rankings · weekends

Tampa Travels: St. Pete Municipal Beach

Phylliss (sister-in-law) and I were craving some fun in the sun a couple weekends ago, so we convinced her boyfriend and Russell to join us at the beach. Armed with our favorite backpack chairs, towels, and Sun-In to avoid a bimonthly $200 fee at my hair salon (spoiler alert, it didn’t work quite like I hoped), we drove very much aimlessly in the direction of the Gulf. Amidst observations from all of us noting that “Hmmm… I’ve never gone this way…”, we found a hidden paradise and added another spot to our running list of where to take visitors to show off our place of residence.

The parking lot was over half empty, which could have been attributed more to our arrival time later in the afternoon (prime beach time usually begins around 10 a.m.). We had plenty of sand to stake out for ourselves. Thankfully this was true, because about five minutes after we all splashed into the it’s-almost-too-cold-80-degree-water, our cheap Walmart umbrella disarmed itself from the hole we had half-heartedly dug and went flying across the beach. Whoops!

Other than that slight snafu, we took turns using our snorkel goggles and admiring the fish below, sipping on wine we brought, marveling at our toes from the top of the water, and throwing the Frisbee at each other. I was so impressed with this beautiful beach! It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the Tampa Bay area.

If you go: St. Petersburg Municipal Beach; 11260 Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island

We came over from downtown St. Petersburg near Tropicana Field. We followed Central Ave the entire way and made it over the Treasure Island Causeway within 12 minutes! Turn right onto Gulf Blvd and then take a left into the parking lot after the Waffle House. It’s pay-to-park; $2/hour; $6/12 hours at the time of writing. The handy snack bar sells beer and wine for $4, and a boardwalk runs along the beach for biking or other wheel-based activities. Restrooms are near the snack bar and a shower is available to rinse the sand off before you head home.

From Downtown Tampa: 35 minutes without traffic.

Traci’s Checklist Rating: 7/10

A completely unscientific listing of what matters most to me.

  1. Available Toilets: Y.
  2. Reachable by bicycle from our house (near downtown Tampa): N.
  3. Alcohol allowed: Y, but be smart.
  4. White Zinfandel for sale: Y (it’s the Copa brand, which even this cheap wine-o can’t stomach, but points for trying!).
  5. Cheese-atarian Food Options: Y. I’m going to be generous here. There are nachos and pretzels with cheese, but no veggie burger (a regular hamburger is for sale). You can bring your own food, but watch out for the seagulls.
  6. Wifi: N.
  7. Makes us feel good about our bank account: Y – we spent $6 to park, and negligible gas money in Penny the Prius.
  8. Allows pets: N (Check out a future post for pet-friendly beaches in the Tampa area).
  9. Activities to keep Russell entertained while I read: Y. We played Frisbee in the water, and there were also volleyball courts up for grabs. No waves this day for skimboarding.
  10. Gives Mom FOMO: Y.

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