The island of Sand Key in Tampa Bay, Florida, offers 12 miles of white sand beaches and plentiful condo rentals in Indian Rocks Beach and Madeira Beach.
Located just south of Clearwater Beach, Sand Key is a barrier island between the Gulf of Mexico and the Intracoastal Waterway. The city of Tampa sits about 25 miles to the east and St. Petersburg is only about 15 miles south of Sand Key.
Sand Key Park
Ninety-five-acre Sand Key Park is located at the northern tip of Sand Key, just across Clearwater Pass from Clearwater Beach. The park features covered picnic shelters, a playground, a walking trail, and a large beach. Access to the park and beach is free however there is a charge for parking. Umbrella rentals and concessions are available on the beach, as well as restrooms and showers. Dogs are permitted in the dog park but not on the beach.
Sand Key Park is accessed from Gulf Boulevard, which runs north/south along the length of Sand Key. Outside of the park, the northern end of the island is built up with high-rise condominiums and a few high-end resort hotels.
Indian Rocks Beach
Farther south along with Sand Key – past the private, residential Belleair Beach – is the town of Indian Rocks Beach. Many rental condominiums are here and most are three stories or less. Other rentals include small beach cottages and motels. Accommodations with a water view of either the Gulf of Mexico or the Intracoastal Waterway are plentiful.
Free public beach access is available at each block of the twenty-eight that comprise Indian Rocks Beach, with the exception of the Pinellas County access at 17th Street where metered parking is offered along with public restrooms. The sand on Indian Rocks Beach is soft and white, diligently maintained by the city. This is a family-oriented town with many child-friendly restaurants and shops. The beach is usually uncrowded, even on weekends.
Redington Shores, North Redington Beach, and Redington Beach
South of Indian Rocks Beach and Indian Shores are the “Redingtons” – three independent small towns with about one mile of beachfront each on the Gulf of Mexico.
Redington Shores features condominiums, good restaurants, and county-owned public beach access with restrooms and showers. Redington Shores is also home to the Long Pier (formerly the Redington Long Pier) which juts out over 1,200 feet into the Gulf of Mexico. During the summer the pier is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Fees are $10 to fish on the pier and $3 just to walk out. Long Pier has a tackle shop and concession stand, restrooms, shelters, and benches.
Accommodations in North Redington Beach include small motels and condos. Several public beach access trails are available. The neighboring town of Redington Beach is mostly residential and the beach here is private. Despite the small sizes of these towns, an abundance of restaurants and shops are nearby.
Madeira Beach is located at the southern end of Sand Key. Many condos and small motels are available to rent. The beach is very flat and the sand is regularly cleaned by machines. This is a quiet beach, perfect for those wanting a relaxing vacation. Several public beach accesses are located along the two-mile stretch though all have metered parking.
Most of the activity in Madeira Beach is in and around John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk. John’s Pass connects the Gulf of Mexico to the Intracoastal Waterway and separates Sand Key from Treasure Island to the south. At the John’s Pass Boardwalk fishing enthusiasts can book a deep-sea charter and families can reserve a pirate cruise. The boardwalk has many interesting shops and a variety of restaurants as well.
Sand Key Florida
The Tampa Bay barrier island of Sand Key offers something for everyone, from high-end resorts to public parks to quiet Gulf of Mexico beaches. Close proximity to the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater makes Sand Key an ideal vacation location.