Five Favorite Beaches by Tampa

By: Lauren Tjaden


Politics, pundits and people, oh my!

Tampa is bustling with activity this week; a trip to the beach to might be just the medicine to soothe your soul. Luckily, the vibrant city is just a splash away from some of the sweetest shores on the planet. Check out this list of five of my favorites.

  • Caladesi Island is a little bit of beach heaven, an unspoiled paradise thick with white sand. Named America's Best Beach by Dr. Beach in 2008, you can reach the pristine island by ferry from Honeymoon Island. The ferry begins running at 10 a.m. every day, with numerous returns and departures. Visitors typically can stay for four hours, weather permitting. According to MapQuest, it’s 46 minutes/27.04 miles from Tampa.
  • Clearwater Beach is wide, heaped with sugar-sand, and has pier that stretches far out into the shallow, emerald-hued waters of the Gulf. It’s a bustling, touristy destination, with a ‘pirate ship,’ offers of parasailing, amenities like showers and restrooms, and free nightly sunset celebrations. It’s 37 minutes/24.51 miles from Tampa.
  • Pass-A-Grille Beach is historic, cute and charming; in the past, it was used as a camp ground for fisherman to obtain fresh water and to grill their catch. It boasts restaurants, small inns and eclectic shops -- but is happily lacking in high rises and crowds. Discover its beautiful, still waters just south of St. Pete Beach. It’s 39 minutes/ 28.96 miles from Tampa.
  • Fort De Soto boasts soft sands, blue-green waters and shady pines, which earned the park – made up of five separate islands --TripAdvisor's #1 Beach rating for 2008 and 2009. Ride, skate or jog on the seven-mile paved trail; canoe and kayak through lush mangroves. Your kids will love to explore the canons and jail cells of the old fort. It’s 57 minutes/37.11 miles from Tampa.
  • Anna Maria Island is a little sliver of sand, only seven miles long, and so narrow you can often see the Gulf and the bay at the same time. It’s the kind of place you enjoy a grouper sandwich by the beach in an open-air café; it’s the kind of place you rent a Hobie Cat and go sailing. It’s a laid-back, peaceful slice of paradise with an old-fashioned flavor. Its waters tend to be very clear and calm. It’s 1 hour 9 minutes /55.55 miles from Tampa.

Insider’s Tip: This list is just the tip of the sandbar. Explore all the area’s fabulous beaches – your toes will thank you!

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