The next day in St Pete started off nice and slow. We’d spent the last few days traipsing across Clearwater and St Pete (including the natural beauty that is Caladesi Island) almost non-stop, that I realised we hadn’t even taken a moment to enjoy some of what this part of Florida is famous for – its amazing beaches!
The day started off with a champagne brunch at the Don Cesar (which was the perfect excuse for a long lie-in).
We went for breakfast tacos…
Corned beef hash (with a side salad to assuage any guilt. 😄)
Cinnamon roll in a sea of deliciously gooey (and piping hot) caramel sauce…
… and steel cut oats.
It was all so delicious and exactly what we needed. I don’t think I even fully realised how my over-eagerness to explore had shaped the last few days and how we hadn’t taken time to slow down.
There was one thing we had to do though, partly because we had booked it in advance but mostly because it promised to be one of the best views we’d had in St Pete so far.
Said thing was a helicopter flight over St Pete and with that, we hopped into a taxi and made our way over to the Albert Whitted airport (it’s a relatively small airport) where we would be hopping aboard our helicopter with Tampa Bay Aviation.
Though don’t fret if you don’t like flying, you can book an amazing yacht for a sunset cruise right from St Petes. It’s incredible.
Seeing St Pete from above is such a different experience of the place and truly shows you how expansive it is.
On a good day, you can also see manatees and dolphins from up here (we didn’t on that day).
My favourite part, however, was once we got to St Pete Beach, where you can see that stretch of seemingly never-ending white sandy beach!
I was so distracted by the beach that it took me a moment to realise we were flying right past the Don Cesar (our hotel). It was also, funnily enough, the first time I’d actually seen the beach at the hotel. I just realised that I hadn’t actually been on it since we arrived and made a mental note to change that.
Back on land, we decided it was probably worth checking out the Dali Museum. It was pretty much next door to the airport anyway and to be honest, I was intrigued to see what lay within its walls.
The Dali museum itself is something of an architectural masterpiece.
My favourite bit (which is probably most people’s too) is the winding staircase. It’s just such a beauty to look at.
And that’s before you get into the art…
The museum is a curation of pieces by Dali and his friend/contemporary René Magritte.
It’s a brilliant collection of surrealism paintings and sculptures and is such a brilliant way to spend an afternoon.
There are also interactive pieces in here as well as displays from other, more contemporary artists but suffice to say, when you’re in St Pete, it’s definitely worth checking this place out.
And with that, we decided it was time for the beach!
And boy did we beach it up! It was just so nice to finally take some time to just feel the sand between your toes, cool off with those waves gently lapping the shore and generally just relax.
All plans for lunch went quickly out of the window as we transition from the beach over one of the pools at the Don Cesar for a bit to eat.
And yes, I got buffalo wings again (boneless this time – which I’m not sure if I’m into just yet, I quite like the faff that comes with eating proper chicken wings). We also got nachos to share along with some icy cocktails.
As the sun set, we took our cocktail drinking selves over to the Level 11 Rooftop Bar and carried on as we had that afternoon with a few more frozen cocktails. (Suffice to say, the car was safely stowed away with the valet back at the hotel – the Uber ride here was like all of 5 minutes or so).
The view from the bar up here over the beach is pretty sweet!
Dinner had us at one of the only revolving restaurants left in the US (and I think the only one left in Florida) – Spinners (sat atop the Grand Plaza Hotel).
It’s a strange sensation eating in a revolving restaurant. I have no idea what I was expecting – perhaps that it would be like a rollercoaster ride but it turned out to be an almost imperceptible movement.
The only thing you’d notice every so often was that your view had changed. It was fun watching the storm roll in from all angles up here – and yes, it did rain a lot that night but you wouldn’t have been able to guess from all the sunshine the very next morning.
The next day, seeing as it was our last morning in St Pete, we decided to take it easy and grab a couple of bikes (you can get them for free when you’re staying at the Don Cesar) and head off cycling around the local neighbourhood.
It’s been so long since I’d actually been on a bicycle that I’d forgotten how much I loved cycling. Like it’s the only form of exercise I know I could happily do for hours on end. (Unless it’s uphill, in which case, I’d probably tap out of that challenge 😄).
The whole area around St Pete is actually quite charming and before you knew it, it was almost time to head over to the airport. With that, we docked our bikes back at the Don Cesar, picked up our car and luggage and made our way over to the airport.
Well, actually, we were due to make our way over to the airport when we remember a place several people had recommended to us. It was a new Cuban restaurant in town called Bodega and never one to miss out on a good opportunity to eat (addled with the fact that all we would have after that would be aeroplane food), we decided to stop in at Bodega.
Now, you remember this restaurant here with that amazing lunch? You might also remember how I said that it was the best meal we’d had thus far in St Pete – well, Bodega is the other place I mentioned which rivalled that. Like they would both be in my top 2 places to eat in St Pete (joint 1st place).
The food was so good and was reminiscent of spicy, fresh and utterly delicious Nigerian meals I had growing up! It was AMAZING!!!
We both had the same thing – chicken butterflied and grilled, rice, beans, avocado and fried plantains (*my number one favourite meal in the world – like it’s the only thing I could eat all day every day and never get bored of). Everything was just sooooooo delicious!
The smoothies here are also worth stopping in for. They’re some of the best ever. Funny, writing this now, I remember someone saying the same thing to me and I was left thinking “How great can a smoothie be – it’s just a smoothie!”.
Turns out, pretty great! They’re all prepared fresh in front of and I have no idea what they do that’s different but it’s just so good!
To avoid being late for the airport, we got ourselves dessert to go (delicious freshly made cookies) and with that, it was time to bide St Pete farewell.
St Pete and Clearwater had just been exactly what we needed – a revitalising holiday in the sun-filled with lots of great food and I genuinely can’t wait to return eat and drink my way through this utterly gorgeous part of Florida!