Pinellas County Beaches & Beach Access
Pinellas County maintains three major parks along the Gulf Coast. These three parks offer a list of amenities that include picnicking facilities, fishing opportunities and other items of interest to residents and tourists alike.
Pinellas County Beaches:
- Fort De Soto Park, located in the south end of the county, is one of the largest county parks in the State of Florida, with over seven miles of shoreline.
- Sand Key Park, located in central Pinellas County, has almost a half mile of beachfront.
- Howard Park, is a gem located on the Gulf of Mexico in the northern reaches of the county in Tarpon Springs.
As of January 3, 2012, a $5.00 per day parking fee has been implemented to assist in operating and maintaining the parks.
Permit includes parking at Fort De Soto Park, Sand Key Park and Howard Park Beach and Causeway. This permit is not valid at County Boat Ramp locations. Combination boat ramp and beach parking permit is available.
In addition to these major beach park facilities, Pinellas County has five beach access parks with parking (fee charged).
Pinellas County Beach Access Parks:
These beach access parks expand public access, and include restroom and shower facilities. Pinellas County beach access parks are used by almost eight million visitors each year.
- Pinellas County Beaches
- Pinellas County Beaches- Virtual Tour
- Beaches & Beach Access/Shells Guide
- Beach Finder
- Birding Checklist - Ft. De Soto
- Birds found at Fort De Soto
State Parks / Hillsborough County Park:
Two major state parks in Pinellas County, Caladesi Island and Honeymoon Island, provides almost five miles of direct access to the Gulf of Mexico. Egmont Key (Hillsborough County) is located off of Fort DeSoto Park and is accessible by a daily ferry.
Honeymoon Island State Park is accessible by car, while pristine Caladesi Island State Park is easily reached by modestly priced public ferry that departs several times per day from Honeymoon Island State Park. Both facilities have amenities, and ample public parking is available within the grounds of Honeymoon Island State Park for both park facilities.
Municipal / City Parks:In addition to the county and state parks mentioned above, several important municipal parks provide direct beach access, amenities and public parking (fee charged) as well.
In Pinellas County, beach access is provided at 31 parks and 135 public easements providing well over 12,000 parking spaces available to the general public.
Pinellas County continues to recognize the need for expanding the number of publicly available beach access points and the desirability of providing properly designed and aesthetically pleasing walkovers. The joint efforts on the part of Pinellas County, the State of Florida, our local beach municipalities and the tremendous citizen volunteer efforts employed in our dune replanting, continue to make our beach access expansion and enhancement program a resounding success.
About Pinellas County beaches:
Occupying a peninsula along the Gulf Coast in the heart of west central Florida, Pinellas County is the second smallest county in the state, containing less than 281 square miles. While small in total area, Pinellas enjoys a long coastline along the Gulf Coast, providing over 35 miles of fine white sandy beaches stretching from Tarpon Springs to Fort De Soto.
With over 3,339 people per square mile, Pinellas County today is by far the most densely populated county in the State of Florida. Large numbers of residents are attracted to the county's mild sub-tropical climate and strong economy.
In 2010: 94% of visitors report enjoying the destination’s beaches. 13.6 million people came to Pinellas County, and had an economic impact of almost $6.9 billion. The sales tax that was generated by tourism was almost $300 million.
To support the growing needs of our expanding residential population and the large number of visitors drawn to our area, enhancing our beaches, the county's greatest asset, is vitally important to our overall economy and quality of life in our community.
-- Fort De Soto
named America’s Top Beach - 2005, 2009
Pristine Area Favorite Lauded as “Portrait of Tranquility”
Fort De Soto Park was named America’s Top Beach by Trip Advisor, the world's largest online travel community.
Citing a “spectacular combination of soft white sand, calm, clear water and a laid-back atmosphere,” the popular online travel network put the park’s North Beach at the top of its annual best-of list, based on Trip Advisor's Popularity Index.
This marks the second time in three years the pristine Pinellas County beach has received top honors on an annual “best-of” list. In 2005 Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, a.k.a. “Dr. Beach,” named Fort De Soto the nation’s #1 Beach .
The beaches of Pinellas County attract millions of visitors every year and are enjoyed by residents of the entire Tampa Bay area. Not only do the beaches support tourism and the general economy of the area, they help protect the barrier islands and the property on which homes, schools and businesses thrive. Beaches play a vital role in the marine environment, with sea turtles, nesting birds and other wildlife dependent on the beach for survival. more on beach nourishment
In the News
New $5 daily parking fees are in place at Sand Key Park and $5 parking fees for Fort De Soto and Fred Howard parks are slated for 2012. Annual parking passes are $75 or $55 for those over 65 and are available at the office of the Parks and Conservation Resources office, 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo.