About St Petersburg beaches
St Petersburg is the gateway to lovely state beaches.
Drive 15km (9 miles) west from Tampa Bay on Central Avenue to Treasure Island, on the Gulf. Or head south to one of America’s prime beaches, Fort DeSoto park (3500 Pinellas Bayway South), 21km (13 miles) from downtown. Spanning five small islands, the park comprises of 460 hectares (1,136 acres), with beaches lined by mangrove trees, fishing piers, campsites, picnic tables and marvellous big mortar guns for the kiddies to clamber over.
Beyond the beach:
Arguably the finest works by the master of surrealism are displayed at the Salvador Dali Museum 1.5km (1 mile) from Central Avenue downtown (www.salvadordalimuseum.org). On a more somber note, visit the Florida Holocaust Museum (55 Fifth Street South) (www.flholocaustmuseum.org), one of America’s largest on this topic.
Stretching into Tampa Bay is the city’s landmark Pier, ending in an inverted, five-storey triangle building aptly named The Pier. Buy food for the pelicans, fish the bay, watch boats, and enjoy the 11-tank aquarium inside. Often tied up at The Pier and open for visits is a sea-going replica of HMS Bounty, of Mutiny on the Bounty fame. Not far away is Great Explorations: The Children’s Museum, 2.5km (1.5 miles) from downtown. It is full of interactive fun for the nippers: a lie detector, build-your-own (toy) race car and computerised art. To one side of the parking field is the recently updated, 72-year-old Sunken Gardens, a lush, 1.6-hectare (4-acre) display of tropical plants, waterfalls and exotic birds.
The number one tourist attraction around here is the world-famous theme park Walt Disney World, about 153km (95 miles) to the east, near Orlando. Take your sunscreen, hat and camera.
Take a four- or five-night cruise on one of the giant, glitzy cruise ships sailing out of Tampa. The main cruise lines are Carnival, Holland America and Royal Caribbean.