Last Updated on May 15, 2024

Are you planning a visit to Tampa, Florida, and eager to explore the vibrant coastal destinations that lie within its neighboring cities? 

In this post, we will be your guide to these fantastic cities near Tampa providing you with a curated list of must-visit attractions and activities.

As a seasoned Florida-loving traveler, I bring a wealth of firsthand experience and a deep appreciation for the coastal wonders near Tampa. 

Having explored these vibrant destinations extensively, I have discovered the best places and hidden gems, unique activities, and local insights that only a true enthusiast can provide.

Whether you’re in search of pristine beaches, immersive history, thrilling water sports, or just some laid-back beach vibes, these destinations near Tampa have an option for every traveler!

1. Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach is known for its stunning white sandy beaches and vibrant atmosphere. It has consistently been recognized as one of the top beaches in the United States.

The beach stretches for 3 miles along the Gulf of Mexico, offering visitors a picturesque coastal setting. 

Distance from Tampa Bay: 23 miles west of Tampa (approximately 35 minutes drive).

Best Activities In Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Marine Aquarium: Visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home to Winter the Dolphin, who gained fame in the movie “Dolphin Tale.” 

Pier 60: Take a stroll along Pier 60, a bustling waterfront boardwalk known for its lively atmosphere.

Here, you’ll find street performers, artisans, and vendors selling arts and crafts. 

Caladesi Island State Park: Hop on a ferry or kayak from Clearwater Beach to Caladesi Island State Park, a pristine barrier island known for its untouched natural beauty.

Explore the walking trails, go shelling on the beach, or enjoy a picnic.

 

 

2. St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg is known for its vibrant arts scene, stunning waterfront, and rich cultural heritage.

St. Petersburg is known as the “Sunshine City” due to its record-breaking number of sunny days per year.

Distance: 23 miles southwest of Tampa (approximately 30 minutes drive).

Best Activities In St. Petersburg

The Dali Museum: One of the city’s most famous attractions is The Dali Museum, which houses the largest collection of Salvador Dali’s works outside of Spain.

Explore the surrealist masterpieces, including paintings, sculptures, and drawings.

Vinoy Park: Enjoy the waterfront at Vinoy Park, a scenic green space offering panoramic views of Tampa Bay area.

The park hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, including concerts, art shows, and the popular Ribfest.

St. Petersburg Pier: Visit the iconic St. Petersburg Pier, a recently renovated waterfront landmark.

The pier offers stunning views of Tampa Bay, an array of dining options, shopping opportunities, and recreational activities such as fishing and boating.

 

 

3. St. Pete Beach

St. Pete Beach is a charming town located on a long, narrow-barrier island off the coast of Florida’s Gulf Coast.

It is known for its pristine white sandy beaches, warm turquoise waters, and laid-back, welcoming atmosphere.

Distance: 26 miles southwest of Tampa (approximately 35 minutes drive).

Best Activities In St. Pete Beach 

Shell Key Preserve: Take a boat tour to Shell Key Preserve, a natural barrier island that offers a secluded and unspoiled beach experience.

Enjoy the pristine surroundings, go shelling, and observe a variety of wildlife, including shorebirds and sea turtles.

Corey Avenue: Explore Corey Avenue, the main street of St. Pete Beach, filled with a mix of unique shops, galleries, and restaurants.

Browse through boutiques, pick up souvenirs, or savor delicious meals at waterfront eateries.

Upham Beach: Visit Upham Beach, a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. This wide stretch of sandy shore is perfect for sunbathing, picnicking, and beach volleyball.

Historic Don CeSar Hotel: Marvel at the iconic “Pink Palace,” the historic Don CeSar Hotel.

This luxurious beachfront hotel is a local landmark known for its distinctive pink façade and elegant architecture.

 

 

Photo credit – Unsplash by Chalo Garcia

4. Dunedin

Dunedin is a charming coastal town known for its rich Scottish heritage, picturesque waterfront, and vibrant arts scene.

Distance: 25 miles west of Tampa (approximately 35 minutes drive).

Best Activities In Dunedin 

Honeymoon Island State Park: Just a short drive from downtown Dunedin, Honeymoon Island State Park offers a tranquil escape into nature.

It’s a great choice to enjoy pristine sandy beaches, go swimming, sunbathe, or take a leisurely walk along the nature trails. 

Dunedin Brewery: Visit Florida’s oldest microbrewery, the Dunedin Brewery, and indulge in a refreshing craft beer.

Take a tour of the brewery to learn about the brewing process and enjoy live music performances in the outdoor beer garden.

Caladesi Island State Park: Venture a short distance from Dunedin to Caladesi Island State Park, with easy access by ferry or kayak.

This pristine barrier island offers secluded beaches, nature trails, and abundant wildlife. 

 

 

5. Indian Rocks Beach

Indian Rocks Beach, located on Florida’s stunning Gulf Coast, is a beloved coastal town known for its pristine sandy beaches, clear turquoise waters, and laid-back atmosphere.

As one of the quieter beach communities in the area, it offers an uncrowded and relaxing escape.

Distance: 24 miles west of Tampa (approximately 35 minutes drive).

Best Activities In Indian Rocks Beach

Indian Rocks Beach Access Parks: These parks, including Kolb Park, Chic-A-Si Park, and 8th Avenue Park, are perfect for family outings and enjoying the beachfront amenities.

Belleair Causeway Boat Ramp: If you’re interested in boating or fishing, head to the Belleair Causeway Boat Ramp.

Launch your boat or rent one from the nearby marinas and explore the beautiful waters of the Intracoastal Waterway and the Gulf of Mexico.

Local Dining: Indulge in the local culinary scene by visiting the beachfront restaurants and eateries and enjoy fresh seafood, including delectable Gulf shrimp, fish tacos, and signature crab dishes at places like Guppy’s on the Beach, Crabby Bill’s, and Keegan’s Seafood Grille.

 

 

Photo credit – Unsplash by Annie Gavin

6. Madeira Beach

Madeira Beach is a popular coastal town known as the “Grouper Capital of the World” that boasts pristine white sandy beaches and a vibrant atmosphere on the famous John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk. 

Distance: 29 miles west of Tampa (approximately 40 minutes drive).

Best Activities in Madeira Beach

John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk: Explore the lively John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk, a popular destination in Madeira Beach.

This waterfront entertainment district offers a mix of shops, restaurants, and plenty of water activities. 

Fishing: Madeira Beach is known as the “Grouper Capital of the World” and offers fantastic fishing opportunities.

Join a deep-sea fishing charter or rent a fishing boat to experience thrilling fishing adventures in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Alligator Attraction: Visit the Alligator Attraction, a popular family-friendly attraction in Madeira Beach.

Get up close and personal with alligators and other reptiles through interactive exhibits, educational presentations, and live animal demonstrations.

You can even hold a baby alligator if you dare!

 

 

7. Tarpon Springs

Tarpon Springs, nestled on the Gulf Coast of Florida, is a captivating town renowned for its rich Greek heritage and unique attractions.

Known as the “Sponge Capital of the World,” Tarpon Springs offers a glimpse into the fascinating history of the Greek sponge diving industry.

Distance: 26 miles northwest of Tampa (approximately 35 minutes drive).

Best Activities In Tarpon Springs 

Sponge Docks: Visit the Sponge Docks, the heart of Tarpon Springs’ sponge diving industry.

Take a leisurely walk along the waterfront of Lake Tarpon, browse the numerous shops selling natural sponges, and learn about the fascinating history and techniques of sponge diving at the Sponge Docks Museum. 

Anclote River Park: Located on the banks of the Anclote River, the park offers picnic areas, fishing spots, and boat ramps, providing opportunities for boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, and fishing.

Take a boat tour of the Anclote River and spot dolphins and manatees.

Dining and Greek Cuisine: Indulge in authentic Greek cuisine at the various Greek restaurants in Tarpon Springs.

Savor mouthwatering dishes such as spanakopita (spinach pie), moussaka (eggplant casserole), and fresh seafood prepared with Mediterranean flavors.

Don’t forget to try the traditional Greek dessert, baklava.

 

 

Known for its pristine sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and breathtaking sunsets, Treasure Island offers a true tropical paradise experience

8. Treasure Island

Discover the captivating beauty of Treasure Island, a stunning barrier island nestled on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Known for its pristine sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and breathtaking sunsets, Treasure Island offers a true tropical paradise experience

Distance: 25 miles west of Tampa (approximately 35 minutes drive).

Best Activities On Treasure Island 

Treasure Island Beach Trail: Take a leisurely stroll or rent a bicycle to explore the Treasure Island Beach Trail.

This scenic trail stretches along the coastline, offering breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico.

Sunset Beach Pavilion: Visit the Sunset Beach Pavilion, a popular gathering spot for locals and visitors alike.

Enjoy a picnic in the grassy area, relax under the shade of the pavilion, or simply bask in the stunning views of the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. 

Treasure Island Beach Trail Park: Explore the Treasure Island Beach Trail Park, a waterfront park located along the Beach Trail.

This park features picnic areas, playgrounds, and showers, providing amenities for visitors to enjoy a day of outdoor recreation and relaxation.

 

 

Known for its pristine white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and old Florida charm, Anna Maria Island offers a peaceful and laid-back atmosphere.

9. Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is a hidden gem on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Known for its pristine white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and old Florida charm, Anna Maria Island offers a peaceful and laid-back atmosphere.

Distance: 52 miles southwest of Tampa (approximately 1 hour drive).

Best Activities On Anna Maria Island 

Beaches: Anna Maria Island boasts miles of stunning white sandy beaches along the Gulf of Mexico.

Enjoy the tranquil beauty of Bean Point Beach, Coquina Beach, or Manatee Beach. 

Historic Bridge Street: Explore the quaint Historic Bridge Street, located in the city of Bradenton Beach on the southern end of Anna Maria Island.

Stroll along the street lined with charming boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants. 

Anna Maria City Pier: Take a walk on the Anna Maria City Pier, an iconic landmark on the island.

Enjoy panoramic views of the Gulf, go fishing, or simply relax and watch the sunset. 

 

✓ Take a look at some of the Best Stops from Tampa to Anna Maria Island

 

 

Known as the "Cultural Coast," Sarasota is a city that embodies a perfect blend of cultural sophistication, world-class beaches, and a vibrant arts scene.

10. Sarasota

Known as the “Cultural Coast,” Sarasota is a city that embodies a perfect blend of cultural sophistication, world-class beaches, and a vibrant arts scene. 

Distance: 60 miles south of Tampa (approximately 1 hour drive).

Best Activities in Sarasota 

The Ringling: Explore The Ringling, a world-class museum complex that includes the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the Circus Museum, the Ca’ d’Zan Mansion, and the beautiful Bayfront Gardens.

Sarasota Opera House: Experience the performing arts at the historic Sarasota Opera House.

Attend a live opera performance, a ballet, or a concert showcasing talented artists from around the world.

Myakka River State Park: Venture to Myakka River State Park, a sprawling nature reserve located east of Sarasota.

Experience the natural beauty of Florida’s wilderness by hiking through scenic trails, going on a thrilling airboat ride, or taking a peaceful kayak or canoe trip along the park’s rivers and lakes.

 

 

Known as the "Cultural Coast," Sarasota is a city that embodies a perfect blend of cultural sophistication, world-class beaches, and a vibrant arts scene.

11. Siesta Key

Siesta Key is a breathtaking barrier island known for its world-famous white quartz sand beach, notably Siesta Beach, which has been consistently ranked among the top beaches in the United States, crystal-clear waters, and a lively village. 

Distance: 59 miles south of Tampa (approximately 1-hour drive).

Best Activities On Siesta Key Beach

Siesta Key Beach: Explore Siesta Key Beach, known for its powdery white quartz sand, which stays cool even in the hottest weather.

Point of Rocks: Visit Point of Rocks, a unique limestone formation and popular snorkeling spot on Siesta Key.

Explore the underwater world teeming with marine life, including colorful tropical fish, corals, and even the occasional sea turtle. 

Crescent Beach: Discover Crescent Beach, a quieter and more secluded stretch of shoreline on Siesta Key.

This pristine beach offers a tranquil setting for sunbathing, beachcombing, and long walks along the shore.

 

 

Longboat Key is a picturesque barrier island known for its pristine beaches, tranquil atmosphere, and upscale resorts.

12. Longboat Key

Nestled on the beautiful Gulf Coast of Florida, Longboat Key is a picturesque barrier island known for its pristine beaches, tranquil atmosphere, and upscale resorts.

This 12-mile-long island offers a sense of exclusivity and serenity, attracting visitors seeking a luxurious beach getaway. 

Distance: 61 miles south of Tampa (approximately 1-hour drive).

Best Activities On Longboat Key Beach

Longboat Key Beach: Relax and unwind on Longboat Key Beach, a stretch of sandy shoreline that offers a tranquil setting.

Enjoy the soft sands, soak up the sun, and take refreshing dips in the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico. 

Golfing: Longboat Key is a haven for golf enthusiasts, offering several world-class golf courses.

Tee off at the challenging links-style courses that showcase breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico and lush landscapes. 

Joan M. Durante Park: Joan M. Durante Park is a scenic park located on the northern end of Longboat Key.

Take a leisurely stroll along the walking trails that wind through lush vegetation and serene coastal habitats. 

 

 

Photo credit – Wikimedia

Plant City is a charming city known for its rich agricultural heritage and nostalgic small-town atmosphere.

13. Plant City

Plant City is a charming city known for its rich agricultural heritage and nostalgic small-town atmosphere.

Plant City is famous for its vast strawberry fields, earning it the title of the “Winter Strawberry Capital of the World.”

Distance: 26 miles east of Tampa (approximately 30 minutes drive).

Best Activities In Plant City

Florida Strawberry Festival: Experience the famous Florida Strawberry Festival, an annual event held in Plant City that celebrates the region’s rich strawberry harvest.

Indulge in delicious strawberry treats like strawberry shortcakes, strawberry milkshakes, and chocolate-covered strawberries.

Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum: Learn about the rich railroad history of Plant City at the Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum.

Discover artifacts, photographs, and exhibits that showcase the important role of railroads in the development of the city and the region.

Keel & Curley Winery: Indulge in a wine-tasting experience at Keel & Curley Winery, located just outside Plant City.

Take a guided tour of the winery, and sample a variety of fruit wines, including their renowned blueberry wine, made from locally sourced fruits. 

 

 

Indian Shores, located along the Gulf Coast of Florida, is a picturesque barrier island known for its pristine white sandy beaches, stunning sunsets, relaxed coastal atmosphere, and abundant birdwatching opportunities.

14. Indian Shores

Indian Shores, located along the Gulf Coast of Florida, is a picturesque barrier island known for its pristine white sandy beaches, stunning sunsets, relaxed coastal atmosphere, and abundant birdwatching opportunities.

Distance: 26 miles west of Tampa (approximately 35-minute drive).

Best Activities In Indian Shores 

Indian Shores Beach: Spend your time relaxing and soaking up the sun on Indian Shores Beach.

This beautiful stretch of coastline offers soft sands, clear waters, and breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico. 

Indian Rocks Beach Nature Preserve: Visit the nearby Indian Rocks Beach Nature Preserve, a peaceful sanctuary that offers a glimpse of the area’s native plants and wildlife.

Wander the boardwalks and trails winding through mangrove forests and salt marshes, perfect for birdwatching and nature photography.

Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary: Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary is one of the largest nonprofit bird hospitals and rehabilitation centers in the United States.

Explore the facility and learn about its efforts to rescue, rehabilitate, and release injured birds back into the wild. 

 

 

Photo credit – Unsplash by Amelia Bartlett

Pass-a-Grille, located at the southern tip of St. Pete Beach, is a charming and laid-back beach community known for its pristine sandy beaches, historic district, and old Florida charm.

15. Pass-A-Grille

Pass-a-Grille, located at the southern tip of St. Pete Beach, is a charming and laid-back beach community known for its pristine sandy beaches, historic district, and old Florida charm.

Distance: 31 miles southwest of Tampa (approximately 45-minute drive).

Best Activities In Pass-A-Grille 

Pass-a-Grille Beach: Relax and unwind on Pass-a-Grille Beach, a beautiful stretch of shoreline with soft white sands and clear turquoise waters.

Venture to the historic Don CeSar Hotel’s public access area known as the “Don Beach,” where you can witness vibrant sunsets over the Gulf waters.

Historic District: Explore the historic district of Pass-a-Grille, which boasts a collection of charming cottages and buildings dating back to the early 1900s. 

Shell Key Preserve: Take a short boat ride from Pass-a-Grille to Shell Key Preserve, a pristine barrier island, and wildlife refuge.

Explore the undeveloped beaches, go shelling, and observe a variety of bird species and marine life. 

 

 

Cities Near Tampa Worth Visiting FAQ

What Are The Closest Cities To Tampa?

The closest cities to Tampa are worth visiting include St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and Brandon.

What Major Cities Are In Tampa Florida?

Tampa, Florida is a great place and a major city itself, but there are also other major cities in close proximity, including St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

 

 

Exploring the cities near Tampa offers a fantastic opportunity to experience the vibrant coastal gems of Florida.

The Wrap-Up: Cities Near Tampa Worth Visiting 

Exploring the cities near Tampa offers a fantastic opportunity to experience the vibrant coastal gems of Florida.

From the stunning white sandy beaches of Clearwater and St. Pete Beach to the charming communities of Dunedin and Indian Rocks Beach, there are endless attractions and activities to enjoy.

Plus, with their convenient proximity to Tampa, you can easily venture out and discover the unique charm and beauty of each destination.

 

 

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Booking a last-minute trip to Tampa Florida?  

If so, we have you covered.  Here are some top recommended tours and hotels!

Top Tours Near Tampa

Dolphin Sightseeing Cruise From Tampa – (1.5 Hour Dolphin Watching Cruise)

Stunning St. Pete Beach Helicopter Tour (30-minute helicopter tour)

Clearwater Encounters with Dolphin Tours (Boat And Snorkeling Tour)

Guided Tampa Tour In A Deluxe Street Legal Golf Cart – (Best Guided Tampa Tour)

Private Fishing Trip With Sight Seeing – (Half Day Tour Around Anna Maria Island)

Top Hotels & Accommodations Near Tampa

Courtyard By Marriott Tampa – (Budget To Mid-Range Stay In Tampa)

Treasure Island Beach Resort (Beautiful Beach View And Amenities In St Pete Beach)

Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa – (Top-Rated Beach Nearby Hotel)

Captain’s Quarters At Anna Maria Island – (High Rated Villa With Private Pool)

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