With its family-friendly beaches, outdoor spaces, and kid-friendly attractions, St. Petersburg, Florida, is a great family destination. Here are some of the best things to do in St Petersburg with kids.
Best Resorts in St. Petersburg for Kids
The Don Cesar, St. Petersburg’s famed “pink palace,” offers luxury plus a storied history (F. Scott Fitzgerald stayed here), and it’s also been featured in numerous movies. More important to your offspring, the kids club features a weekend Kids Night Out, in addition to the Kids Club—and the Gulf right outside doesn’t hurt either.
The upscale Tradewinds Island Grand Resort has pretty much everything your kid could want—in fact, you may never actually need to leave the resort. There’s a kids’ club, crafts, activities, and five heated pools. And did we mention the High Tide Inflatable Water Slide and the offshore water park? Face it, you’ll probably never want to leave either.
You had us at “campfire s’mores,” just one of the amenities at the Rumfish Beach Resort, part of the Tradewinds family. Don’t miss the 33,500-gallon aquarium in the resort’s restaurant, Rum Fish Grill (actually, it would be almost impossible to miss it) where you can swim with the fishes—not in the “Goodfellas” way. Kids can also hang out at the touch tank and the pools, or just swing on a hammock.
If you’re looking for beachy but not over the top, the Sirata Beach Resort might fit the bill. There’s the beachside location, plus lots of activities. Water balloon toss? Yup. Scavenger and seashell hunts? Of course. Crafts, trivia games and a playground? Absolutely. Adults: There’s a beach bar and weekly bonfires at the fire pit.
If you’re looking for a slightly less-frills, home-away-from-home in St. Pete’s, the Alden Suites, an all-suite hotel, features a separate living room and kitchenette (so you don’t have to go out for every meal), plus a great location on the beach. Parents: That means coffee is always within reach. Two heated pools, a cookout deck, and beach volleyball add to the appeal.
Best Restaurants in St. Petersburg for Kids
Trip’s Diner was named after the owners’ TRIPlets. How cute is that? This is the place to go for breakfast when you’re all hungry, but mom wants Eggs Benedict and the kids want giant pancakes. For lunch, there’s classic kid fare like chicken fingers and pasta—but also local specialties like grouper and shrimp and grits. And if you get a craving on the road, they have branches in St. Pete’s and Tampa now as well.
At Sonny’s BBQ, get some appetizers to share, but save room for the main attraction—no, not when your toddler knocks over the pitcher of sweet tea. Go for the family feast–pork, chicken, brisket, ribs, and sides. For picky eaters, there’s chicken, and mac and cheese. And save room for dessert—even after consuming several hundred pounds of meat, you’re still going to want banana pudding.
Skidders Restaurant is as close to a restaurant that will please everyone as you’re going to get. They offer early bird specials (4 p.m.-6 p.m.), Greek and Italian specialties, gluten-free options, and seafood, plus pizza (someone please try the British pizza with tuna and onions?), and a kids’ menu that includes spaghetti, fried shrimp, and grilled cheese. Kid-friendly points to the menu, which invites diners to “skip over to our dessert case.”
Made in a wood–fired oven with a 100-year old sourdough starter for the crust, the pizza at Pizza Box has varieties that range from the simple (tomato sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni) to the elaborate: The Loverboy includes ricotta and caramelized onions for your little foodies. Want something with a wow factor? Go for the dessert pizza with mascarpone and fruit.
At Mazzaro’s Italian Market, let your kids pick out exactly what they want, find a nice table outside somewhere, and start eating. More adventurous eaters can get a Popcorn Shrimp Po’boy or Italian Roasted Pork Sandwich, while those who like the tried and true can go for a burger or chicken parm. Note; it’s only open from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. during the week, and until 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. You can slo pre-order soup and sandwiches to go!
Best Kid Attractions in St. Petersburg
Your kids may not care that Sunken Gardens is one of the oldest roadside attractions in America (100 years and counting), but they’ll love the more than 50,000 tropical plants, waterfalls, butterflies, and flamingoes (note: visitors must not touch anything). If you were wondering, the name comes from the below-sea-level lake that was drained by the original owner to plant the garden.
Yes, you could probably play mini golf back home, but you’re here, and if the phrase “old school-vibe-verging-on-retro-but-possibly-not on-purpose” sets your heart aflutter, Polynesian Putter is the place to be. It’s inexpensive, has just the right number of holes for kids and it’s probably just challenging enough.
Did you know that the St. Petersburg Museum of History has the world’s largest collection of baseballs, some of which were owned by the likes of Jackie Robinson and Joe DiMaggio? Or that it also has an aviation exhibit, as well as a 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy? If the Met and the Baseball Hall of Fame met King Tut, they might design something like this.
One day you’ll want some time out of the sun, and that’s the day to head to the Great Explorations Children’s museum. It’s part museum and (a large part) play space. If you’re looking for low-tech, old-fashioned hands-on fun, younger kids can build, explore, and climb a tree house, or check out a fire station and pretend market (activities do change.)
Featuring art from the American West, The James Museum for Western and Wildlife Art opened just last year, and features themed galleries on topics including Native Artists, Frontier, and Wildlife. Every second Saturday is family day, with a tour and a make-and-take art project— and art workshops are often offered.
Parks in St. Petersburg
More than 4,000 acres make up the Weedon Island Preserve on Tampa Bay. The area was home to indigenous peoples for thousands of years. You can explore it on your own or with a guided tour, and you can also canoe.
Want to see alligators, birds, and turtles, all in one place? If you like your nature with a path, Sawgrass Lake Park has a mile-long boardwalk, a half-mile dirt trail, and an observation tower. This park is especially noteworthy in the spring and fall, when thousands of birds migrate.
When the new Sunshine Skyway Bridge was built, the old one was turned into Skyway Fishing Pier State Park, the world’s longest fishing pier. That’s right, the WORLD’S. You can purchase bait and snacks (don’t get them mixed up) and even go at night since the bridge is lit. Check the rules about fishing permits before you go.
Southwest of Saint Petersburg lies Fort de Soto Park, made up of five interconnected islands. Tour the fort, or enjoy the plants, birds, and, between April and September, loggerhead sea turtles. Tip: kayakers often see manatees. It’s also got play areas, fishing areas, biking trails, concession stands, and restrooms—it knew you were coming with kids!
When your kids need some run-around-and holler time, head to Vinoy Park. Part of an oasis of waterfront in downtown St. Pete’s, it offers lots of green spaces (for the running and the hollering), plus sports facilities and areas for picnicking. Lots of festivals take place here as well, so check the schedule.
Beaches in St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg has some of the best beaches in the country—that’s why you’re headed there, right? Here are some of the best beaches in St. Petersburg to check out:
Fort De Soto (see above) is great and also features a world-class beach spread out over five islands.
St. Pete Beach is consistently named as one of the best beaches in America, and with its long stretch of undeveloped beachfront, you’ll see why.
Pass-A Grille is lesser known. Its name supposedly comes from the French “Passage of the Grillers” for the fishermen who cooked their dinner there. Pass-A-Grille is located at the south end of St. Pete’s Beach on a barrier island.
Don’t forget to check out Honeymoon Island State Park, which also has a great dog beach, plus mangroves and tidal flats. Also nearby is Clearwater Beach. With its white sand and blue-green water, this beach is consistently named one of the best beaches in the country.
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