St Pete Beach, Gulf Coast
The nearest major beach from Watersong at just over an hour and a half drive away, St Pete Beach was voted the number 1 beach in the US and number 5 in the world in 2012 by Trip Adviser based on millions of reviews by travellers from across the world.
This is the beach that we have visited the most from the villa and have done it as both a day trip and also having an overnight stay. It is easy to get up relatively early and be setting off from Florida Delight by about 8 am and you can be in St Pete in time for breakfast as we have done a few times now.
St Pete is a beautiful peninsula just off Florida's west coast, made up of 8 major barrier islands.
The beach is a wide crescent shaped expanse of soft white sand, perfect for walking on and taking in the spectacular sunsets. St Pete was even voted in the top 5 beaches for most beautiful sunsets, which can be enjoyed all year round. A wide range of water sports are available including windsurfing, parasailing and kiteboarding. Dolphins are often seen frolicking in the waves. Being on the Gulf Coast (West Coast) St Pete has fantastic sunsets.
As well as the beach St Pete's has many other attractions to offer with some great restaurants, cafes, shops and galleries. The art museum holds the largest collection of Salvador Dali paintings outside Spain.
We went over to St Pete's for a two night stay when we were in Florida in May. Our first visit there and we loved it. Once we had checked in at our hotel we strolled 10 minutes down the road for lunch at the well-known and recommended Crabby Bills. It was a lovely hot day and we eat on the upstairs terrace with amazing views straight across the beach. The location is excellent, but not so keen on the food which tends to be mostly fried.
The beach itself was wonderful and as good if not better than any we have been on anywhere including places such as Thailand and Goa. The sea was so warm that it was like a bath and the waves were pleasant but don't knock you off your feet like some we have experienced. We hired a cabana which was $25 for the day.
On our first evening we strolled down to the beach again to watch the sunset then followed the twinkling lights of Bongos Beach Bar and Grille. This was the perfect place to sit and enjoy the balmy evening, sipping a glass of wine eating good food at a table where our feet were actually in the sand of the beach and generally loving the ambience created by the live music, fire pits and lanterns.
On our second day we drove 10 minutes down the road to Pass-a-Grille. What a fantastic place that is! Wonderful white sandy beaches, which were practically empty and a lovely place to have a walk around. The water inlet is breath-taking lined with luxury homes and amazing yachts. We watched a group of manta rays swimming under the bridge as well as loads of big fish. The pelicans were a great sight too.
We spent two days in St Pete's in November, 2015 with 5 friends. We took them to Pass-a-Grille and we had lunch at Sea Critters Cafe. We all enjoyed our meals and thought it was one of the best of our holiday. The location is lovely overlooking the water and fantastic outside on their jetty looking at all of the fish and various birds such as pelicans.
Although we had booked to stay 2 nights at St Pete's we decided to have dinner in the evening at Pass -a-Grille then head home to Florida Delight as it is only an hour and 30 minutes away and we had to be back in Davenport early the next day (as we had workmen coming to our villa to install solar panels for heating our pool). This also showed us that it would be easy to have a full day there and drive back rather than having to pay for a hotel if we don't want to next time.
Being so close to Davenport, St Pete's is a great destination for a day out to the beach and a trip we will hope to do many times.