Below is the itinerary for our time in Florida. We needed a break from the March cold! Our days were kind of all over the place, so this is how I wish we organized our time. We went over International Women’s Day weekend so I tried to pick a few women owned businesses as well.
We rented a car and I think it’s pretty much necessary. We stayed near downtown St. Petersburg by Vinoy Park, but no matter where you stay everything is a 20+ minute drive apart. St. Petersburg is in the middle of the beaches and Tampa.
DAY 1: ST. PETERSBURG MUSEUMS + BREWERIES
Our first day had the lowest temp and the most clouds so we decided to do our indoor activities.
The Library: We got brunch here to start off our day. It’s in the hospital, which is super weird. But it has a cute ambiance and an outside patio. Make sure you make a reservation if you want to sit inside. *Woman Executive Chef
The Dali Museum: Definitely worth the hype. All the gallery rooms are upstairs – they are kind of small and crowded but there’s a lot of cool stuff to see. Downstairs is a big gift shop, cafe and park area. They had a wish tree, which I thought was so cute. You take off your wrist band, write a wish on it and tie it to the others on the tree!
Sunken Gardens: This is kind of a tourist trap, but still really pretty. We got a Groupon to enter for $12 total (vs $24 total). There are birds in cages and flamingos (I’m assuming with clipped wings) in a closure, so that made me feel a little bit weird. BUT the plants were all really pretty and relaxing.
Then we did our usual brewery tour! Here are the ones we tried:
-St. Pete’s Brewing
-Green Bench Brewing
Cycle and Green Bench were our favorites! Cycle had a cool vibe, good music and they were really nice. Green Bench has an awesome outdoor area with lots of grass and seating.
DAY 2: ST. PETERSBURG BEACH
We decided to go to the beach later in the day for optimal sun, but you could reverse this day easily.
Fort DeSoto Park: We started here since it’s the most southern stop over there. It costs $5 to get in and you have to drive on a few toll roads. When you get in the park, you can drive to the historical fort, piers and beaches. The fort was interesting and you can go on top of it for a cool view of the water. The beaches were small, but quiet. A good alternative to the big ones! You can see the Sunshine Skyway Bridge from the East Beach.
Golden Dinosaurs Vegan Deli & Gulfport: We drove up here for lunch and it was so good! All vegan sandwiches, sauces and sides. They have alcohol too. We were going to take our sandwiches to go and eat at the beach, but they didn’t seem like they would travel well. We walked around the small town of Gulfport before leaving. It’s cute with other restaurants, small stores and a pier. *Woman owned business
St. Pete’s Beach: Next we drove over to the beach for a few hours. It wasn’t hard to find parking later in the day. It does cost like $2.50 an hour though. The beach was moderately crowded, but really pretty!
John’s Pass: A little bit north of the beach is a small fish town called John’s Pass. There are a bunch of tourist souvenir shops, restaurants and bars. I’m not sure I would go back here. Unless maybe you were bar hopping at night. There is a boardwalk along the water that’s nice.
Red Mesa: When we got back, we got tacos at this regional chain. They were pretty good and had a nice outdoor patio.
DAY 3: TAMPA AREA – HYDE PARK + YBOR + SEMINOLE HEIGHTS
We tried to go to everything on the Tampa side in one day to save some drive time.
Hyde Park: This is a higher end shopping district with stores like Lulu Lemon, Anthropologie, Bluemercury, etc. This wasn’t really our scene so we only walked around for about 30 minutes.
Ybor Historical District: This area was weird to us! We went in the morning so a lot of places were closed, but there are a ton of bars, restaurants and cigar shops. It has more of a “gritty” vibe and has a little bit of a New Orleans feel with the historical balcony buildings. We did find some really cool stores though!
–La France: Really cool atmosphere and lots of real (more fancy??) vintage.
–Revolve: A more laid back vintage/resale store – I got a skirt, sweater and dress from here! More affordable prices.
–Dysfunctional Grace Art Co.: Probably my favorite store stop of the trip – full of stuffed animals, bones, Ouija boards, candles, seance stuff, etc. Lots of spookiness set up in a unique way. *Woman owned business
Seminole Heights: This is definitely the hipster area of Tampa! There’s a bunch of cool stuff along N. Florida avenue, but you definitely have to drive to each one. There’s industrial (??) buildings in between:
–Cleanse Apothecary (we didn’t go here, but it looked cute)
–Vintage Post Marketplace: Lots of cool vintage furniture and other home goods. A small section of clothes.
-Microgroove Records: Small, but cute place with new and vintage records.
–Angry Chair Brewing (we didn’t go here, but it looks cool)
Then there’s an area by the Riverwalk that has a lot of action. This would be a good place to get dinner or spend a night/afternoon.
–Armature Works: We got dinner here! It’s a big hall with a bunch of different vendors – everything from sushi to sandwiches to ice cream. And obviously lots of bars. There’s a ton of indoor and outdoor seating, games to play, and a great view of the water. There were cute restaurants right in front of this too that had good reviews: Ulele and Stone’s Throw. *Has women owned restaurants inside like Graze 1910
-Tampa River Walk: You can walk, bike, Bird along the river walk for quite a way!
–Hidden Springs Ale Works: This is walkable from Armature Works. We stopped in here for a flight of their unique beers.
–Bake ‘n Babes: This inside of The Hall which was similar to Armature Works, but much smaller. They have cookies, brownies, sundaes and vegan options! *Women owned business
DAY 4: CLEARWATER BEACH + CENTER AVENUE
Clearwater Beach: We felt like we had to try the famous Clearwater Beach since we were in the area. It was about a 45 minute drive from our St. Pete’s place. There was a lot of traffic near the beach and it was much harder to find parking here. The beach itself was also much more crowded than St. Pete’s beach. The sand was white and the water beautiful though! Next time, I think we’d just stick with St. Pete’s beach since it’s a closer drive and less hectic, but I’m glad we got to see Clearwater. There are a ton of touristy looking restaurants and bars by the beach as well.
Vinoy Park: This small park was right by our airbnb so we walked over to sit on the tiny beach and people watch. There’s a nice path to walk along the water and volleyball courts.
All of the breweries on our tour above were on Central Ave. and this was definitely my favorite area of St. Pete. It’s more hipster and has a cool vibe. There’s a lot of street art, restaurants, breweries, etc. We wanted to go back and walk around more.
Planet Retro Records: Another small record shop – this one had more older records.
Pizza Box: A super cute family owned place! They were super attentive, sweet and the rest of the people there were regulars. The pizza was good with authentic Italian crust.
No Vacancy: Right next to the Pizza Box is this cool bar. It has an outdoor patio full of flamingos, umbrellas and other beachy vibes. They have those huge shareable drinks that come in a big pink flamingo! We went for happy hour and deals were good.
The Bends: Our last stop of the night was this dive. It’s a super skinny bar with Christmas lights hanging from the ceiling. We sat outside and got cheap beers.
Overall we would definitely go back! Our advice is to definitely rent a car and stay in the St. Pete area. Definitely visit Central Ave and Seminole Heights! Four days felt like enough, but we would probably add one more to make it more relaxing.