10 Best Beaches In Tampa, Florida

Updated On October 4, 2023

A prominent city on the Gulf Coast of Florida, Tampa not only has an average of 361 sunshiny days a year, but an interesting history as well.

With a population of 370,00, it’s Florida’s 3rd largest city, but it was always that way.

Before the 1880s, Tampa was a small, undeveloped town, with little going on.

That all changed when cigar magnate Vincente Martinez Ybor moved his production of the tobacco product from Key West to Tampa.

He centered his business around an area in the town called Ybor City.

Soon the company was producing over 500 million cigars each year.

The Cuban Sandwich was invented in Tampa, so Ybor could easily feed his workers.

The prefabricated house craze was started in Tampa because Ybor needed housing for his workers.

Many of the “casitas” still stand today in the historic district of Ybor City.

The city has oodles of craft breweries.

The very first started in, you guessed it, Ybor City, because, of course, Mr. Ybor needed to keep his workers hydrated.

So, thanks in great part to him, Tampa turned into a booming metropolis.

Mr. Ybor’s awesomeness aside, Tampa has several other interesting attributes, like the fact that wild chickens roam the streets.

The largest port in the southeast is in Tampa. It’s from here that cruise lines like Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean depart.

The New York Yankees conduct their annual spring training in Tampa.

MacDill Airforce calls Tampa home and is the city’s 2nd largest employer.

Tampa also knows how to have fun, with Busch Gardens amusement park located within the city.

They also have the most festivals of just about any other place in the country, with at least 2-3 each month.

But where do you go if you’re looking to bury your toes in the sand in this town?

While Tampa has only a few beaches, there are many just outside of the town’s borders.

Keep reading for the best places for sun and surf in and around Tampa.

10 Best Beaches In Tampa, Florida

Ben T. Davis Beach
Ben T. Davis Beach

10. Ben T. Davis Beach – Tampa, Florida 

This beach will be one of the first places you’ll see when departing the Tampa airport.

It’s family-friendly, has great water quality, and is handicapped-accessible.

The narrow beach is lined with palm trees and offers gorgeous views of the water.

There are concessions (with awesome Cuban sandwiches), and an ice cream truck.

You can go for a walk, read a book, or bird watch.

It’s the perfect spot if you’ve got time to spare before checking into your hotel.

Picnic Island Park
Picnic Island Park

9. Picnic Island Park – Tampa, Florida 

This hidden gem has everything you’ll need for a great day in the sand.

The beach has pristine white sand, and the water is calm and clear for wading.

There’s a playground, volleyball court, and disc golf course.

Near the pier and boat launch area, there’s a section for dogs to play and go for a swim.

Restrooms and showers are available, and covered picnic areas have grills.

It’s a nice spot for people of all ages.

Davis Island Beach
Davis Island Beach

8. Davis Island Beach – Tampa, Florida 

This delightful beach is a bit over 1 acre in size.

Located on the southern edge of the city, it offers fantastic sunsets.

Spend the day watching the yachts and sailboats pass by from the nearby boat club.

The sand and water are clean and great for kids to play in.

Fishermen love this spot, and it’s great for beachcombers as well.

The area is a bit rustic as far as amenities.

There are rinse stations and water available but bring your own food.

Dog owners are welcome to bring their pets to the dog beach that is adjacent to the main beach.

Cypress Point Park Beach
Cypress Point Park Beach

7. Cypress Point Park Beach – Tampa, Florida

This oceanfront neighborhood park is a favorite among locals on their lunch break or looking for a stunning sunset.

But it’s also a great place to spend the day with family.

The beautiful white sand is perfect for relaxing or playing.

The water is clean and perfect for wading, kayaking, or paddle boarding (which are available to rent at a self-serve kiosk).

The beach offered a volleyball court, playground, disc golf, restrooms, and covered pavilions with grills.

There are also paved trails throughout the park where you can see some native wildlife.

Caladesi Island State Park
Caladesi Island State Park

6. Caladesi Island State Park Beach – Tampa, Florida

Swim in the warm Gulf waters or kayak through the mangrove trails in the beautiful barrier reef island, located at the mouth of Tampa Bay.

You’ll need to take the ferry to this remote island, but it’s well worth it for the secluded atmosphere and scenery.

There are amazing shells, sand dollars, and starfish everywhere you look (make sure not to take any live creatures).

There’s a sanctuary for nesting birds which is neat to watch, and dolphins often pop up on the horizon.

Pack everything you need, as this is literally like being on a desert island.

Edgemont Key State Park Beach
Edgemont Key State Park Beach

5. Edgemont Key State Park Beach – Tampa, Florida

Another island located at the mouth of Tampa Bay, Edgemont, is only accessible by ferry or private boat.

The beach and water are pristine and clear because of its wildlife refuge status.

It’s great for a quiet, secluded day of sun and fun.

The kids (and you) can collect shells, snorkel, and kayak.

Be sure to check out the lighthouse dating back to 1858.

You’ll love this area if you’re a history buff.

There are picnic tables, but not much else, so pack a lunch and plenty of supplies.

Anna Maria Island Beach
Anna Maria Island Beach

4. Anna Maria Island Beach – Tampa, Florida

This lovely white sand beach is surrounded by the quaint resort town of Anna Maria.

Another island located at the mouth of Tampa, this one has all you need for an extended stay.

Bask in the warm sand or swim in the even warm waters of the Gulf.

Choose from an array of water activities like snorkeling and paddle boarding, or walk along the promenade (boardwalk), and enjoy the many restaurants and shops.

If you decide to stay a while, you have a choice of upscale hotels, bed, and breakfasts, or small cottages.

The nightlife in Anna Maria rivals that of Miami (on a smaller scale).

Fort De Soto Beach
Fort De Soto Beach

3. Fort De Soto Beach – Tampa, Florida

With clear blue water and sugary white sand, Fort De Soto is a favorite for many in the Tampa area.

It costs only $5 per car, and you can swim, kayak, fish, and relax the day away.

There’s a playground for the kids, restrooms, showers, and concessions.

The fishing pier is great for watching the sunset or for strolls.

There’s plenty of parking, and it’s free.

St. Pete Beach
St. Pete Beach

2. St. Pete Beach – Tampa, Florida

Whether you want to be a beach bum for the day or take part in every water sport there is, St. Pete’s offers it all.

A great family beach, you can swim, snorkel, body surf on the waves, or just relax and people watch.

This barrier island is gorgeous and has a ton of great restaurants, shops, and entertainment.

Clearwater Beach
Clearwater Beach

1. Clearwater Beach – Tampa, Florida

If it’s ocean fun you’re looking for in the Tampa area, Clearwater Beach is worth checking out.

Located just outside of Tampa, the sugary soft, white sand beaches lure visitors from all over the country.

The beach is lined with relaxing palm trees.

You can hit the water for swimming, as well as water sports like jet skiing, paddle boarding, and parasailing.

A beachfront promenade offers restaurants, cafes, and shops for every budget.

The iconic Pier 60 hosts live events, festivals, and vendors.

If you’re looking for the classic Florida beach experience, just down the road from Tampa,  pack your beach bag and get to Clearwater.

Tampa Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Tampa Safety Review

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if the water in Tampa is safe to go swimming?

Tampa’s beach water is constantly monitored by the Department of Health to ensure it’s safe for visitors.

If you are concerned about water quality, visit Floridahealth.gov. for updates.

Which Tampa beaches have the cleanest water?

The cleanest water can typically be found at Egmont Key and Passage Key.

They are both barrier reef islands at the mouth of Tampa.

Which beaches in Tampa are good for fishing?

Picnic Island, Seaplane Basin, Lettuce Lake, and Sunshine Skyway Pier are some great places to fish in Tampa.

What should I bring to the beach in Tampa?

While many beaches have concession stands or nearby restaurants and shops, you should always prepare.

Sunscreen and water are an absolute necessity.

Be sure to pack the usual beach gear, like towels, toys, and hats.

Check ahead to see if you should pack your own food.

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