North Redington Beach

The middle child of the Redington beaches, North Redington Beach is relaxed and low-key but still offers a small town’s amenities.

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There’s plenty of space on North Redington Beach, which is fronted largely by mid-rise resorts like the Tides Beach Club. The resort replaced the original Tides, which was a local landmark for decades. [Florida Beach Insider photo]
Pros
  • Resort-style living or retro bunking in accessible beach lodging.
  • Just enough amenities with small-town functionality.
  • Compact enough that most other tourists overlook it.
Cons
  • Maybe a little too quiet for some.
  • The businesses that are here often roll the sidewalks up early.

If Redington Beach is a quiet and reserved respite for locals, and Redington Shores is the condo-friendly, fun-loving sibling catering to tourists, North Redington Beach is the literal middle child. It features enough businesses and features for visitors, but still manages to feel like a real town.

This was the second of the three communities named for Indiana developer Charles Redington, who bought the land on the barrier island in the 1930s. North Redington Beach was incorporated in 1953.

The town’s most famous landmark was the old Tides Hotel and Bath Club, just north of the border with Redington Beach at 167th Avenue. It was once known as a playground for rich vacationers and sports celebs, including a visit by Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe. It was was bulldozed in favor of the Tides Beach club condos that opened in 2000.

About 1,500 people live here year-’round now, with plenty of seasonal residents filling out the rest of the addresses along these 10 blocks of Gulf Boulevard. They co-exist in a small town that has a few favored eateries and watering holes, and a pleasant beachfront.

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GETTING THERE

The two main airports in the area are Tampa International Airport (TPA) in Hillsborough County and St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) in Pinellas County. Multiple carriers service TPA, while most flights to and from PIE are run by Allegiant. There are many ground transportation options at both airports.

North Redington Beach is on State Road 699, known locally as Gulf Boulevard. The closest way to access the island from the mainland is to take the Tom Stuart Causeway (150th Avenue) from Seminole in Pinellas County, via Alternate U.S. Hwy 19, a.k.a. Seminole Boulevard. If you’re driving in from St. Petersburg, Alt 19 is Tyrone Boulevard.

You’ll likely need a rental car to get around if you plan on exploring. If you’re sticking close to the area you have some options. The Redingtons are all within relatively easy walking distance of each other, but busy Gulf Boulevard can be hectic — the sidewalks are right next to the road.

Uber and Lyft are available. The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority operates its Suncoast Beach Trolley service along the length of Gulf Boulevard, with stops clearly marked. A schedule is here.

You can access the islands by taking Interstate 275 or U.S. Hwy 19 into Pinellas County, then heading west on a main artery.

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PARKING

Parking is still tricky here, although not quite as bad as Redington Beach, but nowhere near as convenient as Redington Shores.

There is some street parking along Gulf Boulevard, but there are no public lots beachside. There’s no parking on side streets, and chances are that any open lot you see is actually owned by a hotel for its guests’ use.

Be on the lookout for signs warning of tow-away zones, and think long and hard before trying to park in a business lot and then meandering over to the sand. You may come back to a missing vehicle.

Your best chance is a small loop of a couple dozen parking spaces along Bath Club Concourse, but naturally those will fill up mighty fast. Signs point out that these spaces aren’t available from 1 to 7 a.m. There’s a couple more at the park off Bath Club Boulevard South, but those are for park goers, so behave accordingly.

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BEACH SCENE

Also like Redington Beach and Redington Shores, the beach here is a quality experience, but it is quite commercial.

There are several crosswalks across Gulf Boulevard and walkways for beach access, but clearly the goal is to get people to stay in the hotels, motels and condos lining the waterfront.

And there are some fair-sized resorts and hotels taking up a lot of acreage, too. Finding a place to lay out your beach towel can be tough near some of the properties, but once you’re there, the vibe is relaxed and appears to skew toward older families and retirees.

Property lines should be observed, although some of the bigger places are just fine taking your money even if you aren’t a guest.

The rules are fairly standard: There is no alcohol allowed on the beach, no glass containers, no pets, no fires, no littering and no solicitation, but you can bring a bike!

The bottom line is, this community is best for finding relatively smaller, less-crowded waterfront lodging, with just enough businesses and amenities to keep you happy for a few days.


Sometimes you simply want a place to sit and stare at the surf. North Redington Beach is just quiet enough. [Florida Beach Insider photo]

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WHERE TO STAY

THE TIDES BEACH CLUB

This condo community replaced the original Tides, and boasts 214 units, many of which you can rent out. You can find units through rental agencies or, if you like it here enough, buy your own so you can always have pool privileges.

DOUBLETREE BEACH RESORT

A more traditional upper end resort hotel, this place offers an outdoor pool, a restaurant and a tiki bar. You can rent cabanas, jet skis and paddleboards out by the sand, too.

ISLAND HOUSE BEACH HOTEL

If you’re on a budget, you can forgo the beachfront stay for this Gulf Boulevard location. There’s an outdoor pool here, too, and has a crosswalk and beach access walkway right across the street.

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THINGS TO DO

North Redington Beach is literally out on an island, so it can be tough finding things to actually do here. It does happen to be within easy driving distance of all of Tampa Bay’s communities.

WATERSPORTS AND FITNESS

BEACH SERVICE WEST

This rental service behind the Doubletree will rent you a cabana, boat, beach chair, jet ski, kayak, paddleboard — you name it. (There’s also rentals available at the Ram Sea hotel just to the north.)

PLACES TO EAT AND DRINK

FROG POND

A family staple in the town’s landmark strip mall, you can order eggs more ways than you can count. Crepes and a kid’s menu offer a wide, breakfast-forward selection (there are sandwiches and salads, too).

CONCH REPUBLIC GRILL

A Key West-style bar and grill that manages to be full most of the day. There’s a patio and indoor/outdoor bar, plus ample parking that still manages to fill up at the busiest times. Steaks, pasta and daily specials are available.

RED’S BAR ON THE BOULEVARD

A blueprint dive, in a good way, with TVs, domestic bottles on ice and locals behind the bar. Being dark and cool can be a big bonus on a hot day. Also: Corned beef sliders, you guys. I mean, come on.

SPORTY’S ON THE BEACH

It’s not really on the beach, but close enough. If you’re closer to the northern end of North Redington Beach (so far from the southern end!), this is the place for cheap beer. There’s karaoke on the weekends, which is easier to enjoy with said cheap beer.

SHOPPING

OWEN SWEET JEWELRY

You can shop here for unique jewelry designed in shop, but also other jeweler needs, like watch repair, ring resizing and jewelry repair.

SWEET SAGE BOUTIQUE

This quaint spot could have gone in the suggested restaurants section, because the entire boutique is spread out across the three-room cafe. Hats, dresses, knick-knacks and decorations are available here, where you can also nosh on healthful fare in a dog-friendly setting. Keep in mind that this is a breakfast and lunch place, so both parts of the business close at 2 p.m.

LITTLE PELICAN

If you have to have a North Redington Beach souvenir (or pick up a spare pair of flip-flops because you forgot yours), stop by this joint next to Frog Pond. Fun fact: The shop also doubles as the town’s post office.

Joshua Gillin is Florida Beach Insider’s Beachcomber-in-chief. When he’s not actively looking for a clear spot on the sand with his family, he enjoys hiking, martials arts, comparing drink specials and shopping for American-made products.

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