St. Pete Beach is an overbuilt barrier island and not much is left of the greenery and nature that once was here. The upside to St. Pete Beach is the long beautiful white beaches and clean water that's great for swimming.
There is plenty to do in the area and lots of excellent restaurants of all types where you can find something to eat any time of the day or night; something that's tough to do on some of the less developed islands. You can actually walk to many of the restaurants and shops from most of the hotels, and for those a bit too far for walking, you can take the trolley.
It is quite possible to get by without a car at all on St. Pete Beach. While the island is overbuilt and lacks greenery, for many people the conveniences outweigh the lack of nature. St. Pete Beach does have some moderately tall hotels, but not like the highrises on Sand Key, near Clearwater Beach. If you're looking for something a bit quieter, have a look at Anna Maria Island, just on the other side of Tampa Bay.
St. Pete Beach has an outstanding selection of hotels, condominiums, and other lodging directly on the beach, including:
- The Loews Don Cesar (the big pink historic hotel)
- Tradewinds Sandpiper
- Tradewinds Island Grand (the larger and grander of the Tradewind properties)
- Alden Beach Resort and Suites
- Grand Plaza Beachfront Resort Hotel
- Postcard Inn (party central for the younger set)
- Sirata Beach Resort and Conference Center (great for weddings and conferences)
- Dolphin Beach Resort (a more modestly price beach hotel located conveniently close to the Dolphin Beach Shopping Plaza and the Dolphin Marina).
The southern part of the island, called Pass a Grille, is quite a nice little beach community with a wonderful beach. From the bay side of Pass a Grille, at the Merry Pier, you can catch the shuttle to Shell Key. I highly recommend going to Shell Key for shelling, snorkeling, birding, or just for a long beach walk. Egmont Key is also nearby and can be reached by ferry from Fort Desoto Park. If you don't feel like doing a boat trip, but want some nature, kayaking, bike riding, birding, or pier fishing, head over to Fort Desoto Park, just 15 minutes away by car.
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