I just returned from vacation to the St. Petersburg/Clearwater area in South Florida. Despite recent hurricane threats we had good weather all week except for a short period of rain on Thursday morning. We stayed at the Fairfield Inn in St. Petersburg, which was about a half an hour drive to Clearwater Beach and a 15-20 minute drive from DeSoto State Park, where we enjoyed some magnificent panoramic views from a centuries old Spanish fort. Both feature beautiful sandy white beaches and picturesque emerald green water. While there we also visited the equally scenic Sand Key State Park, which was one of the highlights of the trip.
For night-time entertainment, we enjoyed a festive Caribbean Sunset Cruise of the bay area complete with a delicious buffet and DJ. No trip to Clearwater is complete without a visit to the Aquarium where we met the famous Dolphin, Winter, from the Dolphin Tales film series. The visit also includes a cruise across the bay to an extension of the Aquarium that focuses on the Dolphin Tale movies. The highlight of that trip was a very realistic hurricane simulation. There were also some recreations from the movie set and interesting trivia about the filming of the movie.
The area has a plethora of great seafood restaurants with waterfront dining. Our favorites were Crabby Bills, Frenchy’s Rockaway Cafe at Clerwater Beach, and Backwater Restaurant near Sand Key State Park. On one of our scenic drives, we discovered Boulevard Burger, a trendy little restaurant with outside dining, a good variety of pub food, and several craft beers from local breweries including Tampa Brewing and Three Daughters.
All in all, it was a very fun and relaxing week in two of the most scenic cities in South Florida. Best of all, we had great weather despite ominous forecasts all week.