Home to crystal clear waters, pristine white sands and plenty of family fun, St. Pete Beach is one of the finest beaches in Florida. In fact, it’s ranked #1 on Trip Advisor’s 2020 list of the Top 25 Beaches in the United States. But there’s so much more to this barrier island that sets it apart from Florida’s wealth of award-winning beaches. Here are 8 fun facts about St. Pete Beach that will inspire you to visit this blissful Floridian favorite.
The silky white powder that lines the beach was once mountains of impenetrable quartz hundreds of miles from Florida’s shores. It took Mother Earth more than two million years to produce the velvety smooth sand you’ll find here today. Much of the sand on Florida beaches is produced by the weathering of continental land masses like the Appalachian Mountains and washed down America’s rivers into the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.
Once a playground for America’s social elite, the iconic Don CeSar Beach Resort was built in 1926 by Thomas Rowe to resemble a Mediterranean-style castle. When it opened two years later, a room on the European plan went for $24 per night. The “Pink Palace” can be seen for miles to the east and west and has its place on nautical charts as a permanent marker for boaters. Today, the color is protected by law as a mariner’s guide.
The 47-mile Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail is one of Florida’s most popular and unique urban pathways. Grab some skates or rent a bike and venture down the trail which connects St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs along an old railroad route. Along the way, you’ll pass several county parks, coastal areas and communities. It also provides access points to nearly every town in the area.
The St. Pete Road Runners, the premier running club in the St. Pete/Tampa area, invites runners and walkers every month to join their evening St. Pete Beach 5k Race. The Alden’s Director of Community Relations, Mary Ann Renfrow, is one of the founding members of this group! The largest beach race in the area is run entirely on the beach, in the sand, and is a great way to stay fit on vacation. Pack your sneakers and retain your summer beach bod while you’re away from the gym.
The sunset at Pass-A-Grille features a rare sight as the last sliver of light dips below the waterline: The Green Flash. This phenomenon—named for the sudden and briefly changing color—only lasts about a second or two but, if you have a chance to witness it, your love for St. Pete Beach sunsets will grow even stronger. Pack a few beers and head down to the southern end of the beach to catch this natural wonder.
Grouper is a dinner table staple in St. Pete Beach. Head down to Sea Critters Cafe—where it’s always island time—to sample their grouper sandwich, voted Best in the South by Southern Living Magazine. You can have it made to order and served in six different ways. They also serve grouper tacos, fritters and salads, all freshly prepared to order and worth every bit of the wait.
Right next door is St. Petersburg where you’ll find some incredibly unique boutiques, eateries and hordes of vintage goodies tucked away on Central Avenue. Come here for a fresh and funky Florida vibe where old St. Pete mixes with new for an artsy and authentic local experience. “God’s waiting room” as it was once known is more like a heavenly rave these days with downtown bursting on weekend nights with music and street life.
We’re called The Sunshine City for a reason. The average amount of days of sunshine per year here is 361 but we do hold the Guinness World Record for logging the most consecutive days of sunshine: 768 days which began in 1967. The year-round gorgeous weather makes St. Pete the perfect destination for your getaway no matter the time of year. We can’t wait to welcome you!