So much to see and so little time! That describes St. Petersburg perfectly! It’s even harder when your sightseeing time is limited. With that in mind, biking in St. Pete offers a better way to explore the downtown happenings. Compared to walking, you can cover more ground in the same amount of time. Plus, you can still enjoy the open air and a wide point of view. And with so many bike-friendly paths and trails, you can do so safely without stressing about traffic. That’s why so many people rent a bicycle in St. Pete as soon as they arrive!
Even if you do rent a bicycle in St. Pete, it can still be difficult to choose what to see and where to go. As a result, a little guidance can go a long way. Having a few key destinations on your list as well as a strategy to get there helps significantly. So, with that in mind, the following offers one perspective on some sites/sights you might want to include when biking in St. Pete. The list is by no means comprehensive. But if you only have 4 hours to spend, these destinations might be worth considering.
• St. Pete Pier – Since 1991, St. Pete has always had a recreational pier in place or being constructed. This most recent pier cost $92 million, and it’s truly spectacular. Plus, it’s a great place to see by bicycle with amazing views of Tampa Bay and the downtown skyline. Note, however, that it tends to get busy with pedestrian traffic on weekend afternoon and evenings. So, you might want to plan biking this portion of St. Pete strategically.
• North Bay Trail – This bike trail goes north along the bay from the pier toward North Shore Park and Snell Isle. This is another exquisite view of the pier and the bay. Plus, dolphin sightings are common as you ride along. It travels past Vinoy Park, which often has weekend festivals that you might want to check out.
• Beach Drive – Coming back from the North Bay Trail, you can bike along Beach Drive in St. Pete. This is a beautiful street lined with fine dining and adorable shops to explore. And it also courses by two of St. Pete’s largest banyan trees next to the Museum of Fine Arts. Beach Drive is considered to be in the heart of the Waterfront Arts District.
• Mirror Lake – Taking a turn up 3rd Avenue North from Beach Drive, you will eventually arrive at another beautiful destination called Mirror Lake. Not only is it a natural reservoir but also the site of the city’s first housing development. And immediately across from the north end of the lake is St. Pete’s shuffleboard courts…the world’s largest, in fact, and home to the 2023 International Shuffleboard Competition.
• Central Arts District – After coursing around Mirror Lake, it’s nice to make your way over to Central Avenue (and perhaps check out Mural Alley on the way). This is the heart of the Central Arts District, which is home to many other unique local shops and eats. Central Arts is also home of the Chihuly Museum and the Morean Arts Center.
• The Edge District – Central Avenue, the main east-west thoroughfare through downtown St. Pete, has three main districts. The Central Arts district, the Edge District, and Grand Central District. The Edge was named this because it used to be the edge of town. Of course, this is no longer the case, and it too is now home to great restaurants, Ferg’s world famous sports bar, and Green Bench Brewing.
• Grand Central District – After crossing 16th street along Central Avenue, you enter into Grand Central. This district has a rich history for many reasons. For one, it is home to nearly a dozen breweries. Also, it is the site where St. Pete’s Pride Parade initially started, which is now the largest south of Atlanta. Grand Central notably has its fair share of great restaurants as well as more eclectic and bohemian style shops. It also has a tremendous number of SHINE murals.
• Pinellas Bike Trail – On your way biking back to the waterfront, you’ll want to hop on the Pinellas Bike Trail. This 38-mile, rails-to-trail, bike path provides completely protected bike lanes. Taking a left onto the trail will bring you eventually back to the waterfront after taking you past the Tropicana, where the Tampa Rays play. Plus, it too offers a different but also beautiful view of the downtown skyline.
• USF St. Pete Campus – As you make your way back to the waterfront, you might want to turn right into the bike lanes on 1st Street. This will eventually take you past the Albert Whitted Airport and into the beautiful campus of USF St Petersburg. The campus has its own marina as well as some beautiful parks that make this worth a bike ride through campus.
• Dali Museum – Once leaving the campus, come back along 1st Street and take a right onto Dali Blvd. In addition to curving around the Dali Museum, this bike trail takes you along the southern portion of the waterfront. And a few blocks up, you’ll be right back at the St. Pete Pier.
Renting a Bike for Your St. Pete Tour
When it comes to renting a bike in St. Pete, there are many options. At St. Pete Bike Rentals, we offer 4-hour bike rentals for only $20 that include helmet and locks. Plus, these are sporty city hybrid bikes with 7-gears, wide saddles, and wider tires. And if 4 hours isn’t enough, we offer a full day rental until 5pm for only $5 more. In addition, we also offer a “St. Pete Welcome Tour” that includes an expert guide as well as a bicycle. No matter what option you choose, it’s easy to explore St. Pete by bike and safe as well. You can accomplish a lot by bicycle in a 4-hour period. And you’ll have a much better idea where to visit the next time!