How to Maximise Your Time in St. Pete/Clearwater

How to Maximise Your Time in St. Pete/Clearwater
14th March 2022 James Brooke

How to Maximise Your Time in St. Pete/Clearwater

Whether heading away for a week or weekend, here’s Visit St. Pete/Clearwater’s guide to maximising your time and experiences in Florida’s Sunshine City.

Holidays to the US are back on, and Brits are heading back to the sunny skies of Florida once again. The state’s premier beach destination, St. Pete/Clearwater, is hugely popular with British travellers, for both beach breaks and two-centre holidays.

So how can you maximise your time in the destination? From the arts & culture offering, to the award-winning beaches, to the eclectic communities – there really is so much to do. To help, Steve Hayes, President and CEO of Visit St Pete/Clearwater, has some insider tips to share ahead of planning your next visit to the Sunshine City!

1. Do your research

If you want to maximise your time in St. Pete/Clearwater, we suggest starting at the destination website and social media pages to get inspired. The destination has a vast offering to please all types of travellers – the culturally curious seeking arts & culture experiences, the lovers of the outdoors drawn to activities by the ocean and at the state parks, foodie fans wanting to try the delectable cuisine on offer… or those who like a mix of everything! The time of year that you travel is also something to carefully consider – want to spot some manatees? We recommend visiting between April and September. Keen to avoid the crowds? Consider coming in the winter months, where the temperatures are milder but the days just as bright.

2. Plan and book ahead

You’ve heard this before, but planning ahead cannot be underestimated. With the desire to travel returning, high demand means that people from all over the world are beginning to explore again, and that is causing hotels, attractions and restaurants in popular tourist destinations to get booked up in advance. In peak season, some of the top hotels in St. Pete/Clearwater can be booked out 3-4 months ahead of time – so to avoid disappointment, try and book your accommodation as soon as you can, followed by your attraction tickets and restaurants.

Ideally, you strike a balance between a well-researched trip and spontaneous holiday decisions. But you’re bound to have some non-negotiable things on your list, so be sure to do your research and make any necessary advance bookings so you don’t miss out. Special exhibitions at The Dali Museum need to be booked in advance, as does the popular Eat St. Pete Food Tour and St. Pete Walking Mural Tour. Also consider making some dining reservations at the “hot spots” a few weeks before your visit, like The Urban Stillhouse which offers a cuisine made to compliment the award-winning bourbon and cocktails offered on-site.

3. Seize the day

Known for holding the Guinness World Record for the most days of consecutive sunshine (a massive 768!), you won’t want to be wasting optimal sunshine hours by sleeping the day away. Early morning is a great time to enjoy the destination outside of the hot midday and afternoon sun. Average summer temperatures soar to 32 degrees celsius in July and August, so depending on your tolerance for the heat, schedule your day so that you’re either inside air-conditioned attractions such as the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art or Fairgrounds St. Pete, or near to a cooling swimming pool when those peak temperatures hit. What’s more, popular attractions tend to be less busy at opening time, so avoid the crowds by being the first in line.

But the day doesn’t end when the sun goes down – the local restaurants and bars continue to buzz into the night, with popular Central Ave a great spot for evening antics, as well as the destination’s many rooftop bars – local favourites include Pier Teaki and Jimmy’s Crow’s Nest.

4. Hire a car if you can

Getting yourself around in a hire car is probably the fastest way to navigate the destination. St. Pete/Clearwater is larger in size than most people expect, so travel time between hotspots needs to be considered – for example, between Clearwater Beach and downtown St. Pete is around 45 minutes. While we have a wonderful public transportation system, having a car to go wherever you please at your own pace can help you get the most out of your trip. Uber and Lyft are easily bookable options, too. If you’re looking for an adventurous way to get from point A to point B in downtown St. Pete, grab a scooter or bike and enjoy the wind in your hair!

5. Check out multi-purpose attractions – like the new St. Pete Pier and Sunsets at Pier 60

New to Brits is the $92m St. Pete Pier, offering the Southeast’s largest waterfront attraction, with over 26 acres of beachside space. Surrounded by the warm Tampa Bay waters, the new Pier brings entertainment, dining, shopping, and even an urban beach to the already vibrant downtown St. Pete area, so you can tick off plenty of activities in one!

Another example is the nightly sunset celebrations along Pier 60 at Clearwater Beach. From 6-9pm every night, expect a variety of arts, crafts and entertainment, plus an electric atmosphere at the nearby restaurants and bars.

6. Be willing to go with the flow

St. Pete/Clearwater is a relaxed and friendly beach destination, with plenty of natural elements that don’t require pre-planning at all. There’s no booking required to enjoy our gorgeous Gulf Coast sunsets! And we pride ourselves on being approachable and friendly people – so do ask the locals for recommendations on things to do and where to eat and drink – they’ll usually be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

Now you’re armed with the best insider tips on planning a holiday to St. Pete/Clearwater, what are you waiting for? Easily accessible with British Airways offering daily flights between London and Tampa (30 minutes to Clearwater), and Virgin Atlantic offering daily flights from London, Manchester and Edinburgh to Orlando (90 minutes to Clearwater), your next holiday could be closer than you think. To start your planning, visit www.visitstpeteclearwater.com.

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About Visit St. Pete/Clearwater:
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater (VSPC) is the official destination marketing organisation of Pinellas County in Florida and covers 26 municipalities in the area. The region is located on the peninsula on Florida’s west coast, bordered by the Gulf of Mexico to the west and Tampa Bay to the east.

The area offers 35 miles of award-winning white-sandy beaches, exotic nature trails, culture and arts. It is home to independent restaurants, boutique shops and a unique craft beer trail running from Tarpon Springs to Treasure Island showcasing 40+ local breweries’ fresh artisanal beer. Both Clearwater Beach and St. Pete Beach have consistently been listed among the top 5 beaches in America, in the annual TripAdvisor Readers’ Choice Awards.

Boasting the largest collection of Dali artwork outside of Spain in the Dali Museum, the county has a significant art scene, with walking mural tours, regular exhibitions and the impressive Chihuly Collection of hand-blown glass sculptures.

The destination is renowned for sunshine and currently holds the Guinness World Record for the longest run of sunshine days, a massive 768.