Sunday, August 13, 2023

What to do in St. Pete, FL

{St. Pete Beach - My swimsuit, Madelyn's swimsuit}
My family and I just came back from our summer vacation in FL. It was so nice to have our own place to stay this time. We traveled light, went to the beach everyday, came back home after a few hours, went to the pool and just took it easy. Our Airbnb is less than 2 miles from St. Pete Beach and Pass-A-Grille Beach. It's less than 20 minutes from Fort De Soto Park and about 30 minutes from Tampa. I truly enjoy the privacy of this charming little island while still being close to all that the area has to offer. If you're looking for a place to stay in St. Pete Beach, I'd love to host you and your family. I wanted to share what to do and where to eat in St. Pete just in case you're interested.
{Snippets from our trip}
  • Explore different beaches - St. Pete Beach was named Tripadvisor's No. 1 Beach in the U.S. in 2021 for obvious reasons. It's gorgeous! It is known for its incredible powdery white sand beaches and laid-back lifestyle. We visited last year and fell in love with the area. There are so many other beaches near by that we haven't had a chance to explore: Treasure Island Beach, Madeira Beach, North Redington Beach, Indian Rocks Beach.
  • Shell Key Island - If you're looking for a completely off the beaten track beach experience, I'd highly suggest visiting Shell Key Island. It's a 10 minute boat ride from the pier. Do not put money in parking meter prior to purchasing ferry tickets. For $5, the Shell Key shuttle will give you an all day parking pass for $5. We had the best time snorkeling and looking for shells. Shell Key Island is an undeveloped barrier island and the perfect getaway for those looking for a secluded beach.
  • Fort De Soto Park - The attraction is North beach! It was a lot less crowded than the other beaches in the area. This is a great beach for kids as the sandbars make a lot of shallow, warm pools. Beyond the sandbars the swimming is very nice. Very gradually sloping sandy bottom. If you have young kids, I'd highly recommend Fort De Soto Park.  Admission is $5 per vehicle and can be paid at the entrance booth or at an automatic kiosk.
{Shell Key Island - My swimsuit, Courtney's swimsuit}
  • Parasailing in Clearwater Beach - Clearwater Beach will always have a place in my heart. We've been taking the girls there since they were little. This time, we took them parasailing. Courtney has done it twice but this was Madelyn's first time. They had a blast. We went with Chute Em Up Parasail. The staff was wonderful and professional. The view of Clearwater Beach from sky is amazing! 
  • Walk thru the Don CeSar hotel a.k.a The Pink Palace - I personally haven't done this but it's on my must see list. The Don CeSar hotel a historical landmark and well-known tourist attraction in St. Pete Beach. You can book a few nights or just tour the hotel. The public areas are open to everyone.
  • Tropical fruit farms - Most tropical fruit farms are located in Homestead, FL which is about 4 hours drive from St. Pete. However, they do not allow going into farm to pick your own fruits anymore. They'll pick them and you can buy. I was able to find a custard apple farm in Tampa. They are my favorite. The owners are so sweet and friendly. They gave us a tour. My family and I had a great experience picking our own custard apples. I am not going share their contact publicly but if you are in the area and want to visit, send me a message.
  • Visit freshwater springs - Since it's so hot in FL, visiting freshwater springs on a hot summer day is really refreshing. There are quite a few of them in FL, you can Google to find the closest one to you. We took the girls to Weeki Wachee Springs. The springs are truly amazing and there are fun activities to do with the family. The crystal clear water was like nothing I have ever experienced before. It was a wonderful way to see natural Florida.
  • Pinellas Farmers & Flea Market - Open Saturday & Sunday 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. I love this place so much. It has a great selection of fresh fruits and vegetables. Lots of Asian fruits and veggies. They also have fruit trees and plants for sale. Tons of food vendors. Overall, it's a super fun place to visit on a Saturday morning and see different things
  • Saigon Night Market - If you're looking for Vietnamese street food, definitely check out Saigon Night Market. Super fun and delicious night market with a great variety of Vietnamese street food. The atmosphere is so fun and lively.
  • John's Pass Village & Boardwalk - Fun walk along the boardwalk with many shops to browse in. Great view of John’s Pass bridge. There is so much to see: Dolphin watching from the boardwalk, countless souvenir shops, festivals, live music and the beauty of the waterfront both along the Pass and the Gulf shore.
Where to eat:
  • Umi Sushi & Seafood Buffet
  • Saigon Bowl - Authentic Vietnamese food
  • The Kokonut Hut
  • Nam Viet Bistro - Family style
  • Kien Giang pho
  • Ha Long Bay
  • DeRusso's Pizzeria - The absolute best pizzas in town
  • Nine Spices Hotpot - My favorite dinner spot. I loved our experience here. Very spacious and clean. A great variety of menu items to choose from and the conveyor belt is a fun feature.
It was a much needed vacation. The girls will be following different school schedules starting next week. I am glad we were able to spend the last 9 days with them before Courtney heading off to college. She'll be moving into her dorm and Madelyn starts her middle school journey in a few short days.

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