Romantic Vacation Ideas

Story highlights:
  • Sunset walks on quiet beaches
  • Intimate waterfront dinners
  • Strolls on Gulfport's Beach Boulevard
Links within article correspond to map points.
Romantic beach getaway St. Petersburg Clearwater
A special toast to the sun and Gulf.

A getaway together is just the recipe for rekindling the fire in your relationship. Luckily, the St. Petersburg/Clearwater area offers plenty of stunning beaches, irresistible restaurants and one-of-a-kind attractions that are sure to bring you closer together.

Sand & Sunsets

There's no better place for a romantic walk than on the soft sands of the area's beautiful beaches. Head to one of the less-populated beaches, starting at Belleair Beach and running southward for more than 10 miles to Redington Shores. Here, condos and large hotels give way to smaller beach motels and residential areas. The beaches are quieter, less commercial and more intimate. The pace slows, but if you’re walking hand-in-hand with the right person, your heart may beat faster.

Picnic on Treasure Island

How about setting up a romantic dinner on the aptly named Sunset Beach, at the southern tip of Treasure Island? Just head to the end of West Gulf Boulevard, and grab a scenic spot. You can bring beach chairs or, even better, spread out a blanket. Sip an adult libation (alcohol is legal on Sunset Beach until 4 pm on weekends, but no glass bottles, please), and gaze together at the endless skies and sparkling waters. The atmosphere here is charming, quaint “old Florida.” A mix of smaller motels, plus private homes built on stilts, mean this stretch of strand isn’t likely to be crowded.

Solitude at Fort De Soto Park

Another excellent option is Fort De Soto Park. Named America’s top beach in 2008 and 2009 by TripAdvisor’s online community, the county park on the southern end of the Gulf beaches in Tierra Verde is full of natural grandeur. Try the far tip of the North Beach. Its wide expanse of fine, white sand, panoramic view of the Gulf and a gorgeous vista rimmed by trees lend a feeling of remoteness. Hand-in-hand, you can look out at the Gulf from the top of the century-old fort, enjoy a quiet paddle together among the mangroves or take a leisurely pedal along one of the park’s paved bike paths.

Dining Waterfront

On Clearwater Beach, try Caretta on the Gulf, the Sandpearl Resort’s signature restaurant. This is fine dining, but dress is resort casual. There’s comfy outside seating as well as big bay windows, allowing all diners a luxuriant view of the beach that was voted USA Today's "Best Beach Town in Florida" in 2013. Inside, ask for one of the booths, perfect for gazing into each other's eyes and pretending the rest of the world doesn’t exist.

With a lovely view of the Intracoastal Waterway, Salt Rock Grill in Indian Shores is a regular destination for locals and tourists alike. Here, savor fresh grilled fish, hearty steaks and other satisfying fare. Its vibe is “upscale beachy,” with two tiers of dining and a patio bar. The gentle sounds of lapping water and the sparkling lights of the Intracoastal Waterway make for relaxing, magical moments together.

For a truly casual night out and a menu with plenty of seafood offerings, try the Hurricane Seafood Restaurant on Pass-a-Grille Beach. This laid-back beach institution has a rooftop bar that offers a 360-degree view. Pull each other close and survey the Gulf and the Intracoastal. Have a drink in the open air and then grab a table for two on a tiny upstairs balcony.

Dining on the Town

If an elegant meal is what you desire, dine at Cafe Ponte in Clearwater. Owned by Chris Ponte, one of the area's pre-eminent chefs, the restaurant features innovative contemporary American cuisine with French, Asian and Italian influences. The atmosphere is cool and modern, and the fine food and wine make for an ideal aphrodisiac. Sipping a 100-year-old Grand Marnier after dinner will warm the mood even further.

Another luxurious fine-dining experience awaits at the Black Pearl of Dunedin. Only the freshest ingredients are used to create the restaurant’s signature New American and French cuisine, prepared by classically trained French co-chefs Adam LaRoche and Chris Artrip. Cozy up in a booth in the elegant dining room with its soft jewel tones and upscale table settings.

Rendezvous in St. Pete Beach

If you’re a couple who favors activities and adventure, you can’t do better than a getaway to St. Pete Beach. Offering tantalizing shores and plenty of diversions, in 2012, it was voted TripAdvisor's No. 1 Beach in the U.S. and No. 5 in the world, based on millions of traveler reviews. Along Eighth Avenue, you’ll find a number of small shops and eateries, including the Black Palm Restaurant, with its cozy courtyard and Spanish-influenced tapas menu. What could be more romantic than sharing “little dishes” with someone you love?

One-of-a-Kind Gulfport

Not far inland from St. Pete Beach is the small town of Gulfport, a bastion of quirky culture and quality restaurants. Stroll hand-in-hand down Beach Boulevard, lined with cafés and restaurants, galleries, B&Bs, shops and private homes. The businesses are locally owned, and many are housed in converted Florida bungalows. Stop for drinks at Peg's Cantina, or have an intimate and luxurious meal at Six Tables Fine Dining located at the Peninsula Inn. This six-course menu makes for an unforgettable dining experience. A couple of blocks away is Pia's Trattoria, with its distinctive old-world charm and authentic Italian cuisine. Yes, you’re in Florida, but a fantasy trip to Italy can only fan the fire.

Sophisticated Downtown St. Pete

For urban delights, try downtown St. Petersburg’s Beach Drive, bracketed by restaurants and shops. Try the tree-lined Straub Park for a dreamy stroll after dinner. Around the corner from Beach Drive on Fifth Avenue NE, stop in the luxurious Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club. Have a drink on the veranda or dine at one of its several restaurants. Marchand's Bar and Grill has a lovely view of the nearby marina and bayfront. The Vinoy complex has plenty of intimate, tucked-away places perfect for whispering sweet nothings to your special someone.

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