It’s hard to leave, but for the weekender, there is no better home sweet home than Florida’s Space Coast
Summer is almost over, but there is still time to make one last weekend trip. With the ideal central location, Florida’s Space Coast is one of the best spots in Florida to call your starting point for adventure. We recently shared part one of weekend drives, but there are too many possibilities in the Sunshine State to not make a part two. So, fill up the tank and get ready to explore Clearwater and St. Pete, Jacksonville and Vero Beach.
CLEARWATER / ST. PETE
Known for the best beaches in Florida, Clearwater dazzles with white sands and crystal blue waters while St. Pete provides an urban oasis for foodies and art lovers alike. Downtown St. Petersburg boasts themselves with culture and cool vibes, rightfully so, being named “One of the Best Street Art Cities in the World” by the Huffington Post and Condé Nast Traveler’s list of Top Big Cities in the U.S. in 2020. A trip down Central Ave. begs for stops in unique shops and restaurants, neighborhood bars and breweries, galleries and top art museums and more. The new St. Pete Pier District is 26 acres of waterfront with expansive public space for everything from fishing and biking to shopping and dining. Clearwater Beach continues to rank as one of the best beaches in the U.S. – and for good reason. Beyond the clear water and sandy beaches you’ll find the Beach Walk Promenade for shops and good eats, or the bustling Pier 60, a 1,080-foot fishing pier and recreational park with the best nightly tradition of “Sunsets at Pier 60,” offering a variety of crafts and entertainment from 6 – 9 p.m. each night.
Jacksonville, or Jax to locals, is a hop, skip and jump north. Speaking of north, the top tip of the Sunshine State has a vibe worth exploring. A mix of nature and city, Jacksonville provides a laid-back atmosphere perfect for everyone. The largest urban park system in the country, with more than 80,000 designated acres, including the 46,000-acre Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve provide miles of untouched natural wonders. The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens keeps the fun going with 2,000 exotic animals and 1,000 plants plus a 4,000-square-foot Splash Ground area and adjacent Discovery Center, which features mazes, a tree house, a penguin tunnel, and more. For your nightly food-scene, downtown Jax has it all. Lined by the St. John’s River, this urban oasis provides a diverse culinary experience. From favorites such as Morton’s The Steakhouse and Chart House to unique spots like Bellwether and Indochine – you won’t leave hungry. After dinner, try your hand at the Jax Ale Trail and visit one of the many local breweries (22 to be exact) and their delicious craft beer.
Only one county away, Vero Beach is the quaint home-town with an eclectic flair and the perfect location for a relaxing getaway with the finer things in life. Luxury resorts including Disney’s Vero Beach Resort and Costa d’Este Beach Resort & Spa have that Florida flair with an international feel, making them a destination on their own. However, there is much more laid-back fun to have here. The Vero Beach Museum of Art and the sculptures of McKee Botanical Garden immerse you in the world of art while several theaters entertain you with it. A destination for consignment shops, the Vero Beach antique district is a treasure hunt on the Treasure Coast, and the vibe of Downtown will pull you back in time while you’re on your hunt. After all that shopping, quench your thirst at The Grove Bar or give those taste buds a culinary experience at The Citrus Grille House with waterfront views.