Vacation Like a Local in St. Pete Beach
Driving on the Pinellas Bayway you see the normal beach scenery, water, boats, and palm trees; but then the unexpected happens. As you reach a crest on the bayway you are transcended back in time by the grandeur of the pink princess of St. Petersburg, The Loews-Don Cesar; standing majestically at the top of the inclined entrance looking as beautiful now as she did when her doors first opened in 1928. By far the most iconic hotel in all of St. Pete and the surrounding beaches, spend the day with the grand dame and enjoy the striped cabanas like you are starring in your own movie.
Not far from The Don you will find The Guy Harvey Outpost situated on the white sandy beaches right beside its sister property Tradewinds Island Resort. If nostalgia isn’t in your wheelhouse then the stay at one play at two pet friendly paradises is sure to please. The Outpost spans five acres of laidback atmosphere with thrills & chills above and below the water as well as in & out of the tank. Only 200 flip flops down the beach sits Tradewinds Island Resort boasting 25 additional acres of endless island adventures from 3 story slides to JetLev and everything in between.
Looking more for boutique luxury, The Hotel Zamora or The Grand Plaza Hotel & Beach Front Resort might be more appropriate for your Gulf Coast visit. The Grand Plaza is located directly on St. Pete Beach and is the tallest hotel on the white sandy beaches. Both hotels offer a variety of room types, multiple restaurants, and both boast rooftop bars perfect for watching one of the renowned St. Pete Beach sunsets.
Vacationers want to break out of the mainstay tourist prone restaurants and eat, drink, and mix it up like a resident. The local watering holes and off the beaten path restaurants offers some of the best cuisine on the east coast. Every fisherman knows the best place to take your catch of the day for that smokehouse flavor is none other than Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish, also known for serving their own smoked fish & fish spread in their indoor/outdoor restaurant, not to mention a really mean burger. Don’t expect to get any grilled onions or fancy fixins on that burger, they are served up simple, but are close to perfection. Not to be outdone for best burger on the beach is the waterside dive known as
Willy’s Burgers and Booze. You will certainly get your fill with portions large enough to share.
Desiring a little Italian, you must make your way to Verducci’s Pizzeria & Trattoria, serving authentic Italian cuisine made daily from scratch. It’s a small restaurant that packs a big punch so don’t be surprised if you have to wait for a table.
Visiting over a Wednesday don’t miss the great happy hour at Middle Grounds Grill. A restaurant with a casual, upscale atmosphere serving some of the best seafood dishes in St. Pete with a wine selection as decadent as the dishes they serve. It will quickly become your favorite place for five o’clock somewhere.
As easily as the waves roll in, VIP Lounge & Mexican Restaurant is easily hands down one of the most popular local spots spanning Gulf Blvd. Family owned and operated, The VIP provides a low key, upbeat atmosphere serving the best Mexican dishes at the beach and will instantly be one of your favorite hang outs when in the area. A local favorite that can’t be missed is The Corey Sunday Market, a local attraction from October-May showcasing many local vendors with Live Music.
When I think of gulf coast beaches the first thing I think of aren’t the white sandy beaches, but the fabulously magnificent sunsets.
No two are the same and each will leave you longing to see more. Watching a sunset on a gulf coast beach is a ritual not to be missed.
When visiting St. Pete Beach don’t have a one-track mind. Each beach along Gulf Blvd. down to and including Clearwater Beach has something different to offer. Your days can be as different as the bathing suites you wear. Oh and don’t forget to see the “chicken church”!!