The Best Beach Towns to Live Near Tampa + How to Decide
The sun. The sand. The water. The allure of the beach is called few can resist. So, when it comes to Tampa and its surrounding beach communities, there is a lot to love. With no shortage of Gulf Coast shoreline holding you back, living the beach life is as easy as picking your spot. Following are some of Tampa’s beachest offerings:
Less than a half hour away from Tampa, Clearwater Beach is one of the least expensive towns to live in Florida. Defined by its laid-back atmosphere, the stretch of soft, white sand is home to jet-skiing, parasailing and stand-up paddleboarding. And if you want the beach life off the beach, Clearwater is a haven for cyclists, rollerbladers and beachgoers wanting to walk its winding beachfront promenade. You can make Pier 60 a nightly jaunt.
With its beaches and pine forest, Dunedin is an island linked to the mainland by the Dunedin Causeway. The 2.5-mile route leads from Bayshore Boulevard (Alternate 19) directly to the entrance of Honeymoon Island State Park, Florida's No. 1 state park. Featuring scenic ocean views, the park offers views over St. Joseph Sound. The undeveloped 385-acre barrier island off Dunedin features four miles of sandy beaches, hiking trails and bird-watching opportunities along the Osprey Trail. Head downtown and you will find places like Hammock Park, which is home to owls, woodpeckers and a butterfly garden. Or, you can take a walk through the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail, which runs through the city.
St. Pete Beach
When you are recognized as the No. 1 Beach in the U.S. and the No. 5 in the world (thank you TripAdvisor), you wouldn’t think there would be much more to say about St. Pete Beach. But there is indeed so much more. Known for its stunning turquoise water and soft white sand, the resort city is set on a barrier island west of St. Petersburg and is the kind of beach town people dream of. With boating, fishing, golfing and other watersports all easily accessible, the area is filled with beach life, nightlife and restaurants. For example, the Pass-A-Grille district offers galleries, shops and the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum, which displays postcards and other artifacts in a 1917 church.
The legacy of the Greek sponge divers who settled in Tarpon Springs in the early 1900s is evident in everything from the food to the architecture. Along the water, the Historic Sponge Docks are a reminder of the once booming industry, while the 1940s St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church features stained glass and a Grecian marble altar.
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