Top Things to do With Kids Near St Pete Beach
St Pete Beach has become a favorite destination for my family. With a top rated beach and numerous activities to do nearby we've never run out of things to do there. Below are the top 5 things we have done in St Pete Beach.
Dolphin Cruise at Hubbards Marina
The Dolphin Watching Nature Cruise and Eco Tour at Hubbards Marina is a big hit with my daughters. We've done this cruise twice and both times we saw plenty of dolphins. I would recommend purchasing tickets in advance online to guarantee a spot on the tour, the marina has multiple times slots each day to choose from. Then, once you arrive you'll pick up your tickets inside the shop at the marina. Be sure arrive a little early as the cruise leaves promptly at the scheduled time.
The boat for the tour is a fairly large pontoon style boat with bench seating. There are snacks for purchase, if you forgot anything for the little ones, and bathroom on board just in case you need it. As soon as the tour starts, get ready to start seeing some dolphins. We spotted the first dolphin about 5 minutes into the tour the first time we went. The dolphins don't stay out of the water for very long but they do come up frequently. Both my daughters loved being able to point out where the dolphins were as soon as they saw them.
The tour took us around the large bay for an hour and a half where the guides informed us about all of the wildlife and history of the area. About half way through we cruised by an island that was full of several different kinds of colorful birds that my daughters also really enjoyed.
Before or after the cruise near Hubbards Marina there are numerous different shopping stores and restaurants to stop at along the water. It would be easy to spend half a day just in this area. So while the dolphin cruise is the highlight for the kids, there are other things to do and see close by.
Spend an Afternoon Playing on the Beach
St Pete Beach consistently ranks among the best beaches, not only in the US, but in the world. In 2021 it was rated the #1 beach in the US and #5 in the world by Trip Advisor. The large swath of white sand and calm waters on the Gulf coast make it ideal for kids. When we go there we stay at one of the resorts that is on the beach with private access and lounge chairs. There are several resorts in St Pete Beach to choose from, including multiple that cater to families and kids. There are also multiple places for public beach access in and around St Pete Beach for those that don't want to stay at a beachfront resort.
The beach is never overly crowded when we go in the beginning of March so there is plenty of room for the kids to dig, build, and even throw sand without being in the way of other people. The beach is always clean with very little seaweed or liter laying around. And while there is the occasional group of seagulls looking for some food, for the most part the birds are not bothersome.
Since we stay at a resort on the beach we are able to go and get cleaned up late in the afternoon then come back to the beach to watch the sunset before grabbing dinner. The sunsets really are the best way to end the afternoon in St Pete Beach.
Take a Day Trip to Legoland
About an hour and a half drive from St Pete Beach is Legoland Florida. My daughters love to play with their Duplos so going to Legoland was a must. We went midweek so as to avoid the crowds, which we did, even though it was the start of spring break season in early March.
Legoland Florida is really geared towards younger kids, mostly those under 12. There are plenty of activities and even some rides that my 1 year old was able to participate in. My four year old was able to take part in almost everything there was to do, including driving lego go-cart around a race track. But the biggest hit with her was the imagination zone where she was able to build a contraption that glided down a track by itself. I think she would have spend all day there if we had let her.
When we wanted to take a break from walking around we stopped and watched the water ski show that happens several times throughout the day. While the kids liked the show I think mom and dad appreciated it more. The show was just the right length of time so as to keep the kids engaged.
The park was open from 10 am to 5 pm on the day we went and we were there almost the entire time they were open. Legoland park also has a waterpark and a Peppa Pig themed park. Both of these would have required coming back to do a different day since there was so much to do in just the Legoland portion. Overall Legoland is a great option for those wanting something a little more low key than the bigger theme parks nearby and it is a shorter drive from St Pete Beach.
Pick Oranges at Dooley Groves
Fresh picked fruit always tastes just a bit better. Unfortunately where we are from, Minnesota, we don't have the opportunity to get fresh oranges. However, just across Tampa Bay from St Pete Beach there is Dooley Groves, that lets the public pick fresh oranges.
Getting to Dooley Groves is pretty easy as there are several signs pointing visitors in the right direction to get there. The parking lot is fairly small so the place could not hold a large crowd. We got there pretty early in the morning and there was only a moderate amount of people there.
To get to the orange trees we first had to go through their store which consisted of already picked oranges and grapefruits as well as an assortment of honey and jams. When we got to the back of the store, just before the entrance to the field of orange trees, we were met by a worker that gave us instructions on how to pick oranges and grapefruits that were ripe. There were only certain trees to pick from which were clearly marked.
Both of my daughters enjoyed running through the orange grove and helping pick out the oranges, even if they didn't quite know which ones were ripe. They enjoyed eating the oranges even more once we had picked them. They are probably the juiciest oranges I've ever eaten.
Spend the Day at the Florida Aquarium
The Florida Aquarium is one of the more enjoyable aquariums we have taken my daughter to. There is more to do there than just see some sea creatures. They have a playground, splash pad and a 4D movie theater.
The aquarium consists of two levels of various marine life. Starting upstairs there is a one way path that takes visitors through both floors. The first section is a lot of fun because there are several different kinds of birds, monkeys and reptiles that kids can get up close with. As with many kids, the monkeys are always a big hit with my daughter.
Along the path there are multiple places to stop and touch different sea life, like sting rays and coral. Eventually the path comes out to the main area of the aquarium where there is a cafeteria and a back door leading to the outdoor playground and splash pad. My daughter absolutely loved the splash pad and played with the different bowls that would fill up and empty out for a really long time. There are changing rooms near the splash pad that make it easy to get the kids in and out of their swimsuits.
The aquarium is right in the heart of Tamp along the water so there are plenty of options nearby to go eat or take and afternoon walk before or after a visit. This includes Sparkman Wharf that has a huge area to sit outside with some lawn games like giant checkers.
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