15 Reasons to Visit Clearwater and St Pete Beach FL
The Clearwater/St Pete Beach area of Florida’s Gulf Coast attracts around 94 million visitors every year, and here’s why. Located on a beautiful peninsula between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico this stunning coastline boasts over 35 miles of award-winning white sandy beaches. Renowned for its year-round sunshine and subtropical climate, Clearwater/St Pete has an average year-round high of 81°F and currently holds the coveted Guinness World Record for the longest consecutive run of sunny days – an incredible 768 days!
Conveniently close to Orlando for world-class shopping, dining and theme parks, the area around Clearwater and St Pete Beach make a great destination for a two-center vacation combining Orlando’s theme parks and shopping with time to relax on a beautiful beach.
Most tourists to Clearwater and St Pete Beach will quickly discover all the major attractions in the area such as Busch Gardens, Legoland, the Dali Museum, Chihuly Collection and Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home of Winter the Dolphin. This book, written by a local Florida resident, offers visitors and residents the chance to discover more off-the-beaten path attractions and places to visit. All 15 days out are less than 90 miles from Clearwater, and many are less than 30 minutes away by car.
As well as offering the chance to see “the real Florida”, these days out are easy on the budget, particularly for families. Places such as Mixon Fruit Farms, Robinson’s Preserve and Tarpon Springs are free to visit while other attractions require a donation or modest admission fee.
Best value must be a full day trip to Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park for under $10 for adults and just $3.50 for children aged 3-12. Another amazing experience at Crystal River includes a three-hour boat trip, wetsuit, snorkeling equipment and a unique opportunity to swim with manatees – the only place in the world where this is possible. At $45 per person it is a fraction of the price of swimming with dolphins in Discovery Cove, and it takes place in a warm spring-fed river location rather than a manmade pool.
More wildlife attraction highlights include a visit to Lowry Park Zoo, a day at the huge Florida Aquarium or a visit to the Big Cat Habitat in Sarasota. Young visitors can handfeed giraffes and other free-roaming animals on a safari at Giraffe Ranch or spend time exploring water, flight and other educational zones in the Glazer Children’s Museum.
Adults and older families may enjoy a walking tour around the former cigar capital of the world at historic Ybor City, the chance to learn about the sponge-diving industry at the Greek community of Tarpon Springs or a visit to the beautiful Marie Selby Gardens overlooking Sarasota Bay. Nearby are the Circus Museums, Ca d’Zan mansion and outstanding artwork collection at the Ringling Museum as well as the chance to explore one of Florida’s oldest historic homes at the Gamble Plantation Historic State Park.
Whatever the season, whatever your budget and whatever the weather, this book is packed with great ideas for days out with something for all ages and interests. Each chapter gives a full description, photographs, tips, prices, places to eat and locations of these excellent days out along with nearby attractions that can be combined to create an extended day trip.
I hope this book enhances your stay in Clearwater/St Pete Beach and proves that there’s more to this beautiful area of Florida than its award-winning beaches, glorious sunsets, exciting watersports, golf courses, craft breweries and fine dining.