Grab the kids, your best mates, your partner or simply your hat: St. Pete / Clearwater is calling, and this isn’t a destination you’re going to want to miss. Boasting 35 miles of some of America’s best beaches and currently holding the Guinness World Record for the longest run of nonstop days of sunshine (a whopping 768 to be exact), St. Pete/Clearwater has got the goods and the climate required to enjoy them.
Less than a 30 minute drive from Tampa – which is serviced by regular direct flights from London on both BA and Virgin – this paradisiacal oasis beckons. And while those endless stretches of award-winning powder beaches are reason enough to entice sun-seeking travellers, there is so much more to this region than just its good looks.
Earn your afternoon on a sun lounger and explore a little further afield, diving under the surface of this area of natural abundance. Don your walking shoes and set your sights on one of the many state parks – like Honeymoon Island, a 385-acre enclave connected to the mainland by the Dunedin Causeway, named because – you guessed it – the island’s immense beauty and hideaway feel made it a boon to advertise to newlyweds looking for an escape to enjoy their loved-up bubble. Not feeling so starry-eyed? Neighbouring state park Caladesi Island is home to over 650 acres of near-untouched nature reserve, patchworked with walking trails and only accessible by boat.
Fancy your time outdoors with a dose of adrenaline? Set sail for the horizon on one of the many fishing charters on offer in the area. The bathtub temperatures of the Gulf waters are a joy for marine life – the coastline around St. Pete/Clearwater alone is home to over 300 species. Drop a line, crack a beer and set about earning that evening’s dinner – we promise that when you work harder for it, food tastes all the better.
Away from the sunny shores, culture and hospitality abound. The region alone is home to over 40 craft breweries, which led to the development of the craft beer trail. Running from Tarpon Springs to Treasure Island, it takes thirsty visitors on a journey in pursuit of the area’s best pints. Bringing the kids along? Ditch the hop hunting and head out on a mural tour with a local artist that showcases St. Pete’s vibrant street art scene. Or, educate them on the distinctive geography of the region with a trip to Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Centre – an interactive wet classroom aimed at educating visitors on the area’s unique ecosystem, local marine wildlife and the interconnected role we all have in marine conservation.
We haven’t even started on the thriving restaurant scene, the world-class golf courses and perhaps the pièce de résistance: the St. Pete Shuffleboard Club, which just so happens to be the oldest and largest in the world. You’ll just have to jump on a plane and discover them for yourself.
For more information visit visitstpeteclearwater.com