About St Pete Beach
About 10,000 people live in St Pete Beach full time, and with a few exceptions, most serve the tourists that double the population of this Gulf of Mexico village during the busy winter season of December through April. It’s just a few blocks wide and measures about 5 sq km (2 square miles).
All beach land in Florida below the average high-tide mark is open to the public, and St Pete Beach also has municipal beach areas, with food and watersports concession, plus shower facilities. These beaches have their own car parks, with meters. You can wade 50m (164ft) from shore and only get thigh-deep in the gentle waves. It is advisable, when in the water, to shuffle your feet, rather than taking a chance of stepping on a stingray, which would whip its tail up in defence, putting a non-poisonous barb into your leg.
Beyond the beach:
For a taste of culture, hire a cab or drive east into St Petersburg and visit the famed Salvador Dali Museum (www.salvadordalimuseum.org). If you visit between April and October, head to the city for an American baseball game: The Tampa Bay Devil Rays play at the vast indoor Tropicana Field (16th Street at First Avenue South).
Step aboard the 49-passenger catamaran operated by Shell Key Shuttle (www.shellkeyshuttle.com) for a 10-minute trip to a tiny island that manages to be isolated while still within sight of the peninsula. The ride is a good chance to see dolphins frolic and sea turtles crest the waves.
Get close to indigenous birds by heading north to the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary (www.seabirdsanctuary.org), which has been a haven for injured critters for more than 35 years. Those too damaged to fly are fed and cared for, and panhandling pelicans show up for daily feedings.
For a memorable start to Sunday, put on your best suit and step into one of Florida’s legendary pre-Depression hotels for brunch in the King Charles Room of the Don CeSar Beach Resort (www.doncesar.com). On the fifth floor of the brightly pink landmark (Robert De Niro was once flown in to film a single beach scene, with the Don providing the 1920s Florida backdrop, the chefs stage a 200-item festival, from crepes to roast beef.