North Redington Beach

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

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.