Sand Key Beach

Spend a Summer Day at Sand Key Park

We’re so lucky to have some of the most beautiful beaches in the country right here on the Gulf Coast. The beach is definitely a summer staple for us locals, but can get packed quickly with tourists who also want to experience our amazing beaches.

Sand Key Park is just a short 1.5 miles from the south end of Clearwater Beach and gives off a more laid-back vibe than some of the busier beaches in the area. What’s even cooler is that not only can you relax and play in the waves and sand, but there are also nature trails, a playground, a salt marsh, and a dog park!

We love this less-crowded option to take the kids to for some fun and the sun. Keep reading to find out how to experience Sand Key Park and why it’s one of our top picks!

What is there to do at Sand Key Park?

Sand Key Park spreads across 95 acres with two areas of beach and park. The beach area is about half a mile long and boasts clean, white sand and bright blue waters. The beach has plenty of parking and boardwalks leading out to the beach area. During the beach’s busier season from Memorial Day to Labor Day, there are lifeguards on-site.

One thing we love about Sand Key is that it’s not usually as crowded as some of the larger beaches. We still recommend going early to plant your beach chair in that perfect spot, but you still won’t encounter mass crowds.

As with most beaches, there’s plenty to do like swim, snorkel, hunt for seashells, and even catch some glimpses of sea life like dolphins and manatees! On windier days, Sand Key produces some awesome waves that are perfect for riding on your boogie board. It’s also a popular beach for sea turtles to call home. During nesting season from May 1-Ocotber 31, keep an eye out for sea turtle nests (but remember to look, not touch!). The park is also home to a rare salt marsh to view even more wildlife that inhabit Sand Key.

Sand Key Park
Catch the waves at Sand Key!

If you want a break from the salt water, you can wander down the park’s nature trails or hang out on the playground. Although dogs aren’t allowed on the beach itself, you can bring your furry friend along to get some energy out at the Sand Key Dog Park. This fenced-in area also includes a water station and plenty of space for them to play.

Though Sand Key does have food trucks offering items like hot dogs, ice cream, and chicken tenders, there are plenty of spots just outside the beach area and along the water on Gulf Boulevard to grab food. Restaurants include Columbia Restaurant, Watercolour Steak House and Grill, Maggie Mae’s, Al & Stella Italian, Backwaters, and Shorty’s Breakfast & Gourmet Deli.

What are the amenities at Sand Key Park?

The park has several amenities you can take advantage of to help elevate your day! Amenities at Sand Key include:

  • Concessions – food trucks
  • Boardwalk
  • Two complimentary beach wheelchairs
  • Outdoor showers
  • Two bath houses with changing stalls
  • Playground
  • Restrooms
  • Two shelters with grills
  • Umbrella and cabana rentals
  • Kayak rentals
Sand Key Park
The boardwalk at Sand Key Park

There is plenty of parking at Sand Key Park. Parking costs $5 per day and can be paid at the paid stations in the parking lots. Note: the pay stations accept credit cards only.

Make it a staycation!

There are two hotels just outside the park. The Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key and the Sheraton Sand Key Resort. If you don’t want to stay overnight but still want to experience the beach and enjoy the hotel amenities, both hotels are part of ResortPass, which offers day passes to experience the pool, cabana access, and more! The Sheraton even has a Family Beach Pass, where a family of four can have access to all the regular amenities included in a Day Pass PLUS four reserved beach chairs and two umbrellas!

Sheraton Sand Key
The pool at Sheraton Sand Key

Tips for the perfect beach day at Sand Key

You have to drive through Clearwater Beach traffic in order to get there, so be patient and give yourself a little extra time.

Park near one of the bath houses if you have kids in tow. It will make rinsing off and changing out of those salty swimsuits much easier.

Bring your boogie boards! We’ve gone several times when the waves have been in full force and can make for some fun water adventures.

Hide your snacks! While seagulls surround all of our beaches, they seem to have a soft spot for Sand Key and will immediately snag anything you leave out or drop.

Plan your hours accordingly. While Clearwater Beach is open 24 hours a day, Sand Key is only open from 7 am until sunset.

Sand Key Park
Have the best day ever at Sand Key Park!


Address: 1060 Gulf Blvd., Clearwater, FL

Hours: 7 am until sunset. Closed the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Cost: $5 per vehicle to park

Parking: There are several parking lots available at the park. You can also use the Suncoast Beach Trolley to get to and from.

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