Sand, Surf & Turf in SOUTHPinellas County
The beaches and other attractions in South Pinellas County are a great way to relax by the water in sunny Tampa Bay.
For an overall glimpse of the entire county, both north and south, here’s a quick look at the many beaches to enjoy on the Gulf of Mexico.
You also can do some planning by examining the ample opportunities to walk, skate, run and cyclethroughout the county.
But whenever you get a chance, start your day with a good breakfast and follow it with a great cigar!
REMEMBER: Never hurts to ask or check if a park or beach has any outdoor restrictions on smoking cigars or other tobacco products. You just never know from town to town.
Breakfast in St. Petersburg Before the Beach
Skyway Café - First eatery over the Howard Frankland Bridge.
7 a.m. every day. Call 727-576-4100 @ ()11140 4th St. N., St. Petersburg.
El Tenampa - Tex-Mex in a little strip center near the exit for 22nd Ave. N. off of I-275.
7 a.m. every day. Call 727-822-0620 @ 1800 16th St. N., St. Petersburg.
Kay’s Kitchen - On the way to Treasure Island beaches.
7 a.m., M-Sat.; 8 a.m. Sun. Call 727-381-7119 @ 6475 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.
Or, if You’re in Tampa, Have Breakfast Before Heading Over
La Teresita Restaurant Cafeteria - Seating around a big, winding counter.
5 a.m. M-W; 24 hours Thurs.-Sat.; Open until 10 p.m. on Sunday. Call 813-879-9704 @ 3248 W. Columbus Drive, Tampa.
Datz Deli - Townies swear by this place, which touts its menu as “Pure Culinary Bliss.”
7 a.m., M-F; 8:30 a.m., Sat.-Sun. Call 813-831-7000 @ 2616 S. MacDill Ave., Tampa.
Pach’s Place - This is one of South Tampa’s more well-established hangouts.
6 a.m. every day. Call 813-831-7122 @ 2909 Bay to Bay Blvd., Tampa.
Beautiful Beaches and Sunsets
St. Pete Beach and several miles of sand stretching from Treasure Island to the end of the peninsula at Pass-a-Grille are collectively among the best places to catch some rays and panoramic Gulf views.
Treasure Island dining includes a pair of neighboring indoor/outdoor restaurants popular with townies along Gulf Blvd. just south of Central: Ricky T’s Bar & Grille and the VIP Lounge and Mexican Restaurant – though parking for both can sometimes be difficult.
St. Pete Beach is also the home of the world famous Don CeSar Hotel.
Pass-a-Grille, besides great beaches, offers a landmark, multi-level restaurant, The Hurricane Seafood Restaurant.
Fort De Soto Park at 3500 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde, is a boomerang-shaped island at the extreme south end of Pinellas County. The county park has an old fort and miles of bike paths, but De Soto is primarily noted for its expansive beaches. Along with Clearwater and other Gulf beaches, De Soto has appeared from time to time on various lists of the nation’s best beaches.
Egmont Key is only reachable via private boat. The island is south of Fort De Soto at the entrance to Tampa Bay. The park includes an old lighthouse, a large wildlife refuge area and miles of nature trails, pristine beaches and plenty of fishing.
If the Gulf of Mexico is not your thing, you can still get a great view of Tampa Bay (and St. Petersburg in the distance across the water) at Picnic Island Park at 7409 Picnic Island Blvd. It may not be worthwhile to spend an entire day there but it’s certainly a nice change of pace.
On one hand, Picnic Island is difficult to find because it lies on a peninsula at the end of a port and industrial area in South Tampa. The beach also is a little small.
But Picnic Island lives up to its name with a great assortment of picnic shelters with large grills to serve hungry beachcombers. The park also has some of the most spectacular views of downtown St. Petersburg from across Tampa Bay.
Eating and Shopping
John’s Pass at12901 Gulf Blvd., Madeira Beach, offers a relaxingstroll along its trademark boardwalk overlooking a major channel leading into the Gulf of Mexico for plenty of shopping and restaurants.
Corey Avenue is a small historic district with an interesting stretch of little shops, galleries and restaurants. Corey Avenue at Gulf Boulevard is also a mini-gateway to a few casual eateries along the busy channel at Sunset Beach feeding into the Gulf of Mexico. Those include Woody’s Waterfront, the Oyster Shucker and the Sloppy Pelican.
Gulfport - If you want lots of choices for lunch or dinner in an artsy, very walkable neighborhood, try the Historic Waterfront district along Beach Boulevard S. and Shore Boulevard S. in Gulfport. There’s also a nice long pier across the street from O’Maddy’s Bar & Grille, which has a large outdoor deck. Gulfport is about halfway between downtown St. Petersburg and the beaches.
St. Petersburg- The business district in and around downtown St. Petersburg is full of life day or night. There literally are dozens of potential hangouts stretching from Tropicana Field (home of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team), down Central Avenue, all the way to the iconic Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Clubon Bay Shore Drive, which also offers a splendid collection of waterfront parks.
There’s also the iconic St. Petersburg Pier, which was closed in 2013. A replacement for the pier, called The Lens, was halted by voters in a special referendum later that year. But public access was restored in 2014 to everything but the interior of the building at the end of the pier, known for its inverted pyramid shape.