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St Petersburg, FL: The Vinoy Resort & Salvador Dali Museum

Since I’ve traveled to Florida SO much, I get asked a lot about the best places to live. (While there are places in Florida that I LOVE to visit, I wouldn’t necessarily want to live in most of them.)

Well, St Pete is at the top of my list of places that I could actually see myself living in Florida.

The city of St Petersburg (in between Tampa and St Pete Beach) is pretty large and there’s a lot to do. It’s becoming an increasingly sought after part of Florida for transplants who are drawn to the sunshine vibes of Florida but want to be part of a vibrant and up and coming community (not a retirement community).

On my last trip to Florida, I had a random list of things I wanted to do in the area (from seeing the manatees up at Crystal River to checking out Fort de Soto State Park) and I decided that downtown St Pete would be a good home base.

I LOVE this area so if you’re visiting for a sunshine getaway and don’t mind not being right on the beach, here’s how I spent a weekend in St Pete:

Where to Stay: The Vinoy

I love a historic pink hotel (read about my stay at the nearby Don CeSar in St Pete Beach here) so when The Vinoy Resort & Golf Club just wrapped up a HUGE renovation earlier this year, I knew I had to check it out.

And honestly, it was everything I hoped it would be.

The Vinoy Park Hotel originally opened in 1925 and hosted countless celebrities and presidents through the roaring 20s, the depression, and the post war boom until falling into disrepair in the 1970s.

The hotel sat shuttered until it was added to the National Register of HIstoric Places, saved from demolition, and restored to its original glory in 1992.

The Vinoy has undergone another couple of expansive renovations since then and just reopened this spring as THE place to be in St Petersburg.

It’s retained ALL of its historic charm without skimping on any modern luxuries.

The rooms are completely modern and luxe with a grandeur that gives a nod to the hotel’s history.

This may not be a beach resort, but it’s still a destination. The pool deck is pretty swanky and with onsite restaurants, shopping, tennis, and the nearby Vinoy Golf Club, it has everything you could want on vacation.

One of my favorite things about this place is the location. It’s within walking distance to the St Pete Pier and the Dali Museum which are two of my favorite spots in St Petersburg.

My other favorite thing about the Vinoy is that it’s part of the Marriott Bonvoy portfolio and has a pretty good point redemption rate. I was able to stay here using a few 35K free night certificates which I felt was an overwhelming value for a place like this!

Book your stay at the Vinoy here.

***Want to save major $$$ on your next trip? I get asked ALL the time how I’m able to travel so often and stay at really nice resorts. Well, my favorite travel hack is cashing in points to score free airfare and free nights at high end resorts and hotels (including the Vinoy!). Read my full guide on the exact system I use to max out credit card rewards here. Seriously, it’s going to save you soooo much money.

Things to Do

I mentioned that I decided to stay in St Pete because it was a good home base for doing a few different things on the gulf coast, but there were also a couple of things I wanted to do specifically in St Pete.

The Dali 

I’ve been wanting to visit The Dali for YEARS. The Salvador Dali Museum has the greatest collection of Dali’s work outside of Europe, and it is a great collection.

The museum itself is pretty spectacular too. The collection’s new home debuted in 2011 and it’s since become a hub of the arts in St Pete.

The museum features 2,400 works of Salvador Dali collected by A. Reynolds and Eleanor Morse beginning with the purchase of their first Dali painting (Daddy Longlegs of the Evening, Hope!) in 1943. The couple actually met Salvador Dali and his wife Gala in 1943 and the two couples maintained a long friendship.

Whether or not you’re a big Dali fan (I’m not going to lie, his work is pretty odd), this is a world class art museum and it’s pretty wild that it’s located in St Pete.

Besides the museum’s permanent collection and visiting exhibits, the museum has recently invested in the “Dali Dome” which features daily 360 degree multi sensory presentations featuring Salvador Dali and his work.

The wild success of the traveling Van Gogh exhibits in the last couple of years has proven that there’s definitely an audience for this type of exhibit, but I love that this one is permanent and attached to a world class museum featuring the artist.

So if you’re visiting the museum, definitely do the add on to experience the Dali Dome as well as the galleries.

St Pete Pier

I see a lot of things when I’m traveling and one thing it’s taught me is that it’s amazing what you can create when you have money and a vision.

Well the Glazer Family (the billionaire owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) have really invested in the St Pete Pier and it is SUCH A NICE PLACE. The whole waterfront area of the St Pete peninsula is pretty lined with parks and running/biking trails, but the St Pete Pier has really become the hub of it all.

There are some parks/playgrounds out on the pier plus several restaurants and it is just such a nice place to walk, hang out, and watch the sunset.

Other Museums

If you’re a museum person like me, there are a couple of other really interesting looking museums to check out in St Pete too:

Museum of the American Arts & Crafts Movement

Chihuly Collection

Side Note: If you’re looking for a rental car for your trip, I LOVE Discount USA Car Rental. They’re seriously the only company I ever use. I started using their sister company (Discount Hawaii Car Rental) on my Hawaii trips almost 10 years ago and now I use their main site for all of my other trips. They’ll give you the very best prices, you don’t have to reserve with a credit card or pay until you show up, you can cancel and re-book anytime if you find a better rate, and they usually have a special that adds additional drivers for no fee. It’s a no brainer. Click here to check rates for your trip.

Where to Eat

I definitely didn’t have time to do the food scene in St Pete justice, but here are a couple of places I tried that I liked:

Doc Ford’s Rum Bar

There are a few of these along Florida’s Gulf Coast, but this one has to win for best view. If you want to eat on the St Pete Pier, this is probably your best option. I had a fantastic grouper sandwich!

Paradeco Coffee Roasters

We stopped here for breakfast on the morning that we walked from the Vinoy down to the Dali Museum. It’s such a cute vibe! They have great coffee and their breakfast offerings are good but it’s kind of vegan-ish which you’ll either love or hate ; )

On Another Note: If you’re looking for a condo or vacation rental for your trip, I always book with Vrbo. They’ve got the largest selection of rentals you’ll find anywhere and you can easily filter to find exactly what you’re looking for. Need a specific number of bedrooms and bathrooms? Narrowed it down to a certain location? Want flexible cancellation terms? Need to stay under a fixed budget? Click here to search for Florida vacation rentals for your trip.

Want to Read More Posts about Florida? I’ve got plenty!

Check out these destinations: Miami (Things to Do Besides Party & Where to Stay) // Key Biscayne // Sanibel & Captiva // Longboat Key & Anna Maria Island // Marco Island // 30a // St Augustine // Amelia Island // St Pete Beach // St Petersburg // Fort Myers // Dunedin // Crystal River & Weeki Wachee Springs // Honeymoon Island & Caladesi Island State Parks // Tarpon Springs // Matlacha & Pine Island // Apalachicola

Trying to narrow it down? Siesta Key vs Anna Maria Island // St Pete Beach vs Clearwater Beach // Sanibel vs Marco Island // Destin vs Panama City Beach // Destin vs 30a // Key Biscayne vs South Beach // Seaside vs Rosemary Beach

Best Beaches in Florida with Seashells

Best Florida Tennis Resorts

P.S. If you want to follow along on my travel adventures in real time, you can follow me on Instagram (@caitylincoln). My post captions are full of travel tips and I have a ton of story highlights and videos with great info. And share my account with your travel loving friends! Your support really helps me keep this blog running!