Just cross the Everglades Park, you can do it in a 4-hour drive from Miami, and you will leave the Atlantic Ocean behind you and swim in the clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico!
Gulf of Mexico: Islands and National Parks
First, you will find Fort Mayer and then, passing past Sarasota, driving north your will reach the famous Clearwater. This whole area is full of islands and national parks with inland lagoons. You must plan to stop several times along the way to really explore these areas and admire these natural beauties.
Anna Maria Island and its Pier
For those who love the beach, the sun and the sea, this stretch of coast is a unique paradise. Our recommendation is to spend in Anna Maria Island at least half a day visiting the park, enjoying the beach looking for shells and encountering the fauna especially in the winter, also visit the historic Anna Maria Pier opened back in 1911.
St. Petersburg with Dali and Fort De Soto National Park
Past Anna Maria, a little further north, you will reach St. Petersburg. Here, you must visit the Fort De Soto National Park and its incredibly beautiful beaches. Also, good to know is that to reach to St. Petersburg city, you will have to cross the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, the incredible bridge spanning across the Tampa Bay that will give you some pretty incredible panoramic views of the entire bay.Also, in St. Petersburg, you can’t miss a visit to the Dali’ Museum.
A little further north of Clearwater, you will find the island of Honeymoon Island State Park, another National Park where you will also find the ferry that takes you to Caladesi Island recently voted as the best beach of America.
During this trip we recommend stopping:
- Lulu’s Oyster Bar & Tap House – 500 1st St, Indian Rocks Beach, FL 33785 – Excellent for fresh fish, oysters; family atmosphere and reasonable prices.
- Anna Maria Sand Bar – 100 Spring Ave, Anna Maria, FL 34216 – Right on the beach. Great food, and amazing views, especially at sunset.
- LongHorn Steakhouse 1820 N Westshore Blvd, Tampa, FL 33607 – Classic Steakhouse at average prices.
Florida and The Gulf of Mexico Map