A bad day at the beach — if there is any such thing — always beats a good day at work. Warm, golden rays of sun, a salty breeze, white powdery sand and gentle waves makes for a perfect day of relaxation. While Florida, and especially Tampa Bay, boasts dozens of amazing beaches, there are a few that stand out. Grab your towel and sunscreen and enjoy a day of fun in the sun.

Sunset at the beach (Credit, Amanda Mole)

Honeymoon Island State Park

1 Causeway Blvd.
Dunedin, FL 34698
(727) 469-5942

Honeymoon Island got its name in 1939 when a developer built 50 palm-thatched bungalows designed just for honeymooners. Today, it is a beautiful state park with sun-drenched beaches and nature trails. The beach area is surrounded by sand bars, so the water never gets too deep, but it’s deep enough to do some snorkeling and splashing. Nature lovers will be thrilled to see the numerous species of birds, osprey nests and marine life in tidal pools. Tip: bring some wading shoes if you plan to go shelling to protect your feet.

Caladesi Island State Park
1 Causeway Blvd.
Dunedin, FL 34698
(727) 469-5918

If you’re visiting Honeymoon Island, Caladesi Island should be your next stop. This secluded island is accessible only by private boat or by the ferry that launches from Honeymoon Island. The powder-white beaches are perfect for sunbathing or building a sand castle with the kids. Anglers will love the opportunity to do some fishing knee-deep in the warm Gulf waters. There is even a three-mile kayak trail through the mangroves if you’re feeling adventurous.

Enjoy a day by the water (Credit, Amanda Mole)

Fort Desoto County Park
3500 Pinellas Bayway S.
Tierra Verde, FL 33715
(727) 582-2267

Fort Desoto has been listed among Florida’s best beaches numerous times. The park is a juxtaposition of Florida’s natural beauty and plenty of man-made amenities to help make the most of your day at the beach. There is a guide to the historic fort for the history buffs, two fishing piers, a camping area, playgrounds for the kids, a picnic area, a canoe trail, concession stands and more. Here, you can relax in the sun and be sure that you can meet your family’s every need.

Related: Beaches Of Sanibel Island Are A Sheller’s Paradise

Davis Island Dog Beach
Severn Ave.
Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 274-8615

Dogs are part of the family too, so why not bring them to the beach with you? Davis Island is one of only a few pet-friendly beaches in the Tampa Bay area and is by far the most popular. There is a dry area and a beach area with over 200 feet of waterfront for pooches to play. After your dog has splashed the day away, there are fresh water spigots available to rinse off salt and sand for the ride home. Restrooms and picnic benches are available for two-legged family members.

Fred H. Howard Park
1700 Sunset Drive
Tarpon Springs, FL 34689
(727) 943-4081

Howard Park is a local favorite. It is an ideal place for families, complete with playgrounds, picnic shelters and grills, a ball field and walking trails. There is over a mile of sugary white beach sand with access to the warm, salty waters of the Gulf. Nature lovers can look forward to spectacular sunsets as well as occasional dolphin or manatee sightings. The park is also inhabited by other species like gopher tortoises, eagles, fox squirrels and several butterfly and shorebird species.Related: Best Beaches In The World

Amanda Mole has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil and cooking since she was tall enough to reach the stove. She believes that food provides more than just vital nutrients: it is an irreplaceable part of countless cultural and social activities. As a Tampa Bay resident for the past 21 years, she is well acquainted with the incredibly diverse range of restaurants, bars, and food festivals that the area has to offer. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.