Tampa Bay Area is comprised of several beach cities on the west coast of Florida, including Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and Tampa as well as several other communities. This popular beach destination known for its sunny weather, white sandy beaches, clear turquoise waters, and friendly locals. This in demand vacation destination including St Petersburg and Clearwater has lots of keto and paleo gluten free restaurant and grocery options. With the Gulf of Mexico for a backyard, it’s pretty easy to see why these beach areas are consistently voted best in the USA.
My sister went to Eckerd College for 4 years and I used to visit her in St Petersburg and we would go to all the beaches and hot spots. Then later I visited St. Pete Beach in 2018 with my mom when we were escaping the Nashville winter. In winter of 2019 my parents and sister all rented a house for a month in Largo just a few miles from Indian rocks beach and Clearwater Beach so I was able to explore the Clearwater Beach and St. Petersburg area extensively.
Let’s just say to begin with I hate winter and will take extreme measures to get out of it. So getting in the car to drive 10 hours is a no brainer for me and my family. We love to find healthy keto, gluten-free and paleo options to go along with our health and active lifestyle.
Parkshore Grille If you want some awesome seafood that is cooked well then stop in here. Make sure to sit outside on a warm day and look at the boats passing in the harbor. I had some wonderful local fish with an amazing hollandaise sauce.
Dr. BBQ: The star of the show was the beef ribs which is not found many places out of Texas. It was super tender and delicious but a little pricey. Also we enjoyed the fatty brisket and pastrami brisket. Grass Fed Chef was able meet the owner and talk shop. Find this great place in trendy Downton St. Petersburg, afterwards take a stroll by the water and look at the boats.
Ceviche: This is a great Spanish restaurant in downtown St. Pete that has awesome small plates featuring a lot of great seafood and meaty sides. It is right downtown on the waterfront in St. Petersburg so you can go to for a walk but the boats and huge banyan trees afterward.
Bandit Coffee: I have been a huge fan of The Minimalists for a while so when I heard they owned a coffee shop I had to go check it out. This place has great coffee and ambiance in an up and coming hipster area.
Sunken Gardens: This garden in St. Pete is below sea level and has some amazing plant life you won’t find at higher latitudes. If you are a plant and nature lover you wont be disappointed at this historic attraction that is over 100 years old.
Fort Desoto: This is an amazing state park that is a wonderland of outdoor activities. We had a keto, paleo and gluten free picnic at North Beach then later I swam over to the sand bar through 65 degree water for some cold thermogenesis. There is a great bicycle trail that stretches for miles and also a kayak area on the bay side that stretches for miles.It is a wonderful place for families, this photo is my sister and my nephews playing in the sand.
St. Pete Beach: I stayed in St. Pete beach in January 2018 for 3 days and it was wonderfully retro and chill. We had some great seafood and stayed right on the beach at the Beachcomber resort. I am not sure I would recommend it because it was a little loud because the rooms doors open right onto the courtyard so I didn’t get that much sleep but it was great to walk right out to the beach. If you want a little bit more of a party atmosphere you will probably like it. I did enjoy the micro fridge and made many meals in my room to stay on track with my keto diet.
Next time I would probably look for an AIRBNB so I can have my own full kitchen and a separate bedroom. Save $40 off your first stay here. We stayed in a great house during January 2018 in Largo, Florida that was very centrally located to the clearwater beaches and not far from St. Petersburg.
St. Pete Beach sunset
This is a wonderful locally owned health food market that has great organic produce, wild seafood and grass fed beef. They also have a lot of prepared foods (that are cooked in coconut oil) and a great place to sit and eat which is helpful when it is super hot outside. Stock up with all your favorites such as Kevita and Lily’s keto bars.
Salty’s Island Bar is kind of a touristy place on the beach but I had some awesome peel and eat shrimp called royal reds and this amazing Bairdi snow crab. You can’t go wrong with the fresh catch and my dad loved the fresh grouper he ordered, that can be blackedend not fried to lower the carbs. We loved sitting on the porch and feeling the ocean breeze and sunshine. Make sure to ask for the gluten free menu.
Kara Lynn’s Kitchen Clearwater $$ This is a cool paleo restaurant that was serving grass fed beef chili (no beans) the day I visited. They also had some paleo friendly and gluten free bread (and rolls) that you can take home. They also had some keto chocolate brownie and sugar free truffles.
Ward’s Seafood: This is an old school seafood market that also serves cooked seafood to go or dine in. It has won many awards as the best of the Tampa Bay over the years. Make sure to pick a number when you go in to follow their system. I had some awesome blackened wild mahi-mahi fish that was made to order. My husband had some blackened flounder that he loved with slaw. We also ordered chilled garlic shrimp that we ate as an appetizer.
Nature’s Food Pantry: This is an adorable natural food store in Downton Clearwater that has lots of keto, paleo and gluten free options. I got some grass fed beef liver and garlic oil for earaches and they even have homemade keto friendly desserts. They even have a long history of fighting GMO’s and advocating for labeling genetically modified food along with promoting organics. They have a great meat section, produce and even supplements.
Indian Rocks Beach: This is a lesser known beach than Clearwater but more chill and worth a stop. Find an access point and park for free but make sure to read the signs carefully to avoid tickets. Take only pictures and leave only footprints on this low key beach. I like to get my steps in on my tracker everyday and this is a great place to do it.
Clearwater Beach: This amazing beach with 3 miles of white sand that are consistently rated in the top 10 beaches in the USA. It has a great playground for kids and on the backside features every restaurant you can imagine. Bring your chairs and umbrella to spend the day here and enjoy the turquoise waves. We had some great fun here but since we visited in January sometimes you had to wear a jacket. There is awesome san volleyball courts that I was dying to play at but I didn’t get a chance.
Sand Key Park: This city park is just down from Clearwater Beach and it has a great deal on all day parking for just $5. There are showers and lots of shaded areas for picnics if you want to eat off the beach. The beach is beautiful with clear greenish water. Be sure to walk over to the side where you can see the channel with the boats going into the marina. Sit on the rocks and look at the many fancy hotels on the other side of the channel. We loved not having to worry about filling up the meter here. There are great bathrooms and showers for changing after a swim. Also there are lifeguards during summer and food truck serving snacks. I like to bring my own healthy picnic that supports our health and saves money.
Whole Foods: this whole foods in clearwater has a huge prepared foods area and anything else you could want for your real food keto, paleo or gluten free diet.
Pinellas Trail: is a bike trail that used to be a railroad that stretches across St. Petersburg and Clearwater Beach for nearly 40 miles. Make sure to bring a bike or rent one to take advantage of this awesome outdoor activity. My dad and I had a great time riding on this trail made just for bones and pedestrians.
Day Trips from Clearwater, St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay
Tarpon Springs: is a great place that has awesome Greek food and was the home of the sponge trade for many years. You can go on a boat to see how the sponges plants are harvested then grub on some awesome seafood.
Get a sponge to take home. The wool sponge is the most coveted and they also are naturally antibacterial.
Noshing on some great snapper in Tarpon Springs.
Crystal River: is a special place 2 hours from Clearwater that has a warm and clear spring where you can see manatees during the winter. Also we got some awesome seafood at a local fish market. Make sure to never harass the manatees and always go slow if you have a motor. My dad took us on a dingy but we went very slow and used the shallow motor in idle mode.
Manatees under the water at Crystal River Spring
Eating Keto, Paleo and Gluten Free in Clearwater and St. Petersburg is easy and fun with many choices for healthy peeps. After you are done noshing check out some active sports like stand up paddle boarding or kayaking. Leave a comment if you have some ideas about what else there is to do in the Tampa Bay Area. Make sure to book an Airbnb (here) so you can cook yourself some real food dishes and have more room to spread out than a hotel offers.