Best Hidden Gem Beaches

What does a perfect day at the beach look like to you? If a quiet spot is what you're seeking, these secluded shores offer a laid-back beach escape.

A couple walking in the white sands of Redington Shores

The uncrowded beach along Redington Shores is a wonderful place to unwind with a blissful beach walk.

If you imagine relaxing on an uncrowded shore where you might see as many seabirds as people, you’ll find the perfect spot in St. Pete/Clearwater. Nestled among more well-known beaches such as Clearwater Beach and Fort DeSoto Park, these uncrowded stretches of sand promise a quiet, more secluded place in the sun.
 

1

Anclote Key

A couple walking in the emerald-green waters of Anclote Key

Feel like a castaway as you wander along the shore on pristine Anclote Key near Tarpon Springs.

Lay of the Land: Situated three miles off Tarpon Springs, this island is only accessible by private boat or by the ferries that depart from the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks. That means you’ll find miles of sandy shore that invite your footsteps (and few others’). If you go, be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks, as there’s nowhere to buy food on the island (no trash cans either, so be sure you leave no trace that you were there).

Why You Should Go: Unspoiled beaches mean hours of bird-watching and dolphin-spotting, not to mention that it’s one of the few places in the area that you can camp right on the beach. Plus, getting here involves a boat ride – and who doesn’t love that?

2

Honeymoon Island State Park

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Lay of the Land: Charming, small-town Dunedin is lucky enough to be home to two lovely “sister” islands, both Florida state parks. The better-known park is Honeymoon Island, which is accessible by car via the Dunedin Causeway. While it can be a busy place, the crowds thin considerably as you walk north on the beach, and you can find a comfortably distanced spot on the sand. You’ll find food, drink and bathrooms at South Beach Pavilion Cafe.

Why You Should Go: You can catch distant vistas of bright-and-bustling Clearwater Beach from the island’s tip, while Honeymoon Island’s coastal scrub trails offer access to the natural side of Florida.

3

Caladesi Island State Park

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Lay of the Land: The beauty of this place is that Caladesi Island is only accessible by private watercraft, ferry or kayak/stand-up paddleboard (which you can rent right on the Dunedin Causeway). Caladesi is even more secluded than its sister island to the north, particularly if you avoid the side of the island near the ferry dock and marina, which is where you’ll find amenities such as restrooms and a snack bar.

Why You Should Go: With more than a mile of white-sand beach lining the island’s western edge (and considering that cars can’t access it), you’re sure to find a stretch of shoreline to call your own for the day. The bird-watching is phenomenal, and you’ll feel like you’re miles away from civilization, even if Dunedin is just a hop, skip and a paddle away.

4

Sand Key Park

Aerial view of gorgeous Sand Key Beach.

Just south of Clearwater, Sand Key Park is an unspoiled beach park with plenty of room to roam.

Lay of the Land: Just to the south of Clearwater Beach via Clearwater Pass, Sand Key Park is home to a wide, pristine, white-sand beach with a relaxing vibe that contrasts with its active, colorful neighbor to the north. Here, you’ll find beach cabanas for rent, bathrooms, a dog park, a playground and lifeguards (seasonally). Yet while amenities abound, the beachfront is big enough (and flies far enough under the radar) for beachgoers to find their own quiet patch of sand.

Why You Should Go: The park's peaceful atmosphere will make you feel like you’re on island time, and the opportunities to spot endangered birds nesting and other wildlife make this park a perfect escape from everyday cares. Plus, abundant amenities make this spot very family-friendly.

5

Belleair Beach

A girl playing in the sand in Belleair Beach.

A mostly residential community, Belleair Beach has plenty of uncrowded beach that's perfect for relaxing.

Lay of the Land: This 4,500-foot shoreline feels quiet and secluded - and it’s surrounded by some of the most impressive waterfront homes on the west coast of Florida. You'll find free parking in palm-dotted Morgan Park across the street from the beach.

Why You Should Go: You won’t find any crowds here, or raucous rounds of beach volleyball, for that matter – just the seabirds, dolphins playing and, perhaps off in the distance, a paddle boarder or two. Plus, no dealing with crowds when you park.

6

Indian Rocks Beach

A young woman in white bikini walking off of Indian Rocks Beach.

Laid-back Indian Rocks Beach is an off-the-beaten-path stretch of sand.

Lay of the Land: Indian Rocks Beach offers a beautiful dune-lined expanse dotted with small motels, vacation cottages, rental condos and some early 20th-century shell and sand roads. As any local will tell you, it’s easy to find a generous radius of sand without a soul around it.

Why You Should Go: This cozy hamlet is a throwback to old Florida, albeit one with top-notch cuisine like Keegan's Seafood Grille (a Food Network "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" pick), quaint shops and an intimate beach experience. Bonus: you’ll find views of both the Gulf of Mexico and the Intracoastal Waterway in some spots.

7

Redington Shores

A mother dolphin and her baby swim in the Gulf along Redington Shores.

Dolphin sightings are common off Redington Shores and other beaches throughout St. Pete/Clearwater.

Lay of the Land: Situated between Indian Rocks Beach and busier Madeira Beach, Redington Shores is a small resort community with rental properties and beloved seafood restaurants – but big crowds are never a thing here. It’s a beach that’s often overlooked (read: delightfully quiet), which makes it perfect for solitude-seekers. Find parking and restrooms at 18200 Gulf Blvd.

Why You Should Go: Redington Shores offers broad stretches of sea grass-framed sand, with beautiful and unencumbered views of our signature fiery St. Pete/Clearwater sunsets. The beach walks are excellent here: Not too far north in neighboring Indian Shores, you’ll find Seaside Seabird Sanctuary, a refuge for injured birds and peaceful beachgoers alike. 

8

Sunset Beach

A family arriving at Sunset Beach over a wooden walkway.

The gentle waters off low-key Sunset Beach make for a perfect family beach day.

Lay of the Land: Technically part of Treasure Island, this three-mile stretch of beach is beloved by locals. It’s narrower than the rest of T.I., but it also draws fewer crowds. You can find on-street parking in the neighborhood that skirts the beach, but you’re probably better off using the metered parking in the two lots around the 8000 block (where you’ll also find bathrooms).

Why You Should Go: As evidenced by the friendly locals who stroll to the water in a nightly sunset ritual, this beach is famously laid-back and known for its amazing sunsets (as the name suggests). The neighborhood has a Key West-esque vibe, with great spots for food and drink nearby (Caddy’s, Ka’Tiki, Sea Dog Brewing Co.) after you’ve watched the sun descend into the Gulf.

9

Pass-A-Grille Beach

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Lay of the Land: Another local favorite, Pass-A-Grille stretches south of the Don Cesar (a.k.a. the “Pink Palace”). Paid parking and beach accesses line much of the beach, and Paradise Grille, a restaurant/snack bar, sells beer and wine at 10th Avenue. Also nearby is the legendary Hurricane Seafood Restaurant and Historic 8th Avenue, where cool boutiques line the short street.

Why You Should Go: The beach never feels too crowded, but if you want more distance than you’re finding south of 10th Avenue, walk north until you find a less crowded spot (though you probably won’t need to). Bonus: There’s a fun nightly sunset celebration at Paradise Grille.