Magnificent Day and Weekend Trips from St. Petersburg, Florida

magnificent day & Weekend trips from St. Petersburg, FL #travel #explore #summer

One of the best ways to get a in-depth view into a destination is by renting a car and seeing what the place has to offer. It allows you to have adventures you wouldn’t be able to via public transport, and most importantly, to where the people live, work, and play. A trip without a sincere conversation with a local is a pure tragedy to me. You just fill up on gas, ask the attendant where to get something to eat and a good place to hang out, preferably with drinks, and get to know the town. For those who don’t want to ask around, it’s your lucky day because I so happened to have lived in St. Pete for 13 years and I’ve compiled a list of the best day and weekend trips from St. Petersburg, Florida.

Hate road trips? I’ve compiled my best tips from over 30,000 miles of road trips right here. 

Day Trips

0.5-2 hours drive from St. Petersburg

Clearwater Beach
0.5 hours
Clearwater Beach, Clearwater, FL 33767

Free

For some reason, Clearwater beach has always managed to maintain a sort of drunken, party vibe. For as long as I can remember, college aged partiers roamed Clearwater beach. I still don’t know where all these people come from, since the metro really isn’t that large, but they are there, shotgunning brews and doing body shots. At night, hit up a local beach club. Or watch the movie “Spring Breakers”. It’s basically the same thing. But really, it’s one of the most soothing, pearly white beaches in the world. Enjoy.

Fort De Soto Park
0.5 hours
3500 Pinellas Bayway S, St. Petersburg, FL 33715
$5.00 toll
Technically located in St. Pete, but on the edge of the county, sits over 1,000 acres of beach-y state park. Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this used to be free! Families would enjoy the seclusion, dogs were allowed, life was good. Apparently some people cant handle their shit and these rights were revoked. No glass bottles, dogs must be leashed and remain in dog park areas, and camping must be prearranged. Can’t complain too much though, we must take care of our planet, right?

Florida Aquarium
0.5 hours
701 Channelside Dr, Tampa, FL 33602
$24.95 + tax
Yuuesss. My pride and joy. Growing up in Florida is legitimately experiencing another world. So many animals and bugs and plants and fruit and most importantly, the beach. The Florida aquarium does a wonderful job at gathering all the important local nautical creatures, and well as a plethora of creatures from around the world. The coolest part? You can dive with sharks!   Tickets are a little under 25 USD for a full day’s worth of adventure.

Ringling Museum
5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243
$25.00 + tax
The Ringling Bros & Barnum and Bailey Circus has been around since 1918, showing elephants and acrobats. The Ringling side of the company ended up settling down in southwest Florida. One of their lifetime hobbies? Collecting art. The property has enormous Greek sculptures and a variety of paintings. My favorite part is by far the house on the water. You can visit their stunning estate and frolic in Mabel’s rose garden. Don’t forget to stop by the famous Munchies 420 cafe in Sarasota for a fried Twinkie, but only if you have worked up an appetite.

Busch Gardens
10165 McKinley Dr, Tampa, FL 33612
$109.00 + tax
1 hour
Roller Coasters. Wild lions. Dragon Land. Busch Gardens is one of the happiest places on earth (deal with it Disney!). If the fact that it’s ran by the Anheuesr-Busch family (yes the brewery empire) isn’t enough to get you there, I’m not sure we’d be friends … Kidding, the rides are the best part. Roller coasters to please even the most brave adventurer. My favorite is the Montu, a gift from heaven that flips you upside down 7 times. Not for the faint of heart!

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
1.5 hours
6131 Commercial Way, Spring Hill, FL 34606
$13.00 USD

Mermaids! That’s all I have to say… But since it is one of my favorite places in the world, I’ll say more. Florida is blessed with fresh water springs, and Weeki Wachee Springs State Park has some of the best.  The water is crystal clear, with reflections of emerald and cyan from the natural vegetation. The ticket also gives you the opportunity to see Florida mermaids! Mermaids were discovered living here around 1947 and have been performing plays like the classic,  “The Little Mermaid” ever since… Spoiler alert! They use small air tubes to stay underwater.  My grandma was a mermaid here. And in real life 😉

Edison Plantation
2350 McGregor Blvd, Fort Myers, FL 33901
$20.00 + tax
2 hours

One of the best parts of growing up in Florida was the school field trips. We would go on boats, visit dolphin rescue centers, and the NASA center. But my favorite of all time? The Thomas Edison and Ford Plantation!  The Estate is located in sultry Ft. Meyers, 2 hours directly South of St. Pete. Not only is it famous for having housed Edison and Ford while they invented and tinkered, it has a world famous tree. Have you ever seen a banyan tree? You know, where vines grow from the branch, anchor the the ground, and turn into roots? They can get to be hundreds of feet and cover over two city blocks. Yeah, fkn amazing right? The one at the plantation is the 3rd largest in the world, around 120 meters.

Weekend Trips

3-7 hours from St. Petersburg, FL

 

Sanibel Island
112 Periwinkle Way,Sanibel, FL 33957
Free
3 hours

Hopefully I don’t receive abuses for giving away a little local secret, but Sanibel & Captiva Island has been the favorite getaway for St. Pete families for decades. Both destinations are extremely peaceful, as mostly elderly people live in the area. There are no big cities, no lights to distract from the stars. I would highly recommend for families or anyone looking for a really old-Florida feel. Even though I really encourage you to only take photographs, Sanibel is known to have some of the best shells in the state. Rent a bike and roam the 15 miles of beaches then get in the warm water! The temperature remains quite neutral for the majority of the year, perfect for snorkeling.

Miami
Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Free
4.5 hours
When the lazy old-time Florida vibez start to relax you beyond repair, head over to Miami for a weekend of sun and luxury. Not only are the beaches nearly Caribbean status, the city doesn’t seem to sleep and liquor sales go all night long. If you’ve never been a club, I highly suggest stopping by Set just for a little taste. If you haven’t though about it, you need to add visiting a Miami spa to your bucket-list! I’m pretty into massages, and my life was forever changed at the Lapis Spa in the Fontainebleau Hotel. , The final must-do is a non-negotiable after a night of clubbing- coffee. The real gems are the Cuban coffee stands around Miami Beach- perfect kick of caffeine + sinfully sweet. Love it!

Key West
Whitehead St & South St, Key West, FL 33040
7 hours
Free
People are always shocked when I have to inform them that the drive from my parent’s house to Key West isn’t that short at all. It’s the most Southern point in the continental U.S., about 7 hours with no traffic, but beyond worth it! The coral, turquoise, and canary houses are the perfect compliment to the clear skies and water. Duval Street is best described as Bourbon Street’s little cousin- pretty badass, but still tame comparatively. Kids are more than welcome at all hours, but expect a little near-nudity… Now I was a pretty open-minded child, but I do vividly recall being shocked at the amount of booties showing around Key West. Probably appreciate it more with age. Don’t forget your Key Lime Pie! Swear it’s the best in Florida. And no, the key lime is not named after the Florida Keys- its just a type of small lime.

 

 

Not convinced? Read the 10 reasons you must visit my hometown, St. Petersburg, Florida.

10 Reasons You Must Visit St. Petersburg, #florida in #2016 #explore

Surprise, mothaf****s! We’re going on a trip!

We're going on an impromptu trip abroad this weekend. Can you guess where? There will be flamingos, white sand, and Dutch food || a tipsy gypsy life #travel #explore #caribbean #wanderlust

 

Lately, there has been this lil fire burning in my soul. The itch to get the hell out for a bit. The itch to stir the pot up. Raise some hell. The term I believe I’m looking for is “quarter-life crisis.” I’m not going to lie, I’ve been holding back a little. I passed up on an amazing festival because I thought it’d be better for my career. On Wednesday I interviewed for a job that is what I always dreamed of. It’d be the whole salaried, titled, shebang. Oh, I would also have to move to L.A. This ain’t me though. I’ve always been one of those people that “fuqit” is a legitimate answer to most of life’s questions. The labors of daily toil have tried to wear this weekend warrior down, but NO MORE.

After two weeks of way more work than I’m used, a bottle of wine, and a few minutes on Pinterest, I decided I needed a spontaneous weekend vacation to….

Hehe. I’ll give you some hints:

They have Dutch pancakes.

It involves plenty of vitamin sea.

Flamingos.

 

 

Any guesses? I’ll be posting during my red-eye tonight! Winner gets to send me a sad selfie that I’ll post on my insta 😂 just kidding. Meet me there. But seriously, we will be post my first vlog and you get my meet Paulius, the love of my life.  Can’t wait to share!

Follow my Instagram @make.it.that.way because life is lovely, you just have to make it that way 😉

10 Reasons You Must Visit St. Petersburg, Florida

10 Reasons You Must Visit St. Petersburg, #florida in #2016 #explore

You know the old tale where you search the world only to find out that what you were looking for was at home the whole time? That’s my hometown, Saint Petersburg, Florida. Locals lovingly refer to it as St. Pete or less often, the Dirty Burg. With beaches and cultural events galore, everyone finds a little slice of heaven here. Here are my top 10 reasons why you should visit St. Petersburg, Florida.

 

10. It’s the sunniest place in the world.

The city holds a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for most consecutive days of sunshine. Don’t forget your sunscreen! My favorite is Coola, get it here .

10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Saint Petersburg #florida #explore

source: orbitz.com

9. It’s home to the most Dali pieces outside of Europe.

The Salvador Dali Museum in Saint Petersburg is filled with works from the genius. Not to mention the building itself is a work of art. Oh, and they do yoga on Sundays.

10 Reasons Why You Should Visit St. Pete || #explore

source: orbitz.com

8. It has 35 miles of beaches.

Whether you want seclusion (Sunset Beach) or a good time (Clearwater) you won’t be let down. The water temperature stays pretty warm year-round with a low of 62 F in the winter months.

10 Reasons You Must Visit St. Petersburg #Florida #explore || a tipsy gypsy life

7. It has killer views.

Need I say more?

10 Reasons Why You Should Visit St. Petersburg #florida

6. It’s home to one of the best flea markets in the U.S.

The motto is “If you can’t find it here, it probably doesn’t exist,” and with over 2,000 vendors it rings true. this family-run business has been around since the 1960’s, and is open every Saturday and Sunday. Find out more about it here– Did I mention my grandparents started it?

10 Reasons Why You Should Visit St. Pete || #travel #explore

5. It has a theme park (with lions, gorillas, and more!)

Even if you aren’t too fond of the phenomenal roller coasters, the attraction is home to plenty of animals to catch your attention. Most of the animals, like the black rhino, are part of world-wide conservation efforts.

10 Reasons You Must Visit Saint Petersburg, #Florida- Did you know it holds the record for most consecutive days of sunshine? #explore

4. It’s great for quirky day trips.

Go hang out with mermaids at Weeki Wachee Springs located a little over an hour north of St. Pete. Or drive on the iconic Sunshine Skyway bridge to the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota.

10 reasons you should visit St. Pete, Florida #wanderlust #explore

source: glenlakes.com

3. It’s a little bit historic.

Panfilo de Narvaez landed in the Jungle Prada area (the neighborhood I grew up in!) in 1528. And the first commercial flight was flown out of the St. Pete/Clearwater airport!

10 Reasons You Must Visit St. Petersburg #florida #explore

source: theclio.com

 

2. It’s (close) to the home of the 3rd largest parade in the U.S.

–Gasparilla! The day of pirating around the city and catching flying beads happens every year towards the end of January. This year it will be held on January 30th.

Saint Petersburg is well-known by Floridians. Read the 10 reasons why you must visit. || a tipsy gypsy life #explore #travel

 

1. It has one of the cutest hotels in the world.

The Don CeSar is one of the most pleasant buildings in the city. Most musicians will take the drive from Tampa to stay at the iconic hotel- Aerosmith was stayed at the suite I got for my graduation party the night before.

10 Reasons Why You Should Visit St. Pete #florida #travel

source: doncesar.com

 

Are you planning on visiting my hometown? Where is your favorite city in the U.S.? 

 

magnificent day & Weekend trips from St. Petersburg, FL #travel #explore #summer

Ballin’ on a Budget: U.S. Cities Edition Part 1

One of the most delightful parts of meeting travelers in SE Asia was that nearly everyone asked me where they should visit in the USA. Everyone knows about New York City and San Francisco (both extraordinary places!) but with 50 other states with countless cities, you’d be selling yourself short if you didn’t at least attempt to visit the following gems. 

I’ve seen many a beautiful budget busted on food and drink, including my own (damn you, Italian food).  American food can be quite pricey if you aren’t careful, but luckily the happy hour is still alive and kickin. More recently, food has been included (and encouraged) in the happy hour menu, which is a superb way to check out a restaurant you wouldn’t normally be able to afford.

 

Phoenix

Orange clay mountains make for a surreal backdrop. Arizona definitely seems like another planet, and I think it’s pretty out of this world (so friggin punny, I know). 

Ballin on a #Budget || a tipsy gypsy life #phoenix #travel

source: desertusa.com

Camelback Mountain… a great way to see the city, literally. The top of the mountain provides a remarkable view of all things Phoenix. Be sure to go early in the morning and hydrate well, Phoenix can get up in the high 90’s.

Stingray Sushi… An ode to the wonderful West coast sushi. In other words, they don’t f**k around. Get delicious rolls anytime, and an impressive half-off happy hour from 2:30-6:30. Find what you’re looking for here.

Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve… Don’t get pricked! You can’t go to Phoenix without playing in the desert. Those cute cacti with the little arms are called Saguro Cactuses. Visit at dusk for surreal scenes and cool weather.

Where to Dine & Drink

Liberty Market
230 N. Gilbert Rd, Gilbert, AZ
An ungodly amount of meat and full bar, get The Tower Burger, Kettle Chips, and a Kir Royale

Humble Pie
2333 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ
Local organic vegetables and any pizza you can concoct, get a 10 in. Buffalo Chicken Pizza, Half Strawberry Gorgenzola Salad for $10.95. Add in the waiter’s wine suggestion. 

District Restaurant
320 N Third St, Phoenix, AZ
Nothing over 9$ at noon, get the 3rd Street Carnitas, S’mores Ice Cream Whoopies, and a Phoenix Ale Brewery Camelback IPA

 

Austin

One of the quirkiest cities in the U.S. is also quite different from the other major cities in Texas, Houston and Dallas. You might have heard of the SXSW (south by southwest) film and music festival that is held in here in March, while the festival is definitely an experience, Austin has SO much more to offer.

Ballin on a #Budget: U.S. Cities Edition || a tipsy gypsy life #travel

source: 365thingsaustin.com

Baylor Street Art Wall – For a bit of art and a prime photo opp be sure visit this local favorite. For tips on how to photograph graffiti, look no further.

Food Trucks Galore Austin loves a good food truck and plenty of them are BYOB, like the Fat Cactus serving navajo tacos. Or go really Texas with it and get BBQ at La Barbecue. Check the city food truck map here.

Watersports on Lady Bird Lake- People in Austin are always playing outside and when you visit you’ll see there is no denying that. Try SUP (stand-up paddle boarding) if you’re looking for something new or you can pick a classic kayak. You’ll fit in fine.

Where to Dine & Drink

Austin is a come-back king of Happy Hour. The food is even better than the drinks, y’all.

Lucky Robot for Happy Hour 5-7
1303 S Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 
7$ Sake Carafes, 2$ Ichiban, and some of the best sushi in the city

The Hightower for Happy Hour 5-7
1209 E 7th Street, Austin, TX
 $5 cocktails like the deep eddy splash (waterloo gin, deep eddy ruby red grapefruit, and mint). Have some smoked redfish spread to go with it. 

The BuzzMill for Brunch
1505 Town Creek Drive, Austin, TX 
$7 bottomless flapjacks with house-made bacon and eggs, $4 make-your-own Bloody Marys, and $2 mimosas.

 

New Orleans

It really pains me to have to cut this so short- there are SO many died-and-gone-to-heaven meals in the Crescent City. When you think of foodie, you might think NYC or Paris, but don’t sell this southern gem short. Whether you desire pecan-crusted gulf fish (my FAVORITE), macrons, or life-changing coffee, NOLA has it.

Ballin on a #budget || a tipsy gypsy life #travel #wanderlust

Don’t skip brunch. Elizabeth’s is a local favorite, and for damn good reason. Praline bacon and the fried green tomato Benedict are must haves but if you’re hungover get the shrimp-n-grits. Oh did I mention pour-your-own mimosas, brandy milk punch, and the-best-damn-bloody-mary-in-the-world? You won’t be disappointed.

Thanks to a diverse population, New Orleans has some of the best pho in the country. But if you think I’m full of malarkey, take it from cuisine king Anthony Bourdain. While truly every place you dine at will be remarkable, there are a few gems that are outstanding. Lilly’s on Magazine street is a guaranteed hit, just be sure to get her Lily rolls, a special take on the classic spring roll.

You can’t visit New Orleans without getting a po’boy. The sandwich was originally made for streetcar workers on strike in the 1930’s, and the city hasn’t let them go since. Crisp, delicate French bread stuffed with fried shrimp, lettuce, mayo, and tomato makes for the perfect hangover prevention. A meal for under $10 USD at Adam’s Street Market.

 

Where to Dine & Drink

It would be downright shameful to not catch all of the classic New Orleans drinks.

Elizabeth’s for Brunch
 601 Gallier Street, New Orleans, LA
Bananas Foster French Toast, Red Neck Eggs, and a Ghetto Fabulous Mimosa 

The Ruby Slipper Cafe for Brunch
1005 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA
BBQ Shrimp n Grits, Hot Smoked Salmon Benny, and an Irish Cream Coffee 

Lilly’s Cafe for Lunch
1813 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA
Lilly’s Rolls, Pho Rare Flank & Brisket, and an Iced Vietnamese Coffe

Adam Street Grocery for Lunch
1309 Adams Street, New Orleans, LA 
Shrimp Poboy, Zapp’s Voodoo Chips, Abita Strawberry Harvest Beer 

Liuzza’s by the Track for Dinner
1518 N Lopez Street, New Orleans, LA
Creole Gumbo, Shrimp Remoulade, and a Pimm’s Cup

Mr. B’s for a Dinner Splurge
Oven Roasted Pork Belly and Fig, Pecan Crusted Redfish, Dirty Martini , and Bread Pudding

 

 

St. Petersburg

One of the reasons I refuse to move North of I-10 is because I grew up in the sunniest place in the world.* The main attraction is lucky free- the gorgeous white sand and greenish-blue sea. I’m sure it would be impossible to pull you off the beach, but in case you have a cloudy day there are plenty sights to see.

Ballin on a #Budget || a tipsy gypsy life #travel

For a real bargain… Visit the Wagon Wheel Flea Market, an indoor/outdoor monstrosity that has been family-owned since 1966. Open Saturdays and Sundays rain or shine, they also serve cold beer to beat the heat.

For a bit of brilliance… Visit the Dali Museum, one of the cities pride and joys. Get in for $10 on Thursdays after 5 pm.

For an aquatic adventure… Get over to Egmont Key, one of the areas many natural reservations. Snorkel in the crystal clear water with dolphins and turtles. If dolphins are near, there is a good chance they’ll swim to you or your boat. SO friendly, but they can also get a little frisky

Where to Dine & Drink

Since the city is surrounded by water, the seafood is exceptional. Redfish, grouper, and conch fritters are local favorites and the fish can be served blackened, fried, grilled, and anything else you can think of.

Red Mesa Cantina Happy Hour
128 3rd St S, St Petersburg, FL
Huachinango Ceviche, Crab and Shrimp Quesadilla, Cucumber Margarita 

Middle Grounds Grill
10925 Gulf Blvd, Treasure Island, FL
Key West Chowder, Coconut Almond Shrimp, Key Lime Pie Martini

The Oyster Bar 
249 Central Ave, St. Petersburg  FL
Smoked Fish Spread, Crab and Arugula Salad, Grilled Pineapple Mojito

Seattle

Seattle has a reputation for rainy days and grey skies, which makes for great lighting. One of the biggest regrets I almost always have about traveling is not taking enough pictures. Don’t be selfish, inspire some wanderlust and share. I’m also a HUGE fan of Halloween and spooky things so keep that in mind 😉.

Ballin on a Budget US Cities Edition || a tipsy gypsy life || #wanderlust #travel #seattle

source: tcif.org

Gas Works Playground…  This former gas company building turned park is a local favorite. Get a cheap sheet to lay on and one of the many local microbrews  and enjoy the great outdoors.

Pike Place Market… You can’t really go wrong with a waterfront market. It gets pretty packed, so be prepared for flying fish and bargaining. It wouldn’t be a real visit without tasting some of the amazing food, now would it?

Kerry Park… The absolute best view of the city, with the Space Needle, snow-capped mountains, and the skyline. Visit it at both day and night for vastly different scenes.

Where to Dine & Drink
Food trucks are a common quick and delicious way to get your grub around Seattle. It also gives you a chance to mingle with some locals.

Fusion on the Run
Key flavors: fresh pineapple, pork, cilantro
Boneless Short Ribs Tacos and Jicama Slaw

Street Treats
Key flavors: coconut, brown sugar, chocolate
Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Sandwich and Pumpkin Pie Bars (it’s Fall y’all…)

Off the Rez
Key flavors: quinoa, slaw, raspberry jam
Indian Taco and Razzleberry Fry Bread

Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.

Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.

Why  not go out on a limb? That's where the fruit is. || a travel epiphany  || a tipsy gypsy life #travel #happy

Olowatu, Bali. Patang Patang beach…. I envisioned a semi-secluded beach, perfect waves, and delicious weather. Due to circumstances like a wonderful yoga class we couldn’t miss, we got on the road pretty late.

Then we had the chance to stop at a very cool, very modern Luwak coffee plantation.

Why not go out on a limb? That's where the fruit is || a tipsy gypsy life
They even had puppies! I couldn’t just leave in a hurry.

After two hours of driving, we arrived a little after 4 and by then the beach was packed. Not one to be discouraged by a little bump in the road, I set off to find my secluded beach. Titty made it about 1/3 of the way before establishing her spot. But I wanted that image I had in my mind, so I kept going, crawling over lava rocks and getting squashed by the waves.

Why not go out on a limb? Thats where the fruit is  || on pursuing  your deepest desires || a tipsy gypsy life

And then I was there

Why not go out on a limb? That's where the fruit is || on pursuing your deepest desires || a tipsy gypsy life

Me enjoying some privacy and the ocean.
Although we only had two hourz, it was one of my favorite beach trips of all time. Not only did I get my perfect Bali beach  experience, we got to have a Bintang beer with lemon and watch the sunset.

 Why not go out on a limb? That's where the fruit is || on pursuing your desires || a tipsy gypsy life #travel #happy #quote 

But this saying, “why not go out on a limb”, applies to everything. If you want something worth having you must make the reach. Unhappy with your relationship with your mom? Tell her. You want that promotion? Make it known. You want a deeper relationship? Open yourself up. All good things take a little effort or everyone would have them. Once you start going out on a limb, it becomes a beautiful habit for the most satisfying life.

Don’t know how to open up or speak out? Reach out to me!