5 Best Beaches to Visit in Tampa Bay

Guess what everyone thinks about when they think about Florida (and especially the Tampa Bay area)? Calm, foaming ocean waves brushing up softly on white sand beaches, carrying shells and sand dollars to the shore as beachcombers stroll along without a care in the world. One might think that these tropical paradises can be found simply by driving to the west coast from any direction, but you might be surprised to know that there are parts of Tampa Bay that offer amazing beach experiences and some that…well…don’t.

But the votes have been cast for SerVacations’ best beaches in Tampa Bay! In this post, we list the top five! It admittedly is hard to go wrong visiting the beaches in Tampa Bay. Locals will tell you that you want to consider everything between Hudson Beach all the way down to Bradenton Beach (that’s about a 1.5 – 2 hour stretch).

Number 5: Treasure Island (south side of St. Pete Beach, Florida)

Photo credit: https://www.10best.com/destinations/florida/tampa/outside-the-city/attractions/treasure-island/

Treasure Island is known for its funky, retro vibe, offering a beautiful white sand beach and multiple activities (as if the ocean wasn’t enough!). Unlike some narrow beaches, this one is extra wide, which is where the activities come into play. It involves a mile-long paved trail, restaurants, and shops. If you’re looking for a beach with lots of variety, options for more than just swimming, and possibly looking to fish – this is a great destination!

Parental Note: Drinking alcoholic beverages is allowed on this beach).

Number 4: Caladesi Island State Park (near Dunedin Causeway)

Photo credit: https://romantichoneymoonisland.com/caladesi-island/

Caladesi Island is one of the most stunning stretches of sand you will find! This secluded beach offers a great deal for the ocean lover – from teal colored water to snorkel in, sea shells to hunt, white sand to relax, and small critters to observe. If you are planning on boating – don’t miss this beautiful island! A great alternative for land lovers is Honeymoon Island if you are driving.

Number 3: St. Pete Beach

Photo credit: https://www.livewaybetter.com/

This is one of the most popular beaches in the United States as it is another great variety beach with multiple activities, rentals, Tiki bars, and restaurants. Grab a cabana, ride a jet ski, and enjoy the sun on this large white sand beach where the ocean is always blue. As evening approaches, watch a beautiful sunset from the beach and then head one block off the beach to Mad Fish for dinner.

Number 2: Fort De Soto Park

Photo credit: https://www.10best.com/destinations/florida/tampa/outside-the-city/attractions/fort-de-soto-park/

Fort De Soto State Park is a 1,000 acre island refuge of wildlife, grasses, mangroves, wetlands, and palm hammocks. If you’re looking for the beach scene – this is the place. It’s an island that you can drive to by car and allows for dogs (in certain areas). Many locals love to come here to camp, ride bikes on the trails, kayak, nature watch – and, of course, use the beach!  It was even voted the nation’s #1 beach back in 2005 and in 2011 it was named America’s best family beach.

Number 1: Clearwater Beach

Photo credit: https://www.10best.com/destinations/florida/tampa/outside-the-city/attractions/clearwater-beach/

You likely already have this beach on your list, and truly, you haven’t seen a sunset until you have witnessed it at this beach. But don’t just settle for the evening–the daytime is just as exciting! From fishing, to swimming, to visiting the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (visit Hope, the dolphin – featured in the “Dolphin’s Tale II”). There are also many seafood restaurants to pick from, including the local favorite Frenchy’s and our personal favorite Palm Pavilion.

As long as you’re not here during Spring Break – this beach is fantastic for families, couples, or a large group!

Explore More

Want to discover more of what Tampa Bay has to offer? SerVacations offers exciting single-day and multi-day vacations for families, couples, groups of all ages, and seniors! We offer customized volunteer vacations that are designed to help you unwind from the daily grind and leave you feeling more connected to one another and the community. On our multi-day trips, you’ll even have the option for a flexible day to go visit one of these amazing beaches or Busch Gardens! To learn more, check out our Current Tours page or contact us about setting up a custom experience for your family, business, or church group!

Honorable Mention:

If you are attending one of our single day Tarpon Springs Family Adventures that includes an eco-tourism cruise, behind the scenes tour of the sponge docks, authentic Greek lunch, shopping, and a coffee and pastry tasting, and you want to stick around and catch the sunset, the beach at Fred Howard Park is just minutes down the road with plentiful parking, amenities, and concessions along with a gorgeous view. In fact, it’s always in the top tier of the locals’ beach list if they live in Pasco County or North Hillsborough.

Group Size
12 to 50

Homeschool Multi-Day SerVacations

Let us provide your homeschool group’s families with the opportunity to bring learning to life by discovering history, literature, science, and engineering in the places they actually happened! Mom’s and Dad’s can relax and leave the driving to us. With deluxe transportation provided, you can focus on having fun as a family and see more in the same amount of time. Below are some tour itineraries that are pre-designed with homeschool groups in mind, but we can also customize a tour to the destination of your choice. We will be adding new tours on a weekly basis, so keep checking back for new ideas!

Group leaders, we can help make the planning seamless for you whether your are looking to fly or bus from your area, or if you wish to let everyone make their own travel arrangements and meet in destination at the group hotel. Give us a call or contact us by filling out the inquiry form to the right telling us what trips you might be interested in and a possible timeframe, and we’ll be back in touch shortly with a sample itinerary to help you plan a vacation that’s sure to please all your families!

8 days
Group Size
24 to 40

Father's Day Baseball Lovers Tour of the Heartland! June 12-19, 2024

Make it the best Father's Day ever by traveling the Midwest with dad, enjoying sightseeing, shows, watching baseball, volunteering, and experiencing the best of American hospitality! Families will experience all the best sightseeing in “The Windy City” of Chicago, take a behind-the-scenes tour at historic Wrigley Field, and enjoy a Cubs game! Then you will head to Des Moines, IA for a Volunteer Service Opportunity and a AAA Iowa Cubs game, stopping at the World’s Largest Truck Stop and going to a show! Take a day trip to visit Omaha, Nebraska and the College World Series, home to legendary investor Warren Buffett and the largest city in Nebraska! We’ll then head on to Dyersville, IA to play ball on the Field of Dreams and tour the famous movie site before doing some sightseeing in Galena and Rockford, IL (to learn about the Rockford Peaches made famous in the movie “A League of their Own,”) while heading back to Chicago for the flight home!

* The itinerary below is based on last year’s schedule. Games and theater shows will be selected based on scheduling and availability.

Group Size
10 to 50

Homeschool Family Day Trips in Central Florida

Are you looking for meaningful , curriculum-based travel experiences with hands-on learning opportunities? Desire to show your children the importance of giving back? Our homeschool day trips combine volunteering and vacation into one, and are a unique and engaging way to supplement their classroom learning. By participating in volunteer vacations with SerVacations you are not only providing your children with unforgettable travels, but you are also instilling valuable lessons about community-building and service. And it’s not just a vacation for the kids! Parents and grandparents love the opportunity to relax for the day, meet other homeschool families, and experience new things through their children’s’ eyes.

Group Leaders, please check out some of our sample tour destinations below. Tell us what you’re interested in by clicking “Ask A Question” to the right and we’ll be in touch with pricing, details, and availability, or call us at 813-498-2229 to get started planning your group’s tour. We provide you with a private URL for your tour, and take care of all the registration and payment for your group. We are adding new itineraries every week. If you have a location in mind, please let us know!