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MAKE YOUR NEXT GETAWAY

EFFORTLESS ELEGANCE

3400 Gulf Boulevard St. Pete Beach FL 33706 800.282.1116 DONCESAR.COM\G2B


 -U; f/g g/WV FROM THE BEST BEACH IN AMERICA !(+)! 0+ 0$! *!3 5* $) .* (!.30!. !$Ä‹ ""!.%*# ăąă #1!/0.++)/ÄŒ +)! !4,!.%!*! )!.%Äš/ Ä˝Ä !$ÄŒ / .0! 5 .%, 2%/+.Äš/ Ä‚Ä€Ä ÄŠ .2!(!./ņ $+%! 3. /ÄŒ 3%0$ 2%!3/ +" 0$! 1(" +" !4%+ * *0.+/0( 0!.35Ä‹ * 1(#! %* 0$! 0.*-1%( ((2% 141.5 , * 30!.".+*0 %*%*# 0 +1. /%#*01.! .!/01.*0ÄŒ !* %ÄŒ 0$! +*(5 /%*ÄĄ"1/%+* 1%/%*! +* (!.30!. !$Ä‹ Make your reservation today at WyndhamGrandClearwater.com or call us at 727-281-9500, referencing rate code HTBB20. Rates start at $199 per night.

100 Coronado Dr, Clearwater, FL 33767


INSIDE 46 ARTS

If you thought St. Pete/Clearwater was all beach, think again. Equally as impressive, the area’s museums, galleries and street art are unparalleled.

14 AS TIME UNFOLDS

Tear out your own timelapse poster of our Sunshine City, St. Pete, or flip it over and enjoy an old-school map with all the must-visit stops in St. Pete/Clearwater.

16

BEACHES & TOWNS

Explore our collection of eclectic small towns, vibrant cities, happening beaches and relaxing spots in our slice of paradise along the Gulf of Mexico.

15

70 DINING

The area’s not just a waterside dining oasis, but rich with new, cutting-edge restaurants and classics that will have your taste buds dancing.

8 WELCOME 10 BY THE NUMBERS

40 WATER

Parasail along the beaches, paddleboard in the bay, kayak mangroves or dive shipwrecks.

15 TAMPA BAY 56 BEST LIST 62 SHOPPING 66 LGBTQ+ 99 EVENTS 106 WEDDINGS

4 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S

83 THINGS TO DO

With endless ways to enjoy your time here, we’ve highlighted the best in nature, family, breweries, bars (day and night), music, sports (to watch and to do), markets and more.


13 ACRES OF PRIVATE SHORELINE

Located near world class attractions, we are a welcome oasis away from the crowds. Find your perfect balance of relaxation and adventure at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort. 800.456.7263 | sheratonsandkey.com | Clearwater Beach, FL


GULF TO BAY

HOME OF AMERICA'S BEST BEACHES. VisitStPeteClearwater.com

OFFICES OF VISIT ST. PETE/CLEARWATER North American Office, 8200 Bryan Dairy Road, Suite 200, Largo, FL 33777 USA 727-464-7200 or 877-352-3224 Central European Office, Postfach 1806, D-61288 Bad Homburg, Germany +49 (0) 6172-38 80 94 80 or info@VisitSPC.de United Kingdom Office, Link House, 140 The Broadway, Tolworth, Surrey KT67JE England, 020 8339 6121

VisitTheUSA com

CONNECT WITH US Facebook.com/ VisitStPeteClearwater Be inspired with live broadcasts from America’s Best Beaches, brilliant sunsets and the area’s biggest events. Twitter.com/VSPC Follow @VSPC to stay in the loop on the area’s latest happenings and fun giveaways to sporting events, concerts and more. YouTube.com/ VisitStPeteClearwater Get a taste of all that St. Pete/Clearwater has to offer with our bold and vibrant video series highlighting the area’s best restaurants and chefs, upcoming events, and can’t-miss attractions! Instagram.com/VSPC Explore St. Pete/Clearwater one glorious photo at a time. Best part? Our most popular filter is no filter. #LiveAmplified Pinterest.com/VSPC We’ve collected the best of the best, from top hotels to best sunset spots to tasty restaurants. Go ahead and pin your favorites to your own boards!

6 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S

This issue of the St. Pete/Clearwater destination magazine is published by Visit St. Pete/Clearwater in partnership with the Tampa Bay Times, 490 First Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 USA, 727-893-8535. Gulf To Bay magazine is printed and distributed by Newspaper Printing Company located in Tampa, Florida. npcprinting.com

General Manager Chris Galbraith Art Director Nikki Life Designers Nikki Life, Marcus Oania Photo Editor Patty Yablonski Photography & Illustration Judy B, Douglas Clifford, Jessica Cruz, Jim Damaske, Eve Edelheit, Jimmy Fashner, Boyzell Hosey, Tailyr Irvine, Brian James, Scott Keeler, Aubrey Meiling, Marcus Oania, Jacob Pierce, Martha Asencio Rhine, Lance Rothstein, Teresanne Cossetta Russell, Luis Santana, Dirk Shadd, Chris Urso, Bronte Wittpenn, Patty Yablonski, Chris Zuppa Writers Bob Andelman, Pete Couture, Jay Cridlin, Maggie Duffy, Josh Gillin, Stephanie Hayes, Nikki Life, Sally Moe, Kerry O'Reilly, Virginia Pelley, Laura Reiley, Chris Spata, Michelle Stark, Kelly Stephanie Imaging Brian Baracani

ON THE COVER: There are countless ways to take in St. Pete/Clearwater’s fabulous 35 miles of beaches and warm Gulf of Mexico waters, but one of the most relaxing is aboard a sailboat. Here, sailing vessel Ventus enjoys a westerly breeze to cruise along Clearwater Beach and Pier 60 while soaking in the sunshine. All aboard! ORDER ONLINE: To explore this magazine online or to order a free print copy, go to VisitSPC.com/GulfToBay.


PALM TREES. GULF BREEZE. CALM SEAS. THE

perfect combination

FOR YOUR

beach vacation.

New rooms for relaxation, aquatic adventures for exhilaration. Laid-back settings and sunset strolls. Culinary delights, beachside bites and plenty of sips to savor. From sunrise to sunset, discover your best getaway yet on our 31-acres of award-winning St. Pete Beach.

Book Direct and Save JustLetGo.com | 877.300.5527

JustLetGo.com


WELCOME TO WONDERLAND 8 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S


Like what you see? Discover more St. Pete/Clearwater island photos like this at VisitSPC.com/Island.

No matter what you’re looking for in a vacation, you can’t go wrong visiting St. Pete/Clearwater. In addition to perfect weather all year-round, this area abounds with gorgeous beaches, a variety of museums and galleries, world-class dining and craft breweries, exciting sports teams and lots of opportunities for thrills, sport and adventure. Sink your feet into the sugary white sand of our awardwinning beaches and aquamarine waters of the Gulf of Mexico and feel stress melt away. Relax under an umbrella with a book, or spike your adrenaline with speed boating, water skiing, scuba diving, paddleboarding or kayaking. Enjoy natural wonders by paddling to Honeymoon Island and seeing marine animals and hundreds of birds, meeting famous dolphins Winter and Hope at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium or biking the 47 miles of the Pinellas Trail.

More in the mood for adventure of the culinary, cocktail or late-night variety? Whether you’re looking for old-school BBQ or trendy farm-to-table dining, we’ve got you covered. Sip innovative craft cocktails made with fresh ingredients and popular local craft beers while watching live music or bar hopping into the wee hours in downtown St. Petersburg, Treasure Island and Dunedin. You can even make a week out of shopping the quaint, village-like boutiques of Safety Harbor, Dunedin, Gulfport and downtown Clearwater and St. Petersburg. No matter what your speed, get ready for the vacation of a lifetime in St. Pete/Clearwater. And remember, leave nothing but your footprints so we can enjoy our area’s natural beauty forever.

V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 9


2,400

Number of works by Salvador DalÍ at the DalÍ Museum in St. Pete, which houses the largest collection of the artist’s work outside Europe

81°

Average year-round temperature

250,000

Estimated number of attendees at St. Pete Pride, Florida’s largest Pride celebration

ST. PETE/CLEARWATER

BY THE NUMBERS 47

500

Length, in miles, of the Pinellas Trail, a biking and running trail that spans from Tarpon Springs to St. Pete

Trees planted across 26 acres of the new St. Pete Pier debuting in 2020

Contemporary glass works on display at Imagine Museum in St. Pete

1.5 Million

Gallons of water in the new dolphin habitat at Clearwater Marine Aquarium

1,000

Weight in pounds of the average adult manatee 10 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S

Size of the flamingo flock at Sunken Gardens, St. Pete’s 100+ year old botanical garden

500

12

Statues in the new Circle of Heroes underwater memorial off the coast of Clearwater Beach

20

2

Beaches ranked on TripAdvisor’s 2020 list of Best U.S. Beaches (St. Pete Beach #2 & Clearwater Beach #5)

97

40+

Breweries in St. Pete/Clearwater

Percentage of the sun’s harmful UVB rays blocked by Reef Safe SPF 30 sunscreen — Floridamade, biodegradable and nontoxic to sea life

35

Miles of pristine white-sand beaches


SUNSETS & SERENITY ON FLORIDA’S BEST BEACH UNIQUELY SANDPEARL. UNIQUELY YOU.

500 MANDALAY AVE., CLEARWATER BEACH, FL

855.559.5155 | Sandpearl.com


U N I Q U E LY S T. P E T E • U N I Q U E LY S I R A TA Sprouts Kid’s Splash Zone • Watersports • Recreation Ro om Beach & Po olside Recreational Program @siratastpete /siratabeachresort

5300 Gulf Boulevard, St. Pete Beach, FL t 877.686.4341 • playmoreflorida.com


ALDEN SUI TE

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It’s our pleasure to“WOW” you.

NO RESORT FEES

OUR PROMISE TO YOU

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Oversized, comfy suites. Zero resort fees. Countless ways to play. BOOK YOUR “WOW” NOW AT ALDENSUITES.COM OR CALL 833.625.1367. SUITES ARE GOING FAST!

Take a virtual tour of our 141 all-suite resort at aldensuites.com FULL SUITES WITH SEPARATE LIVING ROOM, BEDROOM & KITCHEN • POOLS • WHIRLPOOL SPA • TENNIS VOLLEYBALL • CABANA BEACH BAR • COOKOUT DECK • WATER SPORTS • PET FRIENDLY Alden Suites Beach Resort I 5900 Gulf Blvd. St Pete Beach, FL 33706 I 833.625.1367 I aldensuites.com I Book direct for our best rate guarantee.


PLANNING YOUR TRIP

WEATHER They say all you need to bring is a swimsuit. But no matter what time of year you come here, do pack sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat and UV-protective sunglasses. Remember to always drink plenty of water. In late spring and summer, light, casual clothes work best. Fall and winter temperatures vary from mild to cool, so determine in advance of your visit whether shorts and sandals are still in season or if it’s time to pack a light jacket and pants. We hold a Guinness World Records title for the longest run of sunshine (768 days, from February 1967 to March 1969), but temperatures can range from the low 50s to the high 90s.

GOOD TO KNOW

HIGH 70F 21C

LOW 55F 13C

SPRING (MARCH-MAY) HIGH 80F 27C

LOW 65F 18C

LOW 76F 24C

FALL (SEPT-NOV) HIGH 83F 28C

LOW 70F 21C

AVERAGE WATER TEMPS WINTER 63F • 17C

SPRING 74F • 23C

SUMMER 85F • 29C

FALL 77F • 25C

14 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S

TAMPA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (TPA) Just 30-45 minutes from beachfront accommodations, Tampa International provides numerous airlines and flights to choose from, as well as convenient shuttles from the gates to the terminal. 4100 George J. Bean Parkway, Tampa 33607, tampaairport.com or 813-870-8700

CLEARWATER FERRY clearwaterferry.com Visit Clearwater Beach using this water taxi service. Free parking available and stops along North Beach and Clearwater Marine Aquarium. COAST BIKE SHARE coastbikeshare.com Borrow a bicycle from Coast Bike Share to explore downtown St. Pete. There are hundreds of bicycles at dozens of stations along the downtown waterfront, the Central Avenue corridor and nearby areas. You can rent from one station and return to any other.

VisitStPeteClearwater.com Check out our website for hotel rates and availability, maps, events, videos and tons of ideas for things to do on your next trip to St. Pete/Clearwater. All the planning information you need is just a few clicks away. The “deals” link helps you find ways to save money, and our email newsletter helps you stay current on news and events. Our videos will give you a preview of the fun in store, and our search and book direct features make planning, comparing and booking easy. Find local info on the go at VisitStPeteClearwater.com, from hot deals to listings for restaurants, hotels, attractions, things to do and more.

SUMMER (JUNE-AUG) HIGH 90F 32C

ST. PETE-CLEARWATER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (PIE) Offering low fares and small crowds, the airport puts you close to beaches. 14700 Terminal Blvd., Clearwater 33762, fly2pie.com or 727-453-7800

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

AVERAGE AIR TEMPS WINTER (DEC-FEB)

BY AIR

INTERNATIONAL VISITORS Find helpful resources on the following specialized websites: Habla español? Para narraciones y sugerencias de viaje en español, incluyendo información sobre restaurantes, vida nocturna y recreacion al aire libre, vaya a VisitSPC.com/es Allí también encontrará relatos sobre playas, paseos en kayaks y actividades culturales en el área. Fala Português? Para sugestões em Português, incluindo informação sobre restaurantes, vida noturna e atividades ao ar livre, por favor navegar no VisitSPC.com/br Encontrarar também informações sobre praias, passeio de kayaks e atividades culturais em nosso destino. Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Deutsch sprechende Besucher haben ihre eigene Website mit ausgewählten attraktiven Aktivitäten. Information uber die Strände, Wanderungen und Naturlehrpfade, sowie Artikel über Kunst und Kultur der Gegend sind bei VisitSPC.com/de

JOLLEY TROLLEY clearwaterjolleytrolley.com The Trolley operates daily on Clearwater Beach. The Coastal Route also operates daily between Clearwater Beach and downtown Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor and Tarpon Springs. Passes can be purchased. LOOPER loopertrolley.com The St. Petersburg Trolley Downtown Looper route connects visitors to all major destinations within the city for a small fee, including the Chamber Visitor Center and the major museums. PINELLAS SUNCOAST TRANSIT AUTHORITY psta.net PSTA is the public transit provider for the St. Pete/ Clearwater area, including service from Tampa International Airport. SUNCOAST BEACH TROLLEY psta.net/beachtrolley The Trolley allows visitors to explore the beach communities along Gulf Boulevard. Exact fare is required. THE CROSS-BAY FERRY thecrossbayferry.com This high-speed ferry connects downtown St. Pete to downtown Tampa via the calm waters of Tampa Bay. Docks are located at St. Pete's Vinoy Basin in St. Pete and the Florida Aquarium in Tampa. Operates seasonally from November until April. UBER uber.com Travel locally with the popular ride-sharing service Uber. Download the app and connect with a ride in minutes.

BRING YOUR OWN BOAT Come with your own boat or rent one to tour the shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and Intracoastal Waterway. For boat rentals and ramps, go to VisitSPC.com/Boating


F L

THIS IS TAMPA BAY

O R TA M

A A

south, Clearwater to the west and Tampa to the east. Though each has their own distinct vibe, collectively they form the bones of a region that

A

Tampa Bay, a region defined by a trio of major cities: St. Pete to the

B AY

RE

on the American Gulf Coast, the St. Pete/Clearwater area is the Jewel of

PA

ID

AS THE MOST POPULAR TOURISM DESTINATION

is quickly becoming an international contender, with two international airports, a dynamic and diverse local economy, pro sports teams (NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers, MLB Tampa Bay Rays, NHL Tampa Bay Lightning and USL Tampa Bay Rowdies), a subtropical coastal climate and an enviable Central Gulf Coast location just 90 miles from Orlando-area theme parks. Millions of visitors arrive each year, a growing number of them adding to the area’s 3 million residents that place Tampa Bay among the Top 20 metro areas in the U.S.

The St. Pete/Clearwater area is situated on what’s called the Pinellas Peninsula, bounded on one side by the Gulf of Mexico and the other by Tampa Bay, united with Tampa by three bridges and the Cross-Bay Ferry. A look at a map gives away the inherent appeal – Clearwater and St. Pete are surrounded by water, water and more water! From Caladesi Island State Park in the north to Fort De Soto Park in the south, visitors can find wide expanses of gleaming white sands and absolute solitude any time of year. The peninsula is home to some two dozen distinct communities, from the Greek sponge-fishing enclave of Tarpon Springs and Celtic-tinged Dunedin in the north to small-town Safety Harbor mid-peninsula, to Madeira Beach, Indian Rocks Beach and a string of other beach towns along 35 miles of barrier islands, all the way down to artsy/oddball Gulfport on Boca Ciega Bay. V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 15


Explore the tropical lifestyle when you visit the 35 miles of renowned sugar-white sand Gulf beaches of St. Pete/Clearwater. These welcoming coastal and inland communities are as unique as the good times that beckon you to them.

16 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S


COASTAL

BEACHES

TARPON SPRINGS

HONEYMOON SAFETY ISLAND STATE PARK HARBOR CALADESI ISLAND STATE PARK

CLEAR

WATER BEACH

SAND KEY

DUNEDIN

CLEAR WATER

BELLEAIR BEACH & BELLEAIR SHORE INDIAN ROCKS BEACH & INDIAN SHORES

REDINGTON BEACHES

MADEIRA BEACH TREASURE ISLAND

ST. PETE

BEACH

ST.

INLAND

COMMUNITIES

PETE

PASS-A-GRILLE GULFPORT

FORT DE SOTO PARK V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 17


BEACHES

VisitSPC.com/Beaches

18 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S


CLEARWATER BEACH VisitSPC.com/ClearwaterBeach • Clearwater Beach is world-renowned, earning the title of No. 1 Beach in the United States by TripAdvisor in 2019 for the second year in a row. It also stands as No. 6 in the world, moving up a spot from 2018. Wide, sugar-sand beaches, world-class resorts, Beach Walk Promenade, casual and fine dining, electric nightlife and a family friendly vibe converge on the warm, blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Pier 60 is right in the middle of the action, providing a landmark by day and a party by night with Sunsets at Pier 60. The shopping and festivals are a surefire way to spend the evening — there are even movies on the sand during weekends. The annual Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival, with its elaborate sand sculptures, is held next door each year. Enjoy a sunset dinner with StarLite Cruises or, for a more kid-friendly excursion, Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise. Don’t feel like walking? Rent a scooter, bicycle or four-wheeler, or take the Jolley Trolley through town and all the way to the other beach communities to the south. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium, featuring famous Winter the dolphin, is just a short ride away aboard the Clearwater Ferry. If you get hungry, stop by one of four Frenchy’s seafood restaurant locations or the Taco Bus, or go upscale with dinner at Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber. The Opal Sands features fine and casual dining options at Sea-Guini, while the Sandpearl Resort offers AAA Four-Diamond restaurant Caretta on the Gulf. For a little frivolity, stop by Shephard’s Beach Resort or the Sandbar, right on the beach.

V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 19


BEACHES

VisitSPC.com/Beaches

ST. PETE BEACH VisitSPC.com/StPeteBeach • A standout beach town, St. Pete Beach routinely (and deservedly) wins accolades for its practically unrivaled sand, surf and sunsets. TripAdvisor named it the No. 2 Beach in the United States for 2020, up from No. 4 the year before. From its busy Corey Avenue Shopping District to the slow-motion beach vibe of Pass-aGrille, the island offers enough to please families, partygoers, retirees and solo travelers. Spa service and other amenities abound at the TradeWinds’ Island Grand Resort and RumFish Beach Resort, featuring a beachfront obstacle course and a dive tank inside the RumFish Grill restaurant. The boutique experience at the retro-modern Postcard Inn has a hip beach bar and a trendy vibe. Gulf-front dining ranges from no-frills seafood at Woody’s Waterfront on Blind Pass to Maritana Grille at The Don CeSar, a historic resort known as the “Pink Palace.” Be sure to leave time for eating Sunday brunch at Chill and browsing the racks for an original souvenir at Freaky Tiki Surf Shack.

20 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S


TRADEWINDS’ ISLAND GRAND RESORT INFLATABLE WATER PARK

COREY AVENUE SUNDAY MARKET

THE DON CESAR V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 21


BEACHES

VisitSPC.com/Beaches

HONEYMOON ISLAND STATE PARK VisitSPC.com/Honeymoon • Perennially the most popular state park in Florida, Honeymoon Island State Park sits at the end of a long causeway leading from Dunedin. The name dates back to 1939 when the island featured thatched huts and seclusion to lure newlyweds. Once connected to Caladesi Island to the south (until a 1921 hurricane sheared the inlet that became Hurricane Pass into being), Honeymoon Island is accessible by car. You can catch the Caladesi Ferry from there, but Honeymoon has plenty of its own charms. There’s a big dog park where the pooches can swim, and an extensive nature trail network. A lack of commercial development gives the beach a secluded feel, but there are places for food, drinks and a frozen treat or two. You also can rent umbrellas and beach chairs or grill your own food at a picnic pavilion. Sea turtles often nest here, and the park is a popular spot for birdwatchers. By far the greatest pastime is the nightly sunset viewing, which is a well-worn activity among visitors and locals alike.

22 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S


CALADESI ISLAND STATE PARK VisitSPC.com/Caladesi • If you’re looking for a secluded, unspoiled beach to spend your days, you could hardly do better than Caladesi Island State Park. Secluded really is the word, too, because you must take a boat to get there — there are no roads connecting Caladesi to anywhere else, despite it being just north of popular Clearwater Beach and across the sound from bustling downtown Dunedin. Last year it came in No. 7 on Stephen “Dr. Beach” Leatherman’s list of best beaches in the country, due in part to its sugar-white sand and almost complete lack of development. To get here, either take your own boat or cross Hurricane Pass aboard the Caladesi Ferry from Honeymoon Island State Park. There’s little on the island beyond a ranger station, a well-stocked concession stand with good drink deals, picnic shelters, some outbuildings and a network of boardwalks to the Gulf of Mexico. The mangroves are ideal for exploring by kayak, and there are 3 miles of trails on the island, showing off all manner of animals from land, sea and air. There are gear rentals and dogs are allowed off the beach, and overnight boaters can moor at the docks to use electric and water hookups. V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 23


BEACHES

VisitSPC.com/Beaches

SAND KEY VisitSPC.com/SandKey • While Clearwater Beach hosts the throngs, its smaller sibling just to the south over Clearwater Pass is quieter and much more relaxed. Sand Key Park, operated by the county, offers umbrellas and cabana rentals and a concession stand. The rest of the park is an ideal place to bike or kayak, with a dog run, a playground, and picnic shelters; and is home to the base station for an artificial reef program. The Clearwater Community Sailing Center, which has boat rentals and sailing classes, is just across the road. While there are a lot of condo towers nearby, there’s also the Sheraton Sand Key Resort and Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites. A shopping center features an outpost of the Columbia Restaurant, as well as two popular destinations — Backwaters and Basimo Beach Cafe.

24 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S


THE BELLEAIRS VisitSPC.com/Belleair • BELLEAIR BEACH, BELLEAIR BLUFFS, BELLEAIR SHORE: These tony gulf towns offer one feature that some vacationers may prize above all others — privacy. Filled with impressive waterfront homes, these are true residential communities for people who want peace and quiet. Save the shopping on the mainland in Belleair Bluffs, there are hardly any commercial businesses here, and scant lodging options that aren’t private homes. Belleair Beach and Belleair Shore split the shoreline, but you’ll have a challenge finding parking, and there are no public facilities near the water (be sure to use the restroom before you hit the sand). Once you find a comfortable place to stay here, you’re in for a real treat: Nearly a full mile of sandy beachfront with nary a nightclub or raucous beach game in sight. That’s worth the price of admission for many, and it is sure to make for a relaxing reverie along the shoreline.

V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 25


BEACHES

VisitSPC.com/Beaches

INDIAN ROCKS BEACH / INDIAN SHORES VisitSPC.com/IRB • Once separated by a small inlet decades ago, these two towns share a laid-back, family-friendly vibe and a name based on a long-vanished spring used by Native Americans (learn about it at the Indian Rocks Historical Museum near Splash Harbour Water Park). The barrier island here is narrow, sometimes barely a block wide. That means it’s not a far walk to the water’s edge from the many public-access points. The area is known for skimboarding — check out the family-run Nekton Surf Shop for a lesson and a fun souvenir T-shirt. Retro-style beach motels and low-rise condos are plentiful, but so are the things to do, usually within walking distance of wherever you’re staying. The Seaside Seabird Sanctuary rehabilitates all kinds of wildlife, some of which end up being permanent residents you can meet. The Indian Rocks Beach Nature Preserve is an

26 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S


THE REDINGTONS VisitSPC.com/TheRedingtons • REDINGTON BEACH, NORTH REDINGTON BEACH, REDINGTON SHORES: This 3-mile stretch of beach towns, named for the developer who built on the land after the 1930s, is small, compact and features distinct personalities. Redington Beach is the quiet and reserved respite for locals and retirees, with no commercial businesses and precious little parking, but tons of privacy. North Redington Beach features some local history and a smattering of amenities for its residents. The Tides Beach Club can trace its lineage back to the Tides Hotel and Bath Club, a one-time playground for Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe. Just down the beach is Hilton’s DoubleTree Beach Resort. Select a gulf-view room with a private furnished balcony and enjoy spectacular sunsets and the soothing sounds of the Gulf. The family-owned Frog Pond restaurant and Conch Republic Grill are favored local hangouts, and the Sweet Sage Boutique is part of its own cafe. Redington Shores is the condo-friendly, fun-loving sibling catering to tourist families. Beyond the condos, Hotel Sol is probably what you picture when thinking of a beach motel. As far as food, there’s the massively popular Seabreeze Island Grill, with its varied menu, or try the extra spicy flavors at Thai Rama9. If you have a big group, try the Broke N Bored Grill for some fresh takes on coastal fare. The Friendly Tavern also lives up to its name.

V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 27


BEACHES

VisitSPC.com/Beaches

MADEIRA BEACH VisitSPC.com/MadeiraBeach • Though it’s commonly referred to as Mad Beach, Madeira Beach is anything but angry. The town feels like it’s permanently on vacation and is full of unique quirks. Local lore states that after an 1848 hurricane that carved John’s Pass at the south end of the island, pioneer (or pirate, depending on the source) John Levique took the new route home to Boca Ciega Bay and gave it his name. A drawbridge spans the gap between Madeira Beach and Treasure Island today. Mad Beach became a fishing village first, home to a giant fleet of fishing boats. Now the waterfront features John’s Pass Village & Boardwalk, a vast shopping and dining establishment with more than 100 businesses, and Hubbard’s Marina, which is an ideal place for excursions, boat and jet-ski rentals, and booking deep-sea fishing charters. Away from the shopping center, Dockside Dave’s and Sweet Brewnette offer food and drink alternatives. The John’s Pass Seafood and Music Festival descends on the town for a weekend of merriment each fall.

MADEIRA BEACH CAUSEWAY DRAWBRIDGE 28 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S

JOHN’S PASS VILLAGE & BOARDWALK


TREASURE ISLAND

SANDING OVATIONS SAND SCULPTURE COMPETITION

VisitSPC.com/TreasureIsland • At turns an easygoing beach town and a bustling tourist destination, Treasure Island features three distinct beaches: Sunshine Beach to the north, the popular Municipal Beach run by the city of St. Petersburg and the laid-back Sunset Beach to the south. Retro hotels like the Thunderbird Resort and the Tahitian Resort are very different from the rental homes and condos on other parts of the island. There’s a busy commercial strip and well-known watering holes like Ricky T’s and V.I.P. Lounge and Mexican Restaurant. But an even bigger draw are the annual events, like the annual Treasure Island Kite Competition and Festival and the Sanding Ovations Sand Sculpture Competition. Sunset Beach is famous as a destination for LGBTQ+ visitors, with Caddy’s on the Beach serving up drinks and live music as the view over the Gulf of Mexico lives up to its namesake. V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 29


BEACHES

VisitSPC.com/Beaches

PASS-A-GRILLE VisitSPC.com/PassAGrille • This community is technically a neighborhood of St. Pete Beach, but feels worlds away from the rest of the town. The neighborhood first hosted a resort as far back as 1857, and the old town is now a district on the National Register of Historic Places. Legend has it the name comes from the French phrase passes aux grilleurs — “the passageway of the grillers” — after the fisherman who used the key as a fishing camp. Houses and condos abound, but there are plenty of small places to stay like the Keystone Motel and the Coconut Inn. Part of the newly opened Berkeley Beach Club, The Dewey is one of the newest additions to Pass-aGrille offering upscale dining options and a rooftop bar. The historic district features plenty of shops and restaurants. The Seahorse is a favored breakfast stop, while The Hurricane features a rooftop deck for sunsets. Be sure and get an ice cream cone at Paradise Sweets in between the two. There are fishing and charter boats at Merry Pier on the eastern side of the island, and you’ll find ferries and shuttles that will take you to Egmont Key or Shell Key.

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FORT DE SOTO PARK VisitSPC.com/FortDeSoto • At more than 1,100 acres, this park at the southern end of St. Pete/Clearwater is large enough to have something for everyone, from bird-watchers to bicyclists and beyond. Fort De Soto also features award-winning beaches: Stephen “Dr. Beach” Leatherman named North Beach the top beach in the nation in 2005, and TripAdvisor users called it the No. 4 Beach in the United States for 2013. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t a state park, but rather the largest park in the local parks system. It’s made up of five keys, the largest of which is Mullet Key, which most people think of when describing the park. The name comes from Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto, and dates to 1900, when the namesake military post was built to quell anxiety about the Spanish-American War. These days you’re more likely to find kiteboarders and anglers than anything that would require one of the mortar batteries still on display at the fort. There are also fishing piers, a boat ramp, a dog beach, kayaking trails, hiking and biking trails, a museum, a popular municipal campground and much more. Grab a bite at the concession stand before taking the ferry to Egmont Key and its lighthouse.

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COMMUNITIES

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VINOY PARK

ST. PETE

AERIAL VIEW OF DOWNTOWN ST. PETE ALONG BEACH DRIVE 32 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S

Every inch of street-level downtown St. Pete – a.k.a., “The Burg” – reveals a new restaurant, shop or museum; even locals can’t keep up! Slip in to ARTpool on Central Avenue for some vintage clothing then hop across the street to Haslam’s to choose from hundreds of new or used books. These two hot spots aren’t the only eclectic stops on Central. Bars and boutiques add to the funky Florida vibe that extends for blocks for an artsy and authentic local experience. Joining the world-famous DalÍ Museum (which has announced expansion plans), Chihuly Collection presented by Morean Arts Center and Museum of Fine Arts in 2018 was The James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art. By 2020, they will be joined by the Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement. In addition to being home to the Rowdies and Rays, St. Petersburg has hosted Grand Prix racing along the waterfront streets for more than 15 years and is under contract to continue through at least 2024. Another lure of the precious waterfront – in addition to public parks, restaurants and nightclubs, fairs, festivals and open-air European-style markets nearly every weekend – will be the 2020 return of the St. Pete Pier, all-new and redesigned at a cost of $80 million. Add it all up and it makes sense that The New York Times recently named the Sunshine City to its list of “52 Places to Go in the World.”


CLEARWATER JAZZ HOLIDAY

CLEARWATER From the stage to the shore you can do it all in this gulf side city. Take in a big name show at Ruth Eckerd Hall or the Capitol Theatre. Chill out on Clearwater Beach and watch the sun disappear on the horizon. Stroll along Beach Walk Promenade, the pedestrian-friendly promenade that runs the entire length of the beach and has a pier with no peer. Don’t miss a chance to see Winter the dolphin, star of the Dolphin Tale films, at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. If sports is your thing, take in a Major League Baseball Spring Training game and watch the Philadelphia Phillies get limbered up against cross-state foes. The women take the field each winter for the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational softball tournament hosted by ESPN. Clearwater’s downtown waterfront is alive year-round. Clearwater Jazz Holiday, now in its 41st year, is an October tradition for fans of all genres of music. There are also chalk art competitions, the Sugar Sand festival, Olympic-qualifying sailing regattas and more. In the heart of the city, music fills the air on the last Friday of the month from Jan. – May. Still hungry for more? Stop by The Original Hooters restaurant. That’s right. It all began here.

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COMMUNITIES

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SPONGE DOCKS

TARPON SPRINGS VisitSPC.com/TarponSprings • The northernmost community in St. Pete/Clearwater, Tarpon Springs lays claim to the highest percentage of Greek-Americans of any city in the United States. Drawn by sponge diving in the Gulf of Mexico in the early 1900s, Greek culture dominates the famous sponge docks on Dodecanese Boulevard to this day. Take a break from shopping at Spongeorama Sponge Factory or Katherine’s Linens & Gifts to grab a bite of calamari or pastitsio from Dimitri’s on the Water, finished off by kataifi from Taste of Greece. You also can get a firsthand view of the Anclote River by renting a boat or taking a fishing charter, or try the freshwater at Lake Tarpon. The resurgent downtown on Tarpon Avenue features antique shops or trendier fare, like the locally crafted decor at One Amazing Find. The Pinellas Trail runs right past the Tarpon Springs Historical Train Depot Museum, which is across the street from the popular Toula’s Trailside Cafe. Looking for some throwback entertainment? The Replay Museum touts dozens of pinball and video-game cabinets from years past, available to play all day for a flat fee, or take in the modern and contemporary works at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art.

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PINELLAS TRAIL

DUNEDIN VisitSPC.com/Dunedin • With award-winning beaches, a walkable downtown and a distinct Scottish flavor, “Delightful Dunedin” is a popular destination day or night. Named after the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh (Dùn Èideann), Dunedin maintains strong ties with Scotland: Its sister city is Stirling, and the town features an award-winning bagpipe band that plays regularly, including the annual Highland Games every April in Highlander Park. Dunedin also has strong ties to Toronto, playing host to Major League Baseball’s Blue Jays for spring training each year since the team’s inception. The city has rules against chain businesses on its Main Street, highlighting local stores like Back in the Day Books and the Celtic Shop of Dunedin. Food options range from Mexican at local landmark Casa Tina to fine dining at The Black Pearl. Seven breweries dot the town, including Dunedin Brewery, Florida’s oldest microbrewery. The recently renovated Fenway Hotel is a historic hotel that offers a peek at the town’s past grandeur. There’s a strong art community, too; the Dunedin Fine Art Center showcases local artists and offers classes. The Pinellas Trail runs through the center of it all. Natural wonders abound, with a hundred-acre wood called Hammock Park and two sublime state parks — Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island, which frequently is ranked among the world’s best beaches. DUNEDIN MARINA

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COMMUNITIES

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MAIN STREET

SAFETY HARBOR VisitSPC.com/SafetyHarbor • A quaint town on Old Tampa Bay, Safety Harbor gets its name from its reputation as a refuge from pirates. These days, it’s a refuge from the hectic pace of daily life, with a quaint downtown and the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa, which was built on a natural mineral spring. Restaurants range from casual — the Whistle Stop Bar and Grill — to high quality — Pizzeria Gregario — to the outright fancy Parts of Paris. Gigglewaters Social Club offers a throwback cocktail-bar experience. Whimzeyland, a private home festooned with tiles, mirrors and even bowling balls, makes for a great photo op, while Rad Harbor Vintage offers some choice midcentury modern antiquing. Philippe Park, named after the man who introduced the grapefruit to Florida, is great for a picnic, a kayak launch or even a stop by the archaeological wonder that is the Native American shell mound on the land.

PHILIPPE PARK 36 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S

SAFETY HARBOR ART & MUSIC CENTER


GULFPORT CASINO AND WALTER AND BERT WILLIAMS FISHING PIER

GULFPORT VisitSPC.com/Gulfport • An Old Florida town on Boca Ciega Bay, Gulfport is an artsy community that takes pride in being a little on the quirky side. Gulfport’s downtown waterfront plays host to an annual Fine Arts Festival, the lizard-themed GeckoFest and the Garden Art and Faerie Festival, loaded with people dressed as the titular sprites. The Hickman Theater boasts a community theater troupe and there’s even a beach, with a playground and sand volleyball courts, anchored by the Gulfport Recreation Center. Restaurants abound, with a free trolley carting diners from Fortunato’s to the Neptune Grill. The Gulfport Fresh Market is an open-air produce showcase that operates every Tuesday, year-round. O’Maddy’s Bar and Grille is a local’s hangout, across the street from Williams Fishing Pier and the Gulfport Casino Ballroom, a waterfront haunt that’s great for catching a dance lesson.

GULFPORT BEACH PARK

SHOPS ALONG BEACH BLVD. V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 37


S T. P E T E – C L E A R WAT E R I N T E R N AT I O N A L A I R P O R T

PIE

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YourTampa Bay Beaches Airport! PIE is Tampa Bay’s most convenient gateway to St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa and America’s award-winning beaches, with air service throughout the United States and Canada. The airport offers affordable parking with short walking distances and an easy-to-navigate terminal. PIE is one of the fastest growing airports in the United States and continues to break yearly records with annual increases in passengers. The St. Petersburg-Clearwater area can easily be reached from over 55 cities, all with non-stop flights. Allegiant continues to be the largest airline at PIE and flies non-stop to more destinations than any other airline in the Tampa Bay Area. We welcome you to enjoy all the wonderful attractions our destination has to offer and we take pride in making air travel easy as PIE!

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Eat Stay & Play

Experience Premier Dining & Entertainment

Hip luxury rooms with modern amenities and stunning views. A beautiful pool with 7000 sq. ft. tropical deck featuring Soak Bar and VIP cabanas. Enjoy limitless delicacies from land and sea in Shephard’s waterfront restaurant, Ocean Flame. The Tiki Beach Bar and Wave Nightclub are known worldwide for bringing the best local and national entertainment to Clearwater Beach. It’s all at Shephard’s Beach Resort.

619 S. Gulfview Blvd. | Clearwater Beach

727-442-5107 or visit www.SHEPHARDS.com


WATER

VisitSPC.com/Water

SOAK IT IN

Water, water everywhere, and it’ll make you stop and think: What’s my adventure? From paddling to parasailing to fishing piers, it’s all here.

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A WORLD BELOW A Zen realm free of dinging phones and email access unfurls beneath the surface, but in the waters off Clearwater Beach it’s unlike anywhere else. Divers who visit the Circle of Heroes discover a dozen intricate, life-sized statues of soldiers in a 100-foot ring. The statues were sunk 40 feet down to the sea floor to create the only underwater monument of its kind in the United States, and a new attraction for divers from around the world. Mac’s Sports in Clearwater offers Gulf dive tours that visit the site. There are more than three-dozen artificial reefs and shipwrecks for divers to investigate off the St. Pete/Clearwater coast, ranging from between 200 yards to nearly 40 miles offshore. The reefs were created with divers in mind by sinking old bridge debris, limestone chunks, hole-filled pyramids and several entire ships. All of it became a magnet for feeding fish and coral. One such diver’s paradise is a cluster of three ships about 20 miles off Clearwater and 80 feet below, known as the Pinellas II reef. It includes the D.T. Sheridan, a 180-foot, nearly intact tugboat sunk in 1986; the USCG Blackthorn, a Coast Guard cutter scuttled in 1980 after a tragic collision near the mouth of Tampa Bay; and a seafood barge. Don’t be surprised to see a 450-pound goliath grouper peeking out from the shadows. Not SCUBA certified yet? There’s an abundance of clear snorkeling spots. Try Shell Key Preserve, or Egmont Key, where you can float over the ruins of Fort Dade, a relic of the Spanish-American War, while keeping an eye out for bottlenose dolphins.

A CLEARER PERSPECTIVE Picture swirling fevers of cownose rays and vast schools of minnows glittering like fireworks in the sun. There are playful dolphins below, and mellow manatees popping their snouts above the surface. St. Petersburg-based See Through Adventures

SEE THROUGH CANOES

V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 41


WATER

VisitSPC.com/Water

PADDLEBOARDING IN PALM HARBOR

FLORIDA TIKI TOURS

allows for “passive observation” with dolphins and manatees on its crystal-clear canoe-kayak hybrid, which casts zero shadow and gets paddlers closer to nature. The guided tours go through mangrove coves and past white-sand beaches around Fort De Soto Park and Shell Key. Kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards are among the more tranquil ways to explore natural Florida and widely available to rent. St. Pete/Clearwater is home to some of the most celebrated kayak trails in the country, including lush Weedon Island Preserve in Tampa Bay and the isolated grass flats and pristine beaches at Caladesi Island State Park off the coast of Dunedin on the Gulf of Mexico. 42 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S

KITE SURFING BY THE SUNSHINE SKYWAY BRIDGE

CATCH AND RELIEF You never know what’s coming on the other end of that line in the 400 square miles that make up Florida’s largest open-water estuary. Whether fishing the shallows, coastal flats, headed deep offshore in the Gulf or targeting some of the 200 species found in Tampa Bay, the diversity of the catch — grouper,

red snapper, Spanish mackerel, kingfish, amberjack, black drum, barracuda and sharks, to name a few — is part of the year-round thrill. It would still be tough to top the adrenaline kick of a tarpon striking your bait just feet from the boat before revealing itself. Tampa Bay sees an annual mass migration of the biceps-testing “silver kings,”


DOLPHINS PLAYING IN THE WAKE OF A SIGHTSEEING CRUISE

CIRCLE OF HEROES UNDERWATER MONUMENT

WAVE RUNNER AT HONEYMOON ISLAND STATE PARK

as tarpon, the area’s elite sportfish, are sometimes known. Other, perhaps hungrier, anglers will seek St. Pete/Clearwater’s most-prized eating fish: grouper, and there are dozens of large party boats and smaller private charters up and down the coast to make it happen. Two longtime go-tos are Hubbards Marina in Madeira Beach or Queen Fleet in Clearwater. Once you’re back on land there are even restaurants that will cook your catch. You can also reel one in from the picturesque fishing pier at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in St. Petersburg or Pier 60 in Clearwater Beach, among the top spots to fish from shore.

THEY’RE THE CAPTAIN Cruise on a tube behind a speedboat or zip over the surf on a wakeboard with an experienced charter captain at Totally Tubular Watersports in Clearwater Beach. For a new perspective, check out the beach

from 400 feet above with Gator’s Parasail in Madeira Beach or Suncoast Watersports in St. Pete Beach. On the more leisurely side, there are many options for romantic sunset cruises and dolphin-spotting tours. Pier Dolphin Cruises, which depart from downtown St. Pete, combine dolphin watching with a knowledgeable tour of the city’s historic waterfront mansions, Coast Guard ships and the Coffeepot Bayou bird preserve, a tiny island with a giant flock. You could also go big with cocktails, dinner and dancing on the StarLite Majesty Dining Yacht out of Clearwater, take a ride on an actual pirate ship provided by Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise or turn heads while sipping cocktails on a legitimate floating tiki hut from Florida Tiki Tours at John’s Pass.

vessel with some horsepower, spots like Fun Unlimited in Gulfport, Clearwater Boat Rentals and Tarpon Landing Marina in Tarpon Springs can hook you up for a full day or a few hours. If you want to keep it extra mellow, Bada Bing Watersports in downtown St. Pete has eco-friendly electric boats that are whisper quiet and seat 10 people.

YOU’RE THE CAPTAIN

If you’re the BYOB type (bring your own boat) there are public boat ramps throughout the area, though one of the best is at Fort De Soto, which has an 800-foot boat-launching facility with 11 floating docks.

Rentals are everywhere. Pilot a pontoon. Cruise in a deck boat. Take out a center-console fishing boat. Whether you’re looking for something mellow, or a

Personal watercraft, some that can reach 60 mph, are available for rent up and down the beaches, from Woody’s Watersports in Madeira Beach to Clearwater Jet Ski and Fun Boat Adventures. The best part? At the end of the day, you hand over the keys and forget about it. Remember to respect other boaters and wildlife by obeying no-wake zones.

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Beach

AwardWinning Boutique

Resorts

Exclusive, affordable, family owned and Trip Advisor Top Rated resorts: Why would you stay anywhere else? Experience personalized service with attention to detail. Choose from four boutique resorts located on Florida’s award-winning beaches: St. Pete Beach and Treasure Island. Discover completely renovated rooms and suites with full kitchens catering to couples, business travelers and families.

From deluxe hotel rooms to large family suites, Plaza Beach Resorts have what you are looking for.

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4506 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach On the Gulf of Mexico, powder white sand, warm Gulf water, large pool, rooms with kitchens, balconies.

10500 Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island On the Gulf of Mexico, centrally located, large pool, spacious patio, rooms with kitchens.

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4321 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach On Boca Ciega Bay, fishing pier only 200 ft. from the beach, boats, watch dolphins and manatees.

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4237 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach On Boca Ciega Bay, heated pool, great fishing, 1 or 2 bedroom apts., family reunions, pet friendly available.

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A D I R O L F R U O Y F INDo everything and yet a world away! Close t

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ARTS

VisitSPC.com/Arts

HEart AT THE

Downtown St. Pete is a thriving arts and culture destination, full of world-class museums, vibrant murals, galleries, studios and art festivals. There is something for every art lover’s taste, from renowned masterpieces to street art. The amount of glass art on display and created in the area has earned it the nickname, the “Glass Coast.”

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OF IT ALL

SHINE 2019 BY GEORGE ROSE


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ARTS

VisitSPC.com/Arts

museums

DALÍ MUSEUM

DALÍ MUSEUM It holds one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of work and artifacts by the Spanish surrealist Salvador Dalí. In addition to the permanent collection, the museum rotates exhibitions. Download the Dalí app on your phone and his masterworks will come alive with facts about the paintings. The building itself is a work of art; a double-helix staircase in the center of the museum was inspired by Dalí’s fascination with DNA, and a large geodesic bubble made of 1,062 triangular pieces of glass known as the “Enigma” erupts from the outside. MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS

Whet your appetite with a sampling of 10 top museums to check out in St. Pete.

48 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S

MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS Perched on the downtown waterfront, it holds the only encyclopedic collection of works in Florida, spanning nearly 5,000 years, from antiquity to present. Traveling exhibitions showcase the same range, from old masters to contemporary artists. Works by Monet, Rauschenberg and O’Keefe are found in the permanent collection.

JAMES MUSEUM OF WESTERN AND WILDLIFE ART This museum features the impressive private collection of Mary and Tom James, who is the chairman of Raymond James Financial. A stunning sandstone facade on the exterior of the building evokes imagery of the landscape of the American West. Inside, the collection — bronze sculptures and paintings of cowboys, American Indians, landscapes and animals — contains a surprising amount of contemporary and pop art. Special exhibitions highlight both local and national artists. An incredible selection of American Indian jewelry also is on display.

IMAGINE MUSEUM This relative new-comer holds a comprehensive collection of the American studio-glass movement. The fantastic array of breathtaking glass creations includes works by the founders of the movement as well as emerging and local artists.


JAMES MUSEUM OF WESTERN AND WILDLIFE ART

CHIHULY COLLECTION

ST. PETERSBURG MUSEUM OF HISTORY Learn interesting facts about the birth of Sunshine City, including the history of local aviation at this waterfront museum. The wacky Alligators and Oddities exhibit includes a two-headed calf. Fans of the national pastime will enjoy the Guinness-certified largest collection of baseballs called Schrader’s Little Cooperstown. Changing exhibits include Local Stories, Local Art.

FLORIDA HOLOCAUST MUSEUM The millions of men, women and children who died or suffered in the Holocaust are honored here. It features educational and traveling exhibits, which can include contemporary artwork.

CARTER G. WOODSON AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSEUM It's named for the scholar who initiated Black History Month and seeks to preserve and present AfricanAmerican history. In addition to educational programs, it showcases historical and art exhibits. IMAGINE MUSEUM

CHIHULY COLLECTION The glass art of living legend Dale Chihuly is featured here and is presented by the Morean Arts Center. The collection includes some of his most popular pieces including Ikebana, a luminous garden installation as well as the spectacular Ruby Red Icicle Chandelier that was created for the collection.

MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN ARTS AND CRAFTS MOVEMENT It's projected to open in spring 2020 and will feature pottery, furniture, metalwork, lighting and photography from the private collection of Rudy Ciccarello, considered one of the most comprehensive in the world. At 137,000 square feet, it will be the largest in the city and feature a modern exterior clad in granite and bronze.

GREAT EXPLORATIONS CHILDREN’S MUSEUM Grownups can’t have all the fun! Kids get hands-on while learning at Great Explorations, located at family-friendly botanical attraction Sunken Gardens, north of downtown St. Pete. Kids at "Great Ex" are skillfully guided by a caring and diverse staff through imaginative curriculum and thoughtprovoking exhibits — stimulating their curiosity and building friendships, creativity, thinking and social skills in the process. V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 49


ARTS

VisitSPC.com/Arts

DUNCAN MCCLELLAN GALLERY

MOREAN CENTER FOR CLAY

galleries & studios DOWNTOWN ST. PETE St. Pete/Clearwater is loaded with galleries and studios, with more opening all the time. Art walks and studio tours take visitors through numerous arts districts, where the work of award winning and nationally recognized artists is on display. St. Petersburg’s Second Saturday ArtWalk is by far the area’s largest, with five arts districts for visitors to explore and a trolley to take them there.

WATERFRONT ARTS DISTRICT Set amid lively shops and restaurants with milliondollar views of the bay, the district is home to long-standing Shapiro’s Gallery, which features American craft art. See the latest in contemporary fine art at D-Gallerie and Art Fusion Galleries.

CENTRAL ARTS DISTRICT Find a heavy concentration of local artists in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg at fine-craft organization Florida CraftArt. Above the gallery is a

50 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S

group of artists’ studios known as ArtLofts. The Morean Arts Center offers art classes, shows local artists and provides glass-blowing demonstrations in its hot shop. Find local art as well as experimental performances at the Studio@620.

EDGE DISTRICT Leslie Curran’s ARTicles Art Gallery showcases local contemporary artists through monthly exhibitions. Mize gallery, owned by artist Chad Mize, features pop art with themed group exhibitions from local and national artists.

WAREHOUSE ARTS DISTRICT The ever-growing area is home to the ArtsXChange, housing more than 20 artist studios. The compound also includes Soft Water Studios and MGA Sculpture Studio. Find handmade ceramics at the Morean Center for Clay, housed in a historic train station, or spin the wheel at Charlie Parker Pottery. The Duncan McClellan Gallery offers glass-blowing demonstrations and features McClellan’s award-winning glass

art as well as other renowned glass artists from around the world.

GRAND CENTRAL DISTRICT Fine-craft gallery Craftsman House is a staple here. Artpool Gallery is a funky shop that features local artists and has a monthly art market. St. Pete Artworks is the headquarters for the Gulf Coast Artist Alliance.

BEYOND THE 'BURG GULFPORT: The funky beach community offers art walks on the first Friday and third Saturday of each month, where galleries including Brenda McMahon Ceramics open their doors. McMahon also organizes the annual Art Jones studio tour that highlights 17 artists. PINELLAS PARK: The Pinellas Arts Village in Pinellas Park is home to artist Derek Donnelly’s COVE, his


DUNEDIN FINE ART CENTER

POMPEI MONSTER FACTORY OWNER VINCE POMPEI WITH HIS WORK

festivals Beautiful weather also brings art outdoors with large art festivals several times throughout the year. Started in 1976, the Mainsail Art Festival brings top-notch artists from around the world to exhibit side-by-side with the area’s best along St. Petersburg’s waterfront. Fine-craft artists from around the country show at the annual CraftArt Festival, presented by Florida CraftArt gallery and held in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg. Dunedin’s Art Harvest is a highly anticipated annual event featuring more than 200 artists working in a variety of media. The Tarpon Springs Fine Art Festival has been bringing national artists to an idyllic location on Spring Bayou for more than 40 years. At the Clearwater Beach Chalk Art Festival, local and regional artists, students and artists’ groups transform the sidewalks into mind-bending works of trompe l’oeil. St. Petersburg’s Festival of the Arts, or SPF, encompasses cultural events happening over three weekends. Past events have included Free Museum Day.

FLORIDA CRAFTART

gallery and studio made of shipping containers and adorned with vibrant murals. Visit the village during its Fourth Saturday Art Walk and take an immersive art ride at Pompei Monster Factory. CLEARWATER: View the award-winning glass of artist Marlene Rose at her downtown gallery. The artists of Studio 1212 are all former students of the late William Pachner, who had local ties and was internationally renowned. DUNEDIN: The charming town is also an artists’ hub, anchored by the Dunedin Fine Art Center, which

offers classes and presents exhibitions in four galleries. Dunedin’s Second Friday Art and Wine Walk is a great time to visit the artists at Stirling Art Studios and Gallery and the Clay and Paper Gallery. An annual Studio Waltz visits artists in Dunedin and Palm Harbor. SAFETY HARBOR: A well-rounded art experience awaits at Syd Entel Galleries and Susan Benjamin Glass, with fine art and works in glass. The colorful Safety Harbor Art and Music Center sells works by local artists, offers classes and holds concerts. Safety Harbor also holds quarterly art walks that pairs

artists with local businesses, which display their work. TARPON SPRINGS: The historic town is home to the small-but-mighty Leepa Rattner Museum of Art, which rotates exhibitions and has an impressive 6,000-piece permanent collection containing works by 20th century artists Alan Leepa and Abraham Rattner. The Tarpon Art Guild Gallery is Tarpon Springs’ only dedicated art gallery featuring local artists.

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MURALS

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ELLA BY ZULU PAINTER

SHARK TOOF BY SHARK TOOF 52 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S

murals

St. Petersburg, known as the Sunshine City, has almost as much artwork outside as is found inside. Its streets and walls are adorned with vibrant murals. In addition to a heavy concentration painted by local artists, the annual Shine Mural Festival brings national and international talent together to make their mark on the city. The week-long festival, presented by the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance, includes festivities, community projects, art events and mural tours by foot or bicycle. Find the ultimate list of St. Pete’s street art at VisitSPC.com/Murals.

768 DAYS OF SUNSHINE BY DEREK DONNELLY

THE 8TH FUNKY FISH TOWN BY BLAINE FONTANA & PLASTIC BIRDIE

EYE OF THE STORM BY RICKY WATTS


SUNSHINE ON MY MIND BY LEO GOMEZ STUDIO

THE SKY IS THE LIMIT BY CECILIA LUEZA

ON THE ROAD BY CARATOES

A SWARM OF FISH BY PANTONIO

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O V ER 200 STO RES

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INF INITE R E AS O NS TO VI S I T


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BEST LIST

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the best

best BREWERY ➊ 3 Daughters Brewing, St. Pete ➋ Dunedin Brewery ➌ Big Storm Brewing Co., Clearwater ➍ Mad Beach Brewing, Madeira Beach ➎ Clearwater Brewing Company

of

ST. PETE/ CLEARWATER

VOTED ON BY THOUSANDS OF LOCALS, VISITORS AND AREA INSIDERS.

best WALK IN THE PARK ➊ Sunken Gardens, St. Pete ➋ Philippe Park, Safety Harbor ➌ Florida Botanical Gardens, Largo ➍ North Shore Park, St. Pete ➎ Boca Ciega Millennium Park, Seminole

best CHARTER BOAT ➊ Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise (daytime) ➋ StarLite Cruises (dining) ➌ The Tropics Boat Tours (sunset) ➍ Hubbard’s Marina (fishing) ➎ Sea Screamer (dolphin)

best BEACH ➊ Clearwater Beach ➋ St. Pete Beach/Pass-a-Grille ➌ Caladesi Island/Honeymoon Island State Park ➍ Indian Rocks Beach ➎ Fort De Soto Park

56 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S

best BEACH BAR ➊ Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill, Clearwater Beach ➋ Palm Pavilion, Clearwater Beach ➌ Caddy’s Treasure Island, Sunset Beach ➍ Crabby’s Bar & Grill, Clearwater Beach ➎ Shephard’s Tiki Beach Bar & Grill, Clearwater Beach


best DOG HANGOUT ➊ Honeymoon Island Dog Beach, Dunedin ➋ Fort De Soto Dog Beach ➌ The Dog Bar, St. Pete ➍ Pinellas Ale Works (PAW), St. Pete ➎ Troubled Waters Brewing, Safety Harbor

best WEDDING VENUE ➊ Sandpearl Resort, Clearwater Beach ➋ The Don CeSar, St. Pete Beach ➌ TradeWinds Island Resorts, St. Pete Beach ➍ Sunken Gardens, St. Pete ➎ Wyndham Grand, Clearwater Beach

best LIVE MUSIC VENUE

best DOWNTOWN

➊ Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater ➋ Jannus Live, St. Pete ➌ Vinoy Park, St. Pete ➍ Capitol Theatre, Clearwater ➎ Mahaffey Theater, St. Pete

➊ St. Pete ➋ Dunedin ➌ Clearwater ➍ Tarpon Springs ➎ Safety Harbor

best COCKTAILS

best WATER EXCURSION

best FESTIVAL

➊ Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber, Clearwater Beach ➋ The Mill, St. Pete ➌ Gigglewaters, Safety Harbor ➍ Mandarin Hide, St. Pete ➎ Intermezzo Coffee & Cocktails, St. Pete

➊ Snorkeling, Egmont Key ➋ Parasailing ➌ Topwater Kayak Outpost, Fort De Soto Park ➍ Speed Boat Adventures, St. Pete Beach ➎ Captain Memo‘s Pirate Cruise, Clearwater Beach

➊ Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival, Clearwater Beach ➋ John’s Pass Seafood & Music Festival, Madeira Beach ➌ Clearwater Jazz Holiday ➍ St. Pete Pride ➎ Dunedin Highland Games V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 57


BEST LIST

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best ROOFTOP BAR ➊ Jimmy’s Crow’s Nest, Pier House 60, Clearwater Beach ➋ Canopy, The Birchwood, St. Pete ➌ Hi-Fi Rooftop Bar, Fenway Hotel, Dunedin ➍ The Hurricane Seafood Restaurant, Pass-a-Grille Beach ➎ Level 11 Rooftop Lounge, Grand Plaza Hotel, St. Pete Beach

best COFFEE SHOP ➊ Indian Shores Coffee Co. ➋ Kahwa, St. Pete ➌ Sweet Brewnette, Madeira Beach ➍ Black Crow Coffee Co., St. Pete ➎ Bandit Coffee Co., St. Pete

best RESTAURANT ($)

best RESTAURANT ($$)

best RESTAURANT ($$$)

➊ Mazzaro’s Italian Market, St. Pete ➋ Olde Bay Café, Dunedin ➌ Mykonos Restaurant, Tarpon Springs ➍ Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish, St. Pete ➎ Casita Taqueria, St. Pete

➊ Casa Tina, Dunedin ➋ Lucky Lobster Co., Dunedin ➌ Red Mesa Cantina, St. Pete ➍ Snapper’s Sea Grill, St. Pete Beach ➎ Noble Crust, St. Pete

➊ Salt Rock Grill, Indian Rocks Beach ➋ The Black Pearl, Dunedin ➌ Cafe Ponte, Clearwater ➍ 1200 Chophouse, St. Pete Beach ➎ 400 Beach Seafood & Taphouse, St. Pete

most EXCITING SPORTING EVENT

best BRUNCH

best GROUPER

➊ Tampa Bay Rays, St. Pete ➋ MLB Spring Training, Clearwater & Dunedin ➌ Valspar Championship, Palm Harbor ➍ Firestone Grand Prix, St. Pete ➎ Tampa Bay Rowdies, St. Pete

➊ Island Way Grill, Clearwater Beach ➋ Clear Sky, Clearwater Beach ➌ Datz, St. Pete ➍ Sweet Sage Café, North Redington Beach ➎ 400 Beach Seafood & Tap House, St. Pete

➊ Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill, Clearwater Beach ➋ Original Crabby Bill’s, Indian Rocks Beach ➌ Crabby’s Dockside, Clearwater Beach ➍ Palm Pavilion, Clearwater Beach ➎ RumFish Grill, St. Pete Beach

58 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S


best BOUTIQUE HOTEL

best HOTEL

best MURAL

➊ Fenway Hotel, Dunedin ➋ Palm Pavilion Inn, Clearwater Beach ➌ The Belleview Inn, Belleair ➍ Treasure Island Beach Resort ➎ Postcard Inn on the Beach, St. Pete Beach

➊ Sandpearl Resort, Clearwater Beach ➋ TradeWinds Island Resorts, St. Pete Beach ➌ The Don CeSar, St. Pete Beach ➍ Wyndham Grand, Clearwater Beach ➎ Opal Sands Resort, Clearwater Beach

➊ Welcome to Clearwater, Matt McAllister ➋ We Are Going to be Friends’, DAAS ➌ Make Believe, Tes One/Vitale Bros. ➍ SHINE 2018, J&S Signs ➎ SHINE 2018, Belin

best SPA ➊ Safety Harbor Resort & Spa, Safety Harbor ➋ The Spa at Sandpearl, Sandpearl Resort, Clearwater Beach ➌ Spa Oceana, The Don CeSar, St. Pete Beach ➍ Opal Spa, Opal Sands Resort, Clearwater Beach ➎ Salamander Spa, Innisbrook Resort, Palm Harbor

best FAMILY ACTIVITY ➊ Clearwater Marine Aquarium ➋ Empower Adventures, Oldsmar ➌ Splash Harbour Water Park, Indian Rocks Beach ➍ St. Pete Shuffleboard ➎ Great Explorations Children’s Museum, St. Pete

best MUSEUM

best WAY TO GET AROUND

best SHOPPING

➊ The Dalí Museum, St. Pete ➋ Chihuly Collection, St. Pete ➌ Dunedin Fine Art Center & Children’s Art Museum ➍ Museum of Fine Arts, St. Pete ➎ Florida Holocaust Museum, St. Pete

➊ Jolley Trolley ➋ Clearwater Ferry ➌ Suncoast Beach Trolley (PSTA) ➍ Coast Bike Share, St. Pete ➎ Pedego Electric Bikes on the Pinellas Trail

➊ John’s Pass Village & Boardwalk, Madeira Beach ➋ Main Street, Dunedin ➌ Saturday Morning Market, St. Pete ➍ Central Ave., St. Pete ➎ Dodecanese Boulevard, Tarpon Springs

V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 59


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FLORIDA’S MOST

ADVENTURE Just a short drive from Gulf beaches, you’ll uncover unforgettable adventures in Tampa Bay.

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SHOPPING

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NECK ROMANCE In shades of aubergine, fuchsia, olive and stone, this three-dimensional necklace of wire and glass is the embodiment of wearable art. Handcrafted by Paris designer Sandrine Girard and available at the DalÍ Museum store in downtown St. Pete for $195. thedali.org

MONSTERS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN Colorful, quirky monsters for comfort, cuddling and play from local artist Rosemary Nolletti, at the gallery in Dunedin Fine Art Center. Child and baby safe with details securely sewn on. In three sizes from small to large, prices range from $15 to $25. dfac.org

shop LOCAL SAVE YOUR SKIN Here’s a stylish way to prevent sun damage: a lightweight, crushable wide-brim SPF 30 hat by Jeanne Simmons. Available in a range of summery colors, pastels and designs at Bijou’s Boutique in downtown St. Pete. $28. bijousboutique.com

FLORAL MUSINGS Delicacy, whimsy and an unexpected mix of colors unite in this sprout vase with a distinctly floral personality. From glass artists Bob and Laurie Kliss; at Shapiro’s Gallery in St. Pete. $225. shapirosgallery.com

UNCOMMON GROUNDS BEDAZZLED SIPS Flamingos adorn these wine glasses from Dazzled Boutique in Safety Harbor. A luxury for oenophiles who love a little sparkle. $27 to $29 apiece. fb.com/dazzledboutique

Using a unique, fluid bed roasting process to prevent scorching, this kitschy coffee shop is locally and family owned and can satisfy any palate with 40 - 50 coffee choices. Local favorites include Costa Rican medium roast, dark roasted Organic Peruvian, Snickerdoodle and Crème Brûlée. Half pound of coffee: $7.99 at The Coffee Mill in Largo.


CRUSTACEANA FOR THE HOME Rustic beach art from Treehouse Gallery in St. Pete. Painted and designed by marine artist Eddie Forbes on sustainable materials such as reclaimed lobster trap wood and rough cut cedar boards. Durable enough for outdoor décor. $69. treehousegallery.com

MAGIC OF THE SEAS For folks back home, or for your own space, a touch of Florida’s underwater beauty from The Florida Shell Shop on Treasure Island. Natural corals can decorate a bookshelf, act as a base for a lamp, or add a beachy vibe to a bedroom or bathroom. The coral pictured, $49.99. thefloridashellshop.com

ATHLEISURE FOR LIFE LOVE YOUR SKIN

LOVE YOUR AURA Fragrance your surroundings. From Emilia’s Apothecary of Dunedin, these 100% soy candles with 100-plus hours of burn time come in a mad variety of heavenly scents, including Dunedin Sugarwood & Orange. $34.50. emiliasapothecary.com

From Lori’s Soap and Sponge Market in Tarpon Springs — the home of sponge divers — a luxuriously creamy, skin-loving goat milk soap with natural yellow sea sponge. Firm in texture and hypoallergenic, these sponges are ideal for those who prefer a bit more exfoliating ability. $6.25. lorisoaps.com

Regardless of your athleticism, the leggings by Beyond Yoga are possibility in action: comfy, durable, and ready for anything you might get into. Available at Pure Barre in St. Pete. $97. The Mr. Sun shirt, by local artist Chad Mize, is available in downtown St. Pete in a range of colors and styles. $23. thestpetestore.com

SAVOR YOUR SWEETS Pinellas Chocolate’s dairy free, exclusively dark chocolate is 62% to 80% cacao, with a variety of unexpected flavors, such as salted lime, orange, and datil pepper. $6.99 a bar, available at Mazzaro’s Italian Market in St. Pete. pinellaschocolate.com

TAKE HOME ST. PETE Own a piece (or two) of St. Pete’s exploding mural scene in the form of these 6" tall mini murals created by artist Derek Donnelly. $200 each, at The Merchant General Store’s gallery. merchantstpete.com V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 63


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64 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S


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LGBTQ+

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ST. PETE PRIDE PARADE

In St. Pete/Clearwater the welcome mat is out every day and the rainbow flag flies proudly in neighborhoods and businesses alike. SUNSET BEACH

66 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S


ST. PETE PRIDE STREET FESTIVAL

When Pride Month arrives every June, St. Pete goes all out with a three-day Pride event including the biggest Pride Parade in the Southeast — drawing 250,000 people to the Sunshine City in 2018. The St. Pete Pride Parade features 170 entries and 7,500 participants dancing along the city’s picturesque waterfront as the sun sets. The three days conclude with the St. Pete Pride Street Festival, during which 230 vendors representing businesses of all sizes from small local boutiques to Fortune 500 corporations, line up in the Grand Central District selling shirts, souvenirs, food and drinks to propel the party forward to the last-possible minute. But St. Pete Pride is only a piece of the action during Pride Month. Throughout June the city’s pro sports teams participate with special Pride Night-themed games and many restaurants, nightclubs and shops look for clever ways to be part of the fun. St. Petersburg’s Grand Central District – a.k.a. the 15-block “gayborhood” – keeps its Pride spirit going year-round with LGBTQ+-owned, operated or just oriented boutiques, bars, salons, yoga studios and antique shops. It’s also home to the expanded Metro LGBTQ Welcome Center, a visitors’ resource. Punky’s Bar & Grill on Central Avenue is a nice place for dinner, drinks and – oh, yeah! – a drag show, of course. Then take it up a notch at Enigma Bar & Lounge, an ever-popular dance club just east of the gayborhood in the Edge District. Other places in the community that are a little less over the top include Lucky Star Lounge (local bar vibe), the Garage on Central (DJ parties and pool tourneys), and The Queens Head Eurobar and Restaurant (British food and drink). Clearwater is home to the oldest LGBTQ+ bar in the Tampa Bay area, Pro Shop Pub (casual patio and relaxed neighborhood atmosphere). Elsewhere in

ENIGMA BAR & LOUNGE

ST. PETE PRIDE PARADE

the city, Hamburger Mary’s is the place to go for bar food and drag queen-hosted trivia, bingo and shows. Quench Lounge in Largo and Blur Nightclub in Dunedin, also host drag shows. Sunset Beach, at the southern tip of Treasure Island, isn’t officially designated an LGBTQ+ beach, but it’s a common destination for the community, appealing for its white sand beach and secluded feeling. Held every October, the Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, now in its 31st year, is the region’s golden ticket to a roster of the best LGBTQ+ films from around the world. If you’re looking for accommodations that cater to the LGBTQ+ community, there are plenty of options. The Meranova Guest Inn in Dunedin is a lovely

Mission-style cottage. Treasure Island’s Lorelei Resort Motel on the Intracoastal Waterway welcomes pets. St. Pete Beach has the boutique, pet-friendly Bay Palms Waterfront Resort on Boca Ciega Bay, just 200 steps from the sand. St. Petersburg’s appropriately titled GayStPete House is a pet-friendly place with a clothing-optional pool area. Downtown St. Petersburg is home to the Hollander Hotel where free WiFi, free rides downtown and free parking are enjoyed as much as the poolside bar, cabanas and restaurant with 21 craft beers on tap. Within walking distance of the city’s robust waterfront, consider checking into the 1912 Arts and Crafts-style Dickens House Bed & Breakfast or the Beach Drive Inn — which dates back to 1910. 

V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 67


Pictured above clockwise: Latest sunglasses available at Main Terminal and all Airsides Black Bean Burger and Sweet Potato Fries; Burger 21, Airsides A & C Latest electronics and gadgets available at Main Terminal and all Airsides Golf fashions and activewear including Nike, Puma and Under Armour; PGA Tour Shops / The Runway, Main Terminal Magazines, books and beach totes available at Main Terminal and all Airsides


Tampa Airport

treasures TPA recently underwent an historic expansion that brought 70 new restaurants, shops and spa services designed to reflect the region’s natural beauty while spotlighting its best assets. This includes fresh seafood at Ulele, popular craft beer at Cigar City Brewing, creative artistry from local jeweler Bourbon and Boweties, Latin fusion at Columbia Restaurant and fun logo merchandise supporting the area’s beloved sports teams. We hope you’ll plan to arrive early so you can explore America’s favorite airport and have one last taste of Tampa Bay before boarding your flight.

Visit us at TampaAirport.com/exploreTPA

1033CONC-1019

The Spirit of Flight, a WaypointeTPA Signature Cocktail, available at all Airport bars


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dig in

TO OUR ARRAY OF RESTAURANTS

PARADISE GRILL

CAFE LARGO 70 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S

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CRISTINO’S COAL OVEN PIZZA


Looking for a place to grab a bite? We’ve got you covered. On the following pages, the Tampa Bay Times’ food critic recommends top restaurants in the area, everything from date-night spots with a water view to the best seafood in St. Pete/Clearwater. You won’t go home hungry. $ Most dishes under $15 $$ Most entrees under $25 $$$ Most entrees more than $25

WATERSIDE ● CARETTA ON THE GULF • Clearwater Beach; $$$ • This top dog at Sandpearl Resort offers fancy, expensive hotel food, and it’s worth it. Consider the Ora King salmon, perfectly cooked with a little soft pinkness at its center and a just-crunchy edge, dappled with a caramelized shallot and Dijon vinaigrette. It was $32, worth every penny and preceded by a solid baby romaine Caesar with blue corn croutons and a half-dozen satiny, mild Blue Point oysters with all the trimmings. Caretta is one of the most elegantly appointed dining rooms in Clearwater Beach, with expert use of its view. ● CRABBY BILL’S • Indian Rocks Beach; $$ • The Loder family started Captain Bill’s back in 1975, then sold it and moved on to the unnamed next project. As Matt Loder remembers it, one of his sisters said, “We love eating crabs, we love selling crabs and Dad is pretty crabby.” Not sure how patriarch Bill Loder, who passed away recently, felt about that assessment, but the original Crabby Bill’s in Indian Rocks Beach was launched in 1983. The business has grown, with franchises and offshoots, but the flagship store is going strong, staffed, as Matt Loder said, by “cousins, in-laws and outlaws,” with a menu that lavishes attention on shrimp, crab and local grouper.

BUYA RAMEN

CAFE PONTE

● FRENCHY’S ROCKAWAY GRILL • Clearwater Beach; $$ • Frenchy’s is synonymous with Clearwater Beach. There are several locations, but if you want big and beachy, Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill is your pastel-colored destination for indoor/outdoor dining with a white-sand beach and sparkling Gulf waters. The grouper sandwich is a favorite, as is the rich she-crab soup. Laid-back bands play ’70s and ’80s favorites. Enjoy the vibe of the beachfront deck, and don’t forget the sunscreen for that walk on the beach. ● O’MADDY’S BAR & GRILLE • Gulfport; $$ • It’s the good-times, big-burger, cheap-beer, late-night, waterside go-to in the laid-back little town of Gulfport, and it has been that way for more than 35 years. People go for karaoke, to watch the fishermen haul their catch onto the Williams Pier out in Boca Ciega Bay, for live bands, for food that doesn’t take itself too seriously (case in point: mahi mahi, bananas foster or peanut butter and jelly wings). It’s LGBTQ-friendly, and you’ll encounter regulars who know each other as well as tourists just soaking up a little sun. It’s an Irish pub only in name, the strongest menu items hailing from around Buffalo: wings, beef on weck served on authentic kummelweck rolls. ● PALM PAVILION GRILL & BAR • Clearwater Beach; $$ • The spacious layout of the white wood-frame building and its swift servers accommodate large crowds comfortably and efficiently. Even at sunset, there’s rarely a wait. While away vacation hours on a big wraparound porch, enjoying stunning views of Clearwater Beach’s shoreline and

NOBLE CRUST V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 71


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OLDE BAY CAFÉ & DUNEDIN FISH MARKET

● SALT ROCK GRILL • Indian Shores; $$-$$$ • Looking out over the Intracoastal in Indian Shores, Salt Rock Grill has been a St. Pete/Clearwater anchor restaurant for ages, largely on the strength of its dayboat seafood, in-house-aged prime steaks grilled over a natural oak and citrus wood pit fire, raw bar goodies, a serious wine list and three-course “supper club” (read: early bird; be seated by 5:30) dinners for $15.90. In high season it gets a bit crowded, and much of the menu isn’t charting new territory, but when it comes to surf and turf with a perfect baked potato, who needs novelty? SALT ROCK GRILL

WOODY’S WATERFRONT

sugar-white sand, or dine indoors in the A/C. Full liquor and beer are served, and the “PP” makes the best piña colada in the South. The grub is better than average, too. Choose from grouper sandwiches, burgers and salads, Tampa-style Cubans and killer wings. Rock, folk, reggae and jazz performers entertain day and night. 72 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S

● PARADISE GRILLE • Pass-a-Grille Beach; $ • It doesn’t get beachier than this quintessential gulfside snack shack. Located directly on the beach, you can sink your toes in the sand while noshing on breakfast, lunch and dinner bites. Go at sunset and you might be able to ring the "sunset" bell. Beach snack bars are a solid option when exploring this area, the most ideal way to grab a quick meal just feet from the Gulf of Mexico.

● SANDBAR • Clearwater Beach; $$ • The casual offering at beach hotel Opal Sands is Sandbar. It’s a big chickee protecting an inviting square bar, a phalanx of wooden tables and casual chairs assembled to one side in the sand. You can’t enter the water from right here; there’s a low wall and a rocky little dropoff. But it’s a prime place from which to view the sunset. Because the hotel sits at the elbow before it bends toward Shephard’s Beach Resort, the view south is pretty Sand Key Park; west is all blue water. The menu feels just right, with peel-and-eat shrimp, a solid New England clam chowder, fish tacos and a fried grouper basket. For drinks, it’s rum runners and mai tais.


CARETTA ON THE GULF

SEAFOOD ● OLDE BAY CAFÉ & DUNEDIN FISH MARKET • Dunedin; $$ • At Olde Bay, you sit out on the rough-hewn wooden deck, watch the boats bob and work your way through a hogfish sandwich or a pound of peel-and-eat shrimp. (There’s nothing fried on the menu.) Wash that down with something nice from the extensive craft beer list, and then ruminate on what a lovely city Dunedin is.

FRENCHY’S ROCKAWAY GRILL

● RUSTY BELLIES WATERFRONT GRILL • Tarpon Springs; $$ • After a long day of exploring, shopping, and soaking up the unique charms of downtown Tarpon Springs, top it off with a relaxed visit to this family-owned eatery. The vibe is laid-back and rustic, the seafood is fresh and local, and the views of the sun setting over Tarpon Bayou will soothe your soul. Specialties include whole fried fish (head, tail and all), ceviche, smoked fish spread, shrimp & grits, jambalaya, their signature salad and many more, plus a daily happy hour from 4-7p.m. at their Tiki Bar. Specialty drinks for $5? We’re in.

TROPHY FISH

● WOODY’S WATERFRONT • St. Pete Beach; $$ • Woody’s Waterfront started as a tiny bait house in 1928. Back then it was burgers and such. It’s still burgers and such, only now they are accompanied by margaritas and live music six nights a week. Servers hustle through the patio, tight-set with

high-gloss picnic tables and turquoise sun umbrellas, hefting paper-lined baskets of fried shrimp and the ultimate Woody burger. But be forewarned: Their tagline is “We’re so close to the water, your burger will get wet.”

● TROPHY FISH • St. Petersburg; $$ • This is a casual, indoor-outdoor fish shack where fish freshness is everything and food is accessorized with a seriously cerebral “boat drink” cocktail list. The overall vibe is breezy nautical, the drinks list following suit with goofy categories: Ship-wrecked, I’m on a Yacht, Dockside and such. Drinks, even when full-throttle tiki, are balanced with amari, other bitters and herbs, never verging on cloying. To accompany your libation, crunch across the shell-floor patio and put in an order at the counter for whatever the catch of the day is, maybe as a salad topper or in a pair of tacos, and share an order of fish spread and hush puppies.

V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 73


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THE LIBRARY

AMERICAN UPSCALE

fine date night, especially if the weather is good and you can sit at one of the sidewalk tables.

● BOB HEILMAN’S BEACHCOMBER • Clearwater Beach; $$$ • There’s a definite Mad Men atmosphere here, and with 700 bottlings on the wine list, many of them deep-pocket Burgundies, California and Oregon pinot noirs, this 70-year-old classic is suitably served by an expense account. That’s not to say it’s pricey across the board: One of the biggest sellers is the Back-to-the-Farm Chicken dinner, a half Bell & Evans chicken golden and batter-dipped, served with mashed potatoes, dusky pan gravy and a daily veg, preceded by a soup of the day, creamy slaw and the fabled relish tray, all for $19.48. Heilman’s is a textbook example of a restaurant that has shifted with the zeitgeist but always stayed true to its core vision; it feels relevant. ● BRICK & MORTAR • St. Petersburg; $$ • There are some anchor items that would prompt revolt if removed from the menu (the excellent burger with truffle fries, carpaccio of beef tenderloin topped by house ravioli filled with soft poached egg, the slow-braised octopus two ways), but this restaurant has otherwise built a reputation on a smart lineup of easily shared small plates and a shorter list of mains 74 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S

● CAFE PONTE • Clearwater; $$$ • Cafe Ponte is a good place for a date night, the service staff is always professional and solicitous, the food is consistent and luxurious. For 18 years, this has been one of the area’s reliable places for business lunches and amorous assignations fueled by wild mushroom bisque, classic steak tartare and short ribs with Moroccan carrot puree and sesame dates. Bargain hunters swear by the four-course prix-fixe dinner for $36 before 6:30 p.m., whereas high rollers endorse the pull-out-all-the-stops $95 six-courser.

GRACE RESTAURANT

that lean to homemade noodles and slow-cooked meats (oxtail, short ribs). This is not splurge territory, most dishes between $11 and $24, but it makes a

● GRACE RESTAURANT • St. Pete Beach; $$$ • An independent, smart, sensibly scaled restaurant on the beach that doesn’t rely on the Fryolator - that had been a tall order until Grace burst onto the scene in 2017. It’s a pretty space (however it can get loud when full) with a personal and breezy approach to hip New American cuisine that always keeps vegetarians and vegans accommodated. The menu has stayed fairly steady since opening. Popular dishes include the Middle Eastern-inflected heirloom tomato salad with pistachios and orange


ANNATA WINE BAR

blossom water, the lemon- and herb-stuffed chicken and, the height of luxury, the lobster cocktail. ● THE LIBRARY • St. Petersburg; $$ • There are 7,000 hardback books, sleeves removed to reveal all-blue spines (well, and three red ones, very Architectural Digest). It’s a paean to books, a tribute of sorts to the George Peabody Library on the Johns Hopkins campus in Baltimore, which dates to 1878. This new space in the research and education building of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has herringbone tile floors over here, black-andwhite checkerboard marble tile over there, outrageously high ceilings and dramatic globe pendants. Gorgeous and dignified, it has excellent food overseen by young dynamo Rachel Bennett. Check the fried Brussels with ricotta salata and capers. ● PARKSHORE GRILL • St. Petersburg; $$$ • In the midst of Restaurant Row on Beach Drive in St. Pete, Parkshore’s expansive sidewalk patio puts diners up close with the waterfront. The mission is upscale American food, with steaks and sturdy fillets of grouper. Their beef, all prime, is sourced from a program that ensures it has never been exposed to steroids, antibiotics, growth hormones, chemicals or additives. For non-meat eaters there’s sustainably raised cobia, swordfish and some other less well-known species that don’t put as big a strain on Gulf fisheries. Parkshore has expanded its vegetable and vegetarian offerings. And weekend brunch is a sure bet. ● THE RESTORATIVE • Dunedin; $$ • What they excel at here is preparing incredibly ambitious food in a microscopic open kitchen. (Pro tip: The bar is the place to be if you like ringside.) They have an eye to things that marry sweet and savory (lots of savory dessert elements), every hyper-composed plate a juxtaposition of color and texture without being fussy. The menu can trot close to Italy (risotto with foie gras or linguini with black truffle), but fish presentations have a Scandinavian drama and purity. Despite a haiku-short daily wine and beer list, they host frequent wine dinners and reserve Saturday nights for private parties. ● ROCOCO STEAK • St. Petersburg; $$$ • From side dishes to musical selections, Rococo has brought a subversive eye to reinventing the

BRICK & MORTAR

steakhouse, its presence alone a novelty in downtown St. Pete, where there is an odd paucity of steakhouses. It offers a range of smaller steaks, shareable appetizers, a wine list that goes far beyond big-name California cabs and a cocktail list that isn’t dark-liquor dominated. And the décor has done away with the traditional paradigm of dark wood and “old boys’ club” atmosphere, with deep gray walls, white cove ceilings and ruby-red chandeliers. ● 1200° CHOPHOUSE • St. Pete Beach; $$$ • What’s better than a great steak place on the beach? Not a darn thing, according to chef/owner Dan Casey of his place on Gulf Blvd. With just 48 seats, the atmosphere is cozy, yet warmly masculine. The menu is tightly focused — steak is king of course — but seafood, pork chops and chicken also get some love, as well as an interesting array of apps, fresh chopped salads and a quintet of delicious signature sauces. A similarly focused wine list is heavy on the reds but white-wine lovers won’t feel left out. If your appetite for meat dwells somewhere in Viking territory, this is your place.

ITALIAN ● ANNATA WINE BAR • St. Petersburg; $$ • Annata is the place to go if you want to concoct a board of cheeses and salumi (very affordably priced), served with excellent accoutrements and crackers. But don’t neglect the rest of the menu, from really lively salads, a good bowl of mussels with melted leeks and a winey, buttery broth, to the daily fish special. ● CRISTINO’S COAL OVEN PIZZA • Clearwater; $$ • Since 2007, brothers Joe, Marco and Lenny Cristino have been delighting diners with supercrisp, sturdier-centered pies with those charry black bubbles scarring the crust. The coal oven’s intense heat gives everything a nuttier, more intense flavor and a chewy texture. Go minimalist with the toppings; too many and their moisture gums up the

IL RITORNO

crust. At meal’s end, the house gelatos are compulsory. ● Il RITORNO • St. Petersburg; $$$ • Since its expansion and remodel in 2017, Il Ritorno has dialed its service level and wine program way up and has offered one of the area’s most incisive signature five-course tasting menus (a reasonable $75, $45 more with wine pairings). Signature dishes include the short rib mezzaluna, capellini nero and white truffle risotto, but this spot continues to push ahead with innovative seafood and game presentations. ● MAZZARO’S ITALIAN MARKET • St. Petersburg; $ • This is a local treasure, absolutely swarmed in high season: Fresh bread, good wine, a butcher counter, handmade pasta, the widest array of cheeses and the most crowded parking lot in St. Petersburg would be attraction enough. But belly up to the deli counter and take home a monster sandwich, or more prudently, explore the prepared goods, meat, salad and vegetables with lively spicing. ● NOBLE CRUST • St. Petersburg; $ • For brunch, lunch or dinner, the cuisine at Noble Crust is a bold take on deep-south Italian and the vibe is urban rustic warehouse. Standouts include the ricotta gnocchi, bronzed salmon (with roasted cauliflower and Calabrian chili oil), and the farro bowl (a risotto V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 75


DINING

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NITALLY’S THAI MEX

dish with roasted brussel sprouts, butternut squash, lime yogurt and ripe avocado). If that doesn’t move you, the pizzas are a thing of beauty and the chicken marsala with chicken sausage and four-cheese grits is to die for. ● PIA’S TRATTORIA • Gulfport; $$ • On charming Beach Boulevard in this quaint waterfront town adjacent to Boca Ciega Bay, Pia’s has a secret ingredient. Meet the Arcobaleno pastamaker, a magical machine that makes a whole lot of different shapes and sizes, faster which allows Pia’s to more easily accommodate a robust vegan clientele. With this pasta expansion, the menu now gives more guidance on which pasta with which sauce (it previously was mix-and-match), and the Pia’s special menu now changes often. Desserts are a high point, classically Italian and clearly homemade. ● PIZZERIA GREGARIO • Safety Harbor; $-$$ • Chef Greg Seymour is a one-man symphony orchestra at this little Safety Harbor original. He buys whole, local, naturally raised pigs and breaks them down, making his own sausages and charcuterie. He buys organic wheat and ancient grains and grinds them himself, has a buddy from whom he buys water buffalo milk. He’s careful about his sauce tomatoes, militant about no refined sugar and eating “clean.” All this thought brought to bear on a pizza that will cost you around $17. It’s an order-at-thecounter, menu-on-the-chalkboard place, perfectly 76 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S

PIA’S TRATTORIA

family-friendly and casual, but this is expertly made, wild-culture pizza, the best in our area.

LATIN/MEXICAN ● BODEGA • St. Petersburg; $ • This early EDGE District stalwart continues to tiller a steady boat, with a strong lineup of juices and a dependable menu of what they call Latin street food. The Cuban and the lechon sandwiches are beloved far and wide (they

do their Cuban Miami-style, no salami), vegetarians vociferously adding that the grilled and pressed tempeh sandwich with its sweet and spicy slaw is another barn burner. Another avenue to investigate is the frita of the month, a shock-and-awe Cubanstyle burger of different proteins, always topped by a passel of crisp shoestring potato sticks. ● CASA TINA • Dunedin; $$ • Tina and Javier Avila’s place has become part of the fabric of the charming downtown with celebrations like Mexican Indepen-


pork rinds with red curry sauce. And the paella — loaded with seafood and chorizo — is flavored with lemongrass, lime leaves and galangal. Yum. ● RED MESA • St. Petersburg; $$ • Residing just north of downtown, locals have lined up here for more than 20 years to enjoy Mexican and Southwestern classics with a sophisticated flair. For starters, try the shrimp fundido or guacamole sampler and anything with mole sauce. Popular main dishes include Filet Mignon Chimichurri with fried yuca and sweet plantains. Wash it down with some housemade white sangria.

FRENCH ● ALESIA RESTAURANT • St. Petersburg; $ • With a great, pet-friendly outdoor patio and a spare, sunny dining room, this Vietnamese-French café is one of the prettiest hangouts in St. Petersburg. Whether you linger over a latte or camp out over cappuccino, there’s no reason you can’t accompany that with a dumpling soup or a plate of garlicky sauteed baby bok choy. The Vietnamese-French café isn’t fusion as much as it offers both cuisines side by side. In other words, you’ll get great croissant sandwiches as well as delicious banh mi.

BODEGA

● BLACK PEARL • Dunedin; $$$ • There are red roses. There are white tablecloths. It is intimate and not too loud. It has been the go-to romantic place in Dunedin for decades. It is splurge territory, yet prices remain fair-minded (for example, you get a salad with your entree, very old school). Top offerings include appetizers like white truffle lobster risotto (it’s also offered as an entree for $54, but it’s so rich the smaller option may be plenty) and the maple-glazed pork belly with cheese grits and a high contrapuntal note of blueberry demiglace. For entrees, the rack of lamb and filet mignon are unswervingly perfect. ● CAFÉ LARGO • Largo; $$$ • With a décor that you find in the most genial Parisian bistros, this French restaurant lets you hear yourself talk, with pacing that allows for moony-eyed romance. The vibe works well, considering Café Largo dominates with dessert, such as the Grand Marnier souffle (order at the beginning, and you and your sweetie must both order it). It’s also one of the few local restaurants making its own, utterly excellent bread, and its execution of classical French dishes is absolutely on point.

BLACK PEARL

dence Day, Cena de Nochebuena and Dia de los Muertos. This is fairly upscale, with loads of vegetarian and vegan options and a reluctance to lean too heavily on the deep fryer. First chips and salsa are free, so plan accordingly. Fajitas get high marks, but don’t overlook the chile rellenos, the chiles en nogado (stuffed poblanos) or the sweetsmoldery mole poblano veggie enchiladas. ● NITALLY’S THAI MEX • South Pasadena; $$ • When you arrive at Nitally’s for the first time only to

find yourself face-to-face with a grinning sugar skull and a meditating Buddha, you might get a sense that this is not going to be your typical fusion experience. DING-DING-DING! You’d be right! Knitting together flavors of Thai and Mexican cuisines, Nitally’s embraces the weird and takes it up several notches with delicious flavor pairings and aromas, and epic heat — matched by quirky anything-goes decor and colorful local art. Dine out of your comfort zone with unexpected flavor combinations like chorizo fried rice, panang mole, or

● PARTS OF PARIS • Safety Harbor; $$ • Ensconced in a charming, oh-so Parisian 1936 Florida bungalow on a brick street, POP is a lovely spot for a romantic late-night dinner or a leisurely Sunday brunch. The bouillabaisse is a constant, changing a bit nightly depending on what seafood has come in fresh, but it always has that heady je ne sais quoi of white wine and fennel. For brunch, dine al fresco on duck confit with Grand Marnier gastrique, the omelette du jour or croque-monsieur while shaded by majestic old oaks. The next best thing to dining in Paris.

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DINING

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THE CIDER PRESS CAFE

ASIAN

● SUSHI SHO REXLEY • St. Petersburg; $$$ • This is a purer, more exacting style of sushi and sashimi, offered primarily as a multicourse prix-fixe omakase. (The word means “I’ll leave it up to you,” essentially, “Chef, I’m putty in your hands.”) They buy fish from the Tokyo Toyosu Fish Market, the sushi aesthetic is very classic and unfussy. The base level omakase is $90 and starts with a daily-changing appetizer, then five sets of nigiri: a finger of rice with the fish draped over, arranged in categories like white fish, red fish, flavorful fish, creamy/exotic fish and a final round of shellfish and freshwater eel. The restaurant also offers a range of a la carte nigiri, carpaccio and some cooked fish dishes.

● BUYA RAMEN • St. Petersburg; $ • Guy Fieri pulled up to Buya in his trademark red convertible Camaro to film a recent episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives for the Food Network and he was hooked. Enter the Japanese gastropub and you’ll be greeted by striking murals created by local artist Michael Vahl. And the ramen? So good. The tonkotsu broth is lush: Blanched chicken and pork bones are simmered with roasted vegetables for 22 hours before being strained and married with noodles and lush toppers like duck confit, fatty-edged pork belly or braised short rib. Cocktails keep with the creative Japanese theme and the bar has an extensive list of sophisticated Japanese whiskies. ● ICHICORO ANE • St. Petersburg; $$-$$$ • To go with the ramen-and-small-plates menu here, there is a DJ booth, a graffitied nook for selfies and outrageous martial-arts-seafood-and-psychedelia wallpaper. Dining spaces are defined by horizontal blonde-wood slats so you can peek through. Whether you’re here before a concert, after a lecture, in jeans or dressed up, it always feels just right. This spot manages to feel like the best kind of controlled chaos. ● LA V • St. Petersburg; $ • V is for Vietnamese, the stylish cafe proffering an expanded menu of the noodles, soups and banh mi sandwiches that made Thuy Le’s spot a foodie destination. Le herself is a 78 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S

BBQ

DR. BBQ

smiling presence in the dining room, where high ceilings and high spirits can make things noisy. With 60 varieties of smoothies and boba teas (those teas with the fat straws and balls of tapioca bobbing at the bottom) and fairly portable, herb-bright vermicelli bowls topped with lemongrass chicken, La V has had victory as a top takeout lunch spot.

● DR. BBQ • St. Petersburg; $$ • Ray “Dr. BBQ” Lampe’s eponymous restaurant is an upscale two-story space that takes BBQ to another level. They serve laudable sliced brisket, house-cured and house-smoked pastrami, burnt ends, smoked turkey with a little Korean accent, Asian sticky ribs and St. Louis-style ribs. On the side try “Mac-A-Phoni,” a hominy with sumptuous tequila habanero aged cheddar queso under a capper of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Now add to this 20-something vegan items, a full bar with funny-kooky but tasty cocktails (imagine Maker’s Mark paired with Yoo-hoo) and big, crowd-pleasing desserts like a doorstop of peanut butter pie.


GOLDEN DINOSAURS VEGAN DELI

SUSHI SHO REXLEY

● IRON OAK NEW AMERICAN BBQ • Palm Harbor; $$ • It’s a collaboration of seasoned restaurant pros, its biggest draw a wide covered patio and the goods that come out of the restaurant’s high-techmeets-low-tech Oyler barbecue pit. The meats they smoke are naturally raised (no hormones, steroids or GMO feed). Maybe start with the amberjack fish spread or burnt ends queso with tortilla chips. The smoked wings are good, too, but then you’re going to want to opt for “The Cycle” as your entree, a sampler of sausage, brisket, pulled pork, St. Louis-style ribs and a couple of those wings, so maybe that’s excessive. Speaking of excessive, the ham bone collards are seriously hammy.

LOCAL CLASSICS ● CONEY ISLAND SANDWICH SHOP • St. Petersburg; $ • St. Petersburg’s top dog is spry for a nonagenarian. It’s Michigan-style dogs with coney sauce. The style got its start in the Greek- and Macedonian-owned diners of the Detroit area: hot dogs smothered in seasoned ground beef (no beans), plus mustard and onions. The St. Pete stalwart, the oldest restaurant in the ’Burg, traditionally does one stripe of mustard, but they’ll go heavy if you ask (but no, shudder, ketchup). ● MUNCH’S SUNDRIES & RESTAURANT • St. Petersburg; $ • It’s time travel, pure and simple. The walls are tacked-up with down-home morsels of wisdom; and on Tuesdays every table is topped with the fried chicken feast — two pieces, mashed potatoes and gravy. Some people swear by the fried green tomatoes and open-faced roast beef sandwich, others applaud the crazy-cheap breakfast offerings, but all hail the house milkshakes. ● TED PETERS FAMOUS SMOKED FISH • South Pasadena; $ • It has been featured on the Food Network, but that hasn’t made Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish uppity. Prized for its laid-back style and inviting picnic tables, the big-time draw is, of course, the smoked fish: Smoked fish spread with saltines is fabled, the salmon is excellent, the mullet is an

intensely fishy acquired taste. But Ted Peters also produces beloved cheeseburgers and German potato salad that is balanced precariously between the zing of vinegar and the smoke of bacon. This is a beer-drinking establishment, it closes early and for a price they will smoke your catch.

BEANS & BARLOUR

like a steampunk spaceship. ● TRIP’S DINER • St. Petersburg; Seminole; $ • This classic nostalgic diner features sturdy, egg-centric breakfast fare and bottomless coffee and is kitted out with wonderful black-and-white historical photos of St. Pete. A cozy-booth, jukebox, breakfast-all-day kind of place, where meatloaf and cheese grits are in order and eggs Benedict will set you back around $8. Pancakes, called hubcakes because of their hubcap-like size, have been shown to be more effective than Lunesta in clinical trials.

VEGETARIAN/VEGAN ● THE CIDER PRESS CAFÉ • St. Petersburg; $$ • The lineup of juices and dishes like spiralized veggie pad Thai and breads made of dehydrated gruels have been augmented by accessible vegan comfort foods that include a range of burgers and things like empanadas and vegan shepherd’s pie. Their nonalcoholic drinks list is impressive. ● GOLDEN DINOSAURS VEGAN DELI • Gulfport; $ • There’s a glass cake case next to the order counter that features truly good cakes and desserts. But the real draw is the from-scratch vegan sausages, cutlets, seitan and straight-up solid vegan hot dogs, taken all-the-way Chicago style. Beyond the crunchy pressed Cuban with seitan “mojo pork,” they do two versions of a Reuben sandwich that are laudable, both heaped with lively, lovely St. Pete Ferments sauerkraut. And you have to finish things up with a chocolate chunk sea salt cookie, the chocolate sourced from nearby Pinellas Chocolate Company.

● HAZE ICE CREAM • Indian Shores; $ • After, or even during, a glorious sun-filled day along the Gulf beaches, treat yourself to some ice cream. But not just any ice cream. Haze Ice Cream features fresh homemade ice creams and made-to-order milkshakes. Expect the unexpected with more than 40 flavors to choose from including gluten free and dairy free varieties. Locals rave about the familyowned ice cream shop and TripAdvisor rated it 5-stars. Find it on the eastern side of the island along Gulf Blvd. ● (SWAH-REY) • St. Petersburg; $ • You go here for mini cupcakes and other desserts paired with wine, beer, Kahwa coffee and such. The coin of the realm is a “hook up,” a mini iced cake perched on top of a shot glass of something (espresso, prosecco, etc.), just a couple bites and a down-the-hatch. I’ve worked my way through the cakes and am a big fan of the chocolate salted caramel, the zesty lemon and the strawberry lemonade, baked daily. ● WILLIAM DEAN • Belleair Bluffs; $ • These chocolates have had a cameo on The Tonight Show and The View. Whoopi Goldberg is a big fan. They’ve been featured in the Hunger Games movies. Each truffle is made by hand and hand-painted or airbrushed. William Dean also sells individual desserts, pate de fruit (fruit jellies), macarons, candied popcorn, gelato and bar chocolate.

DIGITAL DINING GUIDE

SWEETS

VisitSPC.com/Dining

● BEANS & BARLOUR • St. Petersburg; $ • One of the big draws here is booze-infused ice cream (whiskey cheesecake, chocolate-chocolate liqueur, etc., offered as scoops, shakes or floats), supported by a menu of cocktails, wines and thoughtful coffee and tea drinks. Look also for great wallpaper and one of those gleaming espresso makers that looks

Go on a journey with some of the best chefs and restaurant hot spots around St. Pete/Clearwater with our culinary video series. Check back weekly to see the latest videos about our diverse dining scene!

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WINTER, HOPE, NICK & PJ WINTER & HOPE FROM THE

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80 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S


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THINGS TO DO

SPIN

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THROUGH THINGS TO DO IN ST. PETE/CLEARWATER RS BA

SPOR TS

MARK ETS

LY MI FA

S NT E EV

BREW E R IES

There are so many fun things to do in St. Pete/Clearwater that you can’t go wrong. Immerse yourself in one of nature’s escapes? Pick the perfect pint at our local breweries? Keep the kids entertained for hours? Luckily, they’re all in play for your vacation. Follow along as we suggest some of the best attractions we have to offer. Go on and take as many turns as you’d like---every option is sure to be a winner!

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RE TU NA

MUS IC


NATURE

THINGS TO DO

VisitSPC.com/Nature

KAYAKING AT CALADESI ISLAND STATE PARK


There are still plenty of places where you can get away from it all. Find a quiet spot to relax, reflect and soak in the nature and wildlife at these spots. TARPON SPRINGS Lake Tarpon: If you’re looking to paddle among the alligators, this freshwater lake is a great place to put in your kayak or canoe. You can also reach a trail system from A.L. Anderson Park in Tarpon Springs in the west or John Chesnut Sr. Park from Palm Harbor in the east. Brooker Creek Preserve: This sprawling, 8,700-acre preserve east of Lake Tarpon features hiking and horseback riding in addition to an educational center that tells visitors about local flora and fauna.

DUNEDIN Caladesi Island State Park: To reach this barrier island, you have to take the ferry from Honeymoon Island, because the isolated state park isn’t connected to the mainland by roads. Caladesi is regularly cited as one of the best beaches in the entire United States, but the park also features a nature trail, overnight boat camping, concessions and facilities for beachcombers.

SAFETY HARBOR Philippe Park: Named after one of the original European settlers to the area, this park winds its way around upper Tampa Bay. Beyond endless put-ins for paddling and myriad picnic options, the park’s main attraction is a Native American earth mound that is on the National Register of Historic Places. Majestic shade trees wearing beards of Spanish moss add to the mystique and beauty.

LARGO Florida Botanical Gardens: 20 years old and still growing, this 100 acre oasis located near Heritage Village showcases the flora that gave us the name Flori-da. The gardens are free to tour and pet friendly. Many sidewalks are ADA compliant. However, wheelchairs or scooters are not available for rent on site. If you’re in town during the holidays, be sure and checkout “Holiday Lights in the Garden” to get in the spirit.

WEEDON ISLAND PRESERVE

SEMINOLE Boca Ciega Millennium Park: In the heart of St. Pete/Clearwater, this family park is in a prime location on Boca Ciega Bay. Its boardwalks and observation tower help visitors take advantage of its designation as a stop on the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Great Florida Birding Trail. There are also picnic shelters, a nature trail loop and a canoe and kayak launch into the bay.

ST. PETERSBURG

CORMORANT

Boyd Hill Nature Preserve: On the shores of Lake Maggiore, this nature park showcases 245 acres of hiking trails and five different ecosystems. The educational center features lectures and classes, including a wildly popular birds of prey program. Weedon Island Preserve: A prime place for kayaking, the mangrove tunnels around Weedon Island offer a peek into the past. There’s a nature center and a series of boardwalks that take nature lovers out onto the water without a chance of getting wet.

TIERRA VERDE

JUVENILE ALLIGATOR AT BOYD HILL NATURE PRESERVE

Fort De Soto Park: This county park is a local favorite, with miles of trails, a stellar campground, a shoreline perfect for paddling and, of course, the historic namesake fort. Picnic shelters and room for parking abound.

SHELL KEY A secluded alternative to the main beaches, this park just across the channel from Pass-a-Grille Beach is only accessible by boat. There’s a shuttle service, or you can try paddling from the mainland. Permits for primitive camping are also available.

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FAMILY

THINGS TO DO

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CLEARWATER MARINE AQUARIUM

Beach days are great, but sometimes the kids need a little change of pace. These places offer some familyfriendly options for entertainment.

PALM HARBOR Suncoast Primate Sanctuary: Over 70 animals – including chimpanzees, orangutans, monkeys, reptiles, tropical birds and more – call the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary their home. Located on Alt U.S. Highway 19, the 12-acre sanctuary has served as a peaceful safe haven for thousands of these magnificent creatures for over 70 years.

DUNEDIN Dunedin Fine Art Center: Right next door to the city’s community center in Highland Park, the Dunedin Fine Art Center features both a gallery and a children’s activity center. Kids can take a painting or pottery class or explore artistic concepts in the David L. Mason Children’s Art Museum.

OLDSMAR Empower Adventures Tampa Bay: The whole family can tap into their spirit of adventure on an unforgettable zip-line tour at Empower Adventures Tampa Bay. The fully guided 86 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S

2.5-hour tour offers breathtaking views of the surrounding waters and wilderness, and features a 60-foot-tall start tower, 5 zip lines of varying lengths and a 200-foot suspension bridge.

CLEARWATER Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise: Given Tampa Bay’s buccaneer background, this cruise aboard a pirate ship sets the kids off on treasure hunts, pirate stories and water-gun fights. While the kids swashbuckle, parents can enjoy free beer and wine on the adults-only deck overlooking the expansive seafaring scenery.

LARGO Heritage Village: This “living museum” features 33 historic attractions, including restored homes, a general store and other buildings on 21 wooded acres. Regularly held demonstrations include a smokehouse, sugar cane mill, boiling shed, blacksmith, woodworking and more. Largo Central Park: This crown jewel in the Largo parks system is not only the home of the local


CLEARWATER MARINE AQUARIUM

F

un and learning splash together at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, but the nonprofit organization’s marine mission goes far beyond one dolphin’s tale. Unforgettable nose-to-nose encounters with famous rescue dolphins Winter and Hope are possible in the underwater tunnel, Shipwreck Alley, just one of the state-of-the-art viewing areas at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Visitors can also watch river otters Walle and Boomer play in their toy-filled Oasis, check out hard-shelled friends in Turtle Bayou, spy nurse sharks Thelma and Louise as they swim, hand-feed stingrays and see great white pelicans at a new aviary. Construction of even more spectacular digs for these marine animals is underway and will be unveiled later this year.  But the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is much more than an educational or tourist destination. Behind the scenes, it has become a leader in marine conservation. Volunteers continually patrol the 14 miles of turtle nesting beach, helping thousands of hatchlings reach the gulf waters every year. The organization also works with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, monitoring endangered right whales in the Atlantic, collecting data about their numbers and movements, and sharing it with the government agency. Aquarium research also has helped shape public policy to protect right whales’ winter calving grounds. In addition, the aquarium educates the public about marine ecology as a founding member of Ocean Allies, a nonprofit dedicated to beach cleanup and encouraging businesses to adopt more ocean-friendly policies, such as ditching single-use plastic. With a recent rescue of a baby manatee in Belize and conservation efforts in Cuba, the aquarium is expanding its work around the world. 

WINTER & HOPE

But Winter, the baby dolphin who lost her tail in a crab trap and whose story was the subject of the 2011 film Dolphin Tale, still deeply resonates with visitors of all ages. The healthy dolphin celebrated her 14th birthday in October 2019 and gets a new tail every five or six months as her caregivers refine its design and technology improves.  Not only are children inspired by Winter’s story. The aquarium works with local veterans’ hospitals to connect with wounded soldiers, many of whom visit the aquarium for special meet-and-greets with the animals. A nonprofit organization, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium believes in preserving our environment while inspiring the human spirit through leadership in the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of marine life; environmental education; research; and conservation. To find out more about their mission, go to SeeWinter.com.

HERITAGE VILLAGE

wild!) In addition to the dozens of gators, the facility features frogs, lizards, tortoises and more.

ST. PETERSBURG DUNEDIN FINE ART CENTER

community center and central library, it’s crisscrossed by miniature train tracks. Once a month, a dedicated club opens the course for miniature train rides for children and their families. Check PlayLargo.com for a current schedule.

heat and make a splash at this water park, which features two giant, twisty water slides that tower 42 feet in the air, a kids splash zone and a lazy river. 

INDIAN ROCKS BEACH

Alligator Attraction: At this classic beach attraction, families can feed and hold live gators in a safe, fun environment (definitely not recommended in the

Splash Harbour Water Park: Families can beat the

MADEIRA BEACH

Great Explorations Children’s Museum: Conveniently located next to the city’s famed Sunken Gardens, this kid-friendly space is filled with all sorts of interactive toys, games and exhibits for children. Curious kiddos of all ages can work in a veterinarian’s office, shop at a pretend grocery store, play with foam blocks or watch a performance.

ST. PETE BEACH TradeWinds Island Resorts: You don’t have to be a guest at this hotel to enjoy the beachside obstacle course. Buy a pass for the climbing wall, the floating water park or the massive, three-story water slide. V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 87


BREWERIES

THINGS TO DO

GulpCoast.com

GREEN BENCH BREWING CO.

St. Pete/Clearwater has more breweries per square mile than anywhere else in the Sunshine State. From Tarpon Springs to Treasure Island, you’re only a beer flight away from some of the country’s best craft beer and offbeat breweries. Here’s a sampling of the 40+ breweries that call the “Gulp Coast” home. Order your Craft Brewery Passport at GulpCoast.com to collect stamps for beer-inspired swag.

TARPON SPRINGS The revived downtown in this Greek enclave has attracted several craft brewers. The most memorable is Silverking Brewing Co., which operates out of the old city jail, and newcomer Unrefined Brewing which specializes in stouts and sours.

PALM HARBOR Surprising some, this small town now offers four craft brewery experiences, ranging from the downtown de Bine Brewing Co., the intimate Palm Harbor Brewery that also makes its own wine, right-off-thePinellas Trail Stilt House Brewery and mainstay Lagerhaus, which is plucked straight from Germany.

DUNEDIN No craft-beer pilgrimage is complete without a visit to this town, which offers seven breweries within a 10-minute walk of each other, including the grandpappy of them all, Dunedin Brewery. It lays claim to being the oldest microbrewery in the Sunshine State. Visit in October to take in its annual Oktobeerfest, featuring the release of its fall beer 88 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S


CROOKED THUMB BREWERY

DUNEDIN BREWERY

and the chance to purchase a literstein, a 1-liter mug good for discounted refills for a year. Other must stops include the stunning Woodwright Brewing Co. (try the Hefeweizen) and legendary 7venth Sun Brewery (Graffiti Orange Wheat is a must).

legendary status, operating out of an industrial park in the middle of the destination. The brewers here are master experimenters, so expect a long and varied tap list, including the award-winning Gose, which is a must.

SAFETY HARBOR

BEACHES

A father-son brewing team transformed a Main St. fixture into the colorful Troubled Waters Brewing, which is uber dog friendly, after seeing the success of veteran Crooked Thumb Brewery just around the corner. Be sure to mark your calendar for Crooked Thumb’s Girl Scout Cookie beer release event that happens every year.

You can enjoy local craft beer along our beaches, too. Mad Beach Craft Brewing Co., a large space with an industrial vibe in John’s Pass Village, embraces its locale with beers aptly named “Dolphin Drool” and “Life’s A Beach,” while Mastry’s, just down the road in St. Pete Beach, is a smaller operation housed in a repurposed gas station.

CLEARWATER

ST. PETERSBURG

Clearwater has been a little late to the craft brewery scene, but it’s making up for lost time. Beachgoers finally have a spot to enjoy on the island at Clearwater Social Brewing Co. and on the mainland newbie Clearwater Brewing Company (try the Love Bug Hibiscus Gose on a hot day) joins mainstays Grindhaus Brew Lab and Big Storm Brewing Co.

St. Pete is the epicenter of the local craft-brew movement, with downtown and the Grand Central District laying claim to close to a dozen locations. You could easily start walking up Central Avenue and hit a half-dozen without straying far from the main drag.

LARGO After traveling the country together, the Hammer brothers recently opened, fittingly, Hammerstein Brewing Co. where you’ll have to try the Mango Wheat. Just down the road, mainstay Arkane Aleworks offers adventurous takes on traditional brews and the state’s best selection of sour beers.

SEMINOLE Rapp Brewing Co. is a longtime craft brewery with

Green Bench Brewing Co. has helped the Edge District mature into the hippest neighborhood around and last year debuted Webb’s City Cellar, which shares the beer garden next door with Green Bench, but specializes in mixed culture, sour and wild ales for a completely different experience. Oh, and it’s adults only unlike 3 Daughters Brewing, which is the perfect family gathering spot with its spacious warehouse full of plenty of seating, games and a stage for live music. If you want to add some Nintendo 64 or air hockey to the mix, Right Around the Corner is part arcade, part brewery.

TROUBLED WATERS BREWING CO.

HAMMERSTEIN BREWING CO.

DISTILLERIES Also of the craft variety, five distilleries have popped up around St. Pete/Clearwater. Cotherman Distilling, Dunedin; Kozuba & Sons, St. Petersburg; St. Petersburg Distillery, St. Pete; American Freedom Distillery, St. Pete and Tarpon Springs Distillery, Tarpon Springs.

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BARS

THINGS TO DO

VisitSPC.com/Bars

Whether you’re a champion day drinker or a night owl, no matter! Many of these bars rock all day, but we’ve added some scheduling suggestions.

BY DAY

CADDY’S

CLEARWATER BEACH

ST. PETE BEACH

There’s nothing better than sipping a frosty cocktail with sand between your toes. A visit to Clearwater Beach isn’t complete without a visit to Frenchy’s Rockaway, but here’s a tip. If you can’t get in, go across the parking lot to Palm Pavilion for the same beachfront vibes with live music.

Grab a volleyball and play a game at the Undertow Beach Bar, or gussy up at the Don CeSar’s Rowe Bar. The party is every weekend at Caddy’s on Sunset Beach, where the people are hyped and the music is loud. PCI Beach Bar is attached to one of the beach’s hippest hotels, the Postcard Inn, decorated in a throwback style that screams Beach Blanket Bingo. At Jimmy B’s Beach Bar, grab a mai-tai and listen to a band playing classic rock covers. And when looking for the perfect place to transition from sunny days to sunset, head back to the Undertow’s rooftop deck.

INDIAN SHORES

Blink and you might miss this tiny town. But make sure to belly up to the bar at Molly Goodhead’s, a classic with lots of ephemera and kitsch to look at on the walls. Hang out with the regulars outside on the porch or inside at the bar.

Mahuffers might be the definition of a dive bar, with old, scrawled-on furniture and dollar bills stapled to the walls. Near the beach on Gulf Boulevard, it’s a place to catch some live music and a cold bear, if you don’t care about being fancy. At the nearby Dog and Parrot, play pool or ping-pong while breathing some fresh air.

DUNEDIN

MADEIRA BEACH

The recently restored 1924 Fenway Hotel, which served as the destination’s first radio station, boasts a water-facing HiFi Rooftop Bar. Down the street, check out the Rusty Lion for a more downtown rooftop atmosphere.

Grab some fish tacos and an icy, boozy drink at the Bamboo Beach Bar, dotted with thatched tiki awnings and a laid back vibe. Grab a namesake refreshment at the Daiquiri Shak, plus oysters, clams, mussels and more at the raw bar.

OZONA

GANDY, ST. PETE It’s hard to believe it’s right off a busy street once you step inside, but The Getaway on Gandy Boulevard in St. Petersburg really lives up to its name. There’s no better place to drink the day away. And don’t miss Tiki Bay Island, a 2,400-square-foot floating bar on a boat, great for private parties, live music and watching kayakers float by.

DOWNTOWN ST. PETE Pop into Brutique, a boutique-bar mashup where you can drink while you shop for clothes and gifts. It’s a winning combination at swah-rey, combining booze with sweet bites. Step 1, eat the mini cupcake. Step 2, take the shot it comes in. For a truly special afternoon, visit the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club, where it’s a see-and-be-seen scene on the front porch. Grab a rocking chair and a crisp glass of white wine while you watch the guests come and go. The granddaddy of St. Petersburg rooftop bars can be found at The Birchwood on Beach Drive. The rooftop, known as the Canopy Rooftop Lounge, has unmatched views of Tampa Bay, plus private cabanas and luxurious cocktails and nibbles At Park & Rec, try your hand at giant beer pong with huge red garbage cans instead of the traditional solo cups. When you get hungry, keep the party going next door at the Avenue, a yummy burger joint with a full bar of drinks.

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BY NIGHT DUNEDIN Step into the craft cocktail scene with Sonder Social Club, a sleek mid-century spot with a bathroom hidden inside a bookcase and a killer Old Fashioned. The social media set hangs out at Crown & Bull, with a roomy patio and offerings including a pear and elderflower collins and a dragonberry mojito. Bagpipers can be found at Flanagan’s Irish Pub, a real Irish bar with lots of live music and Irish drinking songs. And don’t miss Rosie’s Tavern, with its endless popcorn popper and a fun secret challenge -- find a small, black and white ceramic pig called Cowpig hidden in the bar and get a free pint and your photo on Facebook.

CLEARWATER BEACH Time to turn up at Shephard’s Tiki Beach Bar and Grill, which is cool by day with an outdoor tiki bar, but gets bumping at night at the Wave, a nightclub with DJs and bottle service. For high class style, check out the Sandbar at the Opal Sands Resort and enjoy some killer frozen cocktails.

GULFPORT For a true locals experience, visit this small coastal town. Do some karaoke at 9:30 p.m. every night at O’Maddys Bar & Grille, where you can also see the boats sail by. Or head over to Salty’s, a nonsmoking, open air bar with games, skeeball, dart boards and more than 22 flat screen TVs.

ST PETE BEACH DRIVE: If you want to find your perfect wine, do it at TryWine, a wine bar with self-serve tastings dispensed via spouts along the wall. Speaking of wine, enthusiasts will love the high-end selection at Annata, not to mention the

MANDARIN HIDE

NO VACANCY

enormous, Instagram-worthy charcuterie boards. Get your bubbly on at Flute and Dram, which specializes in champagne. And dress to impress at the clubby Tryst Gastro Lounge, featuring uniquelydesigned signature cocktails. 200 BLOCK OF CENTRAL AVENUE: You haven’t had a night out in St. Pete until you’ve taken a photo inside the bathtub at Mandarin Hide, with speakeasy vibes and a doorman guarding the dark glass floor-to-ceiling entryway. If you’re celebrating, be sure to order a bottle of champagne with sparklers. Newer to the block is the Crafty Squirrel, with seriously eye-popping cocktails served in pitchers and teapots. Try the Wake the Dead, a perk-you-up mix of tequila and espresso. For a throwback, dive bar mood, Mastry’s is the spot. It’s been around for more than 80 years serving no-fuss beer and hard liquor. EDGE DISTRICT: Ferg’s Sports Bar is the preeminent place next to Tropicana Field to watch the Tampa Bay Rays, or any other sporting event for

that matter. The classic spot has added extras in recent years, including a concert venue, a dog park, a bowling alley and an axe-throwing alley. The Independent is loaded with craft beers from local breweries and national outfits. If you want a classy, quiet nook, check out Room 901, which has a wall made out of open books. Look up for the upsidedown lamps. And it’s never quiet at No Vacancy, a hopping new concept with a patio, sink-or-swim specials and punch bowls, open until 3 a.m. Just saying. GRAND CENTRAL DISTRICT: This district bills itself as “where the locals go.” Bring your pooch to Dog Bar for some interspecies camaraderie and get to know the local K-9s. It’s all about vino in the intimate Lolita’s Wine Bar. Check out the British tabloids on the wall at The Queen’s Head, a hangout inside a 1930s era gas station. Trophy Fish, an outdoor oasis, specializes in Florida cocktails that are truly a feast for the eyes and the taste buds, including a pina colada served in a hollowed-out pineapple hull.

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MUSIC

THINGS TO DO

VisitSPC.com/Music

JANNUS LIVE

Elvis Presley and Louis Armstrong played here. Jim Morrison and Stephen Stills lived here. There’s a ton of musical history in St. Petersburg and Clearwater, and it continues to this day at the area’s major festivals and live music venues.

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PARK LIFE

FRONT ROW SEATS

In 2019, the Clearwater Jazz Holiday celebrated its 40th anniversary with a lineup that included Chicago, Alison Krauss and Boyz II Men. It’s still the crown jewel of Coachman Park, a shining waterfront facility that also hosts March’s hip hop-heavy Wild Splash and October’s Hispanic Heritage Festival. In the past, those fests have drawn names like Lil Wayne, Cardi B and J Balvin. And each February, the Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival brings a fun, diverse lineup to Coachman Park for free.

Next to Al Lang Stadium sits the Mahaffey Theater, another historic and regal venue that brings in a mix of A-list pop, rock and theatrical events. So does the Palladium across town – but the real gem there is its Side Door Café, which hosts an array of blues, jazz and cabaret acts. Watch out for performances by local guitar greats Selwyn Birchwood, Nate Najar and Damon Fowler, or the eclectic chamber-pop symphony known as the Florida Bjorkestra.

Down south in St. Petersburg, Vinoy Park is the centerpiece of one of the longest stretches of urban waterfront greenspace in America. It’s also home to some of the area’s top festivals, from March’s Reggae Rise Up to April’s Tampa Bay Blues Fest to November’s R&B-centric Beats by the Bay. You can walk along the water to reach historic Al Lang Stadium, home of soccer’s Tampa Bay Rowdies, and an occasional concert venue for artists like Bryan Adams and Santana.

The Mahaffey Theater also hosts weekly concerts by the Florida Orchestra – as does Clearwater’s Ruth Eckerd Hall, one of the most highly regarded pop and rock theaters in America. Legends like Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and James Taylor have all passed through the venue, which in 2019 unveiled a dazzling new façade and entrance. Ruth Eckerd Hall also programs downtown Clearwater’s Bilheimer Capitol Theatre, which is slightly smaller but no less historic, and almost as busy.


CLEARWATER JAZZ HOLIDAY

Among the other theaters worth checking out: Largo’s Central Park Performing Arts Center and the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center, both of which stock their calendars with legacy acts, tribute artists, folk performers and theatrical events.

WHERE THE ACTION IS Bustling St. Petersburg is a magnet for up-and-coming bands, especially the unique outdoor concert courtyard Jannus Live, which over the years has hosted acts like Eminem and the Red Hot Chili Peppers before they hit it big. Elsewhere around the city, you can find hip indie bands and performance artists at the Bends or Iberian Rooster; classic rockers at Ringside Café or Ferg’s Sports Bar; jazz at Mandarin Hide or the Independent; great singersongwriters at Craftsman House or the Hideaway Café; jam and bluegrass acts at Ale and the Witch; and blues and soul bands several nights a week at Ruby’s Elixir. If you’re in the mood to rock out, check out the newly renovated State Theatre on the 600 block. The DTSP Songwriters Festival is a must for music mavens. This three-day festival takes over downtown in the Fall and features performances by the men and women who wrote the songs you know by heart. But you can find eclectic venues all up and down the Gulf Coast. St. Pete Beach’s Blue Parrott hosts an array of jazz and cover acts, including an 18-piece big band that draws big crowds on Monday nights. Ka’Tiki, located just off the beach in Treasure Island, is known for its Monday blues jams. Shephard’s Beach Resort in Clearwater Beach brings in some of the world’s top DJs for parties each Sunday in the summer. The colorful Safety Harbor Art and Music Center,

SAFETY HARBOR ART AND MUSIC CENTER

which regularly sells out shows by singer-songwriters, is a work of art in and of itself. Dunedin Brewery, the first microbrewery in the state, hosts a slew of jam, punk and indie bands. And in late 2018, the historic Fenway Hotel reopened in Dunedin, emphasizing its thematic focus on jazz by hosting regular performers in its lobby and rooftop bar.

JOIN THE CLUB

Al Downing Tampa Bay Jazz Association hosts a weekly jam session every Monday at the Hangar, a restaurant inside Albert Whitted Airport in St. Petersburg. The Suncoast Dixieland Jazz Society often plays Wednesdays at the Bilmar Beach Resort in Treasure Island. The Tampa Bay Ukulele Society holds jams and open mics all over Tampa Bay, including monthly ones at Safety Harbor’s Whistle Stop Café and Dunedin’s Ohana Café.

The best way to get in the know about Tampa Bay music might be to meet the people who play it. The V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 93


SPORTS TO TO WATCH WATCH

THINGS TO DO

VisitSPC.com/Sports

FIRESTONE GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG

From Bucs to pucks to fun in the sun, St. Pete/Clearwater is your place for pro sports, recreation and the country’s biggest events. SPECTATOR SPORTS  St. Petersburg has a long and celebrated baseball history, dating to the city’s first spring-training games a century ago. Many featured Babe Ruth, who came to town with the New York Yankees in his prime and once smacked a 600-plus-foot homer into a local hotel, but these days St. Pete is home to one of the most charismatic teams in Major League Baseball. The Tampa Bay Rays finished 2019 with 96 wins and a thrilling postseason run. And since they play in the American League East, air-conditioned Tropicana Field sees regular visits from two of the most storied teams in baseball, the Yankees and Boston Red Sox. The “Trop,” as the ballpark is known, also houses the Ted Williams Museum & Hitters Hall of Fame, a 94 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S

TAMPA BAY RAYS

TAMPA BAY ROWDIES

memorabilia-laden shrine to the sport’s history named for perhaps its best hitter ever. Baseball fans should also check out the “world’s largest collection of autographed baseballs,” known as Schrader’s Little Cooperstown, at the nearby St. Petersburg History Museum. Get an up-close look at some of baseball’s biggest stars and brightest up-and-comers during spring training, when the Philadelphia Phillies make their southern home at Spectrum Field in Clearwater and the Toronto Blue Jays prepare for the season at TD Ballpark in Dunedin. Or catch their local minor-league affiliates, the Clearwater Threshers and Dunedin Blue Jays. Meanwhile, Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates’ spring-training homes in Tampa and Bradenton are both a

quick drive over the bay. Pound-for-pound, Tampa Bay Rowdies fans might celebrate harder than any fanbase in the state. The USL Championship pro soccer team’s official fan club, Ralph’s Mob, can be found in the stands at Al Lang Stadium overlooking the waterfront wrapped in flags and smeared in green and yellow as they dance, chant and pound the drums.   For football fans, Raymond James Stadium in Tampa is home to the National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and, starting in 2020, a second pro football team: the Tampa Bay Vipers, who are part of the flashy upstart XFL. The Tampa Bay Lightning,


PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES SPRING TRAINING

VALSPAR CHAMPIONSHIP

VALSPAR CHAMPIONSHIP

which set a regular-season National Hockey League record for wins in 2019, play at downtown Tampa’s Amalie Arena.

SPECIAL EVENTS Powerful IndyCars roar through closed streets along the normally peaceful waterfront during the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Thousands of fans pack the grandstands every March for the seasonopening IndyCar race. … The globe’s top golfers descend on Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor for the PGA TOUR’s Valspar

Championship. Paul Casey became the tournament’s first back-to-back champion when he won in 2018 and 2019. More than 100,000 spectators show up to see the likes of Tiger Woods, who played the tournament for the first time in 2018, but also to take in the surrounding events that have recently included concerts by Grammy winners. This year marks the return of the LPGA for the first time in three decades with the new Pelican Women’s Championship in Belleair. … World-class runners, cyclers and swimmers compete each spring in the St. Anthony’s Triathlon. It’s one of the premiere multisport events in the U.S., with a course winding

in and out of downtown St. Petersburg. … The richest kingfish tournament in the country, King of the Beach, is held every spring and fall in Madeira Beach when the king mackerel are running.   Raymond James Stadium hosts home football games for the University of South Florida Bulls, but also two college bowl games, the Gasparilla Bowl in December and the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day. In February 2021, the 65,000-capacity stadium hosts the biggest game in sports, period, Super Bowl LV. It’s the fifth Super Bowl in Tampa Bay, which means a week of fanfare, parties and special events.  V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 95


SPORTS

THINGS TO DO

VisitSPC.com/Sports

TO DO Don’t stand on the sidelines, get in the action. Whether you’re a hiker, golfer, biker, jogger, volleyballer, or windsurfer, you can play all day in our backyard.

PINELLAS TRAIL

SKYWAY 10K

GET OUT THERE Call it the most scenic run of the year. The spring Skyway 10K attracts thousands of locals and runners from across the country for a race over the iconic expanse of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge connecting St. Petersburg to Terra Ceia. …In the fall, St. Pete Run Fest features three days of festivities including music, craft beer from local breweries and post-race food catered by Outback Steakhouse. This event is even ocean-friendly. No single-use plastics at St. Pete Run Fest. Take it slower with a hike at St. Petersburg’s Boyd Hill  where you’re almost guaranteed to spot an alligator from the raised boardwalk. … The hiking trails and observation platforms at Weedon Island Preserve offer birders a chance to check snowy egrets, tricolored herons and roseate spoonbills from their lists. … The Pinellas Trail, a local gem stretching 47 miles from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs is a haven for the one million cyclists, runners and rollerbladers who travel it each year. … Get a different perspective by ziplining over Mobbly Bayou Wilderness 96 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S

FOOTGOLF


ST. PETE SHUFFLEBOARD CLUB

Preserve in Oldsmar with Empower Adventures. They even offer a moonlight canopy tour. … If you refuse to leave the beach, the dozens of public beach volleyball courts at Treasure Island are always lively. You can usually walk right on, except for when they’re hosting the $6,000 Tampa Bay Beach Bums New Year’s tournament sanctioned by AVP America. … Miniature golf courses are everywhere along the beaches. Try FootGolf, a combination of golf and soccer, at Largo Golf Course, Dunedin Stirling Links or Treasure Bay Golf and Tennis in Treasure Island. Disc golf can be played on wooded courses like the Tocobaga Disc Golf Course in St. Pete’s Maximo Park and Taylor Park Disc Course in Largo among others. … Showtime Speedway in Clearwater is a spot for motorsports fans to check out the stock, truck and mini-car races on the “fastest quarter-mile in the South.” … If you like to make things a little more interesting, Tampa Bay Downs, also known as the “Oldsmar Oval,” hosts live horse racing from November through June and has a large poker room. … Friday night means “open shuffle” at the normally members-

ST. ANTHONY’S TRIATHLON

only St. Pete Shuffleboard Club, founded in 1924. The world’s largest collection of shuffleboard courts is where the old-school charm draws a hip crowd to play and sip drinks under the lights. Bring a cooler.

COURSES TO PLAY  Once ranked the No. 1 “golfiest” state in the nation by Golf magazine, Florida, with its superb weather nearly year-round, is home to more than 1,000 courses — more than anywhere else in the United States. There are about 40 of them in the St. Pete/Clearwater. The legendary Copperhead course, one of four at Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club in Palm Harbor, hosts the PGA TOUR’s Valspar

Championship and is a favorite among PGA TOUR players. The Dunedin Golf Club, by famed Scottish course architect Donald Ross, is considered a hidden gem and features his signature rounded greens. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places. The lush Vinoy Renaissance Resort and Golf Club, a branch of the historic downtown St. Pete resort located on nearby Snell Isle, has lots of water and beautiful scenery. Mangrove Bay is considered one of the finest municipal courses in the state, and it’s great for a laid-back round. It’s not an overly difficult course, but the unique layout will make you wonder how the designers tucked so much green into the middle of the city.

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MARKETS

THINGS TO DO

St. Pete/Clearwater has an abundance of markets selling local goods — from produce and plants to unique handmade items.

VisitSPC.com/Markets

GULFPORT FRESH MARKET The funky beach town hosts a mix of fresh produce, gecko-related items, art and food, every Tuesday year-round.

VINTAGE MARCHÉ Browse thousands of square feet of vintage and antique furnishings, salvaged housewares, old toys and tools, and more at this indoor warehouse market. First Saturday and Sunday of every month.

ROYAL PALM MARKET AT INTERMEZZO Another hipster market set in a picturesque location in downtown St. Pete, this market happens at night. As the name promises, it’s set by a cluster of palm trees and offers a highly curated market of vintage, handmade goods and zero-waste products, as well as live music and craft cocktails. 6 p.m. Thursdays. VINTAGE MARCHE´

SIDE LOT ST. PETE This venue hosts Guerilla Art Market with local artists and a Night Market and makes it a party with live music, food and drinks. Night Markets happen 5 times a year on Thursdays, and Guerilla Art Market is the first Saturday of each month.

DUNEDIN DOWNTOWN MARKET Nutrition and local sustainable food production are at the heart of the mission of this market that’s heavy on fresh produce and gourmet food items. Every Friday & Saturday 9 a.m.-2 p.m. November-May; June, Saturdays only 9 a.m.-2 p.m in Pioneer Park.

SATURDAY MORNING MARKET

INDIE FLEA

SATURDAY MORNING MARKET

INDIE FLEA

This large outdoor market happens in downtown St. Pete, with 130 vendors selling produce, beautiful flowers, handmade jewelry, artisanal foods and personal care products and clothing. Visitors enjoy a variety of options for breakfast or lunch from the food stalls, and dance to live music. Saturdays October-May adjacent to Al Lang Stadium; June through August in Williams Park.

As much a place to be seen as it is for cool finds, the Indie Flea brings 80 hipster vendors to downtown St. Petersburg, with vintage, unique original art and plants, as well as food trucks and locally brewed craft beer. Takes place the first Saturday of the month January-April and October-December at Green Bench Brewing Company. The market rotates its indoor summer locations and has occasional pop-up markets.

CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE Amplify Clearwater 727-447-7600, amplifyclearwater.com Central Pinellas 727-584-2321, centralchamber.biz Dunedin 727-733-3197, dunedin-fl.com Greater Palm Harbor Area 727-784-4287, palmharborcc.org 98 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S

Gulfport Area 727-344-3711, visitgulfportflorida.com Pinellas Park/Gateway 727-544-4777, pinellasparkchamber.com Safety Harbor 727-726-2890, safetyharborchamber.com Seminole 727-392-3245, seminolechamber.net St. Petersburg Area 727-821-4069, stpete.com

COREY AVENUE SUNDAY MARKET The St. Pete Beach staple offers a mix of home decor, honey, soaps, jams and jewelry. Sundays, October-May.

SAFETY HARBOR MARKET ON MAIN Every Sunday enjoy fresh produce and locally handcrafted goods. Grab something to nosh on in the gazebo lawn while live music plays. Throughout the year they hold cooking demonstrations, hands-on art activities and agricultural lessons.

Tampa Bay Beaches 727-360-6957, tampabaybeaches.com Tarpon Springs 727-937-6109, tarponspringschamber.com Treasure Island & Madeira Beach 727-360-4121, islandneighborschamber.org Upper Tampa Bay 813-855-4233, utbchamber.com


FUN AND DIVERSE CELEBRATIONS ABOUND YEAR-ROUND

1

JANUARY Tarpon Springs Epiphany Treasure Island Kite Festival Downtown Dunedin Art Festival East-West Shrine Game, St. Petersburg Festivals of Speed, St. Petersburg National Plan for Vacation Day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dream Big Parade, St. Petersburg

FEBRUARY Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival Dunedin Mardi Gras St. Petersburg Jazz Festival Localtopia, St. Petersburg St. Pete Beach Seafood and Music Festival Art and Seafood on the Waterfront, Safety Harbor St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational

3

2

MARCH Philadelphia Phillies Spring Training, Clearwater Toronto Blue Jays Spring Training, Dunedin Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Valspar Golf Championship, Palm Harbor Tampa Bay Rays Opening Day, St. Petersburg

APRIL

5

AAC Baseball Championship, Clearwater Cinco de Mayo at Casa Tina, Dunedin Hippie Dash, Gulfport SPCA Tampa Bay Pet Walk, St. Pete Pier Spring King of the Beach Fishing Tournament, Madeira Beach

JUNE

7

Up-To-Date List at VisitSPC.com/Events

THINGS TO DO

JULY Fourth of July Fireworks, area cities Chihuly Collection 10th Anniversary Grouper & Craft Beer Fest, St. Pete Dunedin Orange Festival

AUGUST Gecko Ball, Gulfport Tarpon Springs Hippie Fest Harbor Food and Art Tours, Safety Harbor 97X Craft Beer Experience Wearable ART, Dunedin

9

SEPTEMBER

8

Clearwater Super Boat Races International Beach Games, Clearwater Beach St. Pete Arts Alive Geckofest, Gulfport

OCTOBER

10

4 11 12 6

Dunedin Highland Games Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival, Clearwater Beach Mainsail Art Festival, St. Petersburg St. Anthony’s Triathlon, St. Petersburg Florida Antiquarian Book Fair, St. Petersburg

MAY

EVENTS

St. Pete Pride in downtown St. Petersburg P1 Powerboat Races, St. Pete Beach Tampa Bay Rowdies games, St. Petersburg

Marine Quest, St. Petersburg St. Petersburg Science Festival Clearwater Beach Chalk Art Festival Shine Mural Festival, St. Petersburg Clearwater Jazz Holiday Frenchy’s Stone Crab Weekend, Clearwater Beach Oktoberfest, Oldsmar

NOVEMBER

Times Turkey Trot, Clearwater Festival of Reading, St. Petersburg DTSP Songwriters Festival, St. Pete Sanding Ovations, Treasure Island Dunedin Wines the Blues

DECEMBER

First Night, St. Petersburg Holiday Boat Parades Outback Bowl Clearwater Beach Day Holiday Lights in the Garden, Largo Enchant Christmas, St. Pete

V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 99


Your view of

Paradise

Awaits...

17120 Gulf Boulevard • North Redington Beach, FL 33708 • 1-727-391-4000 • www.DoubleTreeBeachResort.com doubletreebeachresortbyhilton

100 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S

doubletreebeach

doubletreebeachresort


C L E A R W A T E R

B E A C H ,

F L O R I D A

In Celebration of Our 94th Year

Growing up there was only one thing better than spending the day at the beach...going to the Palm Pavilion. Since its earliest day, The Palm has been a special place where family and friends come and create memories to last a lifetime. Join us for a meal, an appetizer, dessert, drinks and a sunset. There’s live music every day, as long as we can find the extension cord. Happy hour: Monday - Friday 4-7 p.m. Palm Pavilion Beachside Grill & Bar

10 Bay Esplanade U North Clearwater Beach U 727-446-2642 U www.palmpavilion.com

Rediscover the

Perfectly positioned overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, The Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa has it all. Our spectacular multi-million dollar renovation in 2018, with the addition of a new spa and gym, provides guests an unparalleled stay. This iconic hotel features food and drink service to the water’s edge, Clearwater Beach’s only tiki bar on the sand, private beach cabanas and two new pools. There’s so much new to discover and rediscover at Clearwater Beach’s true legend.

���� ������������ �� ���� ���� ��������� ������� | 400 Mandalay Avenue, Clearwater Beach, FL 33767 V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 101


PARADISE, REPUTATION AND RELIABILITY SINCE 1981. St. Pete/Clearwater’s award-winning beach destinations. All beachfront properties, fantastic views and everything that Tampa Bay offers. Service is our specialty. Come find your paradise. We overlook nothing ... but the Gulf!

VISIT OUR WEBSITE TO SELECT YOUR FAVORITE!

-. *.,-/,! 

&),#

'#&!'/-/'' ),!

102 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S

17200 Gulf Blvd., N. Redington Beach, FL 33708 • 1-800-535-7776 or 1-800-421-6663 WWW.JCRESORTS.US


TRS VACATION RENTALS

The top stop on the best beach in the U.S. It’s good not to be home.

TRS – Travel Resort Services has been in business on Tampa Bay’s beaches for over 30 years

Madeira Bay Resort

(727) 342-7800

MadeiraBayResort.com

Caprice Resort

(727) 360-6199

CapriceStPeteBeach.com

Gulf Strand Resort

(727) 367-2878 GulfStrand.com

Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa is the perfect stopping point, no matter why you’re visiting the beach rated #1 in the U.S. by TripAdvisor. For fresh seafood and more, choose SHOR American Seafood Grill, featuring an open kitchen that lets diners observe preparation of healthy upscale American cuisine. Just steps off the Beach Walk, our new hotel bar OFF Shor is great for grabbing a cocktail and catching the big game. Or have a drink and watch the sunset on the eighth-floor pool deck at the new Tropico Rooftop Cantina. For more information, visit hyattregencyclearwater.com or call 727 373 1234. HYATT REGENCY CLEARWATER BEACH RESORT AND SPA 301 South Gulfview Blvd. Clearwater Beach, Florida, USA, 33767 The trademarks Hyatt®, Hyatt Regency® and related marks are trademarks of Hyatt Corporation. © 2019 Hyatt Corporation. All rights reserved.

Gulf Winds Resort Gu

(727) 36 367-2131

GulfWindsResort.com GulfWindsR Redington Surf Resort

(727) 391-9051

RedingtonSurfResort.com

• 400 rentals to choose from • 5 staffed resorts / 6 offices • Phones answered 24/7 • Resort-like amenities • Heated swimming pools • Studios, 1-, 2- & 3-bedrooms • Full kitchens • Pet-friendly units available • Many with private balconies, washers & dryers, and free WiFi • Handicapped-accessible units available • Full maintenance & housekeeping staff

13030 Gulf Blvd., Madeira Beach, FL 33708

(800) 237-6586 • (727) 393-2534 www.trsinc.com V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 103


SAVE 50% OR MORE AT TOP ATTRACTIONS

Skip Most Ticket Lines ENJOY FOR 9 DAYS

At the Museum of Fine Arts, explore the stories of art across all time periods and cultures. With 5,000 years of art and world-class exhibitions, visitors can return time and again, finding inspiration with each visit. Wander our galleries, dine in our café overlooking Tampa Bay, and shop in our award-winning store.

INCLUDES 5 ATTRACTIONS:

citypass.com

Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay, The Florida Aquarium, ZooTampa at Lowry Park, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) OR Chihuly Collection

Pricing and programs subject to change; visit citypass.com for details. Photo: 2018 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. All rights reserved.

104 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S


Historic Sponge Docks & Downtown • Waterfront Dining & Shopping • Fishing & Watersports • Beaches & Splash Park • Breweries & Distillery

ZInternational Tampa Airport TIA

Z

V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 105


WEDDINGS

VisitSPC.com/Weddings

THE DON CESAR TAMPA BAY WATCH There are vast waterfront views at this serene venue located in Tierra Verde, with Tampa Bay on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other. It’s a marine and education center that offers large decks and a wraparound porch from which guests can take in a bounty of nature, including vibrant sunsets. Ceremonies can take place indoors or outside; the large hall brings the outside in with bamboo flooring and tons of windows flooded with natural light. 3000 Pinellas Bayway S, Tierra Verde

VINOY RENAISSANCE The 1920s Mediterranean-style Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club located in downtown St. Pete overlooks the smooth waters of Tampa Bay. It’s a popular spot for weddings, and it’s easy to see why. Choose from many ballrooms in the large, upscale hotel, or get married in the outdoor Tea Garden. Rehearsal dinner options are available at the onsite restaurants, or you can gather at one of the many dining spots located on St. Petersburg’s nearby Beach Drive. 501 5th Ave. NE, St. Petersburg 106 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S

Certainly one of the more recognizable local landmarks, this bright pink resort on St. Pete Beach was built in 1928. The historic eight-story hotel can host casual weddings with feet in the sand or elaborate affairs of more than 200 people. Choose from ballrooms in the hotel, or outdoor spots like a tropical garden or the stunning covered pavilion, all complete with picturesque views of the Gulf of Mexico. 3400 Gulf Blvd., St Pete Beach

SUNKEN GARDENS Strolling through these botanical gardens off St. Petersburg’s bustling Fourth Street is like stepping into another world. Sunken Gardens, which has been around for nearly 100 years, offers multiple areas in which to exchange vows. Each of them is set against the lush tropical displays of this venue, from the Oak Pavilion, under an old oak canopy, to the larger Wedding Lawn, surrounded by palms and flowering plants. There are indoor options, too, like the Garden Room, perfect for receptions with a historic flair. 1825 4th St. N, St. Petersburg

SANDPEARL RESORT This luxury hotel on Clearwater Beach provides swanky waterfront options for celebrating your big day. The classic beachfront resort is an ideal setting for a wedding on the Gulf of Mexico. With three ballrooms, and outdoor areas including a large lawn overlooking the beach, this spot can accommodate more than 300 guests. Plus, you’re guaranteed stunning views of the water. 500 Mandalay Ave., Clearwater Beach


Spend an hour, an afternoon, or make a day of it …

It’s all happening on Corey Avenue!

Dining

Art Galleries • Unique Boutiques Home Furnishings • Accessories Salon and Spa Services Shop, Wine, Dine, Unwind...and so much more!

You’ll Find it on

Boutiques

Quarterly Art Shows and Festivals. Go to CoreyAve.com for more information

Local Art

discover the dalí museum Visit an unparalleled collection of works by renowned artist Salvador Dalí, from iconic melting clocks to imaginative visual illusions and avant-garde symbols. Explore the awe-inspiring building and distinctive gardens on the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront. Open 7 days a week. Tickets include public docent tours, children’s activities & more.

“stunning”

– New York Times

TheDali.org 727.823.3767 One Dalí Blvd, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 107


The Best of

Clearwater Beach and beautiful sand key

• Meet • Connect • Relax brilliant memories amplified Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key

1201 Gulf Blvd. | Clearwater Beach | Marriott.com/tpams | 727.596.1100

Spanish ancestry meets

cool

Mediterranean attitude.

The first new 50 room boutique hotel to be built in St. Pete Beach in decades, The Hotel Zamora is a white-washed Mediterranean palace that though breathtakingly modern feels anchored in a bygone era. Inspired by the architecture of its namesake Spanish province, the hotel’s striking Romanesque facade is the framework for expansive luxury suites with balconies overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway and Gulf of Mexico, stylish dining and the laid-back leisure of Florida’s fashionable Tampa Bay.

3701 Gulf Blvd. • St. Pete Beach 33706

Reservations: 727.456.8900 Hotel: 727.456.8900 108 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S


Two World Renowned Theaters in Beautiful Clearwater #1 Theatre Venue in Tampa Bay #5 in the World*

Experience the visual stories & rich heritage of the American West in Downtown St. Pete OPEN DAILY 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. TUESDAYS 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.

#1 Club Venue in Florida #3 in the World*

John Coleman, Honeymoon at Crow Fair (detail), 2014

150 Central Ave.

St. Petersburg, FL

Earl Biss, Magic Thunder in the Northern Sky, 1986

thejamesmuseum.org

(727)892-4200

Better Than Ever. Featuring four championship golf courses and newly renovated accommodations, Innisbrook is better than ever.

Hundreds of concerts & shows year-round RuthEckerdHall.com 727.791.7400 Artists, days, dates and times subject to change. Ruth Eckerd Hall, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonproďŹ t organization. *Pollstar Magazine Rankings

Get the latest list of things to do. For music, festivals, dining and more, trust a local.

Home to the PGA TOUR’s Valspar Championship. 844.919.0696

Visit tampabay.com/do to find all the fun things to do in Tampa Bay.

V I S I T ST PE T E CL E A R WAT E R . COM 109


You’re in

GREAT COMPANY The Vanderbilts, the Studebakers, the Du Ponts. Even Babe Ruth, Henry Ford, and Thomas Edison. They’ve all retreated to this historic property on the Gulf to make memories with friends, family, and colleagues. And now, you will too.

DISCOVER A NEW TAKE ON A CLASSIC Elegant, old-world charm meets modern comfort at the newly renovated waterfront hot spot,The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club. Just steps from stylish St. Petersburg, indulge at the chic Vinoy Club Golf Grill, dine on fresh seafood and smokehouse favorites at Paul’s Landing restaurant, play a round of golf or rejuvenate at the day spa. There’s a new Vinoy in town. To reserve your room, visit vinoyrenaissanceresort.com.

THE VINOY ® RENAISSANCE RESORT & GOLF CLUB 501 5th Avenue NE, St Petersburg, FL 33701 t: +1 727.894.1000 2 5 B E L L E V I E W B O U L E VA R D BELLEAIR, FL R E S E R VAT I O N S 8 7 7 . 9 0 5 . 4 4 9 6 THEBELLEVIEWINN.COM

Queen of the Gulf

Rates are per room, per night, based on availability, not available for groups of 10 or more rooms.

Wish you were here.

6300 Gulf Blvd St Pete Beach postcardinn.com Pet 727.367.2711

�������

Hip, affordable and resolutely casual * 196 uniquely designed “surfer chic” rooms • Weddings and events

110 A M E R I C A’ S B E S T B E A C H E S


The sun sets on your visit, but the love affair has just begun. The sugar-white sand, the welcoming waters, the friendly locals, The sun sets on your visit, but the love affair has just begun.

thesugar-white flavorful food, thethe lively culture – waters, they willthe always beckon. The sand, welcoming friendly locals, as youfood, closethe thelively bookculture on your– visit remember: theSo flavorful theyhere, will always beckon. this is not “Goodbye.” It’s only “See you again soon.” So as you close the book on your visit here, remember: this is not “Goodbye.” It’s only “See you again soon.”

Like what you see? Discover more brilliant sunset photos like this at VisitSPC.com/Sunsets.


NOON

1:10

2:04

3:14

A day in St. Pete/Clearwater isn’t just any other day. Take this stunning fall day in St. Pete and you’ll see why it’s nicknamed the “Sunshine City.” A little more than 8 hours captured in 12 different frames showcasing the city’s beauty—from the open and accessible downtown waterfront parks to eclectic outdoor cafés to the stunning sunset and a nightlife that offers Florida’s largest craft beer scene and live local music along Central Ave. Take advantage of that perforated edge, tear out this poster and use it as inspiration for your next getaway. Because your slice of time in St. Pete/Clearwater is coming.

4:02

5:13

5


5:53 (SUNSET)

6:11

6:27

7:01

7:38

8:28


699

BELLEAIR SHORE

BELLEAIR BEACH

SAND KEY

Clearwater Marina • Captain Memo’s • Calypso Queen • Sea Screamer • StarLite Majesty • The Tropics Boat Tours

Beach Walk

Pier 60 Park

CLEARWATER BEACH

CALADESI ISLAND

SW

RIA

SW

Y.

WEST BAY DR.

Pinewood Cultural Center

John Taylor Park

Belleair Bluffs

Sand Key Park

BELLEAIR CSWY.

LC

19

LARGO

686

M

ULMERTON RD.

STO NE .

611

RD

Oldsmar Sports Complex

Clearwater Mall

Ruth Eckerd Hall

H

688

St. Pete/Clearwater International Airport (PIE) H

BO

RO

UG

H

TO

r T Inte ) pa TPA Tamport ( Air

AV

ND LA NK A R D F GE A R B R I D PA onal W i O nat AM

Old Tampa Bay

LS

SEWAY

IL

E.

Pinellas Trail

Other Roads

Principal Highways

Interstates

Divided Highways

Ferry Route

Visitor Center

Airport

Points of Interest

State Highway

U.S. Highway

Interstate

KEY

Tampa Bay Downs

U MPBELL CA URTNEY CA PA 60 CO M TA TO

SAFETY HARBOR

Safety Harbor Chamber

590

Philippe Park

Safety Harbor

OLDSMAR RACE TRACK RD.

For a deeper look at our communities, go to VisitSPC.com/Communities

Brooker Creek Preserve & Environmental Education Center

Upper Tampa Bay Regional Chamber

Spectrum Field

19

AN

EAST BAY DR.

Eagle Lake Park Central Pinellas Chamber

BELLEAIR RD.

LAKEVIEW RD.

O

H AC

GULF TO BAY BLVD.

C NE

Clearwater Air Park

SUNSET POINT RD.

Westfield Countryside Mall

580

KEY

EAST LAKE RD.

John Chesnut Sr. Park

Lake Tarpon

CURLEW RD.

19

CLEARWATER

CLEVELAND ST.

DREW ST.

The Capitol Theatre

595

1

TD Ballpark

Amplify Clearwater

ALT

NEBRASKA AVE.

Dunedin Fine Art Center

UNION ST.

19

PALM HARBOR

DUNEDIN

OZONA

A.L. Anderson Park Leepa Rattner Museum of Art

TARPON AVE.

DODECANESE BLVD.

Tarpon Springs Chamber

ALDERMAN RD.

ALT

19

KLOSTERMAN RD.

Palm Harbor Chamber

Dunedin Historic Museum

Coachman Park

MO

TARPON SPRINGS

Wall Springs Park

Clearwater ALT Harbor 19 Beach Visitor Center

ME

St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral

Tarpon Springs Cultural Center

Dunedin Chamber

Y.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Caladesi Island State Park

DUN ED I

THREE ROOKER ISLAND

Honeymoon Island State Park

HONEYMOON ISLAND

LFV GU

. MANDALAY AVE

. VD BL IEW

Sponge Docks

Sunset Beach Park

RD. CKS N RO INDIA

Gulf of Mexico

Fred Howard Park

FORT HARRISON AVE.

VE. LAS A PINEL KEENE RD.

ANCLOTE KEY PRESERVE STATE PARK

MISSOURI AVE.

area map

Who doesn’t love an old-school map?! Tear this one out, jot notes about your trip and take it with you on your next adventure in St. Pete/Clearwater. We’ve even highlighted some go-to spots across the destination, including our local visitor centers (marked with the “i”) and attractions, from on-the-water activities to our world-class museums and our best parks to experience nature. Enjoy your adventure!

ER LARGO RD.

HIGHLAND AVE.

BELCHER RD. BELCHER RD.

C

MCMULLEN-BOOTH RD.

N

BAY E BRIDG E SID

580


VD .

Tampa

MIAMI 269 mi/433 km Approx. 4 hr., 10 mins. PENSACOLA 454 mi/730 km Approx. 7 hr.

ORLANDO 107 mi/172 km Approx. 90 mins. FORT MYERS 118 mi/190 km Approx. 1 hr., 50 mins.

E

Dolphin Racer

VD .

1ST AVE. S

1ST AVE. N CENTRAL AVE.

19

ALT

LVD

.

EL TB LV

5TH AVE. N

D.

Tropicana Field

5TH AVE. S

Coliseum

Museum of American Arts & Crafts Movement

Holocaust Museum Imagine Museum

9TH AVE. N

22ND AVE. N

Tyrone Square Mall

38TH AVE. N

YB

EV

Sawgrass Lake Park

ND

Gulfport Dr. Carter G. Woodson Area Chamber African American Museum SOUTH

BL

54TH AVE. N

GA

OS

BAY

W

TIERRA VERDE

679

AS

682

19

62ND AVE. S

TH

SUNSHINE SKYWAY (TOLL)

Sunshine Skyway Channel

Sunshine Skyway Bridge Fishing Pier & Park

L)

A

AS L) ELL PIN Y (TOL WA Y A B

92

40TH AVE.

The James Museum of Western + Wildlife Art St. Petersburg Museum of History St. Pete Pier

Museum of Fine Arts/ Straub Park

Sunken Gardens/ Great Explorations

62ND AVE. N

Weedon Island Preserve

T

DGE BRI DY MPA N GA O TA

The Dalí Museum

Albert Whitted Municipal Airport

Al Lang Stadium Mahaffey Theater

N

Tampa Bay

Situated on a sun-drenched peninsula separating the Gulf of Mexico from Tampa Bay, the St. Pete/Clearwater area is the jewel of Florida’s west coast, home to 35 miles of world-class beaches and 24 dynamic communities packed with culture and adventure.

an experience for every mood

EGMONT KEY

ELL

OL

OT

Egmont Key Lighthouse

PIN

(T AY

AS

Fort De Soto

FORT DE SOTO PARK

SHELL KEY

Gulf Beaches Historical Museum

PASS-A-GRILLE BEACH

ST. PETE BEACH

ND

TO R SA

JACKSONVILLE 220 mi/354 km Approx. 3 hr., 45 mins.

FORT LAUDERDALE 249 mi/401 km Approx. 3 hr., 45 mins.

Miami

Fort Lauderdale

TAMPA 24 mi/39 km Approx. 30 mins.

Fort Myers

Orlando

Jacksonville

N

KENNETH CITY

The Shoppes at Park Place

19

RO

MLK JR. ST. (9TH ST.)

GULFPORT St. Petersburg Area PASADENA 22 AVE. S Chamber Gulfport Historical LAKEVIEW AVE. StarLite Sunset Morean Arts Center/ Museum Lake Sapphire Beach Maggiore Chihuly Collection Gulfport Corey Ave. Casino Tampa Bay Beaches Boyd Hill Gulfport 699 Dolphin Chamber Nature Trail Art Village Landings 54 AVE. S

TREASURE ISLAND

RO

TREASURE ISLAND CSWY

Treasure Island Chamber

Boca Ciega Bay

TY

PINELLAS PARK

693

Pinellas Park/ Gateway Chamber

PARK BLVD.

D.

Area of detail

FLORIDA

Tampa Bay Beaches Kiosk at John’s Pass Village

John’s Pass Village • Alligator Attraction s as • Hubbard’s Marina ’s P n • The Pirate Ship h Jo Royal Conquest

699

Lake Seminole

War Veterans Memorial Park

Seminole Mall

F BLV

DRIVING TIMES

BL

MADEIRA BEACH

LF

Boca Ciega Millennium Park GU

Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary

PARK BLVD.

Lake Seminole Park

GUL

Pensacola

Gulf of Mexico

Seminole Chamber

SEMINOLE

OAK HURST RD.

REDINGTON BEACH

NORTH REDINGTON BEACH

REDINGTON SHORES

INDIAN SHORES

BLVD. GULF

CLEARWA

113TH RD. N

TO M CS STU W A Y. RT

STARKEY RD.

Visit St. Pete/Clearwater

W

CS

Y

RE

CO

102 AVE. N SEMINOLE RD.

Ridgecrest Park Walsingham Park

PARK ST.

49TH ST.

49TH ST. N

Indian Rocks Historical Society

34TH ST. N

BRYAN DAIRY RD.

66TH ST.

118TH AVE. N

9TH ST.

WALSINGHAM RD.

28TH ST. N

Largo Mall

6TH ST.

• Botanical Gardens • Creative Pinellas • Heritage Village

4TH ST. 4TH ST. 3RD ST.

E

INDIAN ROCKS BEACH

Y.

1ST ST.

. NE

.

R. N

RD

BEAC H DR

ES

RE D

N

SHO

AI

BAY

H


LIVE A LIFE OF LUMINOUS MOMENTS. The unrivaled experiences that await you in St. Pete/Clearwater will make you feel transformed. Explore America’s Best Beaches, awarded by TripAdvisorŽ. Plus, immerse yourself in fascinating tours and epic adventures. And discover world-renowned arts and culture, including a vibrant restaurant and live music scene. Your extraordinary life awaits.

VisitStPeteClearwater.com

#LiveAmplified

Profile for Times Creative

2020 Gulf To Bay  

Paradise Found. The Best of St. Pete/Clearwater. Yum

2020 Gulf To Bay  

Paradise Found. The Best of St. Pete/Clearwater. Yum

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