33 Things to do Outside in St. Pete-Clearwater

Your guide to outdoor activities around Pinellas County

Looking for some outdoor fun around the Clearwater-St. Pete area? We’ve got you covered.

We are two local Pinellas moms and we write about family-friendly Clearwater-St. Pete. Here are some of our favorite things to do outdoors for families around the Clearwater and St. Petersburg area!

This list includes lots of ideas that are perfect for winter and spring before it gets unbearably hot. Don’t worry, you’ll also find activities for those hot hot summer days like splash pads and community pool water slides.

Let’s check out some local outdoor fun!

1. Beach

It’s Florida, we have to kick off the list with a beach trip. The beach is a good choice even on hotter days because you get the water breeze and you can cool off in the gulf.

There are so many beaches in our area. Clearwater beach is great if you’re looking for more activity, and restaurants, shops and hotels right near the beach… but parking can be a drag.

We recommend checking out some of our area’s quieter beaches too like:

  • Fred Howard Park’s Beach
  • Honeymoon Island
  • Sand Key Beach
  • Indian Rocks Beach

You can also find some small sandy alcoves hidden on the shoreline throughout Pinellas. Here are a couple we like:

  • Crystal Beach
  • By the Safety Harbor Pier
  • Philippe Park
  • Whiskey Joe’s (New Port Richey and Tampa)
  • The Getaway
kids on a beach in pinellas county
A tiny beach in Philippe Park

2. Playground

Playgrounds are the classic outdoor childhood activity. You’ll find community playgrounds all over the county. Don’t worry, if you need help choosing, we made a list of the playgrounds we think are worth the drive to visit.

Here’s our list of the 13 coolest playgrounds around Pinellas.

A large slide at the coachman park playground in clearwater
Coachman Park playground in Clearwater

3. Splash Pad

Where were splash pads when we were little? They’re truly such a gift to Florida families with little kids.

Splash pads are essentially playgrounds with fountains were kids can run around and play in the water, without parents having to be hyper-viligant about drowning risks like at a pool.

Check out our list of splash pads around Pinellas County

baby at kiwanis sprayground splash pad in dunedin fl
Kiwanis Sprayground in Dunedin

4. Community Pools

City run pools are a great way to cool off and add some novelty to swimming. Many of them have water slides and some also have smaller splash pad areas for little kids.

You’ll find cool slides at the community pools in Largo (Highland Recreation Center), many of the St. Pete city pools (here’s a list), and at Clearwater’s Morningside Recreation Complex, Clearwater Beach Recreation Complex and North Greenwood Rec.

two twisty water slides in aqua and blue
Highland Family Aquatic Center Pool

5. Theme Parks

Theme Parks are another perennial Florida thing that has to make the list. Busch Gardens is our nearest theme park but we’re also an easy drive from Legoland, Disney and Universal too.

If you’re heading to Disney, don’t forget to check out our list of things to get at the Dollar Tree before you go — many of these apply to other theme parks too.

Cinderella's castle at disney world

6. Nature Trails

Hiking a trail is such a good family activity. Kids love it and its usually free entrance. The Pinellas Trail is the classic in our area but you’ll find good trails all over, including beautiful boardwalk trails along the water.

Some of our favorite trails include: Moccasin Lake Park, Philippe Park, Boca Ciega Millennial Park and John Chestnut Park.

kids on safety harbor nature boardwalk
Safety Harbor Pier nature boardwalk

7. St. Pete Pier

St. Pete Pier has so much to offer families. It has our favorite playground in the county, a splash pad, small beach access, cool structural features and a small nature center.

The best part of the pier? There’s food and drinks for sale right next to the playground and the splash pad. Enjoy a drink sitting back at a table while your kids splash around.

glazer park playground at st. pete pier with a big yellow slide in the background and a climbing tube structure in the foreground
Playground at St. Pete Pier

8. Picnics

Picnics are a classic for a reason. Pack up and lunch and head to one of the many beautiful parks or waterfronts in our area.

9. Animal Spotting

You can add some fun to any neighborhood or trail walk by animal spotting along the way. We created bird bingo cards to make this super easy to bring and go.

Snag our free Florida bird bingo cards before your next walk

bingo card of birds with a title that says florida birds bingo

10. Farms & Petting Zoos

There are some great farms with petting zoos near Pinellas that are definitely worth the trip.

Before heading to a farm, note that many of them close for the hottest summer months. Also, make sure to pack a change of clothes because my kids always leave a farm absolutely, completely filthy.

Check out our list of farms and petting zoos near Pinellas

the backs of two toddlers petting a tortoise and looking on at a horse
Raprager Family Farm

11. ZooTampa

ZooTampa is nearly all outdoors (with the exception of the manatee center). It’s an awesome zoo and we love that all the rides are included for free in the cost of admission.

They also recently redid their Australia section and its home to a great splash pad and a shaded playground. We’re members and go regularly even though its a bit of a drive.

Check out our guide to ZooTampa

Manatee statue surrounded by water fountains at the entrance of ZooTampa at Lowry Park

12. Farmer’s Markets or Craft Fairs

There are no shortages of Farmer’s Markets to explore in our area. Basically, there’s one happening almost every day of the week. You can find a list of Pinellas Farmer’s Markets here.

chalkboard sign advertising the safety harbor farmers market with the market in the background

13. Breweries

Breweries are really on to something catering to families with kids. And most breweries that have the kid-friendly vibes are also have great outside spaces.

When we go, we bring along toy cars and board/card games, though many breweries also have family-friendly activities on site like big jenga games and corn hole.

Not sure which one to hit? Here are our favorite local family-friendly breweries

14. Explore a new local downtown

Pinellas is made up 24 municipalities, which means that we have lots of little local downtown areas to explore. Some of our favorites are Dunedin’s main street, downtown St. Pete, and main street Safety Harbor.

greetings from safety harbor fl mural with stroller in front of it

15. Florida Botanical Gardens

The Florida Botanical Gardens spans over 100 acres and is totally free to visit.

The new Majeed Discovery Garden is a real highlight if you have kids. My kids could have spent hours here playing with the water pump and climbing structures. They especially loved the area just full of huge sticks to build with, which just feels like a genius addition for a kids park.

TIP: Heritage Village is right next door and shares a parking lot with the gardens so they’re easy to pair together in one trip.

16. Honeymoon Island

Honeymoon Island is perhaps one of the best beaches in Pinellas County. It’s a state run park with stretches of great beaches and amenities. My kids favorite parts are the tidal pools and hunting for sea horses.

TIP: Get there early, especially on busy weekends. Or, go for sunset when park admission is discounted.

Check out our full guide to Honeymoon Island for even more tips

toddler in hat in honeymoon island tide pool
Honeymoon Island tide pool

17. Caladesi Island ferry

Caladesi Island used to be part of Honeymoon Island until a hurricane in the 1920’s split them (source). The island has beautiful, pristine island that is only accessible by boat (technically you could walk from Clearwater Beach but its 8.5 miles roundtrip).

You can catch the ferry from Honeymoon Island to get there. The ferry ride itself is a fun part of the experience.

sign of ticket prices for caladesi island ferry

18. Fort deSoto

Fort DeSoto was once named the most beautiful beach in the U.S. by Tripadvisor. It is a county park made of up beautiful islands and long beach stretches. There’s also a dog beach there.

19. Minor league baseball game

Our two local minor league baseball stadiums are outside and offer really reasonably priced tickets throughout the season. The Clearwater Threshers do a $1 night with $1 tickets and snacks. The Dunedin Bluejays do a $2 night, and also have a night where you can get free tickets from local TD Bank branches.

A picture from the bleachers at a minor league baseball game with the batter on the far left and mostly empty seats on the right side of the frame

20. Seaside Seabird Sanctuary

My grandparents used take me to the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary in Indian Shores all the time and I recently went back with my kids. I’m happy to report that it lived up to my memories.

It’s a bird rescue and rehabilitation center right on the beach that is totally free to visit, though donations are greatly appreciated.

In addition to all the birds to see, there’s an observation tour with stunning beach views, some aquatic tanks and a gift shop (both inside).

sign for the seaside seabird sanctuary in indian shores florida

21. Walk a causeway

Walking a causeway makes a lot of our lists because it is one of my favorite activities that just feels so Florida.

We’re lucky to have multiple walkable bridges with beautiful views, including: the Courtney Campbell, the Dunedin Causeway and the bridge to Clearwater Beach.

TIP: Causeways aren’t shaded so plan accordingly. Lots of sunscreen and we like to go in the morning or evenings.

a toddler dressed like a green dinosaur running on the Courtney Campbell bridge trail
Courtney Campbell Causeway Trail

22. Sunken Gardens

Sunken Garden has pretty gardens and some animals like flamingos to visit. It has a long history in our area, dating back to 1903 when it started as a roadside attraction.

You can visit Sunken Gardens for free with the Pinellas Library Museum Pass program. Check out a pass from one of the St. Pete library branches. It’s a popular one that gets checked out fast so move quick if you see it available.

Learn about all the cool places you can visit for free with the Pinellas Library Museum program

sign for Sunken Gardens with a flamingo on it

23. Whimzyland

Whimzeyland is an house done by two local artists Kairalinda & Todd that is so cool. We knew it as the “art house” and “bowling ball house” when we were growing up.

You can walk the yard for free, though donations are welcome. My toddlers were fully entranced by it. The Safety Harbor Art and Music Center (SHAMC) is also around the corner and done by the same artists.

Two toddlers walking up to the entrance of Whimzeyland in Safety Harbor, with an eclectic art archway

24. JR’s Sports Pub

JR’s Sports Pub is newly reopened and won me over in a big on our visit. They have a huge fenced in outdoor backyard that has games, a mini golf area and bounce houses. They were so nice too and accommodating when we came with two toddlers and a baby.

Plus, they focus on accessibility and include thoughtful touches like a sensory-friendly room (indoors) and an accessible bar stool for chair users.

three bounce houses set up in the backyard of JR's sport pub in Clearwater

25. Feed turtles at McGough

I had heard good things about McGough Nature Center but really underestimated how cool it’d be before we visited. They’re known for feeding their turtles but I truly never imagined they’d have SO many turtles. It is definitely worth the trip.

There’s also a free nature center (inside), trails to walk, and a big zip line at the playground (though the playground is otherwise small and not much to write home about).

TIP: when you go, add a stop at Yellow Banks Grove for orange swirl soft serve.

turtle on the shore of a lake at mcgough nature center in largo

26. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve

Boyd Hill Nature Preserve is a big nature park in St. Pete with hiking trails, education programs for families, nature tram tours, a camp ground and the Pinellas Pioneer Settlement.

There is a small fee to enter the preserve and for the tram tours. Pinellas county locals can get free park entrance through the library museum pass program (St. Pete library branches only).

27. Watch planes at Albert Whitted Park

Albert Whitted Park’s claim to fame is that it is located at the Albert Whitted Airport. You can watch airplanes take off and land from the waterfront park, and they have a plane-themed playground for kids.

28. St. Pete to Tampa ferry

Take the ferry across the Tampa Bay from St. Pete to downtown Tampa. The trip takes about 50 minutes and tts recommended to get tickets in advance because departure times can sell out. You can find their website here.

29. U-pick fruit

Just a bit outside of Pinellas are a variety of u-pick fruit farms. Around Plant City you’ll find lots of u-pick strawberries in late winter and early spring. U-pick blueberries run from April-May and you can pick blackberries into June.

Check out our lists of U-pick strawberry farms and U-pick blueberry farms near Pinellas

toddlers walking in a u-pick blueberry field
My kids blueberry picking outside of Oldsmar

30. Paddle-board

You can find self-service paddle board rentals for a day of paddle boarding on Tampa Bay. There’s a kiosk in Safety Harbor’s Philippe Park, throughout St. Pete Beach and in Palm Harbor at Pop Stansell Park.

31. Miniature Golf

Being a beachy community, we have have no shortage of mini golf around. Here are some ideas:

  • Congo River Golf
  • Celebration Station
  • Smugglers Cove

JR’s Sports Pub mentioned above also has a small mini golf area in their backyard that is free to use for patrons.

Sign for smugglers cove mini golf course in madeira beach florida

32. Water parks

Adventure Island is the biggest and best water park near Pinellas. We also have Splash Harbor water park which is a small water park located in Indian Rocks Beach. It’s connected to adjacent hotels but open to the public.

33. Tarpon Aquarium

We’re big fans of the Tarpon Aquarium around here and it is nearly all an ourdoor experience. It’s a small family run aquarium and it is highly interactive (think holding baby alligators).

Check out our full review of the Tarpon Aquarium

toddler holding a baby alligator at the tarpon aquarium

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Ready to get inside? Check out our list of indoor activities around Pinellas.

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