Are you looking for a perfect beach getaway? Look no further than St. Petersburg, Florida. With miles of pristine white sand and crystal-clear waters, the beaches in St. Petersburg Florida are regularly called out as some of the best in the world.
St Pete occupies the entire barrier island of Long Key and runs for approximately 5.5 miles. Boca Ciega Bay is on the other side of the barrier island. The island is connected to the mainland by three bridges. The area includes Pass-a-Grille Beach, St Pete Beach and Treasure Island Beach.
Gulf Boulevard is the street that runs along the length of the beach. It then extends north to Clearwater Beach. Between St Pete Beach and Clearwater Beach are several other beaches, including Madeira Beach, Redington Shores and Indian Rocks Beach. North of Clearwater Beach is Honeymoon Island.
This article will cover all of the main beaches in St. Pete, between St Pete and Clearwater, Clearwater and Honeymoon Island. If you were to drive from Pass-A-Grille Beach in the south to Honeymoon Island in the north, it would take approximately one hour. So if you’re staying in or around St Pete, these beaches are easily accessible for visitors.
Things to Book in Florida Before You Leave Home
Few things are more frustrating on vacation than missing out on that amazing hotel or tour because it is sold out. Here are my top things to book in Florida before your vacation.
🐊 Most Popular Tours in Florida:
1. Sunset Cruise in Key West – the best way to experience these amazing sunsets is from the water.
2. Miami Cruise of South Beach Millionaire Homes – see how the other half lives
3. Shell Island Snorkel and Dolphin Cruise – beautiful views and wild dolphins
4. Little Havana Food and Walking Tour in Miami – one of my favourites
🛏️Where to Stay in Florida:
1. Esme South Beach – stylish and charming with a fantastic pool
2. Conch House Key West – Adults-only heritage property
3. Berkeley Beach Club St Petersburg – charm, style, space and a great location
4. Hotel Haya Tampa – Cuban style in historic Ybor City
Beaches in St. Petersburg Florida
Table of Contents
- Beaches in St. Petersburg Florida
- 1. Pass-a-Grille Beach
- 2. St. Pete Beach
- 3. Treasure Island Beach
- Beaches between St Petersburg and Clearwater
- 4. Madeira Beach
- 5. The Redingtons
- 6. Indian Rocks Beach and Indian Shores
- 7. Belleair Beach and Belleair Shore
- 8. Sand Key
- 9. Clearwater Beach
- 10. Honeymoon Island
- Off-the-Beaten-Path Beaches
- 11. Fort De Soto Park
- 12. Shell Key Preserve
- 13. Caladesi Island
- St Petes Beaches – The Wrap Up
- How to get to St Petersburg Florida
- How to get around St Pete and between its beaches
- Where to Stay in St Petersburg
- Berkeley Beach Club
- Hotel Don CeSar
- Frequently Asked Questions about St Petersburg Beaches
- How far away is St Petersburg from the beach?
- Can you swim in St Pete’s Beach?
- How far is St Pete’s Beach from Disney?
1. Pass-a-Grille Beach
Located on the southern end of St. Pete Beach, the Pass-a-Grille neighborhood was my personal favorite in St Petersburg (and where I stayed). The historic 8th Avenue downtown area is filled with pastel colors, independent restaurants and shops, murals and loads of charm.
The beach runs for 22 blocks and is easily accessed from Gulf Boulevard. It is a sand beach but there are a lot of shells on the beach and the beach area itself is not as wide as many of the other beaches in this article. Having said that, it is one of the quieter beaches in St Pete, so this is the spot to come to if you’re looking to relax.
Several restaurants and bars are located on Gulf Boulevard and just off the boulevard on 8th Street. I stayed at the fantastic Berkeley Beach Club (more of that later in the article) which has a highly-rated restaurant, The Dewey, and a gorgeous rooftop bar.
If you are after cocktails with a sea view, check out Brass Monkey, Hurricane or Paradise Grill (which is literally on the beach). If it is earlier in the day, cool down with a treat from Paradise Sweets or enjoy a snack at French-owned Paradise to Go (their pastries are amazing especially when served straight from the oven in the morning).
I did sunrise yoga on the beach at Pass-a-Grille during my stay. The early morning light and the sound of the waves were a lovely accompaniment to my dog poses. Check out Ocean Fitness – they offer vinyasa yoga flow outdoor experiences including sunset beach yoga.
2. St. Pete Beach
St. Pete Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the area, and it’s easy to see why. This two-mile-long wide beach has squeaky white sand and soft green waters. It is often mentioned as one of the best white sand beaches in the United States.
There are numerous places on St Pete’s Beach to hire umbrellas and/or sun loungers. Or bring along your beach gear and grab a spot – for a very popular beach, there is almost always room.
It is impossible to miss the magnificent pink opus that is the Don CeSar Hotel, the large and very grand old-style resort. Nearly 100 years old, the Don CeSar has hosted numerous celebrities and politicians. The latest renovations finished in 2022, so the interior of Don CeSar is very much modern luxe.
You don’t need to stay at the Don CeSar to visit – the hotel has several bar and restaurant options. And don’t miss its amazing key lime pie!!!
3. Treasure Island Beach
Treasure Island Beach is three miles of white sand and clear, warm waters. The beach has numerous hotels, including the kitsch Thunderbird Beach Resort and the luxe Fusion Resort. The beach is particularly popular with kite fliers (there is an annual festival) and every fall, it holds the Sanding Ovations sand sculpture exhibition.
This is the perfect beach to take kids as the beach area at 104th Avenue has giant inflatable waterslides. And if you’re looking for a snack, head to The Floridian for its much-loved Cuban sandwiches.
NB: All of the beaches in St Petersburg and Clearwater have great facilities including restrooms, showers and changing rooms unless I have noted otherwise. Almost all of the beaches also have good bar and restaurant options.
Beaches between St Petersburg and Clearwater
4. Madeira Beach
Madeira Beach has a wide golden sound beach and more beautiful clear blue-green water and is known for being one of the best beaches for families in the USA. The nearby John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk are key reasons for this.
This fun “seaside town” is filled with things to do. Stroll along the boardwalk and check out the pelicans or head into one of the many seafood-themed restaurants for a bite. The Alligator and Wildlife Discovery Centre has over 50 “crocodilians” and over 200 live animals. They also offer the opportunity to “kiss” an alligator.
This takes the form of holding a small alligator whose mouth has been closed by a cloth and holding it close to your face. I was keen to do this until I actually got inside and saw someone doing it and then I decided it wasn’t such a good idea!
St John’s Pass has loads of stores (I bought some shorts), more restaurants and watersports hire outlets.
5. The Redingtons
Redington Beach, North Redington Beach and Redington Shores are all located next to each other along the gulf. All three beaches are named after the real estate magnate Charles Redington. North Redington is home to some 60s vintage-style motels and cottages.
Redington Shores is home to the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary. Seabirds are in a protected area on the actual beach, but of course, they can only be seen from a distance.
6. Indian Rocks Beach and Indian Shores
Indian Rocks Beach and Indian Shores have a relaxed, laid-back feel and more stunning white sands and blue-green waters. The beaches are not quite as wide as some other points along the gulf, but they make up for it by being more chilled.
If you are heading to or past Indian Rocks Beach/Indian Shores make sure you pop into Indian Shores Coffee Co. They make fantastic iced coffee in this cute cafe and have a rustic and comfortable outdoor seating area.
7. Belleair Beach and Belleair Shore
These areas are home to a large number of condominiums. This could be a great area if you want to stay at a condo near a nice beach. However, these aren’t great beaches to visit if you stay elsewhere in St Petersburg or Clearwater. They are beautiful, but there are few facilities and limited parking.
8. Sand Key
The last beach before reaching Clearwater as you head north, Sand Key Beach is in a national park. Drive through the park and you’ll reach a large parking lot. The beach has facilities for hiring umbrellas, sun chairs etc and the Sand Key Beach Grill food truck sits on the beach.
A few minutes walk from the beach is Shoppes on Sand Key which has a good range of shops and restaurants. The two resorts in the area are the Sheraton Sand Key Resort and Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites.
NB: The beach and park have some nice views of Clearwater Pass and Clearwater Pass bridge.
9. Clearwater Beach
There is a very good reason that Clearwater is one of the most famous and acclaimed beaches in the United States – it is absolutely stunning. The perfect squeaky white sand seems to run for miles – at least until it meets the clear blue/green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. You may even see dolphins!
Clearwater Beach is, of course, very popular. However, as it runs for three miles, it is still possible to find some quiet space. Visitors can rent umbrellas, sun chairs, and water sports equipment like parasails and paddleboards from Clearwater Watersports.
I highly recommend heading to Palm Pavillion for a meal/drinks. Palm Pavillion has served great seafood and drinks beachside at Clearwater since 1926. The vibe is casual and relaxed and you’ll find live music every day for both lunch and dinner.
I kicked off lunch at Palm Pavillion with one of their famous pina coladas. And then it was time for the local favorite fish, grouper. I started my meal with deep-fried grouper cheek bites, homemade tomato sauce, and a top-secret cocktail sauce.
I had been dying to try a grouper sandwich and Palm Pavillion offers them deep-fried, grilled or blackened. I enjoyed a blackened grouper sandwich served with island fries. Island fries are made with another secret mix of herbs and spices and a delicious squirt of fresh lime!
10. Honeymoon Island
Honeymoon Island is a state park combining some beautiful beaches with mangroves and wildlife. If you are after a more rustic beach experience, this is definitely the beach for you. The island spans 385 acres and has four miles of beaches.
North Beach is said to be the most beautiful beach on the island (well, that is what the ranger told me), and it was lovely. The white sand is much softer and milkier in color here compared to the blinding white sands of Clearwater and St Pete. The feeling is much more relaxed and rustic than some of the other beaches in the area.
At the southern tip of Honeymoon Island is Pet Beach which is exactly as it sounds: a beach where you can take your pet and let it roam on a six-foot-long leash. The carpark for the pet beach even has a pet wash. It is a bit of a walk from the car park to the beach, but once you arrive, it is terrific to see the dogs playing!!
It is still a very attractive beach but not as well suited to relaxing for an afternoon as North Beach, as it is low on facilities.
Honeymoon Island has a visitor’s center, a nature reserve, and several hiking and cycling trails. Pelican Cove is towards the island’s northern tip and is home to many shorebirds (it can only be reached by foot or bike). The south of the island has two places to eat: Cafe Honeymoon and the South Beach Pavillion Cafe.
And in case you were wondering, Honeymoon Island got its name from a Life magazine contest for newlyweds in 1938.
NB: Honeymoon Island charges USD$8 per vehicle.
If you’re looking for a more secluded beach experience away from the crowds, St. Petersburg has a few hidden gems worth exploring. Here are two off-the-beaten-path beaches to check out:
11. Fort De Soto Park
Fort de Soto is a 1,136-acre park with a historic fort, nature trails, picnic areas and most importantly a seven mile beach. The park’s most famous beach is North Beach, white sands with shoreline mangroves.
Enjoy some history with your beach time when you visit the park’s, Historic Fort. The area was named after the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto. Fort de Soto offers lots of options for watersports. Rent kayaks, go kiteboarding or hire a two-person cycle and ride the 6.5 mile Fort de Soto Island Park Trail.
NB: The park also has a dog beach.
12. Shell Key Preserve
Located between St. Pete Beach and Fort DeSoto State Park, Shell Key Preserve is a quiet island only accessible by boat. The island is one of Florida’s most important areas for preserving shorebirds. Humans are only able to access the southern end of the island
The island has no car access and no bars, restaurants or facilities. “Leave no trace” camping is allowed for a fee. If you are looking for a completely off-the-beaten-track beach experience in St Petersburg this is your place!
Ferry services take passengers on the short journey to Shell Key from either Fort de Soto or Madeira Beach. Several private tour companies offer trips to Shell Key.
13. Caladesi Island
Caladesi Siland sits just south of Honeymoon Island and can only be accessed from the water by boat, kayak or ferry or by foot on a 3-mile walk from Clearwater Beach (it can only be accessed by boat from Honeymoon Island). Like Honeymoon Island, Caladesi is a state park. Like Clearwater and St Petes, the beach on Caladesi Island regularly tops lists of best beaches in the USA.
The ferry to Caladesi runs every 30 minutes from 10am and visitors buy a ticket to spend 4 hours on the island. There is no accommodation on the island and overnight camping is not allowed. However, private boats can dock overnight.
There is a cafe on the island as well as showers, changing room etc. Umbrellas and sunchairs can be hired, as can kayaks.
St Petes Beaches – The Wrap Up
The beaches of and around St Petersburg are an embarrassment of riches. I have traveled extensively and am not sure I have seen so many spectacular beaches in one area. It is impossible to go wrong.
Having said that, there are always beaches that better fit different moods and audiences. If you’re after seaside charm and peace and quiet, head to Pass-a-Grille. If you are all about blinding white squeaky sand, then St Pete or Clearwater Beach is for you.
If you’re traveling with kids, I would recommend Treasure Island, Madeira, and Honeymoon Island. If you’re searching for off-the-beaten-track rustic beauty, try Caladesi Island or Shell Key Beaches.
Whichever beach you visit in St Petersburg, you are bound to have a nice time as the area is so stunning and receives sunshine 350 days a year.
You might enjoy reading my article on Facts about Cuba.
How to get to St Petersburg Florida
St Pete has its own airport, the St Pete-Clearwater International Airport. It has connections from 60 nonstop destinations in the United States and Canada.
Tampa International Airport is less than an hour from the St Petersburg beaches. Over 20 airlines operate from the airport and it has a wide range of destinations.
How to get around St Pete and between its beaches
There are many options to get around St Pete and its beaches. The Suncoast Beach Trolley stops at all the beach towns from St. Pete Beach to Clearwater Beach and goes downtown. The Clearwater Jolley Trolley operates on Clearwater Beach and nearby beaches from Sand Key to Tarpon Springs.
Bikes and electric scooters are easily available to hire. Both Uber and Lyft operate rideshare services in the area.
The other option is to hire a car. Each beach in St Pete has a public access car park. Download the Parkmobile app to make payment or swipe your credit card at the machine. Don’t make the mistake of not making payment – the parking inspectors are pretty hot in St Pete.
Gulf Boulevard is home to many hotels which have parking. However, that parking is almost always just for guests. If you are in a car public access car parks are the only real option close to the beaches.
Where to Stay in St Petersburg
🌟Rating: 9/10 I 📍Location: Pass-A-Grille I 🏩View on Booking.com
I absolutely loved my stay at the gorgeous Berkeley Beach Club. Let’s start with its fantastic location on historic 8th Street in the oh-so-charming Pass-A-Grille neighborhood. As the hotel is literally on 8th street, everything you need, food and drink wise, is on your doorstep, and the beach is about a two-minute stroll away (Berkeley Beach Club will supply you with nice thick towels for beach time).
The rooms are actually small apartments and they are beautifully styled with polished floorboards, high ceilings and a Scandinavian-style interior design theme. The fittings and fixtures are of good quality, so the room has a high-end but relaxed feel.
The kitchen is fantastic with a large fridge (water and icemaking in the door), hob, microwave, all the utensils you would need if you felt like cooking and a cute bar set up with stools. A small utility closet to the side includes a washer dryer, ironing table etc.
There are large screen TVs in the bedroom and in the living room. The living room has a large comfortable couch and armchairs. But perhaps best of all is the huge terrace area that comes off the living room.
The terrace comes with blue and white chairs, couches and tables. My terrace was perfectly positioned to enjoy watching the sunset over the beach. The terrace is shared with the rooms on either side but there is plenty of room.
And there’s more! The Berkeley Beach Club has a great rooftop bar with even better views of the beach. Its restaurant, The Dewey, has received rave reviews and is worth a visit even if you’re not staying at this gorgeous boutique hotel (although why wouldn’t you be staying???).
🌟Rating: 8/10 I 📍Location: St Pete Beach I 🏩View on Booking.com
I had dinner and drinks at the wonderful pink Hotel Don CeSar and was impressed with its style – the recent renovation is clearly evident. I didn’t get to see any of the rooms, but I believe they have all been updated as well. If you are looking for somewhere a bit over the top, it would be worth checking out their availability and prices.
Frequently Asked Questions about St Petersburg Beaches
How far away is St Petersburg from the beach?
Downtown St Petersburg is 7 miles driving distance from St Pete Beach.
Can you swim in St Pete’s Beach?
Absolutely! I did. Many people swim all year round in St Pete’s Beach.
How far is St Pete’s Beach from Disney?
Visit St Pete Clearwater covered all of my accommodation, food and drink, car hire and activities on this trip – thanks guys! I paid for my own flights and as always my opinions are my own. This article on beaches in St Petersburg Florida contains affiliate links. That means if you click through on some of the links and end up making a purchase I may receive a small commission.