St. Petersburg has many points of pride, including its numerous and beautiful parks. These parks line the waterfront of Downtown, maintaining the city’s natural beauty alongside its infrastructure. They include something for everyone — sometimes as spaces for hosting events, sometimes providing the perfect spot for a quiet day on the waterfront. Whatever your goal is, the Beach Drive parks are a great reason to go outside.
Flora Wylie Park
Right along the water on North Shore Drive lies Flora Wylie Park, easily recognizable by its large sundial. This scenic park consists of 11.4 acres and includes a recreation trail. This park is perfect for jogging, biking, or just enjoying St. Pete’s waterfront. It rests on the edge of Snell Isle, overlooking the neighborhood’s iconic neighborhood on the other side of the street.
Elva Rouse Park
This .6 acre park includes the Gizella Kopsick Arboretum as well as its own recreation trail. The little park is a beautiful spot to explore nature and enjoy the shade. Though small, it contains the perfect activities for anyone who enjoys being outdoors among the plants.
Gizella Kopsick Arboretum
Nestled in between the Flora Wylie and North Shore parks is the Gizella Kopsick Arboretum, part of the Elva Rouse park. It is marked by bricked pathways and exotic palms, a gem of foreign nature in the heart of downtown. This two acre arboretum is full of over 500 palms and cycads, housing over 150 species from around the world. Continually under development and expansion, the arboretum brings and maintains plant life in St. Petersburg while also educating visitors on its beautiful nature. The arboretum is a haven of peaceful greenery for those that want to learn about its various species, or those who just want to enjoy the setting.
North Shore Park
North Shore Park is one of the most well-recognized of St. Pete’s parks. Its 33.2 acre area houses a (newly rebuilt) playground, dog park, and beach as well as the North Shore Aquatic Complex and the North Shore Sports Complex. It also includes a large parking lot for visitors to use. This park has a huge variety of activities, especially fitness-centered ones. If you’re looking for a place to get your workout done, North Shore has just about everything you need: go for a swim in the Aquatic Complex or the ocean, run or bike along the park trail, use the new outdoor gym — the possibilities are endless. If you’d rather just enjoy the outdoors, why not set up a hammock or a picnic blanket by the water and feel the sun? This park’s activities are fairly all-encompassing, with something for everyone to enjoy.
Also well known among the St. Petersburg parks is Vinoy Park, an 11.6 acre park with a scenic view of downtown. It is easy to spot, lying right across the street from the iconic hotel of the same name and rounding off the strip along the water. Also recognizable by its unique sculpture, the park is home to a host of different events, especially concerts and festivals. When it’s not acting as a venue, visitors can enjoy the beautiful waterfront from the heart of the city’s downtown.
North Straub Park
North Straub Park, also directly across the street from the Vinoy, rests on the corner of Beach Drive and 5th Ave. NE. This 4.8 acre park runs between the waterfront and the bustling business center of Beach Drive. It includes a concrete stage, with benches and colorful blossoming trees surrounding it, as well as the well-known set of banyan trees adventured upon by many. The park also houses a continuation of the recreation trail, perfect for bike riding, skating, or walking from place to place along the St. Pete waterfront.
South Straub Park
Separated from North Straub Park by the Museum of Fine Arts, South Straub Park continues the green along the Beach Drive waterfront. With 7.3 acres of land, the park is home to a gorgeous fountain and provides a beautiful scenic view of downtown St. Petersburg. Perfect for enjoying the view, South Straub Park makes a great place to bike, walk, or just be outside.
The historic Pioneer Park is home to many benches, perfect for relaxing and watching the people of the city go by. It houses a monument inscribed with the names of St. Petersburg’s pioneer citizens, a tribute to the city’s past, present, and future. This 1.8 acre park makes a great spot to stop and appreciate St. Petersburg, both now and then.
Demens Landing Park
Deviating somewhat from the rest of the parks strip is Demens Landing, resting on the other side of a small bridge. At 14.7 acres, this park has a playground, picnic shelter, and boat ramps for visitors to enjoy. It also includes parking. Demens Landing is perfect for those who want a bit more seclusion or boat access to the waterfront. Bring a picnic lunch and watch the boaters ride by along the skyline and appreciate St. Pete’s nature.
Albert Whitted Park
Tucked away in the corner of the parks strip lies Albert Whitted Park, right beside the Albert Whitted Airport. This 4.78 acre park includes a playground for the kids and picnic tables. Watch (and listen to) the planes land right next door while enjoying the waterfront view in this almost-hidden gem.