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One of Tampa Bay’s barrier island communities just off the mainland of St. Petersburg (with which it’s sometimes confused), St. Pete Beach is a beautiful little coastal city popular with snowbirds and watersports enthusiasts. Though it encompasses just 2.2 square miles of land, it boasts the longest stretch of undeveloped public beach in the area, and is well known for its bountiful sunshine and pristine white-sand beaches. The town was incorporated in 1957 as the City of St. Petersburg Beach, bringing together a handful of smaller communities. To distinguish itself from the much larger mainland St. Petersburg, residents voted to shorten their beloved town’s name to St. Pete Beach: a destination all its own.
St. Pete Beach is about a 40-minute drive from Tampa International Airport (TPA), which serves most major Southern cities. Alternatively, the smaller St. Pete–Clearwater International Airport (PIE) is just 14 miles away in mainland Clearwater, and offers connecting flights to a handful of Southern and Midwestern destinations.
Once you’re settled in St. Pete Beach, traveling by foot or bicycle is easy given the town’s small footprint and fair weather. Limited car parking is available around town, but many locals get around via golf cart. Boat travel is also incredibly popular, especially when visiting the neighboring barrier islands up and down the gulf.
There’s a reason St. Pete Beach is known as the Sunset Capital of Florida: It’s almost guaranteed that you’ll see a sunset while visiting. The town boasts an average of 361 sunny days per year, and temperatures are favorable year-round. In summertime, the hottest days might reach the low 90s Fahrenheit, falling to the upper 60s at night. Winters are cooler, with highs in the mid-60s and lows in the 40s, and very seldom dropping to freezing. Temperatures throughout the rest of the year hover in the 70s and 80s during the day. Dress in layers if you’re staying out after sunset, and don’t forget your sunglasses: Cloudy days are few and far between.
St. Pete Beach’s neighbor to the north, Treasure Island is known as much for its water-based activities as its beautiful white-sand beaches. Many who visit take advantage of fishing boat charters or take the time to stroll the Treasure Island Beach Trail.
Just north of St. Pete Beach and Treasure Island is this quiet, primarily residential beach community. Visitors flock here for its 1,100-foot boardwalk, incredible grouper fishing, and a major seafood festival that takes place each fall.
About 20 minutes north of St. Pete Beach along the barrier islands is tiny Indian Shores, with just under 1,500 residents, and beyond it the more established community of Indian Rocks Beach. Together they make up the western bend of Tampa Bay’s waterfront wonderland, featuring a history museum, a waterpark, and a small nature preserve.