Plan a Sustainable Trip to St. Pete-Clearwater

Love to travel but want to keep your footprint light? Embarking on a “green” getaway to St. Pete-Clearwater is easier than you might think.

three women with trash bags at a beach clean up

Participate in an organized beach clean-up or just pick up things you see on the beach!

If we all work together, we can keep the water in Clearwater clear and the parks in St. Pete pristine for everyone to enjoy. Consider this guide to be your blueprint to a vacation that combines fun with environmental stewardship, inspired by the Pinellas County Sustainable Action Plan. Here’s how your actions can help preserve the St. Pete/Clearwater's natural beauty and support local wildlife while exploring our vibrant communities.

1

Pack Eco-Consciously

a woman in a yellow shirt and pink shorts and another woman in a green sundress walking on the beach

Dress light, bright and breezy for your vacation.

Even before you leave home, you can plan to "travel green" since packing for St. Pete/Clearwater is your first step toward a sustainable vacation. Consider these essentials:

  • Reusable water bottles: Bring along a reusable water bottle (or even a coffee cup) to stay hydrated (or caffeinated) without creating plastic and paper waste.
  • Eco-Friendly Sunscreen: Choose reef-safe sunscreen to protect our local marine ecosystems while safeguarding your skin.
  • Sustainable Wardrobe: Pack light, with clothing made from sustainable materials. Think organic cotton, bamboo or recycled fabrics suitable for Florida’s warm climate.
2

Choose Eco-Friendly Transportation

SunRunner bus

Leave your car (and your parking worries) behind when you take the eco-friendly SunRunner from St. Pete to St. Pete Beach.

Traveling around St. Pete/Clearwater can be as eco-friendly as the destination itself:

  • Public Transit & Shuttles: Utilize the efficient SunRunner bus system connecting downtown St. Petersburg with the beaches. It’s a greener alternative to rental cars.
  • Biking Bliss: The Pinellas Trail offers miles of scenic routes. Rent a bike or take advantage of local bike shares to explore the area without emissions.
  • Scooting Around Town: Downtown St. Pete offers rental scooters right on the street.
  • Eco-Car Rentals: If a car is necessary, choose a hybrid or electric model to minimize your carbon footprint.

Read more about public transportation options

3

Be a Responsible Beachgoer

Baby Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Your beachgoing behaviors can help or hinder local wildlife, such as baby loggerhead sea turtles.

Our beaches are stunning escapes. Here's how you can enjoy the sun and sand while ensuring these treasures endure for future generations:

  • Be Prepared for Your Beach Day: Research and respect local beach rules regarding pets, alcohol and designated swimming areas (rules vary from area to area, but you can find some of this information in our Beach FAQs). Being informed helps you protect the beach environment and wildlife.
  • Pack It In, Pack It Out: Whatever you bring to the beach, be sure to take it back with you. This includes all trash, leftovers and personal belongings. Keep our beaches trash-free and help safeguard marine life from pollution.
  • Use Reusable Items: Choose reusable water bottles, containers and utensils instead of single-use plastic ones. This simple switch significantly reduces plastic waste, one of the biggest threats to our oceans.
  • Respect Wildlife and Natural Habitats: Keep a safe distance from birds, nesting sites and marine life. Interfering with or feeding wildlife can disrupt their natural behaviors and endanger their survival. If you’re lucky enough to visit during sea turtle nesting season, keep a respectful distance from nests, mother sea turtles and hatchlings.
  • Stay Off the Dunes: Sand dunes play a crucial role in beach ecosystem health, providing habitat for wildlife and protecting inland areas from storm surges. Use designated walkways and avoid trampling on dunes to help preserve these vital natural defenses.
  • Be Considerate of Others: Play music at a reasonable volume, keep sports and games in designated areas to avoid disturbing others, and maintain a clean space around you. The beach is a shared treasure, and a little courtesy goes a long way.
  • Get Involved in Local Conservation Efforts: Organizations such as Keep Pinellas Beautiful host beach cleanups and conservation projects. It's rewarding to participate in this programs that ensure our beaches remain beautiful for everyone.

See our fun video series on responsible beachgoing

4

Stay in a Sustainable Hotel

A view from the beach of the pink Don CeSar hotel after the rain.

The Pink Palace

The historic Don CeSar hotel has hosted movie stars, famous writers and other celebrities since 1928.

Choose a hotel or resort that shares your environmental values:

  • Eco-Partnership Hotels: Partners of Keep Pinellas Beautiful, like Winter the Dolphin’s Beach Club, embed sustainability into their operations, from energy efficiency to conservation programs.
  • Green Practices: Inquire about your hotel's sustainability initiatives, such as water-saving fixtures, recycling programs and eco-friendly amenities.
  • Local Engagement: Some hotels offer nature programs, beach clean-ups or other efforts that blend tourism with meaningful environmental action. Inquire ahead of booking or at the front desk when you check in.

Choose a Florida Green Lodging or eco-friendly hotel

5

Dine Sustainably

A delicious red snapper dish at Salt Rock Grill.

Oh, Snap!

Fresh, locally sourced seafood is always on the menu at Salt Rock Grill and many other restaurants in St. Pete/Clearwater.

St. Pete/Clearwater’s culinary scene is a testament to sustainable eating:

  • Farm-to-Table Dining: Support restaurants that source locally, reducing food miles and boosting local agriculture. 
  • Seafood Sustainability: Enjoy guilt-free seafood at eateries committed to responsible fishing practices, ensuring the longevity of ocean life.
  • Vegan and Vegetarian Venues: Explore plant-based dining options that offer delicious menus that are kind to the planet.

Read our story about sustainable dining in St. Pete/Clearwater

6

Plan Low-Impact Adventures

A group of women in yellow kayaks paddling around the St. Pete/Clearwater bay or Gulf of Mexico

Surrounded by Nature

Kayaking and paddle boarding is an wonderful way to experience nature.

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of St. Pete/Clearwater with minimal impact:

  • Kayaking and Paddleboarding: Glide through serene waters on a guided eco-tour to learn about local ecosystems while exploring mangroves and waterways.
  • Nature Preserves: Visit Boyd Hill Nature Preserve or Fort De Soto Park for hiking and wildlife viewing.
  • Beach Cleanups: Do your part by picking up litter during your beach day or joining a beach clean-up.

Learn more about local nature tours

7

Shop Local

A lady wearing a hat, selling bread with a big smile. Many types of breads are on display.

Bread-y for Anything

Fresh-baked breads are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to delicious things you'll find at Saturday Morning Market in downtown St. Pete.

  • Local Markets: Purchase local, ensuring your souvenirs and treats are sustainably sourced and support the local economy.
  • Eco-Stores: Look for shops and markets like Indie Flea selling eco-friendly goods, from biodegradable beach toys to organic beauty products, enhancing your green lifestyle.

Learn more about local markets in St. Pete/Clearwater.

8

As Your Vacation Comes to an End

As your Florida vacation winds down, consider how you can leave a positive impact:

  • Donate Unused Items: Collaborate with local initiatives like Vacation Donations to give away items you can’t take home, reducing waste and supporting the community.
  • Reflect and Share: Consider the environmental lessons learned and share your sustainable travel experiences with others to inspire more eco-conscious journeys.