St Pete, Clearwater, Florida: white sands and colourful walls
Boasting 35 miles of pristine fine white sands, St. Pete/Clearwater is in an ideal spot on a peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay. There’s never really a let-up in the sunshine, meaning it’s t-shirt weather year-round.
It’s well-known that Florida has some of the best beaches in the US, but St. Pete/Clearwater has a double-whammy of accolades. Clearwater Beach was voted the best beach in the country in TripAdvisor’s 2018 Traveler’s Choice Awards, and St. Pete Beach, less than 20 miles down the coast, was in the top 10, making it a must-visit for sunseekers.
The area has also been at the forefront of the craft-beer revolution. It has its own answer to California’s Wine Country -- the St. Pete/Clearwater Craft Beer Trail, also known as the “Gulp Coast”. Within an hour’s drive, you’ll find more than 30 independent breweries specialising in everything from porters to IPAs, but the local signature beer is the Florida Weisse. It’s a tart low-alcohol brew that each brewery has a take on -- many add fresh local fruits, such as key lime, pineapple and mango.
Away from the beaches, downtown St. Pete has also made a name for itself in the art world, thanks largely to the Salvador Dali Museum, which boasts the largest collection of Dali’s work outside of Spain. There’s everything from his famous surrealist oil paintings to intricate sculptured gold pendants and some of his fashion work.
But the art isn’t confined to galleries in this area. The walls have been adorned with colour and creativity ever since enormous murals started springing up around the 600 Block in 2010. There are now more than 70, and there’s now even an annual week-long festival to celebrate them.
Some of our favourites are “Twiggy” and “Mr Sun” by Chad Mize on 1st Avenue North, and “Life Reimagined” by Sarah Sheppard on 7th Street North. More recent ones often have the artist’s social media details on too, so you can follow them.