Sand Key County Park is a Hidden Gem

Named after the island it sits upon, award-winning Sand Key County Park occupies 95-acres on the northern tip. After walking across boardwalks, beach lovers will find an expansive beach stretching from Clearwater Pass down to the Sheraton Sand Key. Life guard stations monitor designated swimming areas during busier times of the year, usually spring to Labor Day, depending on weather conditions. Popular amenities include umbrella or cabana rentals depending on the season, kayak and bicycle rentals, outdoor showers to wash the sand away and two bathhouses with changing stalls. Contact the lifeguard or park ranger to gain access to beach wheelchairs.

Located in the middle of the park are two shelters for picnicking with grills and convenient parking. An extensive nature trail weaves in and around the park highlighting various landscapes. The front of the park, closer to its Gulf Blvd. entrance, features thicker vegetation while the south end showcases a salt marsh and to the north and west views of the beach and Gulf of Mexico.

Bird lovers may also catch a glimpse of heron, great horned owl, anhinga, moorhen and roseate spoonbill. During turtle nesting season – May 1 to October 31, it’s not unusual to find areas roped off. Loggerhead sea turtles use the park to annually deposit nests. These are monitored by volunteers from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

Paid parking can be purchased at pay stations located in parking lots.