When you think of the best things to see and do in St. Petersburg, of course you think the beach. But this cosmopolitan Florida city and its surrounding areas of Clearwater and Tampa are home to so much more, from art to music to (this being Florida) amusement parks. Check out our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ selections for the best activities to keep you occupied when in St. Pete:
1. Become a beach bum. When visiting St. Petersburg, a visit to one of the area’s beaches is a must — for a day, a week or (if you’re lucky) even longer. Two of the best are Fort De Soto Park and, to the north, Honeymoon Island State Park, named from a Life Magazine contest for newlyweds in 1939.
2. Dabble in Dalí. For a bit of surrealism, visit the Dalí Museum just outside downtown St. Petersburg. The museum boasts the world’s most comprehensive collection of Salvador Dalí works of art, including 96 oil paintings, more than 100 watercolors and drawings and 1,300 graphics, photos, sculptures and objets d’art.
3. Hear a concert. If luck’s on your side, one of your favorite performers will be at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. Designed by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, the performance hall boasts near-perfect acoustics and has received rave reviews from artists, technicians and audiences through the years.
4. Befriend a dolphin. Also in Clearwater, visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Here you’ll find Winter the dolphin, who splashed onto the silver screen — and into our hearts — in A Dolphin Tale. Don’t miss seeing the props used in the movie.
5. Be adventurous. No need to go all the way to Orlando if you’re a thrill-seeker. Instead, check out the African plains at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay; make a splash at Adventure Island; have a roaring good time at Dinosaur World in Plant City, just 45 minutes east of downtown St. Petersburg; or tower over the miniatures at LEGOLAND Florida in Winter Haven, a little farther away.