Sand Key Park: A Beach-Comber’s Paradise on Florida’s Gulf Coast
Most tourists are well aware of Clearwater Beach: the world famous beach known for its’ sugar smooth sand. Although Clearwater is a great beach, it’s often too crowded with tourists to enjoy the day. There really isn’t much of an off-season either as tourists visit both during their summer vacations and to escape the winter cold. If you are looking for something a bit more low-key nearby, head over to neighboring beach, Sand Key.
Sand Key sees relatively few crowds, even on weekends. The winter season is a great time to plan your visit as the temperatures are a little more tolerable. The sand here is rough and brown; you won’t find the smooth consistency you find at Clearwater. However, this beach will please 2 types of beach-goers: those who seek peace and quiet and those who collect seashells.
Pictured below are a few photos of the beach on a quiet winter day
A Beach-combing paradise!
As you walk along the quiet shores of Sand Key, you will see thousands and thousands of seashells, the majority of them unbroken. It’s one of the best beaches in the Tampa Bay area for beach-combing enthusiasts. Although you will find shells at a few other local beaches, it will be nowhere near the quality or quantity you will find at Sand Key.
Take a look below at the abundance of seashells lining the shore!
Here is a sample of just a few unique & colorful shells I found within 5 minutes of walking
A starfish! Be careful picking it up- it may still be alive.
After you have had your fun collecting shells, relax and enjoy a beautiful Gulf Coast sunset. The setting here is quiet enough to justify staying for the sunset. Clearwater, on the other hand, is even more busy at night thanks to the lively, yet exhausting nightly Sunsets on the Pier celebration.
In addition to the beach, the park offers a few small nature trails and beautiful picnic shelters.
Things to know:
*Parking is $5 for the entire day.
*The Florida sun is typically brutal – even during the winter months it can feel much hotter than the actual temperature. A beach umbrella comes in handy.
*Average summer temperatures are in the low 90’s with high humidity. Average winter temperatures are in the low 70’s to mid 80’s.
*Winter water temperatures are much too cold for swimming.
*It’s illegal to take live sand dollars.
*Lifeguards are available from March-September.
*Umbrella & cabana rentals are available.
*Restroom, changing stations, and outdoor showers are available.
*The shops and restaurants in Clearwater are just a short drive away. I recommend dining at Columbia Sand Key. This amazing Cuban restaurant originally opened in Tampa’s historic Ybor City back in 1907. Today, it is the largest Spanish restaurant in the world. The food is delicious and the ambiance is amazing and unique. The Sand Key location is the most scenic of the Bay area locations and features a waterfront dining deck. Do order the Cuban Black Beans and the Black Bean cakes!
Address: 1060 Gulf Blvd., Clearwater, FL 33767
Have you ever visited Sand Key beach? What other activities and attractions would you recommend in the Clearwater area?