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With a trendy waterfront downtown district, historic-meets-glam hotels and barrier islands featuring white-sand beaches that stretch for miles, St. Pete is a great Florida getaway for the whole family. Here’s a three-day itinerary that will keep you entertained with the best-of-the best that the area has to offer.

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Day 1: Downtown St. Petersburg

Check into The Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club, a glamorous St. Petersburg hotel that’s celebrating the history of its grand opening back in 1925. In its iconic 90 years, the bayfront hotel has attracted its fair share of celebrities like actress Marilyn Monroe, President Calvin Coolidge and baseball great Babe Ruth. The hotel is still a popular choice for opposing teams in town playing the local Tampa Bay Rays.

Dine at the hotel’s signature restaurant, Marchand’s, and besides enjoying the decadent locally caught seafood, notice the restored ceiling frescos from the 1920s. For craft cocktails and killer views of Tampa Bay, start at The Canopy rooftop bar for sunset, then head over to The Mandarin Hide for libations in a speakeasy-style setting.

Photo courtesy of The Mandarin Hide

Photo courtesy of The Mandarin Hide

There’s much to explore in St. Petersburg when it comes to art and culture, including The Dalí Museum’s impressive collection of Salvador Dalí’s work and the gorgeous glasswork by Dale Chihuly at the Chihuly Collection–both located on the waterfront along Beach Drive.

Related: Here are 15 things you should never say to a Miamiam

Day 2: St. Pete Beach

A landmark resort on St. Pete Beach, the palatial Loews Don CeSar Hotel, a.k.a. “Pink Palace,” has been welcoming the jet-set crowd and family vacationers since 1928. Some of the property’s famous visitors throughout the ages include novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and infamous mobster Al Capone. Today the beachfront hotel is the perfect escape for families (including pets!) who want to spend some time soaking up that Florida sunshine.

Dine at Maritana Grille, and enjoy a AAA Four Diamond experience that you won’t soon forget. The chef’s tasting is the way to go. Then wander into Uncle Andy’s Ice Cream Parlor, an old-fashioned sweet shop featuring homemade small batch ice-cream. For a laid-back beach bar vibe, check out Jimmy B’s Beach Bar, where you’ll find great sunset views and nightly live music.

Photo courtesy of Loews Don CeSar Hotel

Photo courtesy of Loews Don CeSar Hotel

On the sparkling sands of St. Pete Beach, it’s all about the sun and surf. Spend the day stand-up paddleboarding or explore the funky specialty shops and galleries in the Corey Avenue district.

Related: Here’s the perfect road trip plan for the quirky, cool Florida Keys

Day 3: Pass-a-Grille Beach

Featuring the longest undeveloped stretch of public beach in the county, Pass-a-Grille Beach is a hidden gem. You won’t find any high-rises or large crowds here. Check into a place like the Inn on the Beach, where inn keeper Sheila McChesney will treat you like family. It’s a taste of old Florida with a welcoming and homey vibe. You may never leave.

For a homestyle breakfast on the cheap, The Seahorse Restaurant is an old school diner with waterfront views. Head to the Hurricane Seafood Restaurant for fresh Gulf seafood and don’t forget to climb the stairs to the rooftop for panoramic sunset views that will leave you breathless. Sports fans should check out The Brass Monkey, known for it’s pub atmosphere, Baltimore Ravens fans and killer water views.

Go on a snorkeling or shelling excursion to 195-acre Shell Key Preserve and you might even be lucky enough to spot dolphins playing in the surf. A sunset cruise is also a good way to go. Or browse the shops and galleries around Eighth Avenue, a quaint main street style shopping area that’s right on the beach.


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Tagged: Florida

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Kara Franker
A purveyor of the coastal life and a self-admitted beach addict, Kara is a travel writer based in Miami. Follow her on Instagram @KaraOnTheCoast and check out her blog

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