A kayaking trip, a world-class museum and a kitschy beach hotel make for an ideal Florida Gulf Coast vacation.
Nature parks and art experiences coupled with award-winning, white-sand shores and warm, gentle waters in St. Pete/Clearwater on Florida’s Gulf of Mexico coast. There’s much more to do here than lounging on the beach – although no one will judge you for unwinding in paradise. Here’s one itinerary – featuring Fort De Soto Park, the Dali Museum and Postcard Inn – that will give you a beach vacation and so much more.
Out on the Water
Head to Fort De Soto Park at the southern tip of the region for a unique way to get close to nature. The five scenic islands that make up the park are a hub for marine life. Rent a kayak and paddle out on a water-bound adventure. You might see manatees grazing the shallow waters, dolphins playing in the waves and sea turtles coasting through the currents.
Fort De Soto Park is also a gathering place for feathered friends. More than 300 species of birds flock to the islands throughout the year. Grab a pair of binoculars and be on the lookout for herons and white ibis.
Landlubbers will be happy to find several natural beaches, as well as a paved trail perfect for biking, running and relaxing walks. Additional nature trails are accessible by foot and bring you close to the islands’ flora and fauna.
Kayaking excursion at Fort De Soto Park
Just about 20 minutes away, downtown St. Pete is home to the largest collection of artwork by Salvador Dali outside Europe. The aptly named Dali Museum features art from all aspects of Dali’s career including sculptures, prints, original drawings and paintings. Enjoy a free docent tour and scope out the special exhibits featuring both famous and up-and-coming artists.
Located on the city’s waterfront, the museum building itself is also a work of art, featuring an enchanting glass dome and helical staircase. If you get peckish, pop into Café Gala. Named after Salvador Dali’s wife, the café serves up authentic Spanish cuisine. After your tour, be sure to stroll the museum’s Avant-garden, which includes a wish tree, a hidden labyrinth and a larger-than-life sculpture of a Dali-inspired mustache, perfect for a photo op.
The eye-catching architecture of the Dali Museum in downtown St. Pete
Soaking in Beachy Vibes
From downtown, it’s only another 20 minutes back out to St. Pete Beach and your next stop, Postcard Inn on the Beach. This is an unpretentious spot to grab a cocktail and watch the sunset, or even to make your beachfront home base. The relaxed inn sports a retro surfer feel that welcomes bathing suits and bare feet, whether you’re lounging by the pool or in a cabana on the beach.
Ready for a bite? The hotel’s kitchen emphasizes Floribbean-style cuisine, which mixes Florida ingredients with traditions from the islands of the Caribbean. Try a barbecue sandwich, ahi tuna corndogs or bacon-wrapped jalapeno shrimp. And, of course, there’s the big list of classic and tropical cocktails. Cool down with a refreshing mint mojito or try something new like the strawberry basil smash.
A healthy appetizer and frozen cocktail overlooking the beach at Postcard Inn on the Beach
The St. Pete/Clearwater area is served by two international airports, St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) and Tampa International Airport (TPA). These gateways to paradise feature services from more than 30 airlines, competitive rates and efficient facilities packed with amenities.