Just west of St. Petersburg there are many little beach towns sharing the same line of sand. The Gulf Coast beaches may be my favorite in the entire world – the green color is absolutely alluring and the frequent dolphin spottings are simply magical. The water is calm and perfect for swimming and the shores are filled with shells for beach combing.
The closest to the city is St. Pete’s Beach, but I didn’t go there once! Going to the beach doesn’t have to cost a fortune and you don’t need to worry your mind about feeding a meter. I decided to find an area with free parking, just a few minutes further up the road.
+Down each side street of Treasure Island Beach there is a different story, so read signage carefully. There are some condos where you cannot park, some paid lots, and some little gems that hold a handful of free parking spots – for as long as you’d like to stay. In the town of Treasure Island, look near 101st Avenue, 103rd, and 127th.
+If you’re looking to try a different town, head up north past Madeira and Redington Beach, where I couldn’t find a lick of free parking. The next destination is Indian Rocks Beach, where you can find more side streets with free beach access. Start with 26th Ave in the town of Indian Rocks Beach – but there are a few designated spots down most of the blocks.
No matter where I went, I always felt I had plenty of room to spread out and beaches were clean. The Gulf Coast sand is sugary white and dotted with shorebirds. Note – there are no facilities at these beach entrances and little shade.