Florida getaways: St. Pete Beach a hotspot for family fun

Florida’s made for top-down touring.

Don’t have a convertible?

Then hum “Baby, You Can Drive My Car” by the Beatles — “beep beep and beep beep, yeah!” — and follow along with writer Jan Tuckwood as we drive along the Gulf of Mexico in her 2002 Mercedes Benz SLK320 yellow roadster, aka “Miss Beep Beep.”

We’re headed to three of Florida’s best beach towns:

Siesta Key, voted No. 1 beach by Dr. Beach and TripAdvisor in 2017.

Anna Maria Island, the idyllic enclave where Tampa Bay meets the Gulf of Mexico.

St. Pete Beach, a family-friendly stretch of beach that often makes Top 10 lists.

(One of these towns features this writer’s favorite restaurant in Florida, a place so heavenly, it’s worth the four-hour drive from Palm Beach County. Read on to find out where it is.)

Hop in…Florida’s on sale in the summer…and we’ve got your wheels!


Hot spot for family fun

You know a beach town is made for families when resorts brag about their “lazy rivers” — those meandering waterways where you float on a tube and try to recover from hours playing in sand.

The Tradewinds Resort on St. Pete Beach has one. This is why I visited there several times when my children were young, and we loved it.

Now that my kids are grown, my entire leisure life feels like a lazy river — and St. Pete Beach is a little too touristy for my old-lady tastes.

However…if you like a great beach and want lots of action, this is a fabulous place to vacation.

St. Pete Beach is the same age as me — 60 — but it’s far from retiring.

It was incorporated in 1957 with the merger of the towns of Pass-a-Grille, Don CeSar, Belle Vista and St. Petersburg Beach, and it shortened its name to “St. Pete Beach” in 1994.

Large resorts like the Tradewinds — which includes Guy Harvey’s Outpost under its umbrella — are here, plus charming places like the Postcard Inn and the historic pink palace, the Don CeSar.

The Don is a legendary Florida Boom-era hotel. Built in 1928, it has hosted presidents and celebrities, and — like The Breakers in Palm Beach — served as a hospital during World War II.

Like most of St. Pete Beach’s resorts, the pink palace has a summer Florida resident rate — 10 percent off the best rate and a daily $25 resort credit.

The Tradewinds Resort special is even better: 15 percent off the best rates and a coupon pack with $500 in savings on cabanas, cocktails, food, paddleboard rentals and more.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Travel

Where is everyone headed for the holidays?
Where is everyone headed for the holidays?

A new survey revealed an estimated 99.8 million people will travel at some point during the 2017 holiday season.  The results also revealed 48 percent of millennials plan to travel during the holidays, the most of any age demographic. Fifty-four percent of people with children will hit the road, according to the consumer holiday travel survey...
Air rage is raging

It seems unruly and intoxicated airline passengers are a growing problem in the skies.  Statistics released at a conference in Geneva last week by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) show a 50 percent increase between 2015 and 2016 of the number of passengers who were forcibly confined for bad behavior.   The incidents...
Sending out an SOS: The rise of travel security apps
Sending out an SOS: The rise of travel security apps

From transferring money to buying airline tickets, smartphone apps can be a traveler’s high-tech multitasker. But can they keep travelers safe? A new crop of apps seeks to offer that assurance.  They may be cashing in on a sense of insecurity wrought by more frequent terrorist events, including the truck attack in lower Manhattan in October...
Nuremberg loves — but doesn’t heart — its gingerbread
Nuremberg loves — but doesn’t heart — its gingerbread

You’ve seen the German gingerbread hearts hanging from ribbons, frosted with the words “Ich liebe dich” (I love you) and “Frohe Weihnachten” (Merry Christmas).  Nuremberg’s bakers wish you hadn’t.   “We don’t make them here,” says Ingrid Neef, a sixth-generation Nuremberg baker...
To take the lug out of luggage, a Danish firm leverages NYC shop synergy
To take the lug out of luggage, a Danish firm leverages NYC shop synergy

Pulling a suitcase through the overstuffed sidewalks of New York City can feel like searching for a berth in an urban game of Frogger. A Danish company called LuggageHero is now offering travelers a short-term berth by connecting them with more than 100 city businesses that offer baggage storage for a small fee.  LuggageHero founder and chief...
More Stories