March 10, 2014
When it comes to beaches, Florida‘s gulf coast has some of the best. Visitors who fly into Tampa International Airport will find an abundance of options – just a quick 30-minute drive away is a cluster of top beaches in St Petersburg.
At the north end, you’ll find Clearwater Beach – known for attracting throngs of spring breakers each year. Adventure sports companies line the beaches, offering wave runner rentals, parasailing, stand up paddle boarding and more. Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill has a perfect outdoor dining patio facing the powdery sand, and is a great place to order a Rum Runner, oysters or a fresh grouper sandwich.
The athletic beachgoer will be glad of the volleyball nets sprinkled across the sand here. Bring a ball and get to know other Tampa Bay natives and visitors over a friendly game.
Venture further south and you’ll come across Treasure Island, which is as beautiful as its intriguing name guarantees. Visit Beach Snoballs, a New Orleans-style shaved ice stand with unusual flavours such as tangerine dream and wedding cake – perfect for a refreshing pit stop after a morning stretched out on the sand.
Just a few minutes away, more top beaches in St Petersburg can be found, which are home to beautiful condos and hotels that are perfect for an overnight coastal retreat. Postcard Inn on the Beach is one of the area’s newer boutique hotels and features fun surfer-chic décor, a barbecue restaurant, popular beachside bar and a large, sparkling pool for guests. Some of the rooms even offer hammocks for afternoon lounging.
Just a few paces from Postcard Inn, visitors will find several companies that rent little cabanas. Most are sets of two cushioned recliners with a retractable awning to block the sun’s rays. Comfy and affordable, the cabanas cost around $20 per day.
Just south of St. Petersburg beach, is Pass-a-Grille Beach, known for its powdery white sand and historic pink hotel, the Don CeSar. A little like a fairytale sandcastle, the Don is a huge hotel, built in the 1920s, and is popular for weddings. Nearby, visitors will find The Hurricane, a longstanding restaurant with great fried seafood and clam chowder.
Visitors can’t go wrong with any of these beautiful St. Petersburg beaches. Just be sure to stay for sunset – an advantage of gulf coast beaches is that they face west.
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Have you visited any of these beaches in St Petersburg? Where do you like to go in Tampa? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Written by Jessica Vander Velde