Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

November 15, 2023

Travel Diary: 48 Hours in St. Pete, FL

      Last weekend, I made a quick trip to Florida! It had been close to five years since I last saw my good friend from blogging, Gentry from Girl Meets Bow. Gentry is a Florida native, and I was excited to visit her home city of St. Pete, FL for the first time. 48 hours isn't nearly enough time to do everything that St. Pete has to offer, but Gentry did show me many of the local highlights! 

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     St. Pete is part of the Tampa, FL metro area on Florida's Gulf Coast, and is Tampa's neighboring city. St. Pete does have its own downtown, and it was much bigger than I expected! There are also tons of residential neighborhoods, some really nice boutique hotels, and of course lots of beautiful Florida beaches. There is a small airport serving St. Pete and Clearwater (another neighboring city), but I opted to fly into the nearby Tampa airport. It's much bigger, and there are direct flights to Norfolk VA from there! 

      Check out the amazing flamingo installation at the main terminal of the Tampa airport! Isn't this just the coolest?! What a great welcome to Florida! Also- love that fact that Gentry and I unintentionally both wore Lilly Pulitzer dresses and had our Barrington totes

      St. Pete has a thriving local dining scene. Gentry told me that St. Pete has many more local restaurants vs. chains, and I definitely saw that to be true. Here are the spots we went to during my trip:
  • Cali (190 37th Ave. N) - A great spot for takeout or to sit-down. They have a diverse menu featuring wraps, pizza and bowls. I got the Spicy Brazilian bowl for lunch and it was fantastic! It kind of reminded me of a Mediterranean bowl at a place like Cava or Mezeh, but with tasty Brazilian flavors instead. 
  • Paul's Landing (in the Vinoy Hotel, 501 5th Ave. NE) - We had dinner here on the first night I visited. This elevated casual spot is located right by the pool at the luxurious Vinoy Hotel. If you opt for an outside table, you'll probably have great views of the St. Pete downtown skyline! They have a varied menu with everything from sandwiches to steak and seafood. I also loved my cocktail here. 
  • Social Roost (150 1st Ave. N) - Gentry and I had lunch here after I flew in, and I think this was my favorite food spot of the trip! The decor of the restaurant is immaculate and so Instagrammable. The food was also fantastic. had the chicken pot pie which was light and delicious. They also have some all-day brunch items on their menu, which is fun if you're in the mood for that. 

Social Roost

Social Roost

Paul's Landing

Paul's Landing

      There are so many fun things to do in St. Pete! We had a wonderful and busy weekend, and we didn't even have time to venture into the neighboring cities of Tampa or Clearwater at all.  

      *Sunken Gardens - This is the local botanical garden, and it's been open to the public since the 1930s! It's home to all sorts of beautiful tropical plants and flowers, and also some fun wildlife. Seeing some flamingos playing in the water was such a highlight! I love exploring botanical gardens when I travel, so this was a real highlight to see. 

     *Oakhouse Day Spa - Gentry's husband Rob generously treated us to a spa day while I visited! I loved Oakhouse Day Spa. The services were incredibly relaxing, and the staff was wonderful. We each got massages and facials and it was divine! Truly such a special part of the trip. (Thank you again Rob!!) 

      *Explore St. Pete's pink hotels - There are two big, fancy pink hotels in St. Pete! I loved getting to see the grounds of both of them. The Vinoy is right near downtown St. Pete, with views of the bay and skyline. The Don Cesar is directly on St. Pete Beach, with ocean views and its own public beach area. Even if you're not staying at these hotels, both are lovely to walk around and explore. 

      *St. Pete Beach - Visiting one of the many beautiful beaches in the area is a must! Gentry took me to St. Pete Beach so that we could also check out The Don Cesar Hotel. The stretch of beach at the hotel is totally open to the public, which is really cool! You can kind of feel like you're a hotel guest too when you use their public beach access. St. Pete Beach was beautiful. Beautiful turquoise water and soft white sand. (Different vibes from Virginia Beach. 😊)

     And that's my St. Pete recap! I really enjoyed my brief time here, and would love to come back in the future. Next time I'd also love to see a bit of either Tampa or Clearwater. 

     I do want to give a quick shout-out and thank you again to Gentry and her family for being such wonderful hosts! Gentry's friendship over the years has truly been a gift in my life. We first connected online through blogging in either 2016 or 2017. We finally got to meet in person for the first time in 2019 when we attended New York Fashion Week together for our blogs! To date, that was one of the most fun and special girls' trips that I've ever been on, and also such an accomplishment for my blog. I hadn't seen Gentry in person since that trip close to five years ago, but being together again it was like no time passed at all. 

      Gentry isn't just a great friend and fellow blogger, but I truly consider her to be a role model for my life. Gentry is a few years older than me, and whatever life stage she's in sets such a positive example for me. When we first met years ago, I was 24 and still very new in my career and struggling with navigating dating and singleness post-college. I was incredibly inspired by how Gentry was thriving in her late 20s and early 30s by successfully navigating her career, social life, faith and dating with positivity and grace. Now almost five years later, she's still thriving in her career and blog but is also a wonderful wife and mom. Visiting her this weekend and seeing her sweet family (and how well she balances family life with work and blogging) was once again so inspiring to me! It felt once again like a possible peak into my own future. 😊 Friendships like this truly are a gift! 

      God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese

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