Things To Do In St. Petersburg FL
Family Travel,  Southeast,  Travel

27 Fun Things To Do In St. Petersburg, Florida

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In our Ultimate Guide, we share the top things to do in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Florida has an array of sun-drenched beaches offering families vacation bliss. Many cities throughout the Sunshine State have become increasingly industrialized, making way for high-rises and busy streets. However, there is one place where you can still experience that Old Florida feeling: St. Petersburg, Florida.

Stroll the historic Sunken Gardens, bike through a neighborhood full of historic homes, and taste Old Florida at Ted Peters Smoked Fish. Attractions are plentiful in St. Petersburg, with activities for the whole family.

St. Petersburg, Florida is full of family fun activities
St. Petersburg, Florida, is full of family fun activities

About St. Petersburg

Situated along the Gulf of Mexico, St. Petersburg, known as St. Pete by the locals, has been a popular vacation destination for over a century. Beautiful beaches, lush gardens, and plenty of warm sunshine have earned St. Petersburg the nickname; Sunshine City.

Fun Fact: Years ago, retirees would flock to St. Petersburg and be seen sitting on benches soaking up the sunshine. Many people would call the city “God’s Waiting Room.”

Getting To St. Petersburg, Florida

While many will take a road trip to St. Peterburg, flying is the most popular option. Guests can fly into St. Pete/Clearwater International Airport (PIE) or to Tampa International Airport (TPA). St. Petersburg is near many small beach towns, such as Treasure Island, Madeira Beach, and Indian Rocks Beach.

Where To Stay In St. Petersburg, FL

Luxury Vacation Options

The Don CeSar and the Vinoy Renaissance are the top two spots to relax in complete luxury. The legendary Pink Palace has been chartering to guests since 1928, offering glamorous accommodations, fine dining, and postcard-worthy beaches.

The Vinoy Renaissance is a historic hotel that sits along the water’s edge in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg. Now owned by the Marriott, this luxury hotel boasts a golf club, a fabulous pool, and fine dining options.

Great St. Petersburg Accommodations

During my travels, I often prefer renting a vacation home or condo on the beach through Airbnb or VRBO. That way, we can make many meals in the rental and have plenty of space to spread out. Other great resort options include; Hilton St. Petersburg Carillon Park, The Island Grand-Tradewinds Resort, and Sirata Beach Resort.

Top Things To Do In St. Petersburg, FL

Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, history buff, or emerging foodie, St. Petersburg is full of incredible activities for the whole family. We share the best things to do in St. Petersburg to help you plan your itinerary.

Sunken Gardens

Things To Do In St Petersburg FL

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 stocked with fish beckon visitors to throw in a few morsels of food.  Coi food is available for purchase when you buy your admission. Our daughter loved feeding the fish.

Things To Do In St. Petersburg: Sunken Gardens

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. Visit to see why this is one of the best places in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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, numerous craft breweries and restaurants tempt guests. W had a delicious lunch at Stillwaters, followed by nearby Kilwians for dessert.

St. Petersburg Trolley Looper Route

Hop aboard the St. Petersburg Trolley! The Looper Route will take you downtown to all the significant points of interest. The best part of riding the trolley is that it is FREE! The looper trolley stops near all major museums and attractions, so park your car and ride the trolley free for the rest of the day.  Remember that another trolley will take guests from Central Ave To Pass-A-Grille.

Take The SunCoast Beach Trolley 

Whether you’re traveling without a car or want to take a break from driving yourself, hop aboard the Suncoast Beach Trolley to tour the Gulf Beaches. Stretching from Clearwater Beach south to Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores, Redington Shores, North Redington Beach, Redington Beach, Madeira Beach, John’s Pass Village, St. Pete Beach and Pass-a-Grille.  Take a short ride to one particular beach, shopping area or restaurant. Or, travel the entire route to get a great view of our Gulf Coast communities (you can hop on and off along the way). Locals take the trolley, too, and if you take time to chat with them, they’ll likely recommend some of their favorite shopping and dining spots.

Waiting For The Trolley

The regular cash fare is only $2.25, and children five years old or younger may ride for free with an adult. Visitors may purchase unlimited ride fares for either three, seven, or 31 days for between $18 and $70. With trolleys arriving every 20 to 30 minutes between approximately 5:20 a.m. and 10 p.m. (midnight on Fridays and Saturdays), it’s easy to cover the whole coastline in a full day of fun

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 is $5.00 a car.

Check out our Guide To Great Things To Do In Fort De Soto.

Boyd Hill Nature Preserve

The Boyd Hill Nature Preserve is a unique nature preserve worth exploring. What once was a zoo is now a beautiful park with scenic trails around Lake Maggiore. The varying natural habitats make this park a delight to bike, hike or stroll through.


Florida Botanical Gardens

One of the best FREE places to visit is the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo. The Florida Botanical Gardens is part of a massive park complex consisting of the gardens, the Heritage Village, and scenic Walsingham Park.

Florida Botanical Gardens
Florida Botanical Gardens

Depending on how much you want to see, I plan for 2-3 hours to explore the Botanical Gardens and the Heritage Village. Admire the majestic Palms, play with fluttering butterflies, and stroll through Tropical Fruit Garden. Download the Florida Botanical Garden Map to help plan out your visit.

The Botanical Gardens consist of a 100-acres full of nature trails, picnic areas, and meticulously manicured gardens. The Botanical Gardens and the Heritage Village are connected so guests can follow trails to the village.

Free Things To Do While Visiting Indian Rocks Beach, FL
Free Things To Do While Visiting St. Petersburg Florida

TIP: Parking is free! There are various parking lots around the Botanical Gardens and the Heritage Village. Check their hours, as they vary depending on the season.

Ted Peters Smoked Fish

For over 70 years, the Ted Peters Smoked Fish has been a staple to visitors and locals in St. Petersburg. It is the ideal place for grabbing a lunch or dinner of smoked fish with a slice of key lime pie. You can even get smoked fish to go!

Tip: They are currently closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

U-Pick Oranges At Dooley  Groves

Things To Do In St. Petersburg: Dooley Groves

Florida is known for its sunny beaches, but it is also known for its tasty oranges. Throughout the state, tons of great U-Pick farms 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, 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.

day trips from st petes beach

A guide will instruct your group on the proper way to pick oranges, which is by using clippers.  Young children cannot 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 and 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.

Salvador Dali Museum

The Salvador Dali Museum is home to an incredible collection of artwork from renowned artist Salvador Dalí. Even the building is a work of art. Visitors from around the world flock to the museum to see his iconic paintings, such as, portrait of my dead brother (1963) and the hallucinogenic toreador (1969-70). Dali’s art has fascinated many, with melting clocks to imaginative visual illusions and avant-garde symbols.

Dali Museum
Dali Museum

Except the Dalí Theater-Museum created by Dalí himself in his hometown of Figueres in Spain, the St. Petersburg Dalí Museum has the world’s largest collection of Dalí’s works.

Manatee Viewing Center

 A quick twenty-minute drive from Dooley Farms is Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center. From November 1st- April 15th, guests can get a glimpse of the lovable manatees that migrate here for the warm water. The Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach circulates water from Tampa Bay for cooling, then sends the water flowing clean and warm back into the bay.

Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center

Because of this uniquely unusual migration, Tampa Electric built the Manatee Viewing Center so everyone could have a chance to see manatees gather for FREE! The discharge canal is a state and federally-designated manatee sanctuary that provides critical protection from the cold for these unique, gentle animals. This means that guests are not allowed to enter the sanctuary’s waters.

While the manatees tend to take center stage, the Manatee Viewing Center is only a portion of the Florida Conservation and Technology Center. Check out the Clean Energy Center, the nature trails, and the Florida Aquarium’s Conservation Campus.

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, visiting Great Explorations Children’s Museum is a must. I feel this museum is ideal for kids 2-8, but they do have an area designed for younger children.

Great Explorations

The imaginary play takes center stage here as children can 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 different areas, from a creativity corner and a supermarket to building blocks.

Kids will enjoy hopping from area to area to discover what new fun awaits. Staff constantly interacted with the children, highlighted fun facts, and created fun programs.  We spent roughly two hours here, and our daughter had a blast.

St. Petersburg Museum of History

A great place to venture when you need a break from the beach is the St. Petersburg Museum of History. Experience the world’s first commercial airline, explore the world’s largest collection of autographed baseballs, and stroll through the history of the Sunshine City.

Don’t miss a stop in the Museum’s most popular gallery, The Odditorium. Discover a collection of unusual artifacts that have made their way to the Sunshine City, making the gallery uniquely St. Pete.

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 many 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

Things To Do In St. Petersburg

It should go without saying, but catch at least one gorgeous sunset on the beach.  Grab a scoop of ice cream or pack a picnic 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 can visit Winter and her other marine friends during a visit to the Aquarium. Our only advice is to call ahead to ensure she will be out when you plan to visit.

Tampa Bay Rays

Catch the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. The Tampa Bay Rays are an American professional baseball team based in St. Petersburg, Florida. Kids of all ages will love rooting for the home team during home games. Get the Tampa Bay Rays schedule!

Splash Harbor Water Park

While my family loves the beach, we are the biggest fans of swimming in the ocean. That is when we explore local waterparks such as Splash Harbour Water Park. Take a break from the beach by cooling off at Splash Harbor Water Park.

Oasis Resort In Mississippi

One of the highlights of Splash Harbor is the Great White Lazy River, a 600-foot-long relaxing lazy river that features waterfalls, sprays, and mists to keep you cool while you’re soaking up the Florida sun. The Treasure Cove Splash Zone is ideal for kids with three slides, interactive water activities, and a dumping bucket.

Budget Tip: Save money by visiting the waterpark after 3 pm for 5 dollars off. Guests can also check to see if their hotel offers waterpark admission discounts, such as the Holiday Inn.

Vinoy Park

Vinoy Park is a perfect place to take in some of the most scenic views in St. Petersburg. Named after the Vinoy Park Hotel, Vinoy Park offers a gorgeous two-mile stretch of green spaces along the waterfront full of recreational trails. Avid walkers, runners, and bikers take advantage of the beautiful park and easy access to the downtown area.

It is also home to popular events, such as festivals, concerts, and sporting events.

Take A Day Trip From St. Petersburg, FL

Day Trip From St. Pete FL

There are tons of excellent day trip options from St. Petersburg, FL. For family attractions such as Busch Gardens, Tampa Zoo, and the Florida Aquarium, Tampa is a hot spot. 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 too young enough to enjoy Busch Gardens in full, we opted for a day trip to Sarasota.  We planned out the perfect day to explore this fun beach town. Check out our complete Sarasota Guide For Families for the perfect one-day itinerary.

You can also plan a day trip to nearby Siesta Key. Beach to check out the top-rated beach in the United States.  Siesta Key is roughly an hour away from St. Petersburg, Florida.

Even More Things To Do In St. Petersburg Florida

  • Catch live music at the Mahaffey Theater
  • See The Chilhuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center
  • Weedon Island Preserve
  • Sawgrass Lake Park
  • Sand Key Park
  • Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail
  • The new St. Pete Pier

Things To Do In St. Petersburg, FL

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