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North Redington Beach

By SHEILA MULLANE ESTRADA, Times Correspondent
Published September 30, 2007

[George Swears | Times 1961]
Joe DiMaggio, the Yankee Clipper, and his bride, film star Marilyn Monroe, relax at the Tides Hotel and Bath Club Resort on North Redington Beach in 1961. The resort was demolished in 1996.

Geography: North Redington Beach has it all -- gulf-front private homes and condominiums, waterfront homes on four fingers extending into Boca Ciega Bay, large hotels and smaller mom-and-pop motels. Incorporated in 1953, the town also has an interesting mix of shops and restaurants.

A little history: The Tides Bath Club, one of the first resorts on Pinellas County's gulf beaches, opened here in 1936 and for decades was a gathering place for area residents and visitors alike. Two of the most famous celebrities to visit the Bath Club were Marilyn Monroe and her then-husband Joe DiMaggio. The complex was demolished in the mid '90s and replaced by 214 luxury condominiums that overlook nearly a quarter mile of beach.

The beach: Have no doubt, North Redington Beach is serious about protecting its turtle nests, so when visiting during the summer season, be particularly careful where you step. The 90-foot-wide, mile-long beach has six beach access points. None have restrooms or showers.

Amenities: Visitors can rent personal watercraft, aqua cycles, kayaks, beach chairs and umbrellas just behind the Doubletree Beach Resort on Gulf Boulevard. The Conch Republic Bar and Grill is a favorite of residents and visitors. Beachfront food and spirits can be had at Mangos Restaurant & Tiki Bar at the Doubletree. For lunch or breakfast, try the Frog Pond Restaurant -- and for gourmet quiche, Sweet Sage is a can't miss. If you are looking for a fine dining experience, try Wine Cellar Restaurant.

Some drawbacks: Pedestrian safety is a particular concern in North Redington Beach, which strongly encourages visitors to used marked crosswalks on Gulf Boulevard.

Parking: Only one of the town's beach access areas offers parking, and those six spaces are reserved for residents. However, there is free parking up and down the one-mile length of Gulf Boulevard.

Bottom line: North Redington Beach is a nice mix of upscale luxury set in a small-town atmosphere, but lack of parking is an impediment to visitors.

[Last modified September 29, 2007, 22:18:09]

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