Treasure Island vs St Pete Beach: Which is Best for You?

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By Erin
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Trying to decide between Treasure Island vs St Pete Beach? There are a few noteworthy differences you must know.

Over the last ten years, I can say I have seen a lot of growth in Pinellas County. Sleepy beach towns have morphed into buzzing metro areas exploded by growth. In fact, my family had a home in Treasure Island for back in the 1960s, and if we still had it, it would have been a hot commodity in real estate terms. Long story short – if someone has described downtown St Petersburg, Treasure Island, or St Pete Beach has nothing happening towns – think again! 

As a local, I’m going to share some key differences between St Pete Beach vs Treasure Island to consider when choosing between the two.

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Location: Treasure Island vs St Pete Beach

Treasure Island vs St Pete Beach photo comparisons of two beautiful beaches

Geographically, Treasure Island and St Pete Beach are located close to each other in Pinellas County (in fact they are attached to one another). Treasure Island is further north and St Pete Beach, both on barrier islands on the Gulf of Mexico. Tampa International Airport (TPA) or St Pete-Clearwater Airport are also easily accessible just north of these locations. 

While Treasure Island is larger in size, both cities are relatively small and surrounded by water. Here is a map to help navigate it better.

Being so close in proximity, it’s no wonder that St Pete Beach and Treasure Island both have some of the best beaches in the US!

St Pete Beach vs Treasure Island Map

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Where to Stay in Treasure Island vs St Pete Beach

The DonCesar Hotel in St Pete Beach
The DonCesar Hotel in St Pete Beach

When it comes to accommodations, both Treasure Island and St Pete Beach have plenty of choices to fit any budget and preference. If you prefer more restaurants and bars nearby, then you’ll want to consider St Pete Beach. If you prefer less activity you may want to consider Treasure Island.  

Hotels in Treasure Island

Treasure Island offers a variety of hotels, ranging from budget-friendly to luxury accommodations. If you love a retro vibe, then you’ll like the offerings in Treasure Island. Here are the top hotels in Treasure Island that I recommend: 

Hotels in St Pete Beach

St Pete Beach also offers a range of hotel options, including budget-friendly and luxury accommodations. Here are some of the top hotels in St Pete Beach:

No matter which location you choose, there are plenty of accommodation options available to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable. If you want more information and local tips, you’ll want to read my article on where to stay in St Pete Beach.

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Attractions in Treasure Island vs St Pete Beach

When it comes to attractions, both Treasure Island and St Pete Beach have plenty to offer. Both beaches offer beautiful white sand and clear blue water, making them great options for a beach vacation.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the most popular attractions in each location.

Treasure Island Attractions

Treasure Island is known for its gorgeous beaches, so it’s no surprise that many of the outdoor activities here revolve around the water. Visitors can swim, sunbathe, or simply relax on the sand. For those who want to be more active, there are plenty of water sports to choose from, including jet skiing, parasailing, and paddleboarding.

Fishing is also popular in Treasure Island, and there are several fishing charters available for hire. Visitors can also take a sunset cruise to enjoy the beautiful views of the Gulf of Mexico. For those who prefer to stay on land, there are several parks in Treasure Island that offer hiking trails, picnic areas, and playgrounds.

Here are some of the more popular things to do:

  • Sunset Beach: This beach is a popular spot for watching the sunset and is known for its soft sand and calm waters. Don’t miss the Treasure Island Boardwalk and nearby kids’ playground.
  • John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk: This boardwalk is technically in Madeira Beach just north of Treasure Iland. It is filled with shops, restaurants, and lots of other fun things to do.
  • Treasure Island Beach Trail: This paved trail is a great way to explore Treasure Island Beach and take in the scenic views of the Gulf of Mexico. It runs from 104th Avenue to 119th Avenue behind the hotels.
  • Treasure Island Fun Center: This family-friendly entertainment center features mini-golf, go-karts, and arcade games.

St Pete Beach Attractions

St Pete Beach is also home to a multitude of attractions that are sure to keep visitors entertained. In fact, there are so many I have a complete article on the best things to do in St Pete Beach. Here are a few things to get you started!

  • St Pete Beach: This beach is known for its crystal-clear waters and soft white sand. Visitors can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and a variety of water sports.
  • Pass-a-Grille Beach: My long-time favorite beach destination is Pass-a-Grille Beach, located in St Pete Beach. It’s still somewhat a local secret.
  • Fort De Soto Park: This park is a popular spot for camping, fishing, and hiking located in nearby Tierra Verde. Visitors can also explore the historic fort and museum.
  • Take a Boat Tour: St Pete Beach offers a variety of tours, including dolphin watching, sunset cruises, and deep-sea fishing. Read more on my favorite St Petersburg boat tours here.
  • Corey Avenue: This street is lined with shops, restaurants, and galleries. While it tends to be slower during the week, you’ll find that it comes alive on Sundays at the Corey Avenue Market.

Overall, both Treasure Island and St Pete Beach offer a wide range of attractions that are sure to keep visitors entertained. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day at the beach or an action-packed adventure, you’re sure to find something to suit your interests.

🏆 Verdict: St Pete Beach

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Dining and Nightlife

churros at VIP restaurant
Churros at VIP

When it comes to dining and nightlife, both Treasure Island vs St Pete Beach offer a variety of options to suit different tastes and budgets. Here’s a breakdown of what each location has to offer:

Treasure Island Dining

Treasure Island has a good selection of restaurants that offer a range of cuisine, from seafood to Italian to Mexican. Some of the popular dining options include:

  • Middle Grounds Grill: This restaurant is known for its fresh seafood and has been a local favorite for years. The menu includes dishes like blackened grouper, shrimp scampi, and lobster tail. They have an early bird menu from 4:30 – 5:30 pm.
  • Caddy’s on the Beach: This beachside bar and grill is a great spot to grab a drink and watch the sunset. The menu includes burgers, grouper sandwiches, etc. It’s the ultimate beach hangout spot with games and live music.
  • VIP Lounge & Mexican Restaurant: If you’re in the mood for Mexican food, VIP Lounge & Mexican Restaurant, you can’t go wrong. This dive bar restaurant has the usual items plus unique offerings like Mexican pizza. I love their margaritas, and don’t pass up the churros for dessert. It’s my current favorite restaurant in Treasure Island!

St Pete Beach Dining

Spinners Rooftop Restaurant in St Pete Beach Florida in article on Treasure Island vs St Pete Beach

St Pete Beach has a wider variety of dining options, from upscale restaurants to casual beachside establishments. Some of the popular dining options include:

  • 1200 Chophouse: This house-style restaurant offers some of the best steaks in St Petersburg (if you prefer fish, you must get the sea bass). Parking is usually a challenge and no reservations – so go early.
  • Buoys Waterfront Bar & Grill: This casual waterfront restaurant is known for its fresh seafood. It’s one of my new favorite places for grouper, shrimp and grits, or a lobster roll.
  • CocoAddiction: Located on Corey Avenue, this is my favorite place in St Pete Beach for pastries, chocolate, and coffee. You’ll find some of the most exquisite and flavorful treats here. In fact, I usually buy their bonbons, which make the perfect gift to take home to friends.

🏆 Verdict: St Pete Beach

As you can see, Treasure Island vs St Pete Beach both offer excellent options. But St Pete Beach offers a broader selection and more of my personal favorites and some of the best rooftop bars. However, when it comes to Mexican food – you definitely will want to drive to Treasure Island!

🌴 Read Next: Best Bars & Nightlife in St Pete Beach

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Shopping in Treasure Island vs St Pete Beach

Corey Avenue shops in St Pete Beach showing their Sunday market

As a local, I honestly do most of my traditional mall shopping in the cities of St Petersburg, Tampa, or Bradenton. If you’re looking for eclectic or unique beach merchandise, then both have several excellent choices.

Shopping in Treasure Island Florida

When it comes to shopping in Treasure Island, you’ll find a share of beach merchandise, touristy trinkets places, and unique boutiques or art galleries. Here are a few that are worth checking out (and don’t forget to visit John’s Pass Village in Madeira Beach).

  • The Florida Shell Shop: If you’re looking for shells the prices here are very reasonable. You’ll find variations of shark teeth, kids’ gifts, and many types of coral and starfish to keep you shopping longer than you plan to!
  • Suncoast Surf Shop: If you surf or like surf merchandise, then this is one of the most fantastic stores you’ll find near Sunset Beach in Treasure Island. They also offer bike rentals and clothing for sale.
  • Isle of Style Consignments and Gifts: Located in Benjamin Studio, it’s a fun little store full of gifts from local artists and personalized items.
  • Salty Sisters Gourmet Popcorn: This is an excellent place to get a small gift for someone back at home watching your house.

Shopping in St Pete Beach

When it comes to shopping in St Pete Beach, there are a few more opportunities worth mentioning in the area.

  • Pass-a-Grille Beach: This quaint little historic district has several super cute boutiques and art galleries within walking distance of the beach.
  • Corey Avenue Shopping District: The most prominent place to shop in St Pete Beach is Corey Avenue. You’ll find second-hand shops, art galleries, delicious restaurants, and breweries. Locals love the Hawaii Nail Shop & Spa, plus there’s a playground within walking distance (Colonel Micheal J. Horan Park).
  • Dolphin Village: While it tends to be more commercial stores like Publix, Chick-Fil-A, and CVS, it is unique because it backs up to the water. You can charter a sailboat and stop for a fresh sandwich at Café Soleil.

🏆 Verdict: Depends!

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Which is better for families: Treasure Island or St Pete Beach?

Erin and family at Treasure Island
Treasure Island

Both Treasure Island and St. Pete Beach are great options for families, but it ultimately depends on your preferences.

I tend to lean towards Treasure Island because of its more laid-back vibe and the boardwalk that is ideal for walking with young children. On the other hand, St Pete Beach has a more lively atmosphere with plenty of activities and attractions for families with older children.

🏆 Verdict: Treasure Island

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Weather in Treasure Island vs St Pete Beach

Groups of people under umbrellas at St Pete Beach
Pass-a-Grille Beach

When comparing Treasure Island and St. Pete Beach, it’s essential to consider the weather. Both cities are located next to one another in Florida, so they share a similar climate.

In terms of temperature, both cities have mild winters and hot summers. The average high temperature in January is 70 degrees in Treasure Island and 71 degrees in St. Pete Beach. In July, the average high temperature is 90 degrees in both cities.

Both cities have warm temperatures year-round. If you prefer cooler temperatures, you’ll want to avoid the summer months.

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St Pete Beach vs Treasure Island Travel Tips

St Pete Beach vs Treasure Island 1 12

When planning a trip to St. Pete Beach or Treasure Island, there are a few travel tips that can help make your vacation more enjoyable.

Choosing Accommodations

When choosing where to stay in Treasure Island vs St Pete Beach consider factors such as proximity to the beach, amenities, and budget. If you’re staying in St Pete Beach or Treasure Island during peak season, you’ll want to consider a hotel that has great walkability to avoid parking issues or high parking rates. However, if you are on a tighter budget, don’t worry you can take the Suncoast Beach Trolley.

If you’re looking for a more upscale experience, StcPete Beach may be the better choice, as it tends to have more luxury hotels and resorts. On the other hand, Treasure Island has some very lovely larger hotel accommodations and vacation rentals these days. Now that I’m a mom, I like having a bit more space when traveling as a group.

Beach Essentials

When packing for your trip, don’t forget to bring the essentials for a day at the beach. This may include sunscreen, hats, etc. However, many of the beach hotels actually provide chairs and other essentials. If not, there are places you can rent them if you want to avoid hauling a bunch of items.

ParkMobile App

If you plan to drive a lot in St Pete Beach or Treasure Island, you’ll want to download the ParkMobile App. It will save you considerable time when trying to figure out metered parking.

Festivals & Events

 Sanding Ovation in Treasure Island
Sanding Ovation in Treasure Island

Often, there’s lots happening in both cities depending on the time of year. I tend to check the Tampa Bay Times or the city websites for their latest events. One of my favorites is Sanding Ovation in Treasure Island, which occurs annually in November. You’ll see some amazing sand sculptures while shopping, eating, and enjoying live music on the beach.

Exploring the Tampa Bay Area

Both St Pete Beach and Treasure Island have plenty of activities and attractions to keep you entertained.

As a local, here are a few of my other articles I highly recommend checking out:

Final Thoughts on Treasure Island vs St Pete Beach

After comparing Treasure Island vs St Pete Beach for your beach vacation, here is my verdict. St Pete Beach is the clear winner if you’re looking for a luxury resort or a destination that offers more to do. It is also in closest proximity to my favorite lively downtown, St. Petersburg!

On the other hand, I would pick Treasure Island if I were looking for more quiet days by the Gulf of Mexico. Treasure Island is also slightly closer to Tampa, so it’s ideal if you plan to explore cities further north, like Dunedin and Clearwater Beach.

Overall, both Treasure Island and St Pete Beach offer an amazing beach vacation experience! You honestly can’t go wrong with either one.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main differences between Treasure Island and St. Pete Beach?

The main difference between Treasure Island and St. Pete Beach the amount of attractions. Treasure Island is known for its laid-back beaches, while St Pete Beach has a more lively atmosphere with more activities and attractions. Additionally, Treasure Island beaches tends to be less crowded than St Pete Beach.

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Authored By: Erin
Welcome to Erin’s Travel Tips, a Florida Travel Website. I specialize in unique family travel destinations, outdoor getaways in Florida and beyond! I’m a proud Floridian who loves a good cup of coffee, boating, and of course, traveling with my family to some of the most interesting places in the world.

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