The results are in! As of early 2012, St. Pete Beach is the #1 beach destination in the country and #5 in the world. Thanks to sunny reviews from millions of TripAdvisor vacationers around the globe, this local gem landed at the top of the list of the world’s best beach getaways. Nestled on Long Key, St. Pete Beach offers the perfect combo of powder-white sand shores, clear Gulf of Mexico waters, playful dolphins and prime sunset spots, plus lively restaurants, eclectic shops and historic neighborhoods with lots of coastal character.
Originally made up of four areas – Pass-a-Grille Beach, Don CeSar Place, Belle Vista Beach and St. Petersburg Beach – the four beach communities merged into one and officially became St. Pete Beach. The town’s rightfully famous and much-loved beach fronts the Gulf of Mexico and offers activities for all ages, from swimming and sunbathing to water sports like windsurfing and stand-up paddleboarding. The coastline is sprinkled with everything from small beach bungalows to a world-class resort.
Finding your way around is easy – hop aboard the Beach Trolley, and keep in mind that this beach town is anchored by the iconic and impossible-to-miss Loews Don CeSar Hotel, affectionately known as the ‘Pink Palace’ or ‘The Don.’ Built in 1928, its distinctive color and ornate architecture makes it one of the most recognizable landmarks on the entire Gulf Coast of Florida.
The more developed and broader end begins just north of ‘The Don’, where Gulf Boulevard widens to four lanes and is lined with a classic mix of resorts, motels, restaurants, beach bars, surf shops, grocers and homes. On Historic Corey Avenue in the heart of St. Pete Beach, you’ll find shopping with a retro ambiance.
The old beach community of Pass-a-Grille is tucked away at the southern end of St. Pete Beach. No matter where you stand on this slim strip of island, you're never more than two short blocks from the Gulf or the Intracoastal, and you can drive (or bike, or walk) along the palm-shaded roads with a direct view of the beach.
Savor the laid-back, relaxed vibe of this community, which claims the longest stretch of undeveloped public beach in the area. Stroll down Eighth Avenue to find small galleries, charming boutiques and restaurants, including the legendary Hurricane Seafood Restaurant, a grouper sandwich mecca and favorite sunset spot. There are a handful of nostalgic Old Florida inns, small motels and an eclectic mix of rental cottages, but the cozy community is largely residential. It's the perfect place to feel like a local on America's best beach.