Best of St Pete Beach



Upham Beach

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Where: Located off Gulf Blvd at 68th Avenue. Drive west to Beach Plaza Road. Upham Beach stretches from from about 67th Avenue to 71st Avenue.

Parking: Metered parking, $1.25 per hour or $5.00 per day. Enforced from 8am to 8pm every day. So, if you come after 8pm, parking is FREE.

Hours: Beach doesn't close.

Beach Facilities: Restrooms, outdoor shower to rinse off, food concession.

Lifeguards: Unfortunately, there are no lifeguards.

Food concession: Yes, the Seaside Grille is located right on the beach and has outdoor seating in the form of concrete tables and benches. Serves breakfast and lunch, 8am to 4pm.

Trolley Stop: Not right at Upham, but you would only have to walk a few blocks from Gulf Blvd.

Surfing hot-spot: Yes, but recent erosion control measures have compromised the quality of the break.

Upham Beach is the closest public beach access to Pasadena Avenue and Corey Avenue. It provides a reprieve from the almost constant presence of tall hotels and condominiums that line the shore of St. Pete Beach.

Upham has 4 wooden dune walkovers that lead from the long, narrow, pay and park lot, across the dunes to a very wide, white sandy beach. A short walk north takes you to Blind Pass, which has a rock jetty. This is a great place to watch the sunset. Dolphins often make an appearance and I've seen them put on quite a show of jumping out of the water.

Just south of Upham are several large hotels and beachfront restaurants. Live (and loud) music can often be heard drifting onto the beach, depending which way the wind is blowing. You can walk south as far as you want to.

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Above: Seaside Grille at Upham Beach.

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Above: Sunset over the jetty at Blind Pass, Upham Beach.

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Above: Evening falls over the art deco fascade at Upham beach.

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Above: When I first moved to St. Petersburg, FL, this is what Upham Beach looked like. As you can see, the dunes meet the water. There is virtually no beach at high tide. What you can't see is the condominium right behind me with the Gulf pounding away at its sea wall. As you can imagine, the owners of the condo fear the next storm. So this beach has to be renourished with new sand every few years.

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Above: Here is what the beach looks like with its new sand. Quite a difference, no? Because Upham has such a severe erosion problem due to its orientation to the prevailing water currents, it was decided that drastic measures were in order. So 'GeoTubes" were installed during the last renourishment project. Geotubes are huge fabric tubes filled with sand, placed strategically to interrupt the natural flow of water currents and waves along the beach.

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Above: the Geotubes in place. They are ugly, they interfere with walking along a portion of the beach, they have compromised what used to be a very good place to surf, and they were expensive. But, they do seem to be delaying the normally rapid process of erosion on the north end of St. Pete Beach. If you come to Upham Beach, you can avoid the Geotubes by staying on the southern parts of Upham. The tubes are on the northern part of the beach.

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Above: early in the installation process, some black Geotubes were installed. Here they are right in the middle of what used to be a good surfing spot. Note the wave refraction off the Geotube, throwing water high into the air. This is what happens when an irrresistable force meets an immovable object.


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