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Top Eight Tampa Bay Beaches

ABOUT TRAVEL Build sandcastles beneath blue skies, scan the sands for shells or sharks’ teeth, cast a line out in the surf and complete the day with a romantic evening stroll while watching the sun sink beneath the Gulf of Mexico. If any of this sounds tempting, check out these area beaches.

Caladesi Island State Park

Accessible by private boat or by the Caladesi Connection ferry service from Honeymoon Island State Park , Caladesi is one of the few unspoiled natural islands along Florida’s Gulf Coast . In addition to swimming, sunbathing and shelling, visitors can enjoy a three-mile nature trail or a glide through mangroves along the three-mile kayak trail. More »

Cultura/Severin Schweiger/Riser/Getty Images

Sand Key County Park

This 95-acre park rests on a barrier island just south of Clearwater Pass. More tranquil than neighboring Clearwater Beach , visitors will find cabana rentals, two beach wheel-chairs, nine outdoor shower towers and two bath houses. Lifeguards are on duty from March through September. More »

Sand Key County Park. Lee Clark Zumpe

Fort De Soto County Park, North Beach

Named No. 1 Beach by Dr. Beach in 2005 and America’s Top Beach by TripAdvisor in 2008, Fort De Soto County Park’s pristine North Beach features soft white sand, clear waters and great shelling . Nearby picnic shelters, grills and playground equipment make it a favorite destination with residents and tourists. More »

A windsurfer rides the waves off of Fort De Soto County Park's North Beach. Lee Clark Zumpe

Egmont Key State Park

Egmont Key State Park is first and foremost a wildlife refuge , but the island offers excellent shelling opportunities and a chance to wander along secluded stretches of beach. Accessible only by boat, Egmont Key also is home to the ruins of Fort Dade and features nature trails, picnic areas and fishing. More »

Greer Island Beach

Located on the west side of Gulf Drive just south of the Longboat Key Bridge on Longboat Key , this beach offers no amenities other than beautiful beaches and fishing … and that’s precisely what makes it special. With the crowded Coquina Beach just the other side of the inlet, this lesser-known destination is a perfect place for a romantic stroll at sunset. More »

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