Pinellas County, Florida, practically is synonymous with water recreation due to its nearly 587 miles of coastline and 35 miles of white sand beaches! So when it comes to water, whether you like to boat on it, swim in it or just look at it, Pinellas County may be the right place for you! But let’s not ignore the county’s 4,242 acres of parks and preserves, 43 golf courses and 1,059 tennis courts. And the regions temperate gulf breezes and mild winter temperatures provide an ideal climate year-round.
If professional sports are your thing, Pinellas County is home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL), Tampa Bay Rays (MLB), and Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL). The Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays host their spring training here too.
For arts and culture residents and visitors enjoy 15 performing arts centers, 20 theatre companies, and 17 museums.
On the business side, Pinellas County’s top business sectors by employment are retail, health services, tourism, and manufacturing. The county has the second largest base of manufacturing employment in Florida. Also, Pinellas is a center for research and development in marine science, electronic instruments and sensors and nanotechnology.
The island community of Tierra Verde has the nearest proximity to the reknown beaches in Fort Desoto Park. What is known today as Tierra Verde was once 15 islands covered with mangroves, pines and bush. Indians used the islands for ceremonial and burial grounds and a memorial marker remains on the east side of Pinellas Bayway.
In the mid-1950s developers purchased several of the mangrove islands. Initially the only way to access the island was by ferry from Pass-a-Grille, but by the early 60s a bridge connected the island to the mainland. Guy Lombardo’s famed Port O’ Call Resort soon followed and featured top-name acts including Frank Sinatra, Marlene Deitrich, Liberace, Mel Torme, and many others. The resort has since been shuttered and is in the process of being replaced by a new marina, hotel and restaurant complex.
Residential opportunities on the island include waterfront and off-water single-family homes, small waterfront low-rise condominium complexes and waterfront and off-water townhomes. A dozen or so canals thread through the island and provide easy access to the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Boca Ciega Bay and Tampa Bay.
When in Tierra Verde, don’t miss these experiences:
- Enjoy phenomenal sunsets from the roof-top bar at Billy’s Stone Crab, Sea Food and Steaks.
- Walk on the endless unspoiled beaches of Fort Desoto Park, and tour the remains of the historic fort.
- Take a ferry to Egmont Key to explore the wildlife and remains of historic Fort Dade.
- Enjoy a seafood dinner at the Island Grille and Raw Bar or an authentic southern Italian dinner at Tony and Nello’s, but be sure to bring a big appetite.
- Rent a jet-ski or a 19 to 24 ft. boat at the Tierra Verde Boat Rentals.
St. Pete Beach
St. Pete Beach on the Gulf of Mexico perhaps is the best known beach community in Pinellas County, but it shouldn’t be confused with the city of St. Petersburg also in Pinellas County but on the eastern side on Tampa Bay. The City of St. Petersburg Beach was created in 1957 when Pass-a-Grille, Don Cesar, Bella Vista and other unincorporated towns in the county combined under one local government. In 1994 the residents of St. Petersburg Beach voted to shorten the community’s name to simply St. Pete Beach.
Today St. Pete Beach is a well-traveled destination for tourists looking for sun, sand and surf, but it also is home to year-round and seasonal residents in both quiet pockets and bustling commercial areas. The iconic and historic Don Cesar Hotel continues to stand guard over this beach community as its grand dame. Scores of newer resorts line the beach as well. Old Florida still is present in the Corey Avenue shopping district on the north end of town which is showcased especially during Sunday Market when the street is closed for pedestrians only and during other events.
Residential real estate runs the gamut here from charming low-rise condominium complexes to modest mid-century single family homes to magnificent contemporary waterfront homes.
When in St. Pete Beach, don’t miss these experiences:
- Enjoy great Mexican food at Agave or a great steak at 1200 Degree Chop House both on Gulf Boulevard,
- “Fly” over the Gulf of Mexico with a water jet-pack at the Trade Winds Resort.
- Sip your favorite drink in the lobby bar at the famed Don Cesar Hotel.
- Browse fresh produce at the outdoor Corey Avenue Fresh Market (every Sunday in October through May) and charming shops along Historic Corey Avenue.
Just one block wide and 31 blocks long, Pass-a-Grille may be the quintessential Florida beach community. According to folklore the town’s name derives from the custom of French fishermen who would stop here to grill their catch . . . passe aux grilleur . . . which translates roughly to “going to roaster.”
To the east of the peninsula on which the town resides is the Pass-a-Grille Channel that provides boaters access to Boca Ciega Bay and to the west is the Gulf of Mexico. Across the mouth of the channel on the southern tip of the peninsula lies idyllic and unspoiled Shell Key that is only accessible by boat.
This tony little town has a wide spectrum of quaint eateries, upscale restaurants and cozy inns. The central shopping district is located on and around 8th Avenue. Entry price points for real estate in this enclave can be a little challenging to the pocket book, but the refined intimacy of this beach community is hard to surpass.
When in Pass-a-Grille, don’t miss these experiences:
- Charter a deep-sea fishing trip on the Miss Pass-a-Grille.
- Pick up some fresh seafood at the market on Merry Pier.
- Enjoy lunch alfresco on the beach at Paridise Grill or a hardy breakfast at the Sea Horse Restaurant on 8th Avenue.
- Take a water shuttle to Shell Key, which is accessible only by boat, to collect some great shells or to sun on the beach.
Gulfport’s Beach Boulevard and Shore Boulevard form the nexus of the town’s historic arts district. “Art Walk,” where artists, craftsmen, and performers feature their talents, is held the first Friday and Third Saturday of the month in downtown. Charming restaurants, boutiques and pubs line both boulevards. “Fresh Market” days are held on Tuesdays in the waterfront district. Boat slips and kayak/canoe storage space can be rented at the nearby Gulfport Municipal Marina. Gulfport’s large sandy beach on the shores of Boca Ciega Bay is the site for picnics, sunsets and beach volleyball. The waterfront Gulfport Casino Ballroom – no longer a gambling destination – hosts many public dance events including Salsa, Argentine Tango and traditional ballroom dance.
Gulfport has a population of approximately 12,000 and covers the following zip codes: 33707, 33711, and 33737. The town was previously known as Disston, Bonifacio and Veteran City before officially becoming Gulfport in 1910. It continues to thrive in a real estate market with very accessible and affordable single-family homes and condominiums.
When in Gulfport, don’t miss these experiences:
- Take Ballroom dance or Tango lessons at the Casino Ballroom overlooking Boca Ciega Bay.
- Peruse the works of local artists at the First Friday and Third Saturday Art Walk.
- Enjoy lunch or dinner and a craft beer at Peg’s Cantina on Beach Boulevard.
- Pick up fresh produce at the outdoor Tuesday Morning Fresh Market.
St. Petersburg is the largest urban center in Pinellas County. As recently as the late 1990s very little was happening in downtown St. Petersburg in the way of commerce. Fast-forward to today and you will find a vibrant and growing urban community where invested dollars and activism created a coastal Tampa Bay jewel. Topping the list of arts and cultural centers are the Dali Museum, Chihuly Collection, Museum of Fine Arts all within walking distance of one another. Multiple performing arts centers including the Mahaffey Theater, Palladium Theater, the American Stage Theatre Company round out the cultural soul of downtown. Central Avenue and Beach Drive offer eclectic restaurants, bars and nightlife. The historic Vinoy Resort stands guard over downtown as its grande dame much in the same way the Don Cesar does over St. Pete Beach.
Towering modern and traditional condominiums dot the waterfront skyline of St. Petersburg and give way to waterside green space at Straub Park and Vinoy Park. Nearby walkable neighborhoods include Old Northeast, Snell Isle, Crescent Lake, Roser Park and many more. A bit farther from downtown are the waterfront communities of Venetian Isles, Eden Isles and Shore Acres to the north and Old Southeast, Tropical Shores, Lake Shore Park, Bayou Shores, Coquina Key and Pinellas Point to the south.
Such diverse geography also yields diverse real estate price points. Virtually any budget can be accommodated when searching for residential property with proximity to downtown St. Petersburg.
When in St. Petersburg, don’t miss these experiences:
- View the exotic works of Salvador Dali at the Dali Museum.
- Take in a world-class performance at the Mahaffey Theater.
- Stroll Central Avenue for unique shopping, dining and entertainment.
- Visit dozens of artist’s galleries throughout the Warehouse Arts District.
- Explore the beautiful urban botanical gardens at the Sunken Gardens.
- Experience a wide variety of genres in the arts at the Palladium including classical, jazz, blues, broadway, ballet, choral and more.
Gay St. Pete
A Place for the LGBT Community
The LGBT community will feel right at home in any corner of Pinellas County, but don’t take my word for it — see what Jorge Alvarado from OMG! Magazine has to say:
Let me know how I can help you feel at home in Pinellas County.