Between the perfect location and the almost endless amount of sunshine you will find here, St. Petersburg is one of the absolute best destinations in all of Florida for a quick weekend getaway.
When you add in the pristine white-sand beaches and all of the amazing culinary options, there really is nothing like a trip to the St. Pete area.
Located right around 30 minutes from Tampa International Airport, it is easy to get to from just about anywhere in the country, and its location also makes it very accessible to a massive number of local residents looking for a quick escape each year.
If you find yourself getting the itch for a weekend adventure, let’s take a closer look at what 72 hours in St. Petersburg might look like.
Day One – Exploring the Best of St. Pete
We are going to spend our first afternoon exploring everything that Downtown St. Petersburg has to offer. This is a hip and trendy town with a true bohemian atmosphere, so you will find plenty of unique specialty shops and boutique stores. Start out somewhere around Sundial St. Pete and see where the afternoon takes you.
For dinner on our first night, we are heading to Brick & Mortar Kitchen & Wine Bar. This casually classy spot serves up a wide range of specialties that are all made from scratch with only the freshest ingredients. The Beef Carpaccio appetizer is extremely popular, but so is the B&M Burger if you are looking for something more comfortable.
If you find yourself looking for a nightcap after dinner, head over to 3 Daughters Brewing to check out the local craft beer scene. There is always a huge list of locally made craft beers, hard seltzers, and hard ciders available in their tasting room.
Day Two – Digging Deeper into St. Petersburg
On our second day, we are going to get a little more serious about exploring this amazing city. For some, that will mean signing up for one of the many kayak tours that take guests through beautiful areas like Shell Key Preserve. For those that prefer to stay on dry land, you might opt for a segway tour through downtown, which will give you a different twist on the exploring you did on your first day in town.
Regardless of which tour you opt for, Bodega is the place to head for lunch once you work up an appetite. This popular Latin American spot combines amazing sandwiches with a hip juice bar to create one of the best lunch destinations in town.
After lunch, we are going to explore the cultural side of St. Petersburg with your choice of a visit to The Dali Museum or the Chihuly Collection…or both if you happen to have the time. You might not realize it, but you know Salvador Dali as the Spanish artist who painted the iconic melting clocks. And if you have ever seen the gorgeous glass flowers on the ceiling of the lobby in the Bellagio in Las Vegas, then you also know something about Chihuly.
We are making reservations at Beau & Mo’s Italian Eating House for our second night in St. Petersburg. Described as a Chicago-style Italian steakhouse, the menu here features everything from Mussels and a 42oz Tomahawk Chop to Calamari and Veal Parmesan.
If you are up for some late-night fun after dinner, head over to The Mandarin Hide, where you will find a very impressive list of craft cocktails. You are welcome to order any classic cocktail that you like here, but it is also the perfect place to step outside your comfort zone, so don’t hesitate to try whatever creation they happen to have on special.
Day Three – Relaxing, St. Pete Style
Our third day in St. Petersburg is going to be completely focused on kicking back and relaxing. And there is no better place to do just that than St. Pete Beach. This gorgeous stretch of white sand was voted the #4 beach in the country by TripAdvisor in 2019!
In order to make the most out of our beach time, we are going to stay right in St. Pete beach and do lunch at Crabby Bill’s Seafood whenever the time feels right for a quick bite. This casual beachfront restaurant specializes in crab legs and other shellfish, and they can prepare them just about any way that you like.
It would be perfectly understandable if you wanted to keep the beach vibe going and spend the rest of the day relaxing on the beach, but if you are more interested in crossing one more must-see attraction off of your list, take a quick ride up to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and check out their resident dolphins and sea turtles.
Since we enjoyed fairly traditional meals on our first two evenings in St. Petersburg, we are going to step outside the box and head to La V for our third dinner of the trip. If you happen to be a fan of spring rolls and pho, this Vietnamese fusion restaurant will be your favorite stop of the whole trip. And if you don’t love spring rolls and pho yet, this experience will surely change your mind.
We don’t want to finish our last night in St. Pete without one final nightcap, so the last stop for the day will be Tryst Gastro Lounge. This is an excellent restaurant for dinner, but it turns into an even better lounge after dark, complete with an impressive selection of beers, wine, and cocktails.
Day Four – Closing Out St. Petersburg
It’s hard to visit a city as interesting as St. Petersburg without missing some amazing must-see attractions, but one location that you absolutely must see for yourself before leaving town is the Sunken Gardens. There are more than 50,000 tropical plants on display here, and a morning stroll through the gardens is a perfect way to start off the last day of our adventure.
We also don’t want to conclude our getaway without having an awesome brunch experience, and the place to do that in St. Pete is The Mill Restaurant. This southern comfort food restaurant is one of the highest-rated destinations in all of St. Pete, and their menu is filled with delicious options ranging from a Cast Iron Cinnamon Roll to a Pickled Peach BBQ Grilled Chicken Club.
If you would like to do any shopping before heading back home, this is a perfect time to check out John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk in Madeira Beach. This fun tourist destination is packed with fun shops to explore.
Where to Stay in St. Petersburg
The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club is one of the highest-rated and most luxurious hotels in the area, so that is always going to be at the top of the list for places to stay. However, this fabulous hotel isn’t exactly a discount destination.
If you are looking for something that is a little more budget-friendly, the Hollander Hotel is another popular option. This boutique hotel offers tons of character at a price that will allow you to return to St. Pete as often as you like.
The Watergarden Inn at the Bay is also a fun option, especially if you prefer the bed and breakfast experience to the more commercial hotel stay. This lovely home is located right on the beach and also has its own private pool.
Want to Stay Forever?
Just across the Bay from St. Petersburg in Tampa is Valencia Del Sol.
Offering a robust and extraordinary 55+ lifestyle, Valencia del Sol caters to residents looking to socialize and stay physically active. Active adults will enjoy the 25,000 square foot Clubhouse offering an array of resort-style amenities including a fitness center, grand social hall, a relaxing pool and spa, tennis and pickleball courts as well as a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. A full-time, on-site lifestyle director will be dedicated to organizing a wide variety of fun events, clubs and opportunities for making new friends all year-round. This amazing new community features a stunning selection of twin villas and single-family homes starting in the $200k’s that provide the ultimate in 55+ living at an incredible value.
With so much to see and do, so many amazing places to eat, and multiple options for lodging, St. Petersburg is definitely the type of place that you can return to multiple times every year without ever running out of new and interesting experiences.
The only question left to ask is when are you going to visit?