Florida has officially begun easing social distancing measures. That means we can now explore more of our beautiful beach towns and get some fresh air after staying inside for what seemed like an eternity. If you're longing for some beach time, we've compiled a list of Tampa Bay beaches that are open for you to enjoy safely! We still encourage you to practice recommended safety measures, like washing your hands frequently and wearing a mask when you do go out into public.
Note: Be aware that some of this information will change as restrictions keep softening, so check with your county’s website and social media pages to make sure you can participate in the activities you want to enjoy at each beach and park near the beach.
Info current as of May 18
As of May 16, the city of Tampa reopened four beaches. These beaches include Ben T Davis Beach, Cypress Point Beach, Davis Islands Beach, and Picnic Island Beach. Gatherings are limited to 10 or fewer people, but you’re now allowed to visit the beach and enjoy a day of fresh air, which is something we all need right about now.
All beaches and parks located in the unincorporated parts of Hillsborough County remain closed except for walking trails.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office recently introduced a brand new Beach Capacity page which will keep you updated on which beaches and parking lots are full, closed, or near capacity. You can access this page every weekend starting Friday at 2pm here.
Trying to hit the beautiful beaches of Clearwater or St. Petersburg? Now you can! These beaches along with parking lots and restrooms are open to visitors and you’re allowed to bring chairs and sunbathe. Officials have limited crowds so make sure you have no more than 10 people in your group to comply with social distancing guidelines.
(Also, congratulations to St. Pete Beach as it has been voted TripAdvisor’s Number 2 beach in the United States for 2020!) For a comprehensive list of what is currently open or closed in St. Pete, refer to this page on Visit St. Pete/Clearwater’s website.
Much more than a beach, Fort De Soto Park has been cleared to reopen as of May 4. As with all of the other openings on this list, you must practice social distancing with groups of 10 or less and stay 6 feet apart. As long as you adhere to these guidelines, you’re free to roam the seven-mile, multi-purpose trail that makes Fort De Soto Park & Beach a must-visit destination for tourists and locals alike.
Treasure Island has opened its white sand beaches to the public as long as you adhere to social distancing guidelines. Swimming, sunbathing, running, and all other beach-related activities are allowed during this time. Treasure Island is one of our favorite Tampa area beaches to spend the day.
Also known as Mad Beach and home to the historic John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk, Madeira Beach reopened May 4 along with the rest of Pinellas County beaches. John’s Pass Village has over 100 shops and restaurants to visit after a few hours of fun in the sun. Visitors are asked to maintain 6 feet apart and keep groups to 10 people or less at all times. Additionally, dogs are not permitted except for service animals, and no glass containers or open flames are allowed on the beach. For all beach access points, visit the City of Madeira Beach website.
Most Bradenton area beaches are open, including Longboat Key and the public beaches on Anna Maria Island which are open sunrise to 10pm. Greer Island (Beer Can Island) will remain closed to boat traffic. Visitors are asked to observe the same social distancing guidelines stated above of 6 feet of distance and no groups larger than 10 people. In addition, residents are asked not to park in the right of ways along Bradenton and Coquina Beaches, and parking is not allowed at Bayfront Park.
Sarasota County beaches are open, along with public boat ramps and fishing piers. Visitors are expected to maintain at least 6 feet of distance and keep groups to 10 people or less.
County commissioners in Hernando County voted to reopen all parks and beaches according to the Tampa Bay Times. In their ruling, county commissioners still want visitors to adhere to CDC social distancing guidelines. Be sure to keep your distance from other visitors, wash your hands, and use hand sanitizer as needed.
Most of Pasco County's beaches are open for limited activity including walking, biking, running, hiking, or fishing. However, all of the recreation complexes, community centers, and playgrounds will remain closed. Remember to keep your group to 10 people or less to adhere to the social distancing guidelines.
Want to enjoy the beaches on Florida's east coast? Check out our sister site for Beaches Near Orlando to Enjoy While Social Distancing.
Feature image credit: Stephanie Patterson