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What to do on vacation in Tampa Bay

Hey tourists! I get a good number of families who leave behind the cold update their family photos on the beach! I want to serve you guys by giving you the inside scoop on the best places to shop in Tampa Bay!

When you google, you will find answers lots of great suggestions, but I also want to show you a few hidden gems. First, let’s talk about the major spots by area.

Tampa – Old Hyde Park is upscale, has lots of cute places to walk around and shop and eat, and close to the water. You can stroll along the Bayshore trail along the ocean if you still want to be near the water, but are tired of the beach. Our favorite kid’s museum in Tampa is the Glacier Museum, and we eat at Armature works when we are down there. Riverwalk has playgrounds and a splash pad. You already know about Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, the zoo, and Mosi I’m sure.

St. Pete – Central Ave is where it’s at for eclectic eating, glass blowing, and trendy shopping. I personally love the coffee shop/work share spot called The Station. It’s a great place to hang with your laptop and then take a break for rooftop yoga! Great Explorations is a super fun kid’s museum for the younger age. They have stations, like doctor station and farm station, where you get to play dress up and get in character.

Clearwater – Frenchy’s on the beach was where my husband and I went for our first date. So even though it is touristy and always has a long wait, I still have a soft spot for it! You can sit on the beach and listen to live music while you devour a grouper sandwich. I also like Tates on the beach. They have a limited menu, but the kids can run around in the sand while you wait, there are hammocks and fire pits (and a pool and hot tub if you’re staying at the Sandpearl). The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is fun for kids. Winter the dolphin (from the movie) was there, but actually just passed away in November. My family also took a boat tour from the Aquarium and you’re almost guaranteed to see dolphins!

Dunedin – Main street is full of fun. There are frequent art festivals. There are tons of breweries and coffeshops and unique restaurants. I recommend Prohibition Kitchen and the Living Room. For coffee shops, Tukro coffee is as cute as it gets (they close at 3 fyi). Honeymoon Island has a dog beach.

Now, let’s head a little North to my neck of the woods!


Tarpon Springs is worth the drive for authentic Greek food. Mr. Slouvaki’s is the reason we moved back to Florida (half kidding). You can get a gyro that will ruin gyros for you, but what I order is the Greek Chow Mein (trust me). After Greek, walk the Sponge docks. That strip is a little touristy, but still cool, and there are other finds on Tarpon Ave, like One Amazing Find and Petra is tucked away, but worth it. Brush Tips is a little shop right off the Pinellas trail (long paved biking trail that takes you all through Pinellas county!). It’s sandwiched between a bike shop, Toula’s (great breakfast joint) and Currents (fancy dinner spot). Cheri at Brush Tips teaches you painting techniques and how to turn a seashell into a beautiful jewelry catch all! Or bring the ocean back with you with this adorable cutting board!

More shopping!

Architectural Salvage Bank has some great, unique finds that full of rich history and personality. Robin makes custom furniture, but she also has a store full of interesting finds that you simply will not find anywhere else. My house is full of her stuff and my favorite is the upcycled vintage camera turned into a lamp!

And how about Photos while you’re in town?!

Your family is relaxed, warm, together and happy. Bring the vacation back home with you with amazing Beach portraits from yours truly!

Where to next?