So you are looking for some free things to do in St. Pete? There is something for every budget! St. Petersburg sits on the west coast, just west of Tampa, surrounded by mostly water, including both the gulf and Tampa Bay. It has a large and cute downtown area, lots of waterfront, and beautiful beaches. Here are some of my best picks in St. Pete, and please see the map at the bottom for locations of the activities:
1. Waterfront Walk on the Bay- FREE
My top pick is the waterfront area on the bay side. It is a great place to walk and see the river, or bike, or run. It has plenty of shade. There is a nice arboretum area at Gizella Kopsick Arboretum which is a good starting point and free place to park. It is open from sunrise to 11pm. We also enjoyed the gelato up the street at Pacuigo Gelato & Cafe
2. North Shore Aquatic Center – $5- Adults, $4.50 kids 3-12
Adjacent to the arboretum I just mentioned, is a pool and small water park. Great way to spend a hot afternoon in the lap pool or on the diving board. The aquatic center boasts a zero entry pool, splash pad and water-slide for the kids. Open 9-4 Monday through Friday, 10-4 Saturday, and 1-4 Sunday. The splash pad and water slide are open on the weekends, and weekdays in the summer.
3. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve – $3 adults, $1.50 children 3-12
This is just one of many budget friendly and free things to do in St. Petersburg that you can get out into nature. Hike the boardwalks around the lake and take a view in of the wildlife. We loved this place! Visit the blog post here for more pictures and details about the nature preserve. The park has varying hours throughout the year, but typically 9-6. Please check their website. They are closed Mondays.
4. Fort De Soto Park – FREE
If you are looking for a full day or overnight nature experience, you may want to check out this park. They have everything you could want in a campground/park and are rated one of the more popular places to visit in the area. Including in the things to do at this park are camping, fishing, trails, swimming, concessions, dog park, beaches, ferrys, a museum, and a historic fort! Easily a day or more can be spent here.
5. Pass-a-Grill Beach and Historical Museum – FREE
If you’re looking for a private, quiet beach to check out the sunset or have a nice day at the beach, this is the place for you. This stretch of about four miles of beach is about 20 min outside of downtown St. Pete. They also have a free museum (open Friday, Sat and Sun) to learn about the history of the area.
6. John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk – FREE unless shopping
This is your typical tourist destination boardwalk area, with shops, restaurants, and views of the ocean. Although gimmicky, this is still a fun place to take a walk around in nice weather.
7. The Pier Aquarium – NOT YET OPEN
Another great inexpensive attraction to look forward to! They are currently renovating the pier and there is supposed to be a new small aquarium with programs for children.
8. Morean Art Galley – FREE
This is a nice small gallery and gift shop to walk around, takes about 30 min to an hour to go through, depending on your affinity for art. There is a children’s gallery section in the back that has a great display of kids art. The center hosts classes for kids and free classes on Saturday mornings.
9. Great Expectations Children’s Museum – $$$ 10 a person.
This one is not free, but I just had to add it because my kids enjoyed it so much. It’s $10 a person, but the kids can stay there all day! They have a climbing structure, giant building blocks, a little pretend grocery store and pizza shop. They have an area where they can pretend to be a doctor or vet, a sand area, and much more! Open 10-430 Monday to Saturday and 12-430 Sunday.
That wraps it up for our budget friendly and free things to do in St. Pete! While you’re in the area, don’t forget to check out our page on Clearwater and Tarpon Springs!