Dear wonderful readers, it’s been a while! At last, after nearly 2 years of pause on international travel content on my blog (sadly) I am so excited to finally be sharing what I love again. The world has opened up with travel restrictions mostly lifted which means it’s time to get planning, especially as summer has arrived!
I have so many exciting travel guides and reviews lined up. But first, I want to start with the most wonderful trip I took in February 2020. This was in fact was the last big trip right before the pandemic hit. If you follow my blog, you already know how much I adore Florida following my trip to Miami in 2018. I was over the moon to be given the opportunity to explore more of the beautiful sunshine state.
We visited 3 areas surrounding Tampa Bay, West Florida, exploring everything from beaches, nature to cities. The state truly has so much variety and the great news is that all destinations covered in this 3-part travel guide are within 1 hour from Tampa International Airport. It’s the perfect recipe for a road trip!
We started off in St Pete’s Beach & Clearwater where art and culture meets America’s best beaches. St Pete’s Beach & Clearwater are just a 30 min drive from Tampa International Airport
WHAT TO DO
Visit downtown St Petersburg
St Petersburg is a hipster town perfect for young travellers and art lovers. The town is filled with world class museums, galleries, over 500 murals, bike paths, breweries, farmers markets, converted warehouses and an awesome cafe culture.
The best way to explore St Petersburg is to hop on a bike and immerse yourself fully in their culture. We went on an amazing Biking Mural + Brewery Tour with Florida CraftArt which covered the best of St Petersburg in just a few hours.
Kayak Tour around Shell Key
We woke up one sunny morning for a Kayak Tour with Get Up and Go Kayaking. What a beautiful and peaceful way to start the day. There’s just something about starting your day surrounded by nature and blue skies. If you’re lucky you can spot local marine life much as manatees, dolphins and starfish whilst kayaking.
We kayaked along the South Channel and over to the secluded Shell Key island for a pit spot. Shell Key island is a beautiful 1,828-acre preserve. On the island we went hunting for beautiful shells and there were plenty! I was hoping to bring some back home but of course I managed to break them before even leaving Florida. Definitely put kayaking on your list of things to do in St Pete’s.
Billy’s Stone Crab, 1 Collany Rd, Tierra Verde, FL 33715, USA
Visit The Don CeSar
If you’re looking for your perfect Instagram spot, look no further. The Don CeSar is an iconic hotel in St Pete’s which can not be missed (quite literally, you’ll see it from a mile away!). This charming Pink Palace built in 1928, during the Gatsby era, is so beautiful and unique.
Whether you stay there for the night, have lunch, dinner or pop by for a drink, a visit to St Pete’s is not complete without a visit to The Don Cesar.
3400 Gulf Boulevard, St. Pete Beach, Florida 33706
Whether or not you’re an art or museum lover, you’ll no doubt be impressed by the Dali Museum. The museum is highly interactive and houses a large collection of Dali paintings with 2,400 Salvador Dalí works. His work is fascinating, beautiful and bizarre all at the same time! The architecture itself is like art, truly stunning.
1 Dali Blvd, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, United States
Tripadvisor named Clearwater the #1 beach in the US in 2018. Clearwater is a lively area with a clean & well maintained white sandy beach and busy night life. Every evening you’ll find a sunset festival on the pier with live music, stalls and plenty of people admiring the beautiful sunset. I was lucky to see a super moon while I was there. Despite tons of photos, none of them did the moon and sunset justice. It’s just one of those things you have to witness for yourself.
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
St Pete’s Beach & Clearwater are full of trendy restaurants, bars and roof top spots.
Fresh fish brought in daily, tacos and tropical drinks – need I say more? The delicious food and drinks were accompanied by live music and a chilled atmosphere. We were also lucky to capture a magical sunset at Trophy Fish. This was a great way to end a busy day.
2060 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, 33712
Whilst you’re in St Pete’s make sure you put aside an afternoon to explore the elegant Pass-A-Grille and have food & drinks at the stunning rooftop / restaurant The Dewey. The rooftop overlooks the Gulf and the Pass-A-Grille Channel whilst downstairs is a chic indoor dining area.
The Dewey is a restaurant by Mise en Place, a renowned hospitality group in the Tampa area. The group is owned by a lovely lady called Maryann Ferenc who we got the pleasure of meeting a couple of times during our trip.
As a coastal restaurant, expect lots of delicious fresh seafood. Besides that, if you visit make sure you don’t miss out on the Brusselsprout, Mike’s pies (WOW) and grits.
As mentioned above, even if it’s just for food or drinks, this hotel is definitely worth a visit. There are 5 restaurants and bars to choose from as well as an ice cream parlour for those with a sweet tooth.
3400 Gulf Boulevard, St. Pete Beach, Florida 33706
WHERE TO STAY
St Pete’s Beach – Postcard Inn on the Beach
Postcard Inn is a surfer’s paradise with comfortable rooms, colourful interiors and fun atmosphere. Postcard Inn is located right on the beautiful sandy St. Pete Beach. Activities at the hotel include games, bike rentals, windsurfing to lounging by the pool of course.
6300 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach
Clearwater – Opal Sands
Opal Sands is a luxurious resort located right at the end of the famous Clearwater Beach Walk. The pier and town centre are within a short walking distance.
The thing I absolutely loved about this place is that all hotel rooms are facing the ocean. As soon as you walk in you’re greeted by a breathtaking view of the Gulf.
Publishing this is bringing back so many wonderful memories and I dream of being back soon again. As mentioned in earlier in the blog post, this state truly has so much variety. If you think you’ve seen plenty here, then stay tuned for Sports Coast & Tampa Travel Guides in the next few weeks.
The borders are completely open to vaccinated travellers, please find the most up to date information HERE.
This series of blog posts is sponsored by Visit Florida