As summer is sadly ? coming to an end and work is picking up ruthlessly, it was super crucial to squeeze in a little Florida getaway as soon as possible.
So last week, my friends and I made the 15 hour road trip from St. Louis to Tampa and spent three days meandering around the Apollo Beach, Tampa, and Saint Petersburg areas.
These areas have so many fun activities to offer, but with only three days, we had to narrow down the list quite substantially to our top favorites. Here are the activities we chose:
Note: If these activities are outside of your price range and you are looking for a cheaper getaway, check out my post here for planning Tampa on a Budget.
Bahia Beach – This half private half public beach is Ruskin was perfect for some Friday relaxation on a fairly secluded beach. There is a restaurant/bar right off the beach where you can grab some umbrella drinks as well.
For dinner we enjoyed a night out at Circles Waterfront Restaurant, which is a favorite of mine in the Apollo Beach area. Go there just before sunset because the views are Uh-Mazing!! To eat, I recommend the scallops. They are hard to beat!
Cigar City Brewery – Check out this local favorite brewery in the Tampa Bay area for some unique and excellent beer choices and latin culture. My friends and I decided to take the tour offered, which was $8 per person and included a tour guide presenting knowledge about the history of CCB and the brewing process, beer sampling along the way, and a souvenir tasting glass. The tour lasted roughly 40 minutes.
Ybor City was founded in the 1880s and was home to many immigrants from Cuba, Spain, and Italy, whom most of them made a living from cigar manufacturing. Today the City has a very vibrant Cuban/Spanish culture and includes many popular cigar factories.
Sunday provided us the best weather of the trip so we decided to rent a deck boat from Fun Unlimited in Saint Petersburg. The cost ended up being roughly $150 per couple for 4 hours of boat rental. We only had four people on the boat, but the maximum capacity was ten people. If you can gather a larger group, the price is unbeatable! We chose this option over paying for one of the tours offered in the area. Fun Unlimited is located at the Gulfport Municipal Marina in Boca Ciega Bay.
Favorite part about renting the boat in this area?! Shelling at Shell Key! This Key became a wildlife preserve in 2000 and is a top spot for shelling. Note: The key is only accessible by boat.
You will find many sand dollars here, but don’t forget, it is illegal to take home the live ones. Make sure you can tell whether the sand dollar is alive or not, before collecting them. How can you tell? Here are two important distinctions:
- A live sand dollar will have tiny spines all over it. The tiny spines allow the creature to move across the ocean floor. The sand dollar loses these spines when it dies.
- A live sand dollar is a dark brown color. When the sand dollar dies, the sun usually fades the color and the dollar turns white.
Have you been to the Apollo Beach/Tampa area? What are some of your favorite activities?