Florida has an array of sun-drenched beaches offering families vacation bliss. The charming, old Florida ambiance of St. Pete Beach entices guests and keeps them coming back. There are tons of fun things to do in St. Petersburg from historic roadside attractions to eccentric museums.
Award-winning beaches, excellent restaurants, and spectacular resorts also await visitors to St. Petersburg, FL. Our family guide to St. Pete Beach will leave you will a few more items to your ever-growing St. Pete Bucket List.
Fun Things To Do In St. Petersburg, FL For The Family
Escape into a tranquil forest surrounded by lush exotic plants, towering palms, and friendly flamingos. Sunken Gardens has been a Florida staple attracting visitors from around the world for over 100 years. As one of the last original roadside attractions in the US., Sunken Gardens continues to impress guests time and time again.
Paved pathways snake their way past babbling brooks, butterfly gardens, and cascading waterfalls. Coi ponds stock with fish beckon visitors throw in a few morsels of food. Coi food is available for purchase when you buy your admission. Our daughter loved feeding the fish.
Benches are scattered throughout the gardens providing moments of rest and meditation. Be sure to visit the resident macaws who often have something to say during your stroll through this magnificent Florida treasure.
Historic Downtown St. Petersburg FL
For a lively shopping scene, complete with trendy boutiques, top museums, and upscale restaurants venture down to historic downtown St. Petersburg. The city is continuously evolving, with new establishments popping up throughout town.
Popular attractions include the Dali Museum, The Museum of Fine Arts along with the Florida Holocaust Museum to name a few. Walking along the streets, a plethora of craft breweries and restaurants tempt guests. We found a delicious lunch at Stillwaters, followed by nearby Kilwians for dessert.
Where To Stay In Downtown St. Petersburg, FL
A variety of hotel options are available in downtown St. Petersburg from the historic old Florida charm of the Vinoy to more a traditional Hampton Inn. Great condos, apartments as well as houses are available for rent on Airbnb and VRBO.
St. Petersburg Trolley
Hop aboard the St. Petersburg Trolley, which will take you throughout downtown. The best part of riding the trolley is that it is FREE! The looper trolley makes stops near all major museums and attractions, so park your car and ride the trolley free for the rest of the day. Keep in mind there is another trolley that will take guests from Central Ave. To Pass-A-Grille.
Fort De Soto
Plan an afternoon exploring historic Fort De Soto Park. This county park is home to award-winning beaches, canoe trails, fishing piers, campgrounds, and what remains of Battery Laidley. Guests can walk through and explore Battery Laidley; however, ensure to visit the Quartermaster Museum to get a full history of the fort.
Kids will love the Barrier-Free Nature Trail that is made so that all people can enjoy nature, regardless of disabilities. Furry friends can romp around in the Paw Playground designed just for them. The possibilities are endless, and admission is free; you only pay the cost of parking, which was $5.00 a car.
Check out our Guide To Great Things To Do In Fort De Soto.
U-Pick Oranges At Dooley Groves
Florida is known for its sunny beaches, but it is also known for its tasty oranges. Throughout the state, there are tons of great U-Pick farms that take guests out into the orange tree groves to pick their own Florida oranges. Orange picking is one of the things to do while visiting St. Petersburg, FL, that you don’t want to miss.
Dooley Groves is located in Ruskin, FL, which is roughly a forty-minute drive from St. Petersburg. Here you will find the cutest orange grove with the sweetest employees. Groups are taken out to the grove every half-hour to forty-five minutes. While you wait, sample their delicious citrus, sign your waiver, and browse the boutique gift shop.
A guide will instruct your group the proper way to pick oranges, which is by using clippers. Young children will not be able to pick the fruit from the tree or use the clippers to get it off. However, they will excel at picking out oranges to clip off the tree along with putting them in their basket.
What I enjoyed about Dooley Grove is there was no minimum. You would pay for what you picked. It was ideal for those who only needed a handful of oranges. We ate them every morning to kick start our day.
After your adventure to Dooley Grove, nearby Sunset Grill is a great spot that overlooks Tampa Bay if your crew gets hungry. There is a Manatee Viewing area that is about twenty minutes up the street from Dooley Grove, which is the perfect addition to your day.
Another great city to explore in Florida is Jacksonville. Check out this Jacksonville Travel Guide to start planning out your trip.
Great Explorations Children’s Museum
A rainy day in St. Petersburg is the ideal time to explore the fun museums throughout the town. If you have kids in tow, a visit to Great Explorations Children’s Museum is a must. I feel this museum is ideal for kids age 2-8, but they do have an area designed for younger children.
The imaginary play takes center stage here as children have the opportunity to be on air for the local news, help their furry friends at the vet or slide down the firepole before hopping aboard the firetruck. The museum is nicely segmented into the different areas, from a creativity corner, a supermarket to building blocks.
Kids will enjoy hopping from area to area to discover what new fun awaits. Staff was constantly interacting with the children, highlighting fun facts, and putting on fun programs. Overall, we spend roughly two hours here and our daughter had a blast.
John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk
For a popular tourist spot venture to John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk. This is where you will find tons of restaurants, shops, and bars lining the waterway. Here is where fishing charters, pirate cruises, parasailing, and other watersport expeditions begin.
Plenty of restaurants offer outdoor dining overlooking John’s Pass. Parking is readily available throughout the boardwalk and the village. In the evening, bars and nightclubs come alive, keeping the vacation vibes going into the night.
Catching A Sunset On The Beach
It should go without saying, but be sure to catch at least one gorgeous sunset on the beach. Pack a picnic dinner to enjoy on the beach as the sun dips below the water.
See Winter The Dolphin
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is home to the Dolphin Tales star Winter. Winter is the celebrity dolphin known for her prosthetic tail. Guests get the opportunity to visit Winter and her other marine friends during a visit to the Aquarium. Our only piece of advice is to call ahead to ensure she will be out when you are planning to visit.
Day Trips From St. Petersburg FL
There are tons of excellent day trip options from St. Petersburg, FL. Tampa is a hot-spot for family attractions such a Busch Gardens, Tampa Zoo, and the Florida Aquarium. If you plan on visiting Busch Gardens, purchase a Tampa city-pass. The city- pass gets you admission into Busch Gardens and other major attractions for the price of a single admission to Busch Gardens.
Since our daughter was a little young to enjoy Busch Gardens in full, we opted for a day trip to Sarasota. We planned out the perfect day exploring this fun beach town. Check out our complete Sarasota Guide For Families for the perfect one-day itinerary.
Things To Do In St. Petersburg, FL