Family-Friendly Things to Do on a Budget

Grab the kids and hit the area sands, piers, parks and shops. You won't believe how many fun things there are to do that cost little to nothing.

The St. Pete/Clearwater area is famous for its award-winning beaches and 361 average days of sunshine, both of which are free! The beach isn't the only thing for family vacationers on a budget, though. There are lots of free and inexpensive attractions in the St. Pete/Clearwater area.

Get Cultural in Downtown St. Petersburg

Head over to the Dali Museum's fantastic new building in downtown St. Petersburg; a game of I-Spy inside the museum is sure to hold the kids captive. Given the surrealist artist's ability to trick the eye, the museum developed a scavenger hunt of sorts for visitors 12 and under. Ask for a checklist as you enter the museum, and challenge kids to find the hidden images and symbols in Dali’s works. Once participants have checked everything off the list, they can turn in the form to receive a surprise. Kids five and under enter for free.

The Morean Arts Center is also a great family arts destination. They feature a glass hot shop and rotating exhibits ranging from glass plates and mirrors to vases with glass flowers and drawings from gifted local young people.

If you get hungry, nearby Central Avenue and the surrounding area offer dozens of bistros and specialty restaurants featuring lunches for less than $10. Some pizza and sandwich shops also have meal specials including drinks for around $6. And you can always stop at a street corner and grab a hot dog or other local fare.

morean arts center st pete kids activities

Explore St. Pete Beach, Pass-a-Grille Beach & North Beach

Another great place to start the day is St. Pete Beach, voted TripAdvisor's No. 3 Beach in the U.S. for 2017, based on millions of traveler reviews. At the southern end of the island, Pass-a-Grille Beach offers quiet stretches of beach and a charming historic district. Stroll through this Old Florida community and do some window shopping in one of the art shops. Or, grab an egg sandwich or fruit bowl at one of the local snack shacks or delis and head over to the nearby Merry Pier for breakfast on the water. You can also fish right off the pier--bait, rod and reel rentals are available at the dock.

It's also fun to play off the rich pirate lore of the area and stage a treasure hunt for the kids at nearby Fort De Soto Park, named America's best family beach by Parents magazine in 2011. While the kids are busy splashing in the lagoon formed by a sandbar off of North Beach, you can bury plastic coins and beads in the sand and scrawl out a map directing them to the treasure. Then, let them storm the pirate ship-themed playground adjacent to North Beach, or explore the park’s Spanish American War-era fort.

Enjoy a Pier 60 Sunset Celebration on Clearwater Beach

pier 60 clearwater beach sunsets

Catch the sunset at Clearwater Beach. Most nights Pier 60 is home to a sunset celebration featuring jugglers, musicians and delicious food. The beach, which routinely lands among TripAdvisor's top 5 beaches in the U.S., and earned USA Today's readers top choice for "Best Beach Town in Florida" in 2013, couldn't be more family friendly. Anglers can cast lines 24/7 off the Pier, and if you are looking for a cheap date, it only costs a dollar to take a walk out to the end of the Pier. Want to take a stroll through paradise? Check out nearby Beach Walk, the palm-lined pedestrian thoroughfare that winds its way southward on Clearwater Beach past ice cream parlors and shops. It's a great place for people-watching too.

Explore Nature at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve

Consider taking a trip to Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. This 245-acre award-winning park is located along the shores of Lake Maggiore, and features more than three miles of trails and boardwalks. It is home to an aviary for permanently injured birds of prey, including an eagle, turkey vultures, hawks and owls, as well as numerous kinds of butterflies, alligators and five unique ecosystems. It is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail and has an environmental education center with full-size replicas of the inhabitants of Lake Maggiore. It also offers a playground and picnic areas, making this a perfect spot for a family outing. Admission is $3 for adults and only $1.50 for children under 16.

Go Greek in Tarpon Springs

Head farther north to Tarpon Springs, and you will discover a unique Greek community. Home to the world-famous Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks, a plethora of Greek restaurants, and a museum dedicated to the region's sponging industry, you will feel as if you have been transported to Greece itself. Take a leisurely walk around the waterfront or the shopping district and feel free to chat with one of the shop-keepers. They'll gladly explain all the uses and varieties of the sponges they gather, which make great souvenirs and gifts that can be had for only a dollar or two. Make sure you don't leave without seeing St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral. This magnificent cathedral is patterned after St. Sophia in Istanbul and features 23 unique stained glass windows and 60 tons of Greek marble.

Nature and History Encounters

Pinewood Cultural Park in Largo presents an immersive lesson in history and ecology. Bring a video camera to the park's Heritage Village, a collection of historic structures gathered from around the area. You’re likely to find docents inside the circa-1907 House of Seven Gables and the 1950s-era mercantile store, and your aspiring filmmakers, journalists and historians can document their interviews with the docents.

Nearby, check off four sites on the Trail of Florida's Indian Heritage. Visit Safety Harbor Mound at Philippe Park, Safety Harbor Museum and Cultural Center, Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center and Anderson-Narvaez Mound at Jungle Prada Mound Park to learn about St. Pete/Clearwater's Indian heritage.

In the adjacent Florida Botanical Gardens, suggest that the artists in the family compose their own field guides. They’ll find numerous specimens to fill their sketchbooks, from the blooming, leafy landscape to the butterfly garden.

Act Out at American Stage Theatre Company

End your evening at the American Stage Theatre Company in downtown St. Petersburg. This intimate venue puts on a wide variety of professional live plays (both dramas and comedies) in its new 182-seat Raymond James Theatre. The theater offers a full range of drinks and snacks for patrons' enjoyment, and has a courtyard for socializing during intermission. The best part? Many of the shows are performed multiple nights a week as "pay what you can" productions, leaving little reason not to visit this popular little stage.

Use CityPass for Extra Savings

If you want to see top attractions around the area but don't want to pay full price, you can save with an advance purchase of CityPASS Tampa Bay. CityPASS gives you a package discount off of regular admission prices to five area attractions, including the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, the Chihuly CollectionBusch Gardens, Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo, and MOSI - the Museum of Science and Industry. Learn more and find out how to purchase your CityPASS Tampa Bay here.

Save on Transportation with GO Cards

You don't need a car to enjoy these activities either. Unlimited GO Cards for buses and trolleys are available for just a few dollars a day and can get you all over the area, from Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach, to Boyd Hill Nature Park in south St. Petersburg.

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Einzelheiten

Pier 60 at Clearwater Beach

Stadt: Clearwater Beach

Adresse
7 Causeway Blvd.
Clearwater Beach, FL 33767

Telefon:727-462-6466

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Boyd Hill Nature Park & Lake Maggiore Environmental Education Center

Stadt: St. Petersburg

Adresse
1101 Country Club Way S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33705

Telefon:727-893-7326

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Dali Museum

Stadt: St. Petersburg

Adresse
One Dali Blvd.
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Telefon:727-823-3767
Gebührenfrei:800-442-3254

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Morean Arts Center

Stadt: St. Petersburg

Adresse
719 Central Ave.
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Telefon:727-822-7872

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St. Pete Beach

Stadt: St. Pete Beach

Adresse
4700 Gulf Blvd.
St. Pete Beach, FL 33706

Telefon:727-582-2267
Gebührenfrei:727-464-3379

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Pass-A-Grille Beach

Stadt: Pass-a-Grille

Adresse
1000 Pass-a-Grille Way
Pass-a-Grille, FL 33706

Telefon:727-363-9247

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Merry Pier

Stadt: Pass-a-Grille

Adresse
801 Pass-a-Grille Way
Pass-a-Grille, FL 33706

Telefon:727-360-1400

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Fort De Soto Park

Stadt: Tierra Verde

Adresse
3500 Pinellas Bayway S.
Tierra Verde, FL 33715

Telefon:727-552-1862

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Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Stadt: Clearwater

Adresse
249 Windward Passage
Clearwater, FL 33767

Telefon:727-441-1790

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Chihuly Collection

Stadt: St. Petersburg

Adresse
720 Central Ave
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Telefon:727-822-7872

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Busch Gardens Tampa

Stadt: Tampa

Adresse
10165 N McKinley Dr
Tampa, FL 33612


Gebührenfrei:888-800-5447

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Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Stadt: Tampa

Adresse
1101 W. Sligh Ave.
Tampa, FL 33604

Telefon:813-935-8552

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MOSI - Museum of Science & Industry

Stadt: Tampa

Adresse
4801 E. Fowler Ave.
Tampa, FL 33617

Telefon:813-987-6000
Gebührenfrei:800-995-6674

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Boyd Hill Nature Park & Lake Maggiore Environmental Education Center

Stadt: St. Petersburg

Adresse
1101 Country Club Way S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33705

Telefon:727-893-7326

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Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks

Stadt: Tarpon Springs

Adresse
Dodecanese Boulevard
Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Telefon:727-937-6109

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St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral

Stadt: Tarpon Springs

Adresse
36 N. Pinellas Ave.
Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Telefon:727-937-3540

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Heritage Village

Stadt: Largo

Adresse
11909 125th St. N.
Largo, FL 33774

Telefon:727-582-2123

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Florida Botanical Gardens

Stadt: Largo

Adresse
12520 Ulmerton Rd.
Largo, FL 33774

Telefon:727-582-2100

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Clearwater Beach

Stadt: Clearwater Beach

Adresse
10 Pier 60 Dr.
Clearwater Beach, FL 33767

Telefon:888-799-3199

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Beach Walk

Stadt: Clearwater Beach

Adresse
Gulfview Blvd.
Clearwater Beach, FL 33767

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American Stage Theatre Company

Stadt: St. Petersburg

Adresse
163 3rd St. N.
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Telefon:727-823-7529

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