When most people think of Florida, they imagine white, sandy beaches and lots of sunshine. As someone who was born and raised in the beautiful Sunshine State, I know firsthand that people who don't live here assume that Floridians go to the beach all the time. And I'm sure that there are plenty of people who do. While I'm not one of them, I can certainly appreciate a relaxing day at the beach.
This past weekend, I got to spend the weekend on St. Pete Beach, which is located on Florida's Gulf Coast. My closest friend from my semester in Dublin flew in from Alabama to watch her dad run the St. Pete Beach Classic Half Marathon, so I made the trip to see her, and my own parents joined us for the weekend so my dad could run the race as well (and so they could finally meet the girl that I traveled across Europe with!)
While the rest of the country continued to brave the cold and snow, we soaked up some sun on one of Florida's most beautiful beaches. With the afternoon temperature averaging in the mid-70s, even in January, St. Pete Beach is the perfect location for a mid-winter getaway. We stayed at Sirata Beach Resort and Conference Center, which was just steps from the beach and had gorgeous rooms and views of both the Gulf of Mexico and rest of the island.
Without further ado, here are some fun activities and restaurants to enjoy during your stay:
I have lived in Florida for my entire life, yet I have never been parasailing. If you don't know what that means, it's when you're strapped to a parachute that is attached to the back of a boat, and as the boat cruises around, you're essentially hanging hundreds of feet up in the air. If you're good with heights, or if you want to take a step outside of your comfort zone, parasailing is quite the thrill and the views are incredible.
Jet skiing and other activities
Most of the companies that offer parasailing also rent out jet skis. Take one out for a few hours and cruise around to see the views from the water.
Miniature golf is fun for all ages! When you need a break from the sand, Polynesian Putter miniature golf is located within walking distance from many of the hotels on St. Pete Beach.
Watch the sunset
My personal favorite activity (as you'll see from the collection of photos below) is watching the sunset. No sunset is alike, and there's nothing like sitting by the water and watching the sky light up as the sun inches toward the horizon.
Sometimes all you need is some rest and relaxation on the beach, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Restaurants and Bars
Harry's Beach Bar is one of three restaurant options located at the Sirata. They have a small menu that includes both food and frozen fruity drinks that you can enjoy right by the pool.
Rum Runners Bar & Grille is also at the Sirata and has some delicious seafood options like coconut shrimp and conch fritters. This one can also be found right between the beach and the pool.
Hurricane Seafood Restaurant is located on the south end of the beach and is known for its grouper, which comes in the form of sandwiches, nuggets and tacos. My dad frequented Hurricane when he was in college (let's just say that was several years ago), so this one has been a local favorite for a long time.
Jimmy B's Beach Bar is a short walk up the beach from the Sirata and has live music and a fun atmosphere. A few brides and wedding parties even showed up post-reception to continue their celebrations!
Billy's Stone Crab Seafood is located off of the beach on the way out to Fort DeSoto County Park, but it's worth the drive for tons of seafood options, live music and even some karaoke!
Florida's expansive coastline has plenty of beaches to choose from, but if you have yet to visit one, why not make St. Pete Beach your first? Scroll down for more pictures from my weekend on the beach!
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