- Fort De Soto North Beach
- Honeymoon Island State Park
- Caladesi Island State Park
- Clearwater Beach
- Picnic Island Park, Tampa
- Pass-A-Grille Beach
- Anna Maria Island
Tampa is absolutely surrounded by beautiful fine-sand beaches and clean water the whole family will love. You won’t have any trouble finding a beach around here, but you may have a hard time choosing which beach to visit!
Whether your family wants a pristine getaway only reachable by boat, or the exciting amenities of a bigger beach, there is something for you. You can even visit the beach without leaving Tampa!
Read on for some ideas to help you find the best Tampa-area beach for your family (or try them all!).
Fort De Soto North Beach
Fort De Soto offers a balance of secluded, relaxing beaches but with the convenience of facilities such as clean restrooms and picnic tables. There is a concession area, but no restaurants, so you may want to plan on a picnic lunch.
If your family likes to do activities such as biking, hiking, camping or fishing, Fort De Soto is probably a good choice. The park is also an excellent place to look for wildlife, and is home to a variety of bird species, along with sea turtles in the summer months.
Parking is available, though entry to the park can get very busy with traffic. Like many beach destinations, it is advisable to get there early and avoid the traffic.
If history is your thing, you can also check out the historic fort and learn about the history of the area. You can find more information here.
Fort De Soto also offers ferry service to Shell Key and Egmont Key, which are also pristine family-friendly beaches reachable only by boat.
Fort Do Soto also has a dog beach, if you want to bring your pooch.
Honeymoon Island State Park
Also under an hour from Tampa is Honeymoon Island State Park. Honeymoon Island is full of activities your family might enjoy, from searching for shells, hiking, snorkeling, fishing, kayaking, surfing, and bike riding.
Honeymoon Island is also a good place to look for wildlife, with a huge variety of birds including Osprey, Owls, and Eagles, or look around for tortoises and armadillos. You can check out the Rotary Centennial Nature Center to learn more about the natural diversity of the area.
Don’t forget about the beach, of course. The park has four miles of shoreline, with a main beach and a pet beach. Showers are available at the main beach.
Caladesi Island State Park
If you are dreaming of visiting an untouched paradise away from crowds, Caladesi Island might be the adventure you are looking for. You can reach Caladesi Beach by boat, kayak, or ferry from Honeymoon Island.
Caladesi has a stunning beach with beautiful, clear water and a quiet vibe. There is a small concession stand as well.
If paddling is your passion, you can paddle through the quiet mangroves and have the place to yourself. Or take a hike through the inland pine forest. You can walk through the historic Scharrer Homestead for a sense of Florida’s past. It’s hard not to relax in a place like Caladesi.
If you want a Tampa family-friendly beach that offers amenities, restaurants, festivals, live music, and people-watching, along with the promised fine white sand and shallow turquoise water, Clearwater is a great option.
If you want a break from the beach, check out the sea turtles and dolphins at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. You can also book a fishing trip or a whale watch out in the gulf.
Pier 60 offers a giant playground for the little guys, and spectacular sunset views for everyone. You can also listen to live music nightly, or check out one of the many festivals going on in the summer.
Clearwater is fun for everyone, so that means everyone wants to go! Parking can be tricky and the beach will be busy. Go early to avoid crowds.
You could also try St. Pete’s Beach for a similar vibe, or if you want a beach with amenities but possibly more quiet, check out Madeira Island/St. John’s Village, Sand Key Beach, or Indian Rocks Beach.
Picnic Island Park, Tampa
If you are in the city of Tampa, you can take advantage of the beach without leaving town!
Check out Picnic Island Park in South Tampa. The beach has the white sand and blue water of Clearwater Beach, along with a playground, pet beach, picnic areas, and disc golf.
An alternative to Picnic Island is Cypress Point Park near the Tampa airport. Take in a beautiful sunset and watch the planes land at the airport while enjoying the beach. The park has trails and generally parking is available.
South of St. Pete’s is Pass-A-Grille, a wide stretch of white sand that promises fewer crowds than the busier beaches to the north. Parking is generally available early in the day.
Pass-A-Grille is a charming beach town with lots of great dining options and local shops.
If you like fishing, try to cast a line from the pier. Or for a little history lesson, check out the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum.
Anna Maria Island
Even further south lies Anna Maria Island. With seven miles of coastline, Anna Maria offers quiet beaches and amazing sunsets.
Anna Maria is a small town, so traffic and parking can be difficult. You may want to book lodging close to the beach, or with a beach shuttle. You can rent bikes or paddle boards, or check out one of the many local restaurants.
Tampa’s best family beaches offer not just sand and exquisite water, but nature trails, parks, history, and more.
No matter what you are looking for in your next family beach vacation, you can probably find it within an hour or less of Tampa. You can go for just a day trip, or take a few days and explore a selection of these beaches up and down the shore.