Welcome to St Pete Beach where the sand is as white as snow and 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.
I think this picture about sums it up
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.
Our family has visited St Pete Beach with kids 4 times over the last few years. It is one of our favorite beach destinations for a relaxing family trip.
And each time we visit we get to explore a little something new, whether it’s a kid-friendly pirate ship cruise through John’s Pass or bottomless crab legs at a gulf view restaurant.
In this article, we put together all of our best tips about visiting St Pete Beach with kids to help you have the best Florida family vacation possible.
While reading this guide, you will find out about:
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Also, feel free to check out our related article on the best family hotels in nearby Clearwater Beach]
If you’re more of a visual person, check out our videos highlighting our family trips to St Pete Beach
THIS POST MAY CONTAIN COMPENSATED LINKS. FIND OUT MORE IN MY DISCLAIMER.
Where to Stay in St. Pete Beach with Kids
Tradewinds Island Grand Resort
I am just going to say it – Tradewinds Island Grand is THE place to stay in St Pete Beach with kids. 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, I 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 Resort 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 resort property.
I personally love their bloody mary’s at the Flying Bridge restaurant, but sometimes I go for one of these fruity island cocktails. They also have this awesome bar on property called Salty’s Tiki Bar and Beach Lounge which has live music throughout the day and amazing beach views.
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. What always helps me relax is a good beach read and Mary Kay Andrew’s Ladies’ Night was the perfect pick since it takes place in St. Pete Beach.
RumFish Beach Resort (formerly Guy Harvey Outpost)
A part of the Tradewinds resort family, RumFish Beach Resort 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, RumFish has two pools, the Sandbox Beach Lounge and a number of adventurous activities. We absolutely love strolling over to RumFish for dinner and a nightcap at their beachfront fire pits
Don CeSar Hotel
Take a step back in time as you enter into this historic pink palace. First opening in 1928, The Don CeSar Hotel is one of the most glamorous of St Petersburg beach hotels, accommodating iconic guests such as F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was even featured in Pitbull’s Sexy Beaches music video.
Although ultra chic, don’t be intimidated about bringing 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.
Where to Eat in St. Pete Beach
Let’s just be honest, eating on vacations is probably one of the most exciting activities. 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 great views of the gulf and waterways, the cuisine was pretty average at many places consisting of burgers, chicken fingers and fried shrimp. However, we did find a few delicious seafood restaurants that made my eyeballs roll back into my head!
Snappers Sea Grill
One of the best meals I had was at Snapper’s Seafood Grill St Petersburg 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.
I was told my chin was glistening with melted butter, as I took long lingering sips of my dry crisp chardonnay. We all cleaned our plates and left fully satisfied. It was definitely our most expensive meal of the trip, but some things are just worth it.
Hot Tip: If you are traveling on a budget, save on other meals by sharing or combining breakfast and lunch so you can splurge on at least one fantastic dinner.
Located on the grounds of Tradewinds Island Grand, Flying Bridge 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 $10-15 an entree so we saved money by splitting plates.
Skidders has REALLY good breakfast and it is right across the street from Tradewinds Island Grand. There is an overabundance of delicious omelettes and breakfast items, and the prices are so wallet-friendly. We feasted on omelettes, 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!
Sloppy Joe’s Treasure Island
The patio of Sloppy Joe’s spills onto the gorgeous beach of Treasure Island. We went to Sloppy Joe’s St Pete Beach 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 they were delightful. What really excited the taste buds was the Florida dessert platter which included Key Lime Pie, 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 honestly 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 too much to say except that Compass Grille had the best blackened tilapia sandwich! My dad couldn’t stop talking about it the whole trip. It is a nice, affordably family-friendly restaurant in St Pete Beach.
Palm Court Italian Grill
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 light as the frogs provide a tropical soundtrack.
Bermudas Steak and Seafood
Another favorite on the Tradewinds property is Bermudas Steak and Seafood. This is where you go if you want some awesome seafood. I got all-you-can-eat crab legs for just $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!
RumFish Grill is a great dining option if you are traveling with kids in St Pete Beach, 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! They have a great ambiance and seafood at dinner is also highly recommended.
Where to grab a drink in St Pete Beach
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 family-friendly establishments we found in St Pete Beach.
Sandbox at Guy Harvey
Sandbox is probably my favorite spot for a night cap. Comfortable seating, fire pits, live music and $3 beer – all situated on the fricken beach. We could let the kids run free and play activities in the sand while we adults enjoyed listening to music by the fire with a cold one. 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 decided to share the Mai Tai Fish Bowl. Okay, quick funny story. My mom and I went to Sloppy Joe’s with the sole purpose of ordering this 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. So 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.
Pirates Pub n Grub
A fun little bar with cheap beer, overlooking John’s Pass.
Salty’s Tiki Bar
Definitely a favorite, Salty’s was where we hung out most of the time. Similar to the Sandbox, the kids could play in the sand while we listened to live music and enjoyed tropical libations. It is located at the Tradwinds Island Grand between the main pool and the adults-only pool.
Things to do in St Pete Beach with kids
The entertainment was endless in St Petersburgh Beach with plenty to keep families busy and happy. Here are some fun things to do in St Pete Beach with kids!
Kid’s activities at Tradewinds Island Grand Resort
On the Tradewinds resort there is a toddler pool, an adult only pool, a beach front pool, a shady pool, and lap pool. No matter the need, Tradewinds resort literally has the pool for you. The kids lived at the pool – day swimming, night swimming, swimming after the beach, etc.
The Beach & Waterslide
In addition to regular family beach vacation fun, there is a 3-story-high water-slide at Tradewinds Island Grand that my kids went on repeatedly. It must be the biggest water slide in St Pete Beach, and it has been a fixture there for all the years we’ve been going there.
There are also plenty of water sports available at Tradewinds resort such as the water playground in the sea, jet packing, parasailing, water cabanas, rafting and much more. Basically all the activities you need for the perfect family beach vacation.
As a guest of the Tradewinds 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.
Shark Tooth Tavern
Here, adults can have fun singing their hearts out during Karaoke night and kids can enjoy in the wild tales of Red Beard. There are even real shark teeth hidden in the sand outside for the kids to find. How fun is that? At night they have live music and allow the kids in there until closing. It was literally steps from our room one trip and it was such a convenient way to have fun and end the night together as a family on vacation.
As if all that wasn’t enough, there is also a kids club with daily crafts and pirate adventures. On our last trip the kids made slime and did group activities in the Konk club while we drank Coronas outside. That’s called win-win.
Activities at John’s Pass
John’s Pass has shops, dining and adventures. We chose to board the Pirate ship Royal Conquest for pirate adventure. Your kids get to enjoy a day being honorary pirates while parents get to relax enjoying the view with unlimited beer and wine. That’s another win-win if you’re keeping score!
The pirates entertain the children 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 beach vacation. See you next year St Pete!
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