Last Updated on February 21, 2023
Drawn to St. Petersburg for its beautiful beaches and great year-round weather, tourists find this the perfect vacation spot. There are hundreds of vacation rentals of all sorts all over the peninsula. My cousins vacation on one of our beaches every year, usually spending time in a condo from Airbnb, VRBO, or another similar site. A number of my friends own RVs and stay at RV parks and camps in the area. Other friends and family prefer the convenience of a hotel.
The best thing about staying in St. Pete is that there is always so much to do. The city hosts more than 1000 events annually from auto racing’s Firestone Grand Prix and golf’s Valspar Championship to the Mainsail Art Festival and St. Petersburg Lighted Boat Parade. Believe it or not, there’s also a GeckoFest that pays homage to Gulfport’s unofficial mascot.
St. Petersburg is also home to a variety of museums, galleries, shopping venues, parks, and gardens. There is always something going on or happening, be it downtown or on one of the beaches. And let’s not forget our area pro sports teams.
But no matter why you come to St. Petersburg, you will need a place to stay. No matter your style and budget, there is something here for you. Allow me to introduce you to seven accommodation ideas that might interest you.
The plethora of vacation offerings in the St. Pete area can get very confusing. Luckily, St. Pete/Clearwater Convention and Visitors Bureau has a listing of smaller, more intimate hotels, motels, inns, and bed & breakfasts.
For example, the Birchwood, on Beach Drive in Downtown St. Pete, facing Tampa Bay. The Spanish Mission-style building has 18 rooms and a world-class restaurant. Birch & Vine has won several awards and offers local favorites with their own twist.
How about Island’s End Resort? Situated on the southernmost tip of historic Pass-A-Grille, six cottages are a welcome place to wind down “on island time.” Island’s End does not have a restaurant, but there are plenty within walking distance.
Or try Frenchy’s Oasis Motel, a 15-room retro boutique hotel. Frenchy’s sits on the inter-coastal waterfront in Clearwater Beach. Fashioned after the motels of the 60s, Frenchy’s offers a variety of modern amenities that include a 40-inch flat-screen TV and MP3 docking center. Most rooms have a kitchen, private balconies or patio, and free Wi-Fi. The motel is part of a group that also owns four Frenchy’s restaurants on Clearwater Beach.
There are some 40 accommodations on the site. Check out All Superior Small Lodgings to find a place that might be perfect for you.
The Hollander Hotel
Centrally located in Downtown St. Pete, the Hollander Hotel has gone through several reinventions since its founding in 1933. Everywhere you look, there is a piece of Florida history. The hardwood maple flooring in the hallways and some rooms has been around since its original construction. You can see scars from the people who have tread upon them for almost 90 years.
While the Hollander is a boutique hotel, the rooms are ample in size. The bed table and dresser resemble old-time luggage, and each room has a microwave and mini-refrigerator. All rooms have ceiling fans, flat-screen TVs, and complimentary Wi-Fi. You can choose from a queen or king standard room, a queen or king suite, or a king room with a balcony.
The front of the hotel has a front terrace that spans 130 feet. The Tap Room is its restaurant, and there is a coffee bar there, too. The outdoor pool also features HH20 (a full liquor bar), food, and cabanas.
The Hollander is within walking distance of downtown’s many restaurants, shops, breweries, museums, and parks.
PRO TIP: The Hollander Hotel is pet-friendly.
Next door to the Hollander is its sister property, the Avalon Hotel. Neon indoors and outdoors highlights the hotel’s Art Deco style. As with the Hollander, the Avalon contains much of the original flooring from construction.
The Avalon offers deluxe rooms with King- or Queen-sized beds and private bathrooms. In addition, it has a number of suites and studios in an adjacent building that was once an apartment complex. As with Hollander’s rooms, all of the rooms in the Avalon have ceiling fans, flat-screen TVs, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
There is no pool at the Avalon, but guests are free to use any of Hollander’s amenities and since it is next door to the Hollander, it is also within walking distance of downtown attractions.
The iconic pink palace of Florida’s Gulf Coast, the Don Cesar has been serving guests for more than 90 years. Many of its rooms and suites have views of the beach and Gulf of Mexico or Boca Ciega Bay on the other side. In the early 2020’s, the “Don” completed a three-year renovation modernizing its meeting spaces, corridors, restaurants, exteriors, and 277 guest rooms and suites.
A National Historic Landmark, the Don has six restaurants and lounges, two heated pools, a fitness center, and a full-service spa. That does not include the 22,000-square-feet of indoor and 16,000-square-feet of outdoor meeting space. The Don also has its own private stretch of beach with beach rentals and water sports. About one-half mile down the beach, the Don has 71 suites ideal for families, groups, and extended stays.
The Society Restaurant at the Don includes a Demonstration Room where chefs will lead guests in hands-on activities—think making your own truffles—and wine and cheese tastings.
On St. Pete’s Tampa Bay Coast is another pink palace. The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club opened on New Year’s Eve in 1925. Guests paid $20 per night, one of the most expensive rates in the state at that time.
Located close to the harbor, Vinoy Park, and the St. Petersburg Pier, the Vinoy melds historic luxury with modern sophistication. The Vinoy, which is now a Marriott property, has 361 rooms and suites, each reflecting its rich heritage while mixing modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi, and well-lit workspaces. While there are dozens of restaurants within walking distance, the Vinoy has five restaurants where guests can enjoy everything from snacks to full meals.
Though the Vinoy does not sit on a beach, it has a private marina from which you can charter a boat to explore Tampa Bay. In addition, there are two pools, tennis courts, and a gym with free fitness classes. The Vinoy even has its own 18-hole golf course within the resort. Don’t golf? You can take lessons right there.
Postcard Inn on the Beach
“The sand. The sun. The waves. The fun.” So reads the motto of the Postcard Inn on the Beach.
Located on St. Pete Beach, the Postcard Inn on the Beach offers a fun experience for everyone in the family. The hotel offers weekly activities that range from yoga in the garden and ice cream socials to beer school and bellyflop contests. In addition to music most nights, it offers a dive-in movie on Thursdays.
The inn’s variety of rooms include Deluxe King or Queens to premium rooms with a patio. Bungalows are even available that include a sitting area and a balcony. If you do not take advantage of daily housekeeping, you will receive a $5 voucher to use at any of their food and beverage outlets. Check their website for other special offers.
The Postcard Inn has the largest pool on St. Pete Beach. It also has a myriad of games available, so get ready to enjoy cornhole, billiards, ping pong, and beach volleyball. The inn has four restaurants that are open at various times of the day.
Ft. DeSoto Campgrounds
Because so many people are camping and renting RVs these days, I need to mention the Fort DeSoto Campgrounds. Ft. DeSoto is the largest park in the Pinellas County Park System. Five keys make up its 1,136 acres and afford seven miles of beachfront, a two-plus mile canoe trail, nature trail, and dog park that includes a dog beach. You’ll also find two fishing piers, picnic shelters, concession stands, and the Quartermaster Museum.
The campground has sites for tents, vans and pop-ups, as well as larger sites for pull-through motor homes. Water, electricity, picnic tables, and a grill come with each site. There are common-area washers, dryers, restrooms, and showers. There is a campground store for necessities, although there are stores outside of the park. If you absolutely need Wi-Fi, you can access it at the camp store and office.
Camping at Ft. DeSoto is popular, so make reservations early. For most of the year, there is a limit of one 14 night-stay in any 30 days. Rates are affordable and there is a six-person limit at any site.