Beach on Treasure Island Thursday. It's legal to drink on Treasure Island, but with a set of rules including no kegs and no glass bottles. (LARA CERRI   |   Times)
Beachgoers enjoy alcoholic drinks near Caddy's on the Beach on Treasure Island Thursday. It's legal to drink on Treasure Island, but with a set of rules including no kegs and no glass bottles. (LARA CERRI | Times)
Published Sep. 2, 2017

What do we do in honor of working people on Monday? We don't work. What do we do instead? We go to the beach. And what do we want to do there? Have an adult beverage.

Not so fast.

Each of the beaches in Pinellas County has its own mess of rules when it comes to imbibing the hard stuff. Maybe you heard St. Pete Beach recently loosened its restrictions, but hold on before you plan that wild party.

In advance of Labor Day, we're breaking the alcohol rules down for you, north to south.

Clearwater Beach: One of the county's major tourist beach destinations, it bans alcohol for all beachgoers. If you want to drink legally while at the beach there are beachy areas at the Sand Pearl, the Hilton Clearwater Beach (Tommy's Tiki is right on the sand), Palm Pavilion Inn (feet won't be in the sand, but darn close), Shephard's Beach Resort and others where alcohol is served.

Honeymoon and Caladesi: Neither state park allows alcohol, although the Honeymoon Cafe serves beer and wine, which must be consumed on premises.

Belleair Beach: Nope. Not allowed, nor are glass containers of any kind.

Indian Rocks Beach: The following activities are prohibited on the beach: Building of campfires or bonfires; possession or consumption of alcohol; possession or use of glass or bottles; live music, parties or special events without city commission approval.

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Redington Beach: Bingo, we hit the jackpot. "As long as I've been here," said town clerk Missy Clarke, "there have been no ordinances on the books prohibiting drinking on the beach." There is not a prohibition about glass bottles, either. So find your designated driver and stick your toes in the sand, beer in hand.

Madeira Beach: "Essentially, alcoholic beverages can be consumed on the beach but not in shelters," explained Lacy Lafave, executive assistant to the acting city manager. "Alcoholic beverages must be in appropriate non-glass containers."

The ordinance states that while you can have it on the beach, you can't take your unsealed container or cup onto the street, sidewalk, alley, parking lot or open property (this includes Kitty Stuart Park and the picnic shelter at Archibald Park). That said, the city manager, with the approval of the board of commissioners, can issue a special permit in writing for street fairs, celebrations, civic functions, fundraisers and city-sponsored events.

Treasure Island: According to Police Chief Armand Boudreau, interim public safety director for the Treasure Island Police Department, "The City of Treasure Island permits consumption of alcoholic beverages on the beach as long as those consuming alcoholic beverages are at least 21 years old. The City does not restrict the distance from the water for consumption; however, there are a few other restrictions." These include: No glass at any time, no kegs, no dogs (not sure why that's related to drinking), and the beach is closed between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.

But here's where it gets slightly more complicated and Labor Day specific. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted on the beach between the 8500 block and the 9900 block of Treasure Island Beach (the northern end of Sunset Beach, which is a tiny finger on the end of Treasure Island, a block wide and a mile long) between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays as well as Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day, as well as from the first weekend every February to the last weekend in September. Revelers will no doubt flock to Caddy's on the Beach, a Sunset Beach popular party spot.

St. Pete Beach: The St. Pete Beach City Commission unanimously voted Aug. 22 to allow alcohol on the sand at beachfront hotels, and there are currently 17 hotels on the Gulf of Mexico that rent beach cabanas in the area stretching from the Don CeSar Hotel to the Postcard Inn (the TradeWinds alone has more than 500 cabanas).

But before you click your heels, here's a word from St. Pete Beach mayor Al Johnson: "Simply put," he wrote by email, "only registered guests of the hotels can drink (on the beaches). This includes day guests as well as overnight, but all must be registered. Guests must wear a wrist band, and can only be served in the cabana area which must be at least 50 feet from the wet sand area. Service must be by hotel staff and delivered in plastic cups with the hotel's logo on it." Essentially, he wrote in conclusion, alcohol is not allowed on St. Pete Beach.

Fort De Soto Park: No alcohol is allowed on the beach or in the shelters at the park.

Contact Laura Reiley at lreiley@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley.