Here in Central Florida, from coast to coast and north to south, we get a kick out of our countless day trip spots. Along with our renowned theme parks, Florida is home to historic towns, award-winning beaches, professional sports teams and stunning nature preserves, so there’s hardly a shortage of things to do. While we may be a little spoiled here in Orlando, there is one thing our visitors can count on: we love to share our home with everyone.
Today, we’re focusing on the bustling, beautiful, walkable downtown of St. Petersburg, its award-winning St. Pete Beach, and the surrounding area. So, if you’re thinking about heading to Central Florida’s west coast and spending the day in St. Petersburg, we’ve got your list of top things to do… and you can do them all on less than a tank of gas.
Top 5 Things To Do in St Petersburg, Florida
#1: Sunken Gardens
This botanical paradise happens to be the area’s oldest living museum and houses some of the earliest tropical plants in existence in Central Florida. Grab your walking shoes and a bottle of water while you stroll through meandering paths, set your eyes on cascading waterfalls, visit beautiful demonstration gardens and take in more than 50,000 tropical plants and flowers. After your day at the Sunken Gardens, visit the gardens of the Red Mesa Cantina. This local favorite restaurant is always hopping and offers a stunning “Cantina Courtyard” dining area that wraps around a beautiful fountain with a cascading waterfall, all in a lovely garden.
#2: Salvador Dali Museum
Discover the life and legend that was Salvador Dali—one of the most celebrated artists of all time—at the Dali Museum. Located in downtown St. Petersburg, the Dali Museum has an exquisitely curated collection of Salvador Dali works and sprawling waterfront gardens inspired by Dali’s fascination with art and nature. Get to know the people, places and events that transformed this brilliant Spanish artist into a surrealist sensation, then take a stroll downtown, where there are hundreds of restaurants, nature walks, shops, galleries and more. If you want a stunning view of the water, check out The Canopy Rooftop Lounge at The Birchwood.
#3: Fort De Soto Park and Beach
You don’t have to go to south Florida to enjoy the keys! As the largest park in Pinellas County, Fort De Soto offers more than 1,000 acres on five interconnected islands. Fort De Soto boasts some of the most beautiful beaches, plants, mangroves, wetlands, palm hammocks and hardwoods, and it is also the home of more than 300 different species of birds. Bring a picnic as the concessions are very limited. If you’re looking to go camping, this is the spot! With 238 camping areas, two large swimming centers, playgrounds, fishing piers, picnic shelters and several restrooms, Fort De Soto is the perfect place for your overnight escape. An additional tip for the dog lovers out there: this award-winning destination also has a special beach just for pups!
#4: St. Pete Beach
This resort beach city is west of downtown St. Petersburg and is set on a barrier island. Home to the architecturally and historically grand Don CeSar resort, the powder white beaches of St. Pete and the balmy waters of the Gulf of Mexico will invite you, year-round, to take a dip. On average, the sun shines 361 days of the year. So, we’re thinking you’ll have ample opportunity to soak in some rays. Make sure you pop into Larry’s Olde Fashioned for some ice cream and gelato. Take note: when the sun is high, the lines are long – Larry’s is a St. Pete Beach staple!
#5: Tropicana Field
Speaking of soaking in some rays, Tropicana Field in downtown St. Petersburg is home to the Tampa Bay Rays Major League baseball team. The only Major League stadium with all-dirt base paths and an enclosed roof, this weatherproof field makes it nearly impossible to miss a game. From late March to early November, visitors to St. Petersburg love to take in a Rays game here. If you’re in the mood for tailgating, don’t miss Ferg’s Sports Bar, THE legendary St. Pete destination where all fans meet, no matter the team.
Book Your Vacation Home Accommodations
After an adventurous day road-tripping it to St. Petersburg, you’ll be dreaming of a place to rest your head. Plan your vacation in style and come home to Encore Resort at Reunion. Our guard-gated community features modern, beautifully decorated 4- to 13-bedroom homes with backyard pools, washer/dryer units, and fully equipped kitchens, plus resort-style amenities like an AquaPark and concierge services.