Welcome to St Pete Beach where the sand is as white as snow and as soft as powder, where the clear waters of the gulf are as radiantly turquoise as they are invitingly warm and where the sunsets are just too breathtaking to be real. Known as the sunset capital of Florida, St Pete Beach has been rated #1 top beach destination by TripAdvisor.com as well as earned a rating of #5 by Travel’s Choice Awards. Parent Magazine even rated St. Pete Beach as #3 of America’s Top 10 Best Beach Towns for Families in 2013. Packing the kids up and taking the next plane out town, this year we said goodbye to Naples and hello to St Pete Beach with kids.
Keep the Cost in Check
Traveling expenses can add up, especially when airfare is required. In order to stay budget friendly this HotMama had to follow a few simple steps. The first big money saver of our trip was the date of travel; the week before off-season. Secondly, we tracked our airfare with Yapta.com, alerting us when our tickets reached our ideal price point. Finally, I thoroughly researched the dining options to find places that offered happy hours, free child dining and other various specials or coupons. See in more detail how I save, Here.
Drop your Bags
When traveling to St Pete Beach with kids, this is the place to stay. An amalgam of expansive and quaint, this 20-acre tropical resort is only footsteps from the white sand beaches.
The sweet rooms are oozing with island charm containing rich woods, white billowy bedding, warmly painted walls and alluring views of the gulf and lagoon. The view from our room was so nice, this HotMama actually looked forward to the babies nap time just to enjoy some quiet time on the balcony.
At first the 20-acre property is a bit overwhelming, because the Tradewinds Island Grand feels like a city within a city. There are five pools, convenient beach access and a plethora of activities, restaurants, bars and entertainment all located on the Tradewinds property. Hammocks are casually positioned around the resort ensuring that all their guests get in the right state of mind. This is Florida baby, time to relax.
Average rates are around $300 a night, but there are plenty of promo codes and package deals. Booking a package saves a percentage of food, drink and resort activities all with the discount room. We were lucky enough to travel for the VSS conference which saved us on the room rate, gave us unlimited access to resort activities as well as 20% off at the bars and restaurants. Read more about the resort, HERE.
A part of the Tradewinds family, Guy Harvey Outpost is only 200 flip flops away, although it feels a bit longer when you are actually walking it with kids in tow. A smaller sportier version of the Island Grand, Guy Harvey Outpost features the artwork of Guy Harvey with the décor. With two pools, the Sandbox Beach Lounge and a number of adventurous activities, there is something for everybody.
Take a step back in time as you enter into this glamorous pink palace. First opening in 1928, The Don Cesar has accommodated iconic guests such as F. Scott Fitzgerald. Although ultra chic, don’t be intimidated to bring the children. The Don CeSar is very family-friendly with rooms that are bright, airy and spacious, a library of games, pools, beach access and even Camp CeSar Kids. There are even beach activities created to keep the traveling teen happy.
Be sure to stop into Uncle Andy’s Ice Cream Parlor for delicious homemade delights.
Get your Grub On
Let’s just be honest, eating on vacations is probably one of the most exciting activities. That’s why I get so excited when I find something truly spectacular. For the most part St Pete Beach is very relaxed and the dining options reflect that laid-back vibe. Although many of the restaurants have amazing views of the gulf and various winding waterways, the cuisine was pretty average consisting of burgers, chicken fingers and fried shrimp. I was in Florida I wanted something amazing! I wanted seafood that was going to make my eyeballs roll back into my head!
By far the best meal I had while in St Pete Beach. After days of casual dining, eating food served in baskets, Snapper’s mouth watering dishes were just what the doctor ordered. I really went for it, ordering the lobster, scallops and shrimp. My chin glistening with melted butter, I took long lingering sips of my dry crisp chardonnay, completely allowing myself to savor this delectable meal.
We cleaned our plates and left fully satisfied. It was definitely our most expensive meal of the trip, but some things are just worth it. If you are traveling on a budget save on other meals by sharing or combining breakfast and lunch to save money and splurge on at least one fantastic dinner.
Located on the grounds of Tradewinds Island Grand, this was one of our favorite places for late breakfast/early lunches. Flying Bridge not only had beautiful views of the beach and pool, the food had some yummy options such as the chicken salad sandwich. Like most the restaurants on the resort, the menu items averaged about $15 an entree so we saved money by splitting plates.
Papa, who is 80 years-old, made the walk from our hotel to Skidders every morning for his breakfast. It was that good. Being night owls, we never joined him for breakfast usually opting for an early lunch. Finally, on the last morning of our trip we all went to Skidders together and discovered what we had been missing out on the whole time. Not only were there an overabundance of delicious selections, but the prices were so wallet-friendly we got a little crazy with our order. Papa laughed his head off as we feasted on omelets, biscuits and gravy, cheese blitzes, pancakes, bacon, sausage, hash browns, corned beef hash, toast, gallons of coffee and juice. You’d think we never ate breakfast before. Looks like dad will have breakfast buddies on the next visit to St Pete Beach with kids.
The patio spills onto the gorgeous beach of Treasure Island. We went to Sloppy Joe’s with the goal of outrageous libation, but were pleasantly surprised to discover that the fare was quite scrumptious. We couldn’t leave without trying the Sloppy Joe Sliders and as expected, they were delightful. What really excited the taste buds was the Florida dessert platter which included Key Lime Pie (HotMama’s Pick), Coconut Bread Pudding and Banana Cream Pie. Once the desserts hit the table the kids snapped right out of there naps and dug into the sweets.
While visiting the Don CeSar in Pass-a-Grille, we decided to dine with a view, which is not hard to find in St Pete Beach. We chose The Wharf which captured our interest with its shabby charm and tranquil views of the waterways.
Along with traditional menu items like a basket of fried shrimp, there were some very unique and dare I say, odd selections such as the meatball salad. Two meatballs and marinara sauce over a large Caesar salad. Apparently, it is a very popular dish so that’s what I ordered. It was really tasty indeed.
Not much to say, except that they had the best blackened tilapia sandwich! My dad couldn’t stop talking about it the whole trip.
If you like fine Italian cuisine, then Palm Court will satisfy your appetite. Located just off the lobby of the Tradewinds Island Grand, the patio flows out to the courtyard overlooking the pond. Dine over candle lit as the frogs provide a tropical soundtrack.
Another favorite on the Tradewinds’ property. This is where you go if you want an awesome deal on seafood. I got all you can eat crab legs for $30!!! Not those skinny wimpy legs either. These were real, meaty, juicy and yummy! Thank goodness it was all you can eat, because this mermaid mama can get A LOT!
This is a great dining option if you are traveling with kids, because there is a huge 33,500-gallon aquarium in the dining room. The kids loved it! We had breakfast there, which was amazing by the way, and the kids were entertained the whole time!
By now, many of you know that this HotMama likes her drank. Armed with my toddlers, I’m always on a mission to find my next watering hole. Listen up parents! Here are some budget happy, family-friendly establishments in St Pete Beach.
Probably my favorite spot for night cap. Comfortable seating, fire pits, live music and $3 beer; all situated on the beach. We could let the kids run free and play in the sand while we adults enjoyed listening to the music by the fire. My kids made some friends and were entertained for hours. I’ve never been so relaxed while having drinks out with my kids.
I love Bloody Mary’s and the Flying Bridge had a fantastic one with garnishes galore. Hardy and spicy, I started every day off right with one of these bad boys as my breakfast.
Just because it is fun! We shared the Mai Tai Fish Bowl.
Okay, quick funny story. My mom and I went to Sloppy Joe’s with the sole purpose of ordering the fish bowl cocktail. Call me silly, but I really was excited about that little shark. When we ordered the drink, it arrived with NO SHARK!!!! The sweet server apologized; they were out of sharks. Totally bummed, because A. I’m really into presentation and B. I promised my baby boy he could have the shark; I walked across the street (sweating my butt off) to the beach shop and purchased two rubber sharks to stick in my drink. My husband and dad thought I was ridiculous, especially since I forbid them to sip from our Mai Tai until I returned. As soon as I placed my hot pink shark on my fish bowl the server came running out with two sharks. The shipment just arrived. Haha! Well, I definitely got my fill of sharks that day. P.S: The shark in the photo is the one I bought.
A fun little bar with cheap beer, overlooking John’s Pass.
Definitely a favorite, Salty’s was where we hung out the most. Similar to the Sandbox, the kids could play in the sand while we listened to live music and enjoyed tropical libations.
The entertainment was endless in St Pete Beach with plenty to keep families busy and happy. Here are some fun things to do in St Pete Beach with kids!
- 5 Pools: There is a toddler pool, an adult only pool, a beach front pool, a shady pool, and lap pool.
- Beach: In addition to regular beach day fun, there is a 3-story-high waterslide that my daughter went on repeatedly. My son did it once, but was not a fan.
There are also plenty of water sports available such as water playground in the sea, jet packing, parasailing, water cabanas, rafting and much more.
- Paddle boat: As a guest of the resort we had unlimited access to the paddle boats. It was fun to paddle around the lagoon that wraps around the resort. Kids love it! Bonus: you can take your beer.
- Live music all day, every day.
- Karaoke at Shark Tooth Tavern
- Konk: Kids club with daily crafts and pirate adventures.
- John’s Pass: Shops, dining and adventures. We chose to board the Royal Conquest for pirate adventure. Your kids get to enjoy a day being honorary pirates while parents get to relax enjoying the view and unlimited beer and wine.
The pirate entertain the kids the entire 2-hour cruise through John’s Pass with treasure hunts, water gun fights, dance parties, face painting and story-telling.
That’s a Wrap!
St Pete Beach with kids was an awesome experience. My kids woke up the first morning home and burst into tears, because they wanted to be back in Florida. Waking up and running onto the sand, knowing that a day full of adventure lies ahead. St Pete Beach is the perfect destination for a beautiful family vacation. See you next year St Pete!
Have you ever been to St. Pete Beach? Tell me about it.
What is your favorite family beach vacation?
Author: Hot Mama
I’m a busy working mama, who understands the importance of taking a time out to enjoy life. Always ready for an adventure, this mama will not hesitate to pack the family up and go. Family vacations are a great way to bond with your kids and create wonderful memories that they will carry with them throughout their life. A fabulous getaway doesn’t have to break the bank! I’ll give you the tips and tricks you need to make every trip memorable, reasonable and HOT!