Weekend Guide To: St. Pete Beach

August 20, 2018

Summer may be coming to an end, but there's really never a bad time for a beach trip. Personally, I like taking beach trips during every other season but summer. FL in July is absolutely sweltering, so I prefer to escape to the beach when it's freezing cold here in TN (but let's be honest - anything below 65 and I start to turn into a popsicle). But since July was the only time that worked out for this trip, it was either that or nothing - and I'm never one to turn down a beachy getaway!

I feel like St. Pete Beach is one of the lesser-known spots, especially if you stay in one of the neighboring beach towns like Treasure Island or Reddington. St. Pete Beach isn't swamped like Miami or Panama City, and offers a lot to do no matter who you're traveling with. This was our first family vacation (& Lilly's first beach vacation), so we knew going into it that it would be a slower paced trip. There was a lot of eating involved, which I'm totally fine with! :) So I've rounded up my list of must-do's if you're heading to the St. Petersburg area.

First up, THE BEACH (obviously). We stayed at the Plaza Beachfront Hotel right in St. Pete Beach, so the sand & waves were literally right in our hotel's backyard. The beach here is wide and spacious, and was not very crowded at all. Nothing's worse than spending all that time & effort getting to the beach, only to be packed in like sardines - especially with a baby who can be unpredictable sometimes, so any meltdowns she may have had would have been heard pretty loud & clear if we had people right on top of us, so having lots of space to spread out was huge plus. If you're planning a day trip, there is public beach access near this hotel so you can easily park & it's just a short trip down to the sand. 

Try for the beach first thing in the morning before it gets too hot (and crowded). We would spend a couple hours here in the morning, then break for lunch & adventures. If you want to head back after, you could also check out Pass-A-Grille Beach, which is at the south end of St. Pete Beach. The beach here is a lot narrower (and thus it seemed a lot more crowded), the sand was a bit shellier, but the water was very clear, and there are lots of shops and cafes within walking distance.

Make sure to pack your beach essentials! My go-to's are usually a pool floaty, an extra long towel, sunblock, a good book, sunglasses, and some snacks & ice cold drinks!

Next up, THE FOOD! Yes, I'm that person that takes pictures of things they eat, but hey, at least it wasn't every meal! St. Pete Beach has a ton of your run-of-the-mill touristy seafood joints, and you'll pay a premium at most of these for food that is just kind of "blah." But there are some gems!

Twistee Treat is an adorable little ice cream stand, offering endless flavor combos. It's been around since 1984, but it's got some definite retro vibes.

Palm Pavilion is actually in Clearwater beach. It's just a short drive up the coast and totally worth it! Wait for a table out on the patio and you'll be rewarded with great views (& maybe catch the sunset). The food here is excellent (2 words: COCONUT. SHRIMP.), the atmosphere is fun, and the drinks will definitely get you! They have some crazy drinks, but all delicious & worth a try. I opted for the "Chunky Monkey" - a blend of Calypso coconut rum, banana liqueur and Frangelico with piña colada mix. Then they hit it with dark crème de cocoa, whipped cream, toasted coconut and chocolate sprinkles. YES PLEASE!

Cafe Soleil is a great option for breakfast, brunch, or a quick snack to take to the beach. It's an adorable little French cafe that specializes in treats like croissant sandwiches and pastries. The service can be a little slow, but the food is worth it.

Honorable Mention goes to Woody's (sadly, no photos). They had the BEST coconut shrimp (with a view)! It's a bit of a dive bar on the inside, but you want waterfront patio seating anyway, so opt for one of the picnic tables.

Last on my list - SIGHTEESING & SHOPPING :) We thoroughly enjoyed wandering the grounds of the Don Cesar (check out my post here for the in-depth details about this place). The hotel is a gorgeous & sprawling pink resort with a '20s flair, and is rich in history (& delicious cocktails, I might add). It's definitely worth putting on your to-do list!

We also wandered into downtown St. Petersburg & stopped at a couple breweries. I had no idea how many breweries St. Pete Beach & St. Petersburg have but it's pretty much a beer lover's dream. Take your pick from any of these (or you know, just visit them all... #GOALS)
  • St. Pete Brewing Co.
  • Sea Dog Brewing
  • 3 Daughters
  • Flying Boat
  • Green Bench
  • Overflow
  • Mastry's
I also found the cutest little boutique. The brightly colored wall initially caught my attention, & I had to go investigate. This shop is Marion's and they carry all sorts of goodies & brands that spoke to me - everything from Lilly Pulitzer & Kate Spade, to Spartina449 and Rifle Paper Co. This shop is worth a look, and while there are some definite high-end items here, they offer plenty of small cute trinkets as well, like these Florida print postcards & notebooks. Just listen to you inner Rebecca Bloomwood, and take a peek.

I loved that my outfit totally matched the boutique's aesthetic. Unfortunately, this Lilly P. Ramona 2-piece set isn't available on their site anymore, but you can score it cheaper on Poshmark anyway - here, here or here, and snag the cute Betsey Johnson crossbody here.

This was such a fun trip, and I think St. Pete will become an annual thing for us. I can't wait to go back!

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