St. Pete Beach is a coastal city in Florida’s Pinellas County that lies along the narrow stretch of land between Boca Ciega Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
The city was officially incorporated in 1957, and at the time of the last census had a population of just less than 10,000 residents.
St. Pete Beach is located on the central portion of Florida’s Gulf Coast and is home to some of the state’s most scenic beaches. It’s a popular destination for anglers, golfers, and sun-seekers from all over the country.
Below are 15 things to do in and around St. Pete Beach, Florida.
1. Gulf Beaches Historical Museum
There aren’t many places in the country where quaint little historical museums reside on high-dollar beachfront property, but the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum is one such attraction.
Located in the historic Pass-a-Grille District, it is a treasure trove of information and historical exhibits, making it the perfect place for first-time visitors to check-out before heading out on their own.
The museum’s exhibits include photographs, newspapers, historical artifacts, and first-hand accounts of those who settled in the area in eras past. It’s located on 10th Avenue and is staffed by knowledgeable and enthusiastic local docents, who are valuable community resources in their own right.
2. Shell Key Preserve
Shell Key Preserve is comprised of nearly 1,900 acres of land and sea along the barrier islands between the bay and Gulf, and it’s only accessible by boat.
There are a number of ferry options between the mainland and key, and the journey only takes about 10 minutes.
Ferry services depart three times daily, and for those who’d like to take in a magnificent Florida sunset from the sea, there are sunset cruises offered as well, but only on certain days of the week.
The preserve is popular with amateur photographers and shell collectors, and is an undeveloped area that’s a rookery for several bird species too.
3. St. Pete Beach
Rumor has it that St. Pete Beach is the longest stretch of pristine and undeveloped beach in Pinellas County; it’s a favorite destination for beach-lovers, bodyboarders, and surfers.
St. Pete Beach is located along Gulf Boulevard and is conveniently close to many hotels that are popular with tourists. Families with kids generally appreciate its relatively warm and often wave-free surf.
The beach’s city location also gives visitors access to a variety of dining and shopping options. Many guests choose to leave for a few hours in the early afternoon when the sun gets unbearably hot, and return in the late afternoon.
4. Caddy’s on the Beach
Caddy’s on the Beach is located on West Gulf Boulevard just north of St. Pete Beach in Treasure Island. It’s one of the area’s most popular restaurants and is noted for its scenic beachside location and tasty food.
Many consider it the Gulf coast’s most iconic beach bar and grill, and it includes both indoor and outdoor seating.
The indoor portion is air-conditioned, and they often host live entertainment in the evenings when the temps are perfect and gentle breezes are blowing in from the sea.
Their menu includes lots of traditional favorites like seafood and burgers. Though it’s not the cheapest dining option in town, many guests consider it one of the most memorable.
5. The Dali Museum
The Dali Museum in downtown St. Petersburg is one of the country’s most complete repositories of artwork created by the world-famous Spanish artist Salvador Dali.
Dali’s works have been described as surreal and psychedelic, and though he’s most well-known for his paintings, he dabbled in other artistic mediums as well; many of them are on display at the museum.
In addition to its permanent exhibits, the museum hosts children’s activities, guest speakers, temporary exhibits and films relating to the artist’s life and work, as well as those of other artists.
There is a gift shop and café on-site too, and the museum has numerous pieces by other well-known artists as well.
6. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve
Boyd Hill Nature Preserve is comprised of nearly 250 acres of undeveloped land that lies along Country Club Way in St. Petersburg.
The preserve’s distinct natural areas are connected by a number of trails and a boardwalk, making it a convenient destination for families looking to stretch their legs and appreciate the great outdoors.
The preserve includes woodlands, lakes, and marshes and is home to a variety of wildlife that are relatively easy to see, especially during the lowlight morning and evening hours. The trails stretch for nearly six miles; there are covered picnic areas along the way, and overnight camping is available as well.
7. Florida Holocaust Museum
The Florida Holocaust Museum is located on 5th Street in St. Petersburg and has been a poignant historical attraction since it was opened to the public in 1998.
The museum includes nearly 30,000 feet of space dedicated to the men, women, and children who suffered and died during the Holocaust. For many guests, it’s one of the most memorable and thought-provoking attractions they visited on their trip to the area.
The museum’s permanent collection includes historical accounts, photographs, and a variety of art relating to the epic human tragedy. It’s also home to one of the country’s largest libraries dedicated to Holocaust writing and documents.
8. St. Petersburg Farmers Market
The St. Petersburg Farmers Market is held in the parking lot of Al Lang Field on 1st Street South and features nearly 200 vendors selling everything from fresh local produce and health and body products to fresh baked goods and arts and crafts.
The market has been operating for nearly two decades and typically draws thousands of visitors per day during the season.
It’s open from October to May annually when the weather in the St. Pete Beach area is just about perfect. For many, it’s as much a social event as it is a purely shopping one.
9. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium
Though it features a variety of amazing sea creatures, as all aquariums do, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is unique in that it’s primarily dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of animals that have been injured or orphaned in the wild.
Many of the aquarium’s residents are turtles, dolphins, and sea birds, and a large number of them are eventually returned to the wild when they’re fully recovered.
The aquarium has been open since the early ‘70s, and a few of its dolphins were previously featured in a popular children’s movie. It’s one of those rare vacation attractions that educates as well as entertains.
10. Mahaffey Theater
Though the historic Mahaffey Theater has been open since the ‘60s, it’s now located in downtown St. Petersburg’s Duke Energy Center for the Arts, which has recently undergone significant renovations and upgrades.
Seating more than 2,000 visitors and one of the area’s most popular live entertainment venues, the theater features impressive views of the waterfront, as well as elegant private seating areas for those who’d rather not rub elbows with the riffraff.
Their calendar of events includes a wide array of performances, from contemporary music like jazz and the blues to Broadway-style shows, dramatic theater, and classical music.
11. Great Explorations Children’s Museum
Even children who love the beach and great outdoors need a break once in a while, and the Great Explorations Children’s Museum on 4th Street North in St. Petersburg is the perfect place to give them a taste of a little something different.
The museum’s interactive exhibits touch on animals, the natural world, technology, science, and art. Most parents agree that though the cost of admission isn’t cheap, it’s good value considering all that’s included.
The museum is also a favorite private event venue, and throughout the year, they host a variety of staff-led special programs and activities.
12. The Clearwater Threshers
During the spring before the regular Major League Baseball season has started, teams from all over the country descend on Florida to hone their skills and play practice games against other big-league teams.
The Clearwater Threshers have been a farm team of the Philadelphia Phillies since the ‘80s, and when they’re in the Sunshine State, they play their games at Spectrum Field.
The stadium seats about 7,000 spectators and includes most of the amenities that bigger stadiums do – but without the hefty price tag. Check out their schedule online to see a full list of their home and away games.
13. Sunken Gardens
Sunken Gardens is an idyllic attraction hidden amid St. Petersburg’s hectic downtown area. Most visitors agree that it’s one of those places that made them feel like they were much farther away from civilization than they really were.
The gardens are nearly 100-years-old and include a variety of uniquely themed areas dotted with beautiful waterfalls, covered seating areas, and a network of well-marked paths that make them easy to explore.
Native and exotic plants, flowers, and trees are exhibited, and guided tours are available for those who’d like unique insight into the things they’re seeing.
14. Encounters with Dolphins
Encounters with Dolphins is a popular local business that specializes in bringing tourists and dolphins together in an environment that’s safe and engaging for guests of most ages.
They offer a variety of tour options of differing lengths, and each ticket includes a promise that if dolphins aren’t seen, the holder may come back and try again free of charge. Most outings see dolphins, so it’s usually not an issue.
Depending on the ages of those you’re traveling with, it’s possible to include swimming, snorkeling, and even treasure hunts during your tour. In addition to bottlenose dolphins, it’s common to see manatees and even sea turtles.
15. Sea Dog Brewing Company
Sea Dog Brewing Company is located on Gulf Boulevard in nearby Treasure Island and is the perfect place to relax with a cold pint and a good friend out of the Florida sun.
They specialize in using only the best ingredients, along with traditional English brewing methods to create some of the Gulf coast’s best beer.
The facility features both indoor and outdoor seating; the indoor section is a pleasant mix of contemporary and traditional that’s reminiscent of an English pub.
Regulars often join the beer club, in which participants get points for each dollar spent that can be used for discounts on food and clothing that are available to purchase on-site.