There’s a good reason why St. Petersburg, FL is known as ‘The Sunshine City’ – with an average of 248 days of sun per year, St. Pete is always a fun time and a great place. to visit. Once you’ve arrived though, what should you do? There’s lot of great things to take advantage of in the city and surrounding areas. So here are some great day trips from St. Petersburg that you can do:
The Dali Museum
The largest collection of Salvador Dali paintings and sculptures outside of Europe is located in downtown St. Petersburg and is a can’t miss when you visit. The Dali was designed with Florida hurricanes and humidity in mind but still is a beautiful piece of architecture. The museum is home to 7 of Dali’s 18 masterpieces and there are rotating exhibits from other artists as well. Many tours and activities are available at The Dali throughout the year.
St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club
Shuffleboard at one time was a huge activity in St. Petersburg. The St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club was founded in 1924 and was a meeting place for many years. Membership declined in the 1960’s and 70’s and the Club almost became a parking lot. However it survived and in the past few years has become a hot spot to hang out with friends and family and have some fun. The Club has beginner bootcamps along with the Friday event St. Pete Shuffle, which are both open to members and visitors.
Morean Arts Center
A conglomerate of arts the Morean Arts Center is located in several different buildings. In addition to the arts center, it also consists of the Chihuly Collection, Morean Glass Studio and Morean Center for Clay. In addition to exhibits, there are also classes, tours and events available to the general public.
A peaceful botanical garden right in the middle of downtown, Sunken Gardens is a perfect place to take a break from the Florida sun. Originally a roadside attraction before the days of highways, there are over 500 species of plants, including some that are over 100 years old. There are also live flamingos and other birds on the 4 acre site.
Ft. DeSoto Park
Located in south St. Petersburg, Ft. DeSoto is a county park that is over 1,000 acres of woods, beach mangroves and islands. There is a historic fort on site along with accessible beaches, camping sites, hiking trails, bird watching and a dog park. It’s a great way to spend the day. There is also Egmont Key and Shell Key, both of which are only accessible by boat.
30-45 Minute Trips From St. Petersburg
Caladesi Island State Park
Located about 20 miles north of St. Pete in Dunedin, FL, Caladesi Island State Park is a secluded location that’s perfect for an escape from the crowded beaches of the area. Voted one of Dr. Beach‘s top 10 beaches in 2018, Caladesi provides sugar sand beaches, clear water and no development on the sand. Caladesi Island is only accessible by boat but there’s a ferry located inside of Honeymoon Island State Park which will take you to Caladesi.
St. Pete Beach
8 miles southwest of St. Petersburg, St. Pete Beach is a separate town (and isn’t St. Petersburg Beach . . . it’s officially St. Pete Beach). Known for it’s beaches and the luxury Don Cesar Hotel, St. Pete Beach is a great place to hear some live music, have a beach drink and really feel like you’re on vacation.
10 miles west in Madeira Beach, John’s Pass Village is a small shipping/dining replica of a fisherman’s village. Located across from the Gulf of Mexico and with shopping, restaurants, a boardwalk, jet ski rentals and fishing charters, it’s a family friendly way to spend the day.
If you’re headed to Caladesi Island, be sure to make a stop at downtown Dunedin for some food, drinks and small town shopping. Dunedin is also known for all of its local breweries, many of which are located on the Pinellas Trail so you can walk or bike to most of them.
Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks
A small city located 30 miles north of St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs is known as the Sponge Capitol of the World and has a deep Greek history. The sponge docks of Tarpon Springs has seafood and Greek restaurants, small shops, boat tours and the chance to purchase your own sponge to take home.
Day Trips From St. Petersburg Up to 2.5 Hours Away
The Ringling Museum (Sarasota)
Located in Sarasota, The Ringling is a trip that is a must do day trip from St. Petersburg. The former home of one of the founders of Ringling Bros. Circus, The Ringling also includes a museum of fine art, a circus museum and a theater. With several on-site restaurants and acres of gardens, you could easily spend an entire day here.
Distance from St. Petersburg: 35 miles (approx. 45-60 minutes)
Bok Towers (Lake Wales)
With gardens designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr, a signing tower, estate tour and nature trails, Bok Towers offers an outdoor experience to learn more about the nature of the gardens and architecture from another time in Florida.
Distance from St. Petersburg: 89 miles (approx. 1 hour & 30 minutes)
Weeki Wachee State Park (Weeki Wachee)
If you’re in St. Petersburg, you have to take a day trip to Weeki Wachee State Park. A natural spring, Weeki Wachee is home of the mermaids. Yes, mermaids. With three underwater shows a day, the mermaids of Weeki Wachee have been a roadside attraction for over 70 years. They even met Elvis! In addition to the mermaid shows, there is an animal show and a boat ride down 1 mile of the Weeki Wachee River.
This is a small park and won’t take all day to visit unless you go during the spring or summer and also visit their waterpark, Buccaneer Bay (included in cost of entrance). Consider renting a kayak while there or stop by Tarpon Springs on your way back down for some lunch.
Distance from St. Petersburg: 70 miles (approx. 1 hour & 25 minutes)
The shelling capital of the world, Sanibel Island is 17 square miles and a beautiful getaway. In addition to shelling (don’t forget your shelling bag!), there’s also bird watching, eco tours, nature trails and water sports like snorkeling and scuba diving.
Distance from St. Petersburg: 143 miles (approx. 2 hours & 30 minutes)
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