Skydiving – 18 Best Things to Do in St. Petersburg, Florida

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Nestled on the Gulf of Mexico, St. Petersburg, Florida, is more than just a sun-soaked haven; it’s a great travel destination that invites you to explore pristine beaches, history, entertainment, and art all in one spot. This vibrant city boasts an array of attractions, from the world-renowned Dali Museum, housing the surreal masterpieces of Salvador Dali, to the cheering baseball fans at Tropicana Field and the lively atmosphere of the downtown waterfront. Whether you’re a culture enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply in search of the perfect beachfront escape, we want to make sure you enjoy all the best things to do in St. Petersburg. So keep scrolling to plan your perfect vacation to the Sunshine State. 

Salvador Dali museum in St Petersburg, Florida
Junior Braz /

Immerse Yourself in the Surreal at The Dali

One must-see in St. Petersburg for those on vacation is the Dali Museum! Visitors can anticipate an immersive experience into the surreal and captivating world of one of the 20th century’s most iconic artists, Salvador Dali. The museum showcases an extensive collection of Dali’s masterpieces, taking tourists on a journey through Dali’s artistic evolution. Visitors can expect to encounter an impressive array of paintings, sculptures, and drawings, including captivating works like Retrato de Pablo Picasso en el siglo XXI and Leda atómica. The architectural marvel of the building itself creates an inspiring backdrop for the artwork. Of particular interest are the geodesic glass bubble known as the “Enigma,” and the helical staircase, which pays homage to the surrealist maestro’s obsession with spirals. 

One of the coolest things about this museum is its interactive app. Not only can visitors find information on Dali and his masterpieces, but they’ll also have access to an audio guide and an AR experience that allows visitors to scan paintings and watch them come alive on their phones! Tourists can expect to spend about 2 to 3 hours inside and should purchase tickets in advance to avoid lines. 

Enjoy a Stroll at Sunken Gardens

This century-old botanical oasis will transport you and your group into a vibrant world of tropical flora and fauna. This St. Petersburg attraction is one of the oldest roadside stops in America and a tranquil escape for those looking to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. Established by George Turner Sr., the Sunken Gardens originated as a hobby garden that Turner created by draining Curlew Pond. Turner then transformed the drained pond into an enchanting botanical oasis, now celebrated for its century-old legacy and diverse collection of over 50,000 tropical plants. You can wander through winding pathways enveloped by an array of colors, courtesy of exotic plants, vibrant flowers, and towering palms. The gardens showcase a remarkable collection of plants dating back to the gardens’ inception as well as various types of birds and turtles, creating a living tapestry of biodiversity. Highlights of the gardens include the butterfly garden, the cascading waterfalls, and the Japanese-inspired garden.

St. Pete beach in Florida, USA
mariakray /

Explore Fort De Soto Park

Fort De Soto Park encompasses 1,136 acres and comprises five interconnected islands, offering visitors a compelling blend of pristine beaches, recreational opportunities, diverse ecosystems, and military heritage. While Fort De Soto Park’s crown jewel is its award-winning beaches, the park’s meticulously preserved historic fort and museum is also just as much a draw. The coastal fort dates back to the Spanish-American War and visitors can engage with informative exhibits, stroll through the historic quarters, and enjoy panoramic views from the gun batteries. After exploring the fort, tourists can join in on some water-based activities, like kayaking through mangrove tunnels or fishing along the pier. Other attractions at the park include hiking trails, biking trails, a campground, and a dog beach and park. Whether seeking solace in nature, historical enrichment, or simply a day under the Florida sun, Fort De Soto Park is one tourist attraction in St. Petersburg that is not to be missed. 

St Pete Beach in Florida, USA
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Soak Up the Sun at St. Pete Beach

Renowned for its powdery white sands and crystalline waters, St. Pete Beach boasts a perfect blend of relaxation and fun things to do. You can expect a plethora of activities along the expansive shoreline, from beach volleyball and beach bar games to leisurely strolls along the iconic white sands. For those seeking aquatic adventures, boat rentals offer an excellent opportunity to explore the azure waters and even visit Shell Key, an unspoiled barrier island only accessible by boat. Here, you can let the little ones run free, collect shells, bird watch, snorkel, and appreciate the untouched natural beauty of the island. During Spring Break, St. Pete Beach comes alive with a vibrant energy as visitors revel in the sun-drenched atmosphere and enjoy specialized events in the area. There are plenty of other activities to explore at the beach as well, from high-energy excursions like fishing charters and parasailing to relaxing activities like strolling through the lush vegetation of the Secret Garden and enjoying a pint and live entertainment at Jimmy B’s Beach Bar. A day at St. Pete Beach can really be whatever you want it to be! 

St Petersburg Pier crowded with tourists
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Discover St. Pete Pier

The St. Pete Pier is a stand-out attraction and easily one of the best free things to do in St. Petersburg. This architectural marvel and entertainment hub, spanning 26 acres along the waterfront, offers a panoramic vista of Tampa Bay and the Tampa skyline, along with plenty of activities for both families and adult travelers. The observation deck in the iconic pierhead building provides breathtaking views of the bay and offers tourists the chance to spot dolphins and other marine life. St. Pete Pier boasts an array of activities catering to a range of diverse interests, including interactive art installations, kayak rentals, a splash pad, a children’s playground, a sandy beach (Spa Beach), waterfront dining options, fishing charters, catamaran tours, and boutiques featuring local artisans. Tourists can even check out the St. Petersburg Museum of History to learn more about local history or indulge in culinary delights at the upscale Teak restaurant at the end of the pier. To enhance accessibility, a free tram service is available to transport guests from around downtown St. Petersburg to the pier. 

Tropicana Field in St Petersburg Florida US
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Catch a Rays Game at Tropicana Field

Calling all sports fans! If you’re wondering what to do in St. Petersburg between the months of March and November, then why not head over to Tropicana Field to watch a professional baseball game? Tropicana Field is the home of the MLB team the Tampa Bay Rays, but it also serves as a home away from home for the Toronto Blue Jays during their spring training season. Fans can get to the game early and grab a drink or a bite to eat at one of the nearby bars or head into Ballpark & Rec, where there are plenty of tailgating games and video games to partake in. If you’re concerned with watching a baseball game in Florida during the summer months, don’t sweat it (literally). The stadium has excellent air conditioning, and if that doesn’t work, a cold brewski will always help! 

Visit the Chihuly Collection

The Chihuly Collection in St. Petersburg stands as a testament to the extraordinary artistry of renowned glass sculptor Dale Chihuly. Housed within the Morean Arts Center, this collection showcases Chihuly’s extraordinary glass installations, featuring a harmonious fusion of form, color, and light. Tourists visiting this cultural gem can anticipate being captivated by the intricate details, scale, and innovative designs that define Chihuly’s signature style. The collection spans several galleries, each unveiling a diverse array of glass sculptures, from dazzling chandeliers to intricate organic forms. A ticket to the Chihuly Collection also includes a glass-blowing demonstration at the museum’s Morean Glass Studio, offering further insight into the creative process behind these mesmerizing works of art and adding an educational dimension to the visitor experience.

The Museum of Fine Arts St Petersburg Florida USA
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Check Out the Artworks at the Museum of Fine Arts 

The Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) offers a rich tapestry of artistic expression spanning over 4,000 years for art lovers and enthusiasts alike to indulge in. Housing an extensive collection of over 20,000 objects, the museum features masterpieces from various periods and locations, including European, American, and Asian art, along with plenty of works by popular artists such as Monet, O’Keeffe, and Morisot. Visitors can opt to explore the museum on a self-guided tour or sign up for a docent-led tour, which is only available on Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Everglades National Park, Florida, USA
Pierre Jean Durieu /

Take a Scenic Tram Tour at Boyd Hill Nature Reserve

This pristine sanctuary spanning 245 acres is a fantastic St. Pete attraction that offers a refuge for visitors seeking to experience Florida’s diverse ecosystems and escape the city’s hustle and bustle. Tourists can walk or bike the winding trails through pine flatwoods and freshwater marshes while they try to spot indigenous wildlife like alligators, bald eagles, gopher tortoises, hawks, and more! In addition to hiking trails and wildlife spotting, visitors can embark on a scenic tram ride, immersing themselves in the reserve’s natural beauty while gaining insights into the native ecosystems from knowledgeable guides. Another excellent attraction in the park is the Pinellas Pioneer Settlement living history museum, where preserved cabins, a barn, a blacksmith workshop, and other structures offer an authentic glimpse into the pioneer life of early settlers in the Pinellas County area. Other attractions and activities in the park include informative exhibits at the Lake Maggiore Environmental Education Center, camping, and sculptures by Paul Eppling. 

Dolphin Breaches While Surfing Wake alongside boat
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Sign Up For a Dolphin Watching Cruise

If you’re on the hunt for family-friendly activities in St. Petersburg, then consider signing the family up for a dolphin-watching excursion! We highly recommend booking this one-and-a-half-hour dolphin cruise from GetYourGuide. Not only will you get to cruise around inlets and pass notable landmarks like Madeira Beach and Boca Ciega Bay, but you’ll also have a live tour guide that will share information on the marine ecosystems and wildlife. The covered boat leaves from John’s Pass and takes you into the Gulf of Mexico where many species of dolphins call home, so the chances of encountering these playful marine creatures up close in their natural habitat are very high!

Learn About Local Holocaust Survivors at the Florida Holocaust Museum

Dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust, the Florida Holocaust Museum is an eye-opening and impactful place to visit and learn about the atrocious events of World War II. Visitors will encounter powerful exhibits, personal testimonies, and artifacts that illuminate the stories of those who endured one of humanity’s darkest chapters. The museum’s thought-provoking displays cover various aspects of Holocaust history, from the rise of the Nazi regime to the resilience of survivors. Highlights of the museum include a box car that was used to transport prisoners and first-hand video testimonies from survivors. With a commitment to fostering awareness and tolerance, a visit to the Florida Holocaust Museum offers a sobering yet essential experience that encourages a collective responsibility mindset to prevent such atrocities in the future.

John's Pass Centre in Madeira Beach near St Petersburg Florida USA.
© Quasarphotos | Depositphotos

Shop at John’s Pass

John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk is a bustling waterfront destination offering tourists a charming blend of shopping, bars, dining, and outdoor activities. This picturesque village boasts a historic fishing village atmosphere, complete with vibrant boardwalks and a marina with jet ski and boat rentals to take out in the intercoastal or on the Gulf. Visitors can expect a diverse range of boutiques, galleries, and restaurants, making it an ideal spot for leisurely strolls, souvenir shopping, and culinary explorations. Fishing charters depart daily from Hubbard’s Marina, offering anglers the opportunity to join a half-day, full-day, or private fishing charter. After hours of fishing on the open water, tourists can return with their catch (which Hubbards will clean) and then head next door to the Friendly Fisherman where the chef will cook your own fresh catch of the day either blackened or fried. Other fantastic activities and attractions at John’s Pass include Mad Beach Craft Brewing Company, Gator’s Parasail, and the Pirate Ship Royal Conquest‘s adventure cruise. 

Topgolf in Tampa, Florida
© Michael Baxter, Baxter Imaging LLC

Practice Your Swing at Topgolf St. Pete

If you’re an avid golfer and haven’t heard of Topgolf, then we are about to blow your mind. Top Golf is a complex that features a three-level driving range equipped with microchipped golf balls, allowing players to engage in various skill-based games and challenges. Each visiting group will get their own golf bay complete with men’s and women’s clubs, golf balls, a dining table, a tee box, and TVs to rewatch you and your friend’s shots. You can also opt to bring your own clubs, of course. The bays are also serviced by waiters so that you can order drinks and food without the need to interrupt your game time. This is a fun thing to do in St. Petersburg regardless if you’re new to the sport or an experienced golfer as the venue’s innovative approach and high-tech amenities cater to players of all skill levels. 

© | Depositphotos

Sip Your Way Along the Gulp Coast Craft Beer Trail

The Gulp Coast Craft Beer Trail is a craft beer enthusiast’s dream, encompassing a diverse range of more than 35 breweries in the St. Pete and Clearwater area. Visitors can obtain a free “passport” from the Gulp Coast Craft Beer Trail website or any of the participating breweries, enabling them to collect stamps at each location they visit, cash in on exclusive savings, and get rewarded for drinking beer (the dream)! The Gulp Coast Craft Beer Trail offers several different routes that group nearby breweries or group themed breweries (ie, child-friendly, dog-friendly) into one easy-to-read-when-buzzed itinerary.

Let Your Imagination Wander at the Imagine Museum

If you’re looking for an activity on a rainy Florida day, then consider visiting the Imagine Museum. This fantastic contemporary art museum is home to a remarkable collection of glass pieces, showcasing the dazzling and awe-inspiring works of renowned artists from around the world. The exhibits encompass a diverse range of styles, techniques, and themes, from abstract sculptures to intricately crafted vessels and vibrant abstract pieces. Interactive displays and self-guided audio tours enhance the visitor experience, offering insights into the intricate process of glassmaking and information on exhibits and artists. To purchase an entry ticket to the Imagine Museum with free 24-hour cancellation, click here. 

Mermaid Hotel at the Fairgrounds St. Pete in St Petersburg, Florida
© Fairgrounds St. Pete

Become Part of the Art at Fairgrounds St. Pete

Those who aren’t interested in traditional museums may be swayed by this next attraction. The Fairgrounds St. Pete is an immersive art experience and museum that focuses on sensory experiences and participatory art, meaning you become part of the art! This immersive art and technology museum features an array of exhibits, including large-scale art installations, virtual reality experiences, and interactive displays created by local and international artists. There are plenty of Instagram-worthy photo opportunities, as well as an optional scavenger hunt and hands-on activities. This is a fantastic museum for both the young and the young at heart! 

Peruse the Saturday Morning Market

Held in the heart of downtown, the Saturday Morning Market is a weekly event that is not to be missed by those sightseeing in St. Petersburg. Visitors will find a range of vendors offering everything from ready-to-serve meals from around the world to artisan works and fresh produce. The market is also a hot spot for entertainment, with magicians, live musicians, and balloon artists often spotted. Families with children will find designated kid-friendly areas, often featuring interactive activities, entertainers, and crafts to keep young ones engaged and entertained. The Saturday Morning Market is held along the St. Pete waterfront in the parking lot of the Al Lang Stadium and runs every Saturday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. 

Weedon Island Preserve in St Petersburg, Florida, USA
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Go Hiking in Weedon Island Preserve

Nestled along the Tampa Bay, this over 3,000-acre preserve boasts diverse habitats, including mangrove forests, saltwater marshes, and upland ecosystems, making it a haven for wildlife and nature enthusiasts. Visitors can head out on a hike on one of the scenic trails and meander through the lush landscapes while encountering indigenous flora and fauna, various bird species, and perhaps even the occasional manatee. The Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center offers an educational experience, providing insights into the area’s rich history and ecological significance, while the observation tower next door offers unmatched views of Tampa Bay. Kayaking and canoeing are popular activities as there are several mangrove tunnels and trails within the preserve that make for an unforgettable paddling experience. Canoes and kayaks are available to rent on-site, or tourists can opt to sign up for a guided kayak tour. Guided hiking tours are also offered, with several themed guided hikes like insect walks, nature photography, and historical treks. 

There you have it, the best places to visit in St. Petersburg, Florida. Whether you’re looking to soak up the Florida sun at the beach or soak up all the knowledge that the city’s museums offer, we’ve got you covered! Furthermore, if you haven’t booked accommodation for your trip yet, then check out our picks for the best hotels in St. Petersburg!

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