Family-Friendly Vacation Guide To St. Petersburg, Florida


Family-Friendly Vacation Guide To St. Petersburg, Florida I think most people have their go-to vacation spots, ones that feel like a second home, where they have their favorite restaurants, beaches, and recreation. Our favorite family vacation spot, located on the barrier islands of Florida’s Central Gulf Coast, is the beautiful St. Petersburg area. Though not as popular as other Florida tourist destinations such as Destin and Miami, this hidden gem has a lot to offer, especially for a family vacation! St. Petersburg is also just a short drive from other destinations such as Tampa and Clearwater, making the possibilities endless!

Below I’m highlighting some of my family’s favorites places and things to do in St. Petersburg and its surrounding areas:

Family-Friendly Vacation Guide To St. Petersburg, Florida

Where To Eat

Of course, the dining options are endless while on vacation. We have discovered some of our go-to restaurants and are always adding to the list! Here are some to check out when you visit:

The Getaway Tampa Bay

The first time we visited St. Pete, I was on the lookout for a beach restaurant with a perfect ambiance, and I found that at The Getaway. Located on the water and on the sand, you can enjoy the wide variety of food and drinks while dining under a tiki hut or umbrella. I love dining there at sunset (see the featured picture on this post!) because the sky is gorgeous and this already magical place transforms once the string lights are turned on. It is also very family-friendly. On top of having a kids’ menu (I love their grilled cheese!), some of the dining tables are on the sand, so the kids are able to play while waiting for food.

Twistee Treat

We grab ice cream at Twistee Treat at least a couple times each time we visit! This chain of ice cream shops, located only in Florida and Texas (please come to Tennessee next!), not only has a cute ice cream shaped store front, but their large variety of mix-in flavors is what makes them unique. My personal favorite: the black raspberry mixed into the vanilla!

VIP Mexican Restaurant 

Having picky toddlers, we decided to look for a Mexican restaurant during our last visit since we know they will eat rice and beans. VIP Mexican Restaurant was recommended to me and it did not disappoint! It is close to the beach and has outside dining which is great when you have kids. I had their famous “Wet Burrito” and have been craving it ever since!

Where To Stay


There is no shortage of hotels from which to choose in St. Pete! Our absolute favorite hotel is the beautiful and historic Crystal Bay Hotel located on the Boca Ciega Bay. Built during the turn of the century, this hotel has a lot of charm and an amazing breakfast!


The first time we visited St. Pete, we stayed at an Airbnb and it was a great experience! There are many Airbnbs in the area, such as The Blue Fin St. Pete which is located in a great area and has a pool!

Beach Cottages

There are many beach cottage options available, some just a short walk from the beach. We stayed at one a couple of visits ago that had one bedroom, a pull-out couch, a living area, full kitchen, and a pool. Our friends stayed at one in the same complex, so it was very convenient for a trip with friends or family!

Where To Play

The Beach

When in Florida, of course you have to visit the beach! Our absolute favorite one to visit — whether it be to play during the day or watch a beautiful St. Pete sunset — is Redington Beach!

Mini Golf and Arcades

There are several mini golf places in the St. Petersburg area such as Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf or Congo River Golf in Clearwater; our family had a blast there this past December. There are also fun arcades such as the Treasure Island Fun Center which my oldest son and I enjoyed too.

The Florida Aquarium

I think the world of the Tennessee Aquarium but I love the Florida Aquarium in Tampa! Species-wise, the Tennessee Aquarium has more, but the design of the Florida Aquarium aquarium was amazing and unique. They have an amazing outdoor splash pad which overlooks the beautiful Tampa Bay as well as a playground. It is a must-see! Remember: if you are a member of the Chattanooga Zoo or Aquarium, your tickets are discounted!


There are endless park options in St. Petersburg. Having kids, we have explored many of them. Our go-to is Walsingham Park, which my husband used to go to as a child (he grew up in the St. Pete area). It has a great area for walking as well as playgrounds for the kids.

Where To Shop

John’s Pass Boardwalk

John’s Pass Boardwalk is a must visit when vacationing in St. Pete. Not only is there a large variety of stores where you can purchase unique souvenirs, clothes, jewelry, and home décor, but there is also a variety of restaurants and attractions such as Kiss A Gator and boat rides. There are over 100 merchants, so you will definitely find something for everyone in your family.

Local Markets

Every time I visit, there is a market somewhere (such as the Madeira Beach Market) where you can support the many awesome local vendors. Two of my favorites that you can often find at these markets are The Local Soul, where you can find beachy lifestyle apparel and other goods (they were kind enough to give us discount code CHATTANOOGA for 15% off for any of our readers!) and Island Blends which also offers apparel, though my favorite product of theirs is their beautiful larimar jewelry. You will never catch me without one of my larimar rings bought from them!

Sail Market Studios

Sail Market Studios is such a cute and unique store located in the Gulfport area of St. Petersburg. They sell a variety of cute boutique clothing and locally made, unique goods. They have something for everyone in the family.

Where To Take Pictures

Brittany E Photography

We have a tradition (as many people do) of taking family pictures on the beach. Usually, we take our photos ourselves, but once we became a family of five and went on vacation with a toddler and baby, I knew that we would have trouble trying to get a quality family picture, so we decided to use Brittany E Photography to take family pictures. I couldn’t be happier — they probably are my favorite family photos!

I hope you have found my recommendations helpful and will consider St. Petersburg for your next family vacation!  

Looking at staying closer to home? Check out these day trips from Chattanooga.