St. Petersburg is an excellent travel destination for individuals and families, according to Cullan F. Meathe of Peninsula Transportation Group, LLC. Located between Tampa and the Gulf of Mexico, the fourth largest city in Florida is on a peninsula surrounded by water and an intracoastal waterway. It enjoys plenty of sunshine year-round and offers an incredible array of activities that take advantage of the climate.
Visitors to St. Petersburg will find everything from entertainment, sports and water pastimes, to arts and culture, dining, nightlife and shopping to fill their time. Meathe says the possibilities are limitless.
Meathe says that St. Petersburg has an active arts and cultural scene. There are six major museums in the area and they house permanent and traveling exhibits. A favorite for visitors and locals alike is the Salvador Dali Museum on the waterfront with its comprehensive collection of work by the very creative Spanish artist. The Museum of Fine Arts has a permanent collection of nearly 4,000 works with a particular focus on 19th century French and American painting and early 20th century American painting, as well as photography. There also are many professional art galleries in St. Petersburg. A Downtown Arts Association coordinates monthly walks of the galleries and other art-related events.
The St. Petersburg Museum of History is the perfect choice for those wishing to know more about the story of this region. The Florida Holocaust Museum teaches about tolerance, respect and responsibility through its portrayal of a troubling chapter in world history. Not to overlook younger visitors, a visit to the Great Explorations Children's Museum is a must with its creative, interactive hands-on role playing and challenges.
Large crowds are drawn to concerts and theatrical performances on stage at several outstanding venues in the area.
For those with a taste for interesting architecture, there are several historical districts, including Old Northeast and Roser Park.
Meathe notes that outdoor events and arts festivals attract large crowds throughout the year. One of the biggest shows is Mainsail, which takes place in April. Mainsail is an outdoor art festival featuring 250 major artists.
With an enviable climate, delightful scenery and access to water, St. Petersburg is enhanced by numerous public parks. Many are owned and maintained by the Pinellas County Parks Department and offer a wide array of facilities and leisure activities. One example is Sunken Gardens, a veritable botanical paradise and St. Petersburg oldest living museum. The 100 year-old garden offers a series of winding paths, more than 50,000 tropical plants and flowers, and waterfalls and demonstration gardens. It provides garden tours, horticultural programs, special events and field trips. Locals find it a beautiful site for weddings and private receptions.
Tourists should check out Boyd Hill Nature Park Boyd Hill Nature Preserve located along the shores of Lake Maggiore. The 245-acre award-winning park features more than three miles of trails and boardwalks, unique ecosystems, interpretive programming on a variety of environmental and natural history topics, a birds of prey aviary, picnic areas and a playground. It is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail.
The city also is proud of its beaches, particularly Fort Desoto, which has been recognized as one of the best in the country.
On Saturday mornings from October to May, a farmers market is held in the downtown area in the parking lot of Al Lang Field, where food, arts, crafts and music liven things up.
Sports and St. Petersburg go hand-in-hand. Major league baseball is synonymous with Tropicana Field. Street racing is legal. The four-day Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is held in April, attracting huge crowds. Senior athletes demonstrate their prowess at the annual Goodlife Games. Basketball fans have several area teams to follow. Bikers have plenty of opportunity and scenic trails to explore, including the Fred E. Marquis Pinellas Trail. Between September and April, the trail is home to events for biking enthusiasts almost every weekend. Football aficionados can get their fill of exciting games.
Meathe says that the waters around St. Petersburg are a mecca for those interested in fishing. Many salt water fish make charter trips a thrilling adventure for visitors. Offshore racing is a favorite sport in the area with a few major power boat races watched annually by delighted spectators. Sailing also is popular, with several regattas, training for Olympic events, and the yearly Budweiser Cup.
When one thinks about Florida, a vision of golf comes up. There are plenty of public and private golf courses in the area for year-round play – a boon for visitors from colder regions.
Other sporting activities enjoyed in St. Petersburg include rugby, jogging, running, ice skating, in-line skating, skateboarding, swimming, tennis and triathlons.
Getting around St. Petersburg is fun for visitors who can hop aboard the St. Petersburg Looper Trolley and take a half-day tour of the city's major attractions, museums and hotels. There are 13 stops along the route. Additionally, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority provides public transportation throughout the area.
For travelers who don't have their own cars with them, taxis, luxury sedans and limousines are other excellent means of getting around. Meathe suggests contacting Peninsula Transportation Group at 727-799-2222, or visiting www.PeninsulaTransportation.com.
St. Petersburg has so much to offer visitors that they will probably want to spend their next vacation there.