Plan time for visits to the top-rated white-sand beaches of the region as well as its varied cultural attractions.
West of Tampa is a glorious peninsula, stretching from Clearwater south to St. Petersburg. Come for beautiful beaches and discover unexpected cultural treasures.
On the Gulf of Mexico side of the peninsula, the sugary white sands and warm waters of Clearwater Beach make it an award winner, popular with families and singles. Visit the beach year-round. Walk out onto Pier 60 to look for dolphins swimming in the wild and photograph a striking sunset. Nearby is the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, with dolphins, pelicans, sea turtles, otters, sharks and rays. Find more than 120 man-made and artistically decorated dolphins along the Clearwater Dolphin Trail throughout the Clearwater and St. Petersburg region.
Cross the causeway to Clearwater. Attend the Capitol Theatre’s big-name comedy and music acts in an intimate venue. See community theater or participate in adult summer acting classes at the Francis Wilson Playhouse. Head east to Ruth Eckerd Hall along Tampa Bay. Major acts, including touring Broadway shows, perform in this larger venue. Nearby, watch the home team Clearwater Threshers play baseball or Philadelphia Phillies in spring training at Spectrum Field.
Head south along the peninsula to enjoy other beautiful beaches all along the Gulf Coast. Stop at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo. In November, Treasure Island hosts the Sanding Ovations festival, with expert sand sculptors making masterful creations and music, food and beach activities for amateur sandcastle builders.
St. Petersburg offers numerous varied museums, from the Florida Holocaust Museum to the Dalí Museum, with an amazingly large number of the artist’s works, and the Chihuly Collection of exquisite glass.
Just inland is Lake Maggiore with the Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. Visit its aviary and look for birds in the wild along its boardwalk.
Complete your Clearwater and St. Petersburg trip at another sandy spot, St. Petersburg Beach. In fact, your vacation could be perfect even if you did nothing but relax on the powdery white sands of the two cities’ famous beaches.