Splashy Ventures Guide to the Beaches

The Pinellas peninsula has some of the best beaches in the state, with fine beaches to the north and south was well.  The entire West Central Gulf Coast is just one stunning beach after another!

The Beach Trolley provides easy access to all the Pinellas County Beaches at very reasonable rates and times.

GOOD TO KNOW: The majority of the beaches along St Petersburg/Clearwater prohibit all alcoholic beverages, although there are some exceptions.  Madeira and Redington beaches allow the consumption of alcohol, except for drinks in glass containers.  Treasure Island permits it also, north of 99th Ave.  Pets are banned from all public beaches in Pinellas County, but both Fort De Soto and Honeymoon Island have terrific dog beaches.  Also, no bonfires are allowed on any beach.

 
 

St Pete Beach, treasure island, madeira beach

Also called "Mad Beach", Madeira Beach is best know for the John's Pass Village and Boardwalk.  Fishing and water sports dominate the area.  From the village complex you can go deep-sea fishing, take a dolphin-watch cruise or rent WaveRunners. 

Treasure Island is really is home to the mile-long Treasure Island Beach Trail that provides convenient access to the motels, restaurants and bars that make up the heart of the town.  Sunshine Beach is on the north end of the island, with Sunset Beach on the south.

St Pete Beach was voted No. 4 Beach in the U.S. in 2016 by TripAdvisor, based on millions of reviews from travelers around the world.  St Pete Beach (sometimes known as SPB to the locals), include the longest undeveloped stretch of public beach in the county at Pass-A-Grille.  (See separate entry for Pass-A-Grille below.)  SPB is home to the historically grand Don CeSar resort, beautiful beaches and the wacky beach shops, ice cream shops and casual seafood restaurants you've come to know and love.

 
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Pass-a-grille, Shell Key, Fort DeSoto, egmont key

Pass-A-Grille is several things rolled into one: a quaint beach town, a beach, and a U.S. historic district.  Pass-A-Grille (or "PAG") lies at the southernmost end of St Pete Beach.  There is a wonderful beach, boutiques, restaurants, ice cream (Working Cow Ice Cream!!!!) and a fishing pier. I've even seen the occasional manatee.  PAG is a favorite location for beach weddings too.  Bathrooms and outdoor showers located near the grille across from The Hurricane restaurant.

Shell Key Preserve is an 1,800-acre preserve located on Shell Key.  It preserves sensitive marine habitats and includes one of the county's largest undeveloped barrier islands, as well as mangrove islands and expansive sea grass beds.  Beautiful beaches and bird watching are a key draw to the area.  Please note, the area is accessible only by boat and there are no restrooms!  Camping is allowed with a permit.  There is a shuttle that leaves from the intracoastal side Pass-A-Grille.  Please click button below for more info.

Egmont Key is home to Egmont Key State Park.  It is located at the mouth of Tampa Bay, southwest of Fort De Soto Park and can only be reached by boat or ferry.  It is primarily a wildlife refuge and therein lies its charm. It also has a rich history, serving as a camp for captured Seminoles at the end of the Third Seminole War and later occupation by the Union Navy during the Civil war.  The island includes historic sites, trails, a lighthouse, picnicking, good shelling snorkeling and wildlife viewing.  There is no drinking water and no stores, so you'll need to remember to bring water, food and sunscreen.  No pets permitted.

 

clearwater, caladesi island, honeymoon island

West of Dunedin and near Clearwater, Caladesi Island and its state park are known for their unspoiled beach.  Named America's Best Beach in 2008 by Dr. Beach, the island is accessible by a 20-minute ferry ride from Honeymoon Island.  Caladesi has paths among the dunes and the flora and fauna live without interference from people.  However, there are facilities such as a concession stand, fishing, picknicking, shelling and kayak trails. 

Honeymoon Island is a top spot for nature lovers.  You'll find osprey nests, shorebirds and one of the few remaining virgin slash pine forests in South Florida.  There are several nature trails and the shelling is particularly good due to the particulars of the local currents.  There are showers available and a concession stand with gift shop and snack bar. 

Clearwater Beach was named No. 1 in the U.S. on TripAdvisor's list of Top Beaches for 2016 and the only beach in America to make TripAdvisor's list of Top 25 in the World.  Beautiful white sand and shallow water would appeal to anyone, but Clearwater has the added attractions of Sand Key Park, Pier 60, Clearwater Marina and Beach Walk. 

Acronyms -know your beach!

PAG - Pass-A-Grille

Mad Beach - Madeira Beach

TI - Treasure Island

NRB - North Reddington Beach

SPB - St Pete Beach