Information & Facts
Whether staying at St Pete Beach or one of the other resort
areas along the Pinellas County coast, holidaymakers are only
minutes from one of America's top crop of beaches. St Pete's own
stretch of sand is occupied by hotels, condominiums and private
homes and can thus become overloaded particularly in the height of
the holiday season. An alternative is to enjoy your fun in the sun
at one of the area's beach parks, like Sand Key near Clearwater
Beach with its gentle surf, Caladesi Island or Fort de Soto.
Swimming is excellent at Clearwater Public Beach (or Pier 60).
Throughout the area marinas and rental booths offer equipment for
every conceivable water sport, and all the beaches have children's
playgrounds, picnic areas, fishing piers and the like. Various
excursions to Florida's main theme park attractions are freely
available, as are boat trips and cruises. Eco-tourists can enjoy
hiking, biking, birding or even jogging along the Pinellas County
Recreational Trail, which stretches 47 miles (76km) from St
Petersburg to Tarpon Springs. There are golf courses aplenty in the
area, and most hotels and resort complexes provide for other sports
English is the most common language but Spanish is often
spoken in south-western states.
The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into
100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are
widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely
accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid
hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.
A motorised trolley service operates along the length of Gulf
Boulevard, but for ease of access to beaches, natural attractions
and the nearby city centres it is necessary to have a car. During
the height of the season St Pete and its surroundings are very
crowded, lively and noisy, and is not a destination for those
seeking peace and quiet.
Holidaymakers will be pleased to note that nights tend to remain
young in the St Pete Beach area, with beachfront bars rocking and
pumping out music until the wee hours. The most popular place to
seek out a party after sunset is in the restored fishing village of
John's Pass at Madeira Beach, where the bar-restaurants feature
live music. The choice does not stop, or start, here however. At
every bend in the road on Gulf Boulevard, which runs along the
coastline for miles, there is an enticing night spot with its doors
open. At St Pete itself the most popular spot is Hurricane on
Pass-a-Grille public beach, or for a good laugh the Coconuts Comedy
Club at the Howard Johnson motel is a side-splitter.
You name it, you can eat it somewhere on the Pinellas Peninsula
resort area, and the packed enclave of St Pete Beach has more than
its fair share of the total 2,300 restaurants in the St Petersburg
vicinity, catering to the tastes of all holidaymakers and visitors.
From surfside snacks to gourmet dining in elegant resort
restaurants there is a splendid selection. One of the St Pete Beach
local landmark eateries renowned for its seafood is the beach pub
called Hurricane, opposite Pass-a-Grille beach, a lace-trimmed
Victorian building with a rooftop bar. A favourite with families in
the St Pete's hotel district is Skidders, on Gulf Boulevard,
serving inexpensive but delicious pan pizzas and other Italian
style dishes, as well as burgers and salads.
Holidaymakers will find that the original business district of
St Pete Beach, known as Corey Landings, has been largely overtaken
by shopping villages and centres distributed along the length of
the beachfront developments. Most resort complexes have their own
shops catering to tourist's needs. Madeira Beach features the
John's Pass Village, a boardwalk lined with souvenir shops, which
makes for pleasant browsing. A unique gallery-cum-workshop popular
with visitors is Evander Preston Contemporary Jewelry which turns
out hand-made custom-designed pieces in Pass-a-Grille. Those who
are seeking a serious shopping experience can take a trip into St
Petersburg to explore the several large malls and outlet malls. St
Petersburg is also renowned for its antiques and art, featuring
Florida's largest antique mall at the Gas Plant Antique Arcade,
where 150 dealers offer four floors of fine antiques from all
periods. Another must for browsers is the Fourth Street Antique
Alley Mall in St Petersburg.