Editor's note: Beaches and parks are listed geographically from north to south.

The waters of Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico make the Tampa area beaches a recreational paradise within a metropolitan area. Beach preserves and parks line the miles of shoreline for picnics, swimming, boating and more.

Your Guide to Tampa Area Beaches

Anclote River Park
Whether you desire a weekend of fishing, swimming, picnicking, playing or just relaxing, Anclote River Park provides the perfect natural escape. Pack a lunch and a beach blanket and make it a day of fun for the whole family. This park around Tampa area beaches is nearly 30 acres feature fishing, picnic areas, pavilions and a playground for the little ones.

Robert J. Strickland Memorial Park (Hudson Beach)
Bask in the warmth, then cool down by splashing around. Lay down a blanket and enjoy a picnic lunch, or test the water and see if the fish are biting. The perfect day of fun in the sun waits. Six acres of land feature a boat ramp, a boardwalk, picnic areas and warm water for swimming.

Robert K. Rees Memorial Park
Take a walk on the boardwalk, paddle, fish, swim or relax. All the leisure of the beach combined with all the fun of a park makes Robert K. Rees Memorial Park a great place for a family getaway. Located on Green Key in New Port Richey, this is a beautiful site to see the sunset.

Ben T. Davis Beach
Hugging Tampa Bay and offering one of the first sights of sand for those entering Tampa Bay via Tampa International Airport, this narrow beach is attractively landscaped and stretches along the Courtney Campbell Causeway, which connects Tampa with Clearwater.

Picnic Island
Shelters and open picnic areas dot this waterfront park that jutting into Tampa Bay. Located at the Port of Tampa this park features grills, picnic areas, restrooms, a playground and concessions.

Davis Island Beach
Located at the end of Davis Islands just south of downtown Tampa, this one-acre park offers a small beach area, off-leash area for dogs, picnic area, canoe launch and boat ramps. Davis Islands Beach also is adjacent to the Davis Island Yacht Club and Davis Island Seaplane Basin. Nearby, there are plenty of restaurants and shops.

E.G. Simmons Park
This rustic beach is surrounded by mangroves and nearby swamps where you can check out the local wildlife and vegetation. Whether you prefer to boat, fish, swim or camp, this 458-acre park on Tampa Bay near Ruskin is the perfect spot to do it.