On your first day in St. Petersburg, you'll want to hit the beach-- or beaches, if you're into sampling various sandy shores. With five beaches in St. Pete, you'll be sure to find one that suits your style.
Visit historic Fort DeSoto beach off of St. Pete's southern tip for acres of white sand; it's actually a series of interconnected islands just waiting to be explored, plus hiking and nature trails. Spa Beach and North Shore Beach are two public beaches that are located on the waterfront; rent a paddle boat or jet ski or simply enjoy a picnic under the palms. Maximo Park offers a different type of beach, with pine trees rather than palms; there's also an observation tower that offers views of the Gulf. The St. Pete Municipal Beach has 500 feet of white sand shores in addition to shower facilities an a snack bar.
After a full day in the sun, take a little break and immerse yourself in the artistic side of St. Petersburg. Start by wandering the galleries of the expanded Museum of Fine Arts; grab a bite to eat in the MFA Café to keep up your strength. Next stop is the fantastical works of glass magician Dale Chihuly at the only purpose-built gallery outside of his Washington studio. Be sure to wait for a docent-led tour to get the whole story. From glassworks to surrealism, head to the Salvador Dalí Museum, the world's largest private collection of his work. If performance art is more your style, see what's playing at the Mahaffey Theater, freeFALL Theater or the American Stage Theatre.
Head to the Central Arts District to see up and coming artists and galleries, or the Warehouse Arts District for a grittier scene. If you're visiting on a Saturday, be sure to visit the Saturday Morning
Market. Every Saturday, local artists, vendors and musicians gather in downtown St. Petersburg; the market features a wide variety of vendors including: baked goods, plants, clothing, crafts, jewelry and glass. The market runs from October through May and has become the largest once-a-week market in the Southeast with more than 200 vendors.
Today's a day to appreciate the natural side of St. Petersburg, beyond the beaches. For spectacular flora, visit the Sunken Gardens, with more than 500,000 tropical plants, before relaxing at the Gizella Kopsick Palm Arboretum, with examples of more than 150 different types of palms and cyclids.
To fully immerse yourself, venture out to Weedon Island,a pristine area once home to Seminole Indians which has three miles of boardwalk and paved trails. An ideal location for biking, roller blading, canoeing or birdwatching, the 3,190-acre park also features a 50-foot-high lookout site over Tampa Bay with a panoramic view of downtown St. Petersburg, Tropicana Field and Tampa.
If you're still not satisfied, explore part of the Pinellas Trail, a 47-mile fitness trail built on abandoned railways. One of the longest linear parks in the United States, it's southern terminus starts in south St. Petersburg, along the downtown waterfront, and up to Tarpon Springs.