The city of St. Petersburg has a lot to offer, from spectacular wineries and amazing nightlife to thrilling water sports and miles of unspoiled beaches. Whether you are in town visiting friends and family, on vacation or scouting out the area as your future home, you will find plenty of wonderful things to see and do.

Some visitors to St. Petersburg will be content to stay within the confines of the city. Others will travel to the beautiful beaches that give this region such a unique charm. Still, others will venture further afield, seeking out excitement and adventure in the surrounding area and checking out its many fast-growing suburbs.

No matter which category you fall into, you will want to focus your time, your energy and your money where it will do the most good. With that in mind, we are proud to present our list of St. Petersburg at its best. Finding the best in such a spectacular area is no easy task, and we have looked far and wide to find those hidden gems that the average tourist might miss. So without further ado, here is our list of the best things to see and do in St. Petersburg and the surrounding area.

Where to Stay

If you want to enjoy the best of St. Petersburg, Clearwater and the entire surrounding area, you need a location that is central and easy to navigate. Choosing your accommodations wisely means you can spend more time at your chosen destinations and less time on the road.

The Indian Rocks Beach area is the perfect place to stay when you visit St. Petersburg and Clearwater. Indian Rocks Beach is one of the most spectacular parts of the area, and a great place to relax, unwind and map out your plans for the coming day. Centrally located, Harbourside at Marker 33, with St. Pete 10 miles south and Clearwater 7 miles to the north, Indian Rocks Beach clearly has a lot to offer.

Once you have your accommodations in place, you will not want to stay still for very long. That is because both St. Petersburg and Clearwater have plenty of great things to offer, including the highlights outlined below.

Arts and Entertainment

St. Pete and Clearwater are cultural havens, with wonderful museums, spectacular art galleries and amazing theater and nightlife. Whether you are a modern art fan, a dance aficionado or a collector, you will find lots of ways to soothe your inner artist as you explore the region.

The Dali Museum

There is more to Salvador Dali than melting watches and killer mustaches. This cultural and artistic icon gets his own museum, and it is a wonderful place to start your cultural exploration.

You do not have to be a modern art fan to enjoy your trip to the Dali Museum. Just bring an open mind and get ready to explore this amazing artwork. As you would expect, the Dali Museum has one of the most extensive collections of the artist's work in the entire world, along with biographical information and anecdotes about Dali's life and artistic pursuits.

Duncan McClelland Gallery

The St. Pete Clearwater area is home to some spectacular art galleries, and none is as well respected as the Duncan McClelland Gallery. Whether you are a serious collector or just curious about this unique world, you will find something to love here.

From up-and-coming artists who will be the collector darlings of tomorrow to established artists with names you already know, you will find everything you are looking for under one room. Plan to spend at least a couple hours exploring the fine artwork, chatting with the artists and just having a great time.

Chihuly Collection

The Chihuly Collection is one of the hidden gems of the St. Petersburg area, and it is easy to get to and a great deal of fun. Now located in the heart of the arts district on Central Avenue, the Chihuly Collection is dedicated to the amazing artwork of Dale Chihuly.

The art and architecture work together in this unique space, so take the time to check out the building as well as the artworks. Space was created specifically to house the Chihuly collection, and the building itself is a cultural and artistic marvel.

Museum of Fine Arts

St. Petersburg is home to some of the best art in the country, and you can find some amazing examples of it at the aptly named Museum of Fine Arts. Located in the heart of St. Pete, the Museum of Fine Arts is the perfect jumping off point for a day of artistic exploration. Whether you come for one of the special events and exhibitions are just the permanent collection, your inner artist will be very pleased.

Florida Holocaust Museum

It may not be a fun place to visit, but the Florida Holocaust Museum is undoubtedly an important destination. The Florida Holocaust Museum is a favorite spot for school field trips, and you may encounter a class group or two as you explore the grounds.

Dedicated to the innocent men, women, and children who perished in one of history's greatest tragedies, the Florida Holocaust Museum is an educational and strangely enriching outing for the whole family. Be sure to leave time for quiet reflection when you visit, and talk to the knowledgeable volunteers and guides to get the most out of your trip.

Morean Art Center

If you love contemporary art and want to know more about it, the Morean Art Center should be your number one destination. Located in the heart of cultural life in St. Petersburg Clearwater, the Morean Art Center offers something for everyone.

For the curious and artistically included, there are amazing art classes. For lovers of modern and traditional artwork, there are wonderful exhibits showcasing the best local artists from around the community and beyond. Best of all, the Morean Art Center is admission free, so you can spend the day without spending a fortune.

Great Explorations Children's Museum

If you are visiting the St. Petersburg Clearwater area with the kids, the Great Explorations Children's Museum is an absolute must. Filled with kid-friendly exhibits and designed with a please touch attitude, this exceptional museum is as fun as it is educational.

When you visit the Great Explorations Children's Museums, the kids can explore to their heart's content, learning about science and technology as they go. Best of all, the kids will be so busy having fun they will not even realize they are learning.

Mahaffey Theatre

The St. Pete Clearwater area is home to some exceptional theatres, including the magnificent Mahaffey Theatre. If you are looking for a great night out and some amazing music, you should make the Mahaffey Theatre your destination.

Located in the heart of St. Petersburg, the Mahaffey Theatre is booked nearly every night of the year. You can buy your tickets when you arrive, but many shows sell out, so bookings are highly recommended.

American Stage Theatre Company

Dedicated to the power of live storytelling and the beauty of live theatre, the American Stage Theatre Company is the place to go. If you love live theatre and high-end entertainment, you are sure to enjoy the productions you find here.

From classic Shakespeare plays to more contemporary fare, there is always something new and different at the American Stage Theatre Company. This professionally run theatre is an area institution, and when you visit you will see why.

freeFall Theatre 

Located in the heart of Central Avenue, the freefall Theatre is one of the most popular night spots for St. Pete natives. Those natives know that the freefall Theatre mounts some of the unique and challenging productions around, and they know that the staff is friendly, knowledgeable and always eager to help.

If you are staying in St. Petersburg for an extended amount of time, be sure to check out the subscription options at the freeFall Theatre. The freeFall provides some money-saving options, so you can take the whole family out without breaking the bank.

Water Sports

St. Petersburg and Clearwater are located right on the water, with crystal clear oceans and sparkling white sand beaches. As you would expect, the region is also home to some of the best water sports and water-based activities in the country.

Whether you are looking for exciting fishing, extreme sports action or anything in between, you can find it all in the St. Pete Clearwater area. Here is an assortment of the best water sports the area has to offer.

Fishing charters are very big here, with everything from deep sea fishing and sports fish fishing to inshore fishing that keeps you closer to shore. Whether you want to be gone for four hours or four days, you can find a fishing charter to take you there.

Sailing Florida Charters

Offering both inshore and offshore fishing, Sailing Florida Charters is one of the most popular excursions for both locals and out of towners. You can book a trip for up to 6 people for an affordable price and go out in the sports fish you seek.

The boats are beautifully accommodated, with a live well for the avid fisherman and a stand-up shower for cleaning up after you catch your fill. The boats are even handicapped accessible, so you can bring the whole family and make a day of it.

Spanish Sardine Fishing Charters

The aptly named Spanish Sardine Fishing Charters offers something for everyone, from the first-time angler to the avid sports fisherman. Spanish Sardine Fishing Charters offers some of the best grouper fishing in the area, along with exceptional offshore fishing and in-shore and near-shore adventures.

When you head out in search of grouper, you will explore the waters of Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, home to a wide variety of grouper species. Along the way, you will have the assistance of experienced sportsmen, experts who can answer your questions and help you reel in your next catch.

Tampa Bay Yacht Charter

The Tampa Bay Yacht Charter is another excellent choice for a night out on the water. Whether you are looking for a romantic adventure with your spouse or partner, a fun adventure with the kids or just some time alone on the water, you can find it here.

The folks at Tampa Bay Yacht Charter strive to accommodate the wishes of their guests, so feel free to reach out to them. Whether you are traveling alone or booking a trip for a more substantial party, the staff will be happy to work with you.

Island Ferry of St. Pete

St. Pete is virtually surrounded by water, and there are plenty of ways to get around. One of the most unique forms of transportation in the St. Petersburg Clearwater region is the Island Ferry of St. Pete, and it is well worth a visit.

The Island Ferry of St. Pete specializes in everything you love best, including spectacular sunsets, colorful seashells, amazing snorkeling and playful dolphins. Whether you sit on the deck and watch the dolphins play or jump into the surf to check out the action under the sea, the Island Ferry of St. Pete can bring you there and back.

Parks and Recreation

Not all of the fun takes place on the water, and St. Petersburg and Clearwater are also home to some of the most amazing parks and green spaces in the country. Whether you want to stroll down a wooded path, explore the local flora and fauna or just enjoy a day out with the family, you can do it all at the local parks of St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

Sawgrass Lake Park

Located at 7400 25th Street N. in the heart of St. Petersburg, Sawgrass Lake Park is definitely worth a visit. The park is vast, with 400 acres to explore, and unique, spanning one of the most extensive maple swamps the Gulf Coast has to offer.

There is a mile-long boardwalk to explore, along with a ½-mile long dirt trail favored by the local sea birds, plants, and butterflies. Sawgrass Lake Park is truly a nature lover's paradise, and you are sure to enjoy your time here.

Vinoy Park​

Vinoy Park is conveniently located at 701 Bayshore Drive NE, just minutes from the excitement and fun of downtown St. Petersburg. The park features spectacular views of the St. Pete waterfront, so you can enjoy a sunlit stroll or just do some people watching.

Vinoy Park also includes a spacious shelter, a space you can rent for parties and special occasions. At just over 11 acres in size, Vinoy Park is the perfect size for an afternoon of exploration, so bring the kids and get ready to have a good time.

Boyd Hill Nature Preserve

The St. Pete Clearwater area is home to some of the most amazing wildlife in the country, including seabirds like herons and egrets. You can see all those and much more at the Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, an area institution and a popular destination for families throughout the region.

The Boyd Hill Nature Preserve is located just a short drive away from the beaches of St. Petersburg, and it features convenient tram tours so you can get the lay of the land and make your plans for further exploration. With nearly 250 acres to explore, that introductory tram tour is a smart idea, and a great way to check out the unique ecosystems the state of Florida and the St. Pete region are so well known for.

North Straub Park

North Straub Park is another superb place to start your exploration of the natural world and the unique flora and fauna that call St. Petersburg and Clearwater their home. Located on Bayshore Drive in the heart of St. Petersburg, North Straub Park is truly a hidden gem.

At the heart of North Straub Park is a nearly 5-mile long recreation trail, so you can leave civilization behind and immerse yourself in the beauty of the natural world. The park also offers stunning views, and its waterfront location makes it a picturesque place to relax and unwind after a busy day of sightseeing.

Skyway Fishing Pier State Park

If you love to fish and do not want to book a charter, you can indulge your favorite sport at the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park. Located in the heart of St. Pete, the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park is filled with families, children learning to fish, and outdoors enthusiasts honing their skills.

The Skyway Fishing Pier State Park is a happy side effect of the amazing growth the St. Petersburg Clearwater region has experienced. When the old bridge connecting St. Petersburg and Sarasota was replaced with a new one, the existing bridge became the longest fishing pier in the world. Now anglers can fish for snook, tarpon, red snapper, sheepshead, grouper and lots of other wonderful sports fish. If you love to fish, this is the place to spend the day.

Weedon Island Preserve

The Weedon Island Preserve advertises itself as a place to remember, and when you visit, you will understand why that is. This vast 3,190-acre area is right on Tampa Bay, and it is home to an amazing array of native animals and plants.

The Weedon Island Preserve includes miles of hiking trails, along with guided walks that will introduce you to the local flora and fauna. There is also an educational facility, so feel free to bring the kids for a fun day exploring nature.

Horseback Riding

Whether you are a first-time rider or an expert equestrian, you can enjoy a soothing ride along the beach in the heart of St. Petersburg. You can rent a horse and take to the trails, enjoy an introductory lesson or just enjoy petting and feeding the horses.

If you love nature and animals, you will find plenty of great things to explore in the St. Petersburg Clearwater area. From boating and fishing to horseback riding and dolphin watching, there is so much to do the hardest part may be fitting it all in.