16 Beautiful Beaches in Clearwater & St. Petersburg For a Perfect Florida Gulf Coast Getaway

Looking to luxuriate in a Florida Gulf Coast beach vacation? Spending time relaxing on white-sand beaches and dipping into tranquil waters at some of the best beaches in Clearwater & St. Petersburg. Running alongside the unspoiled Gulf of Mexico, St. Pete & Clearwater’s award-winning stretches of sand offer everything from secluded covers to beautiful panoramic coastal views. Find your perfect Central Florida seaside getaway with this complete guide to the most beautiful Clearwater & St. Petersburg beaches!

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Clearwater Beach

Not sure where to begin exploring the coastal charms of Central Florida? Start with the world-famous Clearwater Beach. With its sugary white sand and calm turquoise water, it’s one of the best beaches on the Florida Gulf Coast.

Clearwater Beach

Get your sunglasses ready and relax: Clearwater Beach has been named one of the nation’s best beaches by TripAdvisor on several occasions. Find a spot on the sandy beach, lay down your towel, and watch the world go by. When you’re in need of some fresh seafood, some of Clearwater’s top restaurants are a stone’s throw away.

For families, Pier 60 will make this Florida Gulf Coast gem a real delight. You’ll stroll past fishermen who treasure their spots, performers, and even volleyball nets. Don’t forget to watch the sunset over the expansive beach from the end of Pier 60. It offers one of the best evening views around Clearwater.

If you’re looking to turn your visit into the perfect Florida beach vacation, the area around Pier 60 is also home to some of the best hotels in Clearwater Beach.

Honeymoon Island State Park

Looking to escape to a tropical paradise? Honeymoon Island State Park in Pinellas County, west of Dunedin, FL, is a dream come true. With white sandy beaches and lush vegetation, this idyllic paradise is calling your name.

At Honeymoon Island State Park, travelers can choose from 4 miles of beaches. Oasis Beach is one of the most popular, a real coastal wonder with gentle waves and crystalline waters. North Beach is a great option for gathering seashells. But if you’re traveling with a four-legged friend, Dog Beach is the top spot for visitors.

Honeymoon Island State Park

Grab your shoes and get ready to escape into nature. The Pinellas Trail is a 30-mile-long paved recreational trail accessible from Honeymoon Island State Park. There are also shorter hiking trails to choose from. Keep your eye on the sky for eagles and great horned owls. Keen wildlife lovers might want to watch out for armadillos and burrowing gopher tortoises.

Caladesi Island is also accessible from Honeymoon Island State Park. A 15-minute boat or ferry ride will get you there. The ferry service runs at regular intervals throughout the day.

Caladesi Island State Park

Looking for the perfect nature escape? Caladesi Island State Park is quick to offer some of the most popular stretches of sand around Clearwater & St. Petersburg.

Caladesi Island State Park

This barrier island haven is easy to reach. To get to Caladesi Island State Park, you just have to take a 20-minute ferry or embark on a 3-mile walk from Clearwater Beach. This spot is perfect for beach lovers looking for a sheltered world. The untouched island features natural delights waiting around every corner and icing-sugar sand lining the shores.

Grab a kayak and head across the stunning beach and onto the water to see the reefs up close. Look up to see if you can catch a glimpse of any of the island’s hawks before looking down.

A nature trail walk on the barrier island will take you to the Scharrer Homestead. At this historical site, it’ll be easy to imagine what growing up at Caladesi Island State Park must have looked like.

Fort De Soto Park

Need a coastal getaway with a story to tell? Fort De Soto Park is on the southwest corner of Mullet Key. This oceanfront area attracts families, history enthusiasts, and travelers alike.

Get your sunscreen ready before heading out on this adventure. Fort De Soto covers five islands, each with stretches of sun-kissed beaches. Enjoy panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico as you relax. For something a little more active, grab a canoe or a kayak and head out on the blue water.

Fort De Soto Park

If you’re traveling with young children, shelling in the tidal pools can be a lot of fun here. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for different types of seashells and white sand dollars.

RELATED: Must-Do Day Trips from Tampa, FL

For history buffs, Fort De Soto itself is worth a visit. Between the cannons and the Quartermaster Museum, there’s a lot to learn. Built for the Spanish-American War, the fort dates back to 1898.

Sand Key Park

Ready to see beautiful sunsets over turquoise waters? Sand Key Park, located on the barrier island to the west of Clearwater, offers some of the best sunsets in Clearwater & St. Petersburg.

Sand Key Park

The soft beach is famous among both locals and travelers. Find a cabana rental, pick a spot for your beach chair, and enjoy your time here as the coastal breeze offers a needed break. You’ll see people scuba diving or snorkeling under the waves and kayaking on top of them. All under the watchful eye of seasonal lifeguards.

Get your camera ready to explore, too. The nature trail at Sand Key Park takes you past endangered nesting birds and sea turtles. In the rare salt marsh, abundant wildlife levels thrive. Don’t worry; there are lots of restrooms and ample parking spaces for the numbers who visit here.

Treasure Island

Hunting for buried treasure? Treasure Island is one of the top places to see in Clearwater, famous among beach hunters around the world.

Treasure Island

While we can’t guarantee that you’ll find any gold doubloons on Treasure Island’s Sunshine Beach, we promise you’ll find miles of sun-soaked shores. Treasure Island truly is postcard-worthy. Find a spot on the powdery soft sand and relax. Jump into the ocean and go swimming, or rent a jet ski to bring some adrenaline into your trip. Treasure Island is also known for being incredibly accessible. Guests with disabilities are welcome to use beach wheelchairs free of charge.

After your Treasure Island adventure, skip up north to enjoy John’s Pass. The entertaining fishing village and boardwalk sit on the waterfront at the southern tip of Madeira Beach.

Sunset Beach

Looking for one of the most beautiful beaches on Treasure Island? Sunset Beach can be found on the southern tip. This beach is famous for its spectacular sunsets that scatter across its aquamarine waters.

Sunset on Beach

Famous among locals, this sandy shore is a blissful hideaway. Grab your surfboard or paddleboard and get on the waves. Sunset Beach is also one of the best spots for water sports activities in the area. There’s also a lifeguard on duty seasonally.

RELATED: Most Popular Beaches in Tampa, FL

When you’re finished at Sunset Beach, head up to the northernmost tip of Treasure Island to visit Sunshine Beach. This beach is quiet and often full of locals, offering lots of space for carefree sunbathing. Don’t forget your sunscreen!

Madeira Beach

Is the Gulf of Mexico calling your name? Madeira Beach is one of the most attractive beaches on the Gulf, with a long stretch of pale sand running alongside warm, crystalline water.

Madeira Beach

Rent a lounge chair and let the sound of the ocean carry you away. Your experience is whatever you want it to be here. Known to be relaxing, Madeira Beach has many different faces. If you’re looking for a little bit more fun, board a tiki bar boat and float out onto the water.

Madeira Beach places you close to The Village at John’s Pass and the boardwalk. This beach town is full of world-class eateries and fresh seafood, attracting thousands to the John’s Pass Seafood Festival every year. For travelers, Madeira Beach is also one of the best areas to stay in St. Petersburg, FL, with a great selection of hotels for all budgets.

Pass-a-Grille Beach

Looking for a classic seaside experience? Pass-a-Grille Beach is ready and waiting for you. With soft sand beaches, panoramic views, and rooftop bars, it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in St. Petersburg, FL.

Pass-a-Grille Beach

Grab your beach towel and head down to the southern side of St. Pete Beach to find this lovely spot. Pass-a-Grille itself is a historic town with a traditional seaside feel. Ice cream shops pepper the area, there’s an outdoor art market, and there are even fishing piers to stroll along.

For something a little more active, embark on a snorkeling excursion to Shell Key from Pass-a-Grille. This remote barrier island is completely uninhabited and a safe haven for wildlife and seashells.

After a day on the golden sands, slide over to the Paradise Grille, one of the area’s most popular places to eat & drink. The beachfront restaurant & bar is a fantastic place to enjoy fresh seafood, washing it down with a cup of coffee or happy hour cocktail as the sun sets below the shores.

Belleair Beach

If you want to relax around Clearwater, look no further. Belleair Beach is a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of Clearwater Beach. It’s the perfect spot to escape the busy seaside town, transporting you to a coastal paradise.

This long stretch of pristine beach is quiet enough to make you feel like one of the locals. Find your spot, put your towel down on the soft, white sand and let the peaceful atmosphere surround you. You’ll notice that there are no games here, just the crystal-clear waves and people strolling around.

Keep your camera close to you if you love wildlife. Belleair Beach is known for its sea turtle and sea bird nesting sites, depending on the time of year.

Indian Rocks Beach

It can be nice to stop and think about the trips our parents took as children. Indian Rocks Beach is the living embodiment of that thought, a trip back into the raw heritage of vintage Florida vacations.

Lined with sandy dunes and surrounded by shallow water, Indian Rocks Beach is perfect for sunbathing and long walks. It’s one of the most relaxing St. Pete & Clearwater beaches, but there’s also plenty for the family to do nearby.

Indian Rocks Beach

Grab your water shoes and get ready for an adventure at Indian Rocks Beach. Water sports and parasailing are common activities, with swimmers seeing dolphins and manatees in the water. There’s even deep-sea fishing a little further out.

For a closer look at nature, the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary and Indian Rocks Nature Preserve are both a short walk away.

St. Pete Beach

There’s a lot we can say about beaches with beautiful architecture. St. Pete Beach is home to some of the nicest around Clearwater & St. Petersburg, including the ornate Don CeSar resort.

St. Pete Beach

When all you want is a laid-back vibe with a sprinkling of white sand and beach bars, St. Pete Beach is the perfect spot. You can relax on your own or with your family, letting the calming atmosphere fuel your day.

When you’re tired of watching dolphins jump out of the emerald-green water (if that’s possible!), explore the coolest places to visit in St. Pete Beach, including neighboring art galleries, restaurants, or a rooftop bar. It’s easy to see why this blissful stretch of sand has been named the best beach in the United States on several occasions.

Upham Beach

Looking for a family-friendly beach away from the crowds? Upham Beach is one of the quietest parts of St. Pete Beach. It’s a brilliant option for families with young children and teenagers.

Upham Beach

Grab your bucket and get ready to build some sandcastles. It’s easy to find damp sand below the shoreline and young children are bound to have fun making some of their own. Older children might find themselves drawn to the volleyball courts, while adults have every opportunity to relax.

This is a hidden gem, but it can be easily accessed off of Gulf Blvd at 68th Avenue. Fine grains of soft, white sand await, along with cabanas, umbrellas, and lots of spots for you to meditate with your thoughts.

Redington Beach

Searching for the full resort experience? Redington Beach offers travelers the whole package. From a beautiful beach to a plethora of experiences, there’s bound to be something you’ll love here.

Apply your sunscreen and get ready for a day of fun. From paddleboats to jet skis, your pace is yours to set. Water sports are common here. Lifeguards are around to watch over the public beach and those who are in the water.

Redington Beach

The spectacular sunset over the ocean is one of the finest on the Florida Gulf Coast. To catch it at its most relaxing, stay around Redington Beach, North Redington Beach, and Redington Shores. The beachfront properties here sit among the best hotels in St. Petersburg, FL. Many offer spectacular panoramic views over the water.

Whether you’re looking to relax or get your adrenaline pumping, Redington Beach will leave you entranced.

Shell Key Preserve

Looking to escape the crowds? Slip 20 minutes southwest of St. Petersburg to luxuriate in the serenity of Shell Key Preserve. Located in Tierra Verde, north of Fort DeSoto Park, the preserve is one of Central West Florida’s last remaining swaths of untouched nature.

Shell Key Preserve spans 1,828 acres of pristine seaside wilderness. Over 100 species of native and migratory birds call this slice of paradise home, along with endangered sea turtles.

Besides spending a day spotting wildlife, you’ll also become enchanted while splashing around the preserve’s azure waters and lazing on its magical sandy shores.

Shell Key Preserve is only accessible by boat from St. Pete Beach. As there are no facilities here, be sure to pack all the provisions you need for the day, including food and water.

Fred Howard Park

Located in Tarpon Springs, Fred Howard Park is a fantastic escape from the busier seaside areas further south in Pinellas County. The 155-acre park spans both the Florida mainland and a swimming area, connected via a scenic mile-long causeway.

Fred Howard Park

The swimming area at Fred Howard Park stretches across about 1,000 feet of pristine Gulf of Mexico shoreline. The park features a handful of great family-friendly amenities, including picnic shelters, a playground, a hiking trail, and a baseball field.

Even more popular at Fred Howard Park than lazing around is its windsurfing. Sit back and watch as adventurous windsurfers tame the waves or bring along your own board to take part in the action yourself.


Ryan O'Rourke is a seasoned traveler and the founder & editor of Treksplorer, a fiercely independent guide to mid-range luxury travel for busy people. With over 20 years of extensive travel experience, Ryan has journeyed through over 50 countries, uncovering hidden gems and sharing firsthand, unsponsored insights on what to see & do and where to eat, drink & stay. Backed by his travel experience and in-depth research, Ryan’s travel advice and writing has been featured in publications like the Huffington Post and Matador Network. You can connect with Ryan on Twitter/X at @rtorourke.

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