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Spa Beach

Spa Beach shouldn’t be missed for any lover of history or a beach + urban experience. While most of the St. Pete beaches are found on the west side of the city fronting the Gulf of Mexico, Spa Beach is right in the heart of downtown on Tampa Bay. The beach was built along with the first municipal pier roughly 100 years ago, and at the time sat aside a large indoor pool complex simply called “The Spa.” While The Spa no longer exists, the beach remains and is located on the approach to the new St. Pete Pier. This historic beach has great views of Tampa Bay, a small water park for kids, a bistro, and tons of amenities just a few steps from the beach.

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Spa Beach stretches out into Tampa Bay at the base of the St. Petersburg Pier and is a quick walk from the many downtown hotels and businesses. Many visitors don’t realize that there is a beach close to downtown St. Pete, but in fact this was the most popular beach for many years in the city. St. Petersburg developed on Tampa Bay long before hotels and businesses started populating the Gulf beaches. In fact, tourists started coming en masse to St. Pete in the mid 1910s, but development of the keys in the Gulf of Mexico didn’t start in earnest until after World War II, decades later. Visitors to the city for these many years would visit Spa Beach and the long-gone Spa for a day of swimming, sunshine, and massage!

Closed for many years to beachgoers, Spa Beach has been reopened with the new St. Pete Pier. For more than just soaking up the St. Petersburg sunshine, beachgoers can rent paddle boats, jet skis and other water sport items. The compact but ample beach, located at the approach to the pier, is right in the heart of the action and close to food, restrooms, and other amenities. A playground, kids’ water park and other things to do are a moment’s walk away. There are often events near the beach as well, including sporting events, live music, cook-offs and more.

While Spa Beach is not going to take the place of the Gulf Beaches, it is a totally different experience that gives an urban take on the beach while still offering great views and a sandy shore on expansive Tampa Bay. If you are staying downtown it is a no-brainer to visit Spa Beach, and if you are just visiting downtown for the day you can take a break and enjoy a little beach time while exploring everything else St. Pete’s fabulous downtown has to offer.

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