Redington Beach

This little beach town in the middle of a Pinellas County barrier island is an oasis among commercialism and condos, offering a secluded waterfront and residential charm.

Reader rating:
(0 out of 5)
If you're looking for the benefits of a beach without having to share it with too many people, give the residential community of Redington Beach a look.[Florida Beach Insider photo]
Pros
  • Public beaches that are practically private.
  • Small-town, residential feel.
  • In the middle of Pinellas County’s barrier island communities.
Cons
  • No businesses or storefronts, and visitor amenities are non-existent beyond a public park.
  • Forget about finding any parking if you don't live or rent here.

Tiny Redington Beach is so small, you could miss the sign marking it on Gulf Boulevard, confusing it for a residential enclave of bustling Madeira Beach to the south.

The town, home to about 1,500 people, runs for about a mile from 158th to 164th avenues. There are no storefronts or restaurants on the main drag here, although there is a nice little sliver of beach tucked away behind the waterfront homes.

Indiana developer Charles Redington bought the area that became Redington Beach, North Redington Beach and Redington Shores in the 1930s, back when Pinellas County's barrier islands were largely deserted.

Redington put his own home in Redington Beach – it's still standing, albeit renovated and expanded upon several times over, at 15572 Gulf Blvd. – and the building boom began. The town was incorporated in 1944.

The peace and quiet is the real draw of Redington Beach, but tourists don't have any real reason to visit (unless they know someone who lives there). It's a sleepy little hamlet, and the residents prefer it that way. But it makes for a great respite from the miniature golf courses and daiquiri bars surrounding the community.

ADVERTISEMENT

GETTING THERE

The 2 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.

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. Some businesses in North Redington Beach and Madeira Beach are within relatively easy walking distance, but we'd suggest walking those miles on the sand. Sidewalks on Gulf Boulevard here are right next to the road, making the experience a bit too hectic for a leisurely stroll.

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

PARKING

There's practically no unrestricted public parking in Redington Beach.

The town has one beach parking lot, with a handful of spaces on Gulf Boulevard at 160th Avenue. But you must have a town–issued permit to use them. The permits are free and available at the Town Hall with ID. There's a $25 fine for parking there without a decal, courtesy of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

People who are visiting residents can get a temporary pass, too, as long as a resident vouches for them. Vacationing renters are allowed to park without a permit on the property they've rented.

Note that unlike North Redington Beach, there is no street parking along Gulf Boulevard.

There is a strip of parking on the east side of Redington Beach Town Park at 164th Avenue and 1st Street E that could fit maybe 10 or 12 cars. But be aware that people using the park may give you the stink–eye if they see you dragging beach gear a block over when they are looking to let their own kids use the swingset.

There's another half–dozen spaces at Friendship Park– across from Town Hall on 164th Avenue near 2nd Street E– plus another two marked street spaces between the two parks. Both parks close at dark, so hustle back if you're sunset–gazing.

Otherwise your options are extremely limited. The town parking ordinances restrict stopping in front of a yard with a swale – those shallow drainage ditches in practically every yard – or blocking street access for an extended amount of time. Paved turnouts are rare, and usually only line residential streets far enough from the beach that the hike isn't worth it. It's extremely doubtful the locals would cotton to you parking on their lawns, which would likely lead to a date with a tow truck.

Town ordinance levies a $15 fine for improper parking, including a host of offenses like parking on sidewalks, blocking driveways and parking in loading zones or too close to an intersection.

If you're up for the walk, you can always try stopping in North Redington Beach or Madeira Beach and hoofing it.

There’s a miniscule parking lot in Redington Beach, right on Gulf Boulevard, but it won’t do you any good without a residential permit. [Florida Beach Insider photo]

ADVERTISEMENT

BEACH SCENE

The 100–foot–wide beach offers all the scenery without any of the crowds. At any given time, chances are good that the only people on Redington Beach are residents or their guests.

This is great if you're looking for relative solitude. There's no loud music, plenty of elbow room and the odd game of volleyball or cornhole set up near million–dollar backyards. Several beachfront rentals (condos and houses) are available, so many parts of the day you'd end up with essentially your own private beach.

As an added bonus for those in the know, this is one of those rare beaches that doesn't seem to have any rules prohibiting alcohol. As of this writing, there was no ordinance specifically barring alcohol or glass bottles on the beach. Proceed accordingly, but be sure to double check, just to be sure.

La Contessa, a beachfront condo on the northern end of town, has a pier that juts out into the Gulf of Mexico that offers stellar sunset views. The catch is that the pier is private, and is blocked by a gate that keeps outsiders from strolling or trolling.

Be aware that dogs are prohibited on the beach, but the pair of golden retrievers we saw on our last visit didn't seem to care.

There's plenty of public access to the waterfront for a town this size, with five beach approaches wedged between houses every block or two. Crosswalks help you traverse Gulf Boulevard at 163rd, 161st and 158th avenues.

Keep in mind that people are supposed to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, but there's no guarantee they will.

ADVERTISEMENT

THINGS TO DO

Nothing! That’s the appeal! There are no commercial centers with public storefronts here.

If you are looking for places to eat or drink, shopping centers, or any other attractions, we suggest checking first in neighboring communities North Redington Beach and Madeira Beach. If you don’t find what you’re looking for there, keep going north or south to any of the other towns on Pinellas County’s barrier islands.

ADVERTISEMENT

TIPS FROM TOWNIES

In Redington Beach, which has limited parking, there’s a hidden gem at 164th Avenue and First Street East. Adjacent to a playground, it’s a block east of Gulf Boulevard, two blocks from the beach. The small gravel strip, which can accommodate about a dozen vehicles, has no signs that limit or prohibit parking.
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.

You might also like...