When people visit St. Petersburg (St.Pete) in Florida many come for the tropical experience. They will hit the beach, stay at a coastal hotel, hang out in outdoor bars and enjoy lots of seafood. There is an off the beaten path gem inland and just outside of downtown where you can just add to this tropical fun. Visit Sunken Gardens a hundred plus year old garden and tropical paradise.
After paying the nominal fee to get in, we spent two hours on a summer afternoon day walking the curvy paths of the four acres of gardens. All the twists and turns made the gardens seem much more expansive. It definitely did not feel like we were in the middle of a big city.
Operated by the city of St. Petersburg, you will find hundreds of species of tropical and subtropical plants, with 50,000+ plants in total. Many palm trees, birds and mini-waterfalls were spotted as we walked, not to mention geckos. Being Florida and the summer, we got rained on pretty good which just added to the tropical experience. Below are some highlights of what we saw at Sunken Gardens.
Are there any other off the beaten path spots in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area you would recommend visiting?
The gulf coast in Florida, especially St. Pete Beach, is well-known for their beautiful sunsets. Waking up right after sunrise one summer morning, I found the area to be just as scenic during the early morning hours.
I approached Pass-a-Grille Beach and the historic district alongside near St. Pete Beach’s southern most point. Some small dunes were all that separated Gulf Way and myself from the sugar-soft sands and the Gulf of Mexico. It was time to walk the short wooden bridge and see more of the gulf with every step.
The early morning sun, some blue skies, a calmness to the water and not a sole around, I had this part of the beach all to myself.
Well almost! Some people were hanging out on the pier off in the distance and I hope that other person wasn’t taking a bath haha. 🙂
It wouldn’t be a morning along the beach in these parts without a bunch of seaweed that washed ashore overnight.
The romantic park bench was just hanging out waiting for someone to sit. A beautiful place to just hang out and stare off into the vast, turquoise waters of the gulf. The sun continued overhead, but off in the distance storm clouds were forming over the water. Just par for the course in Florida. 🙂
Who is that guy checking out the “Welcome To” sign? 🙂
Pass-a-Grille and this part of St. Pete Beach is off the beaten path, a mile or two south off the main highway. It’s a recommended stop. You’ll find shopping, ice cream, restaurants and fishing opportunities to go with the beach. Merry Pier is definitely worth a look.
Checkout the beauty of a St. Pete Beach area sunset. Are there any off the beaten path beach spots you would recommend along the Florida Gulf Coast?
It was sunny summer day in Sarasota, Florida near Siesta Key just staring out into Sarasota Bay. From the shoreline within Bay Island Park I looked off into the distance at the Ringling Causeway Bridge. You know what would be even better?! To be sitting on the boat. 🙂
Before looking back on 2013, I’m looking ahead to 2014 and what it will bring in terms of travel. The upcoming year will be focused around a once in a lifetime event. I am getting married to the love of my life in the Spring. 🙂
We have begun to look at honeymoon options. We are picturing palm trees, warm sand, turquoise waters, tropical drinks, with some adventure thrown in. Island hopping around the Caribbean for a week or two, without the benefit of a cruise, is what we are thinking.
I got my first taste of Mar Caribe a few years back in Cancun, Mexico and I’m excited to get back.
The rest of the year will be filled out with work and random road/day trips, time exploring Michigan and Georgia and discovering new coffee shops along the way. There will be some out-of-the-blue travel I’m sure as well. The highlight though will be that trip after the wedding. 🙂
Does anyone have any island, hotel, beach and/or excursion recommendations in the Caribbean that don’t break the bank? Any suggestions on easy ways to move from one island to the next?
To 2014! Hope to see you caffeinated out on the open road and water!
The Adventures of elATLboy
I captured this shot as a passenger going over the Siesta Key Bridge (Siesta Dr., SR 758) in Sarasota, Florida. It connects Siesta Key with the mainland. Looking north, just the open waters straight ahead. Off in the distance you can see condo high rises and the John Ringling Bridge which connects the mainland with Lido and Longboat Keys and lots more Gulf of Mexico beachfront.