St Petersburg, Florida
Known as Florida’s Beach, the St. Petersburg/Clearwater area is famous for its 35 miles of powder-white barrier island beaches on Florida’s Gulf of Mexico. From undeveloped, isolated island hideaways to wide soft city beaches that offer all the amenities a beach-lover could imagine, area beaches are unmatched among U.S. visitor destinations.
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Area beaches at Caladesi Island State Park, Fort De Soto Park and Clearwater Beach are routinely rated among the top beaches in the U.S. by Florida International University’s Dr. Stephen Leatherman. His 1999 annual beach survey ranked Caladesi Island State Park number six and Fort De Soto park number seven. Clearwater Beach was named the top city beach in the Gulf region, and Sand Key Park has consistently ranked in the top 20.
The area features more than 20 barrier islands, also known as keys, that buffer the Pinellas Peninsula from the Gulf of Mexico. The gentle slope and calm surf make area beaches perfect for family water activities. The Gulf and intracoastal waterway offer areas for practically every water activity imaginable including: deep-sea fishing; backwater salt flats fishing (rated as some of the best in Florida); boating, sailing, canoeing and sea kayaking; SCUBA diving (dive shops offer trips to artificial reefs, wrecks and area springs and rivers); wind surfing and shelling.