Today we left the St. Petersburg area and headed towards an auction in Lakeland. We traveled across Old Tampa Bay on The Howard Frankland Bridge, named for the local businessman who originally proposed the bridge. Nearly 16,000 feet long, it had a second set of lanes added so it now carries four lanes in each direction of I-275. It is a long bridge connecting St. Petersburg and Tampa.
During a stop this morning at a yard sale I asked the owner how to get to a nearby beach. (This was after I made a huge $1 purchase!) He gave me easy to follow directions to what he said was known as Red Neck Beach. He said that locals like this beach and that it was free and you can drive right out on the beach and the water. We liked the drive to the water and the free aspect, so off we went.
The beach is actually on Tampa Bay, not the Gulf of Mexico. It is adjacent to a causeway that runs from St. Petersburg to the south side of Tampa. As we drove we began to see cars and trucks parked in the gaps between a line of trees on the south side of the highway. Sure enough, we had found Red Neck Beach more properly known as Ganby Beach.
It was a nice warm almost hot day, little breeze and bright sunshine. There were quite a few people out on the beach but in no way was it crowded. The group of young adults next to us were having a great time and they were wading out in the water about twent yards or so.
As beaches go, I have to say that this one is rather lame. The sand was hard packed and not very wide where the tree line is. The area was clean of trash probably because of a recent crackdown and enforcement of ordinances on the books. Now the local police enforce the no campfire, leave by dark rules and are begining to enforce the no alcohol rules if needed.
We did have a relaxed afternoon, got some work done and I got some photography in. I’m not sure I’d recommend a stop here, but it was free!
Note: The driving areas, tough hard packed sand, were very rough with dips and holes. Not suitable for large coaches or trucks with trailers.