Scenic USA - Florida

St. Pete Beach

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St. Pete Beach - Pinellas County, Florida

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

   Separated from the mainland and a bustling St. Petersburg by the waters of Boca Ciega Bay, Long Key attracts beach-goers from around the world. Always found on someone's list as one of the top beaches, this long sliver of sugar-sand invites Florida visitors to enjoy the sun, the beautiful turquoise Gulf waters, waterfront restaurants and a shopping mecca along historic Corey Avenue.
   Originally, four communities divided up the island; but in 1957, Pass-a-Grille Beach, Don Cesar Place, Belle Vista Beach and St. Petersburg Beach all merged as one St. Pete Beach. Current population swells in the winter when snowbirds flock to the resort community, enjoying its mild temperatures. By spring, anxious sun-worshippers have the area's hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts retreats filled. Ranging from mom-and-pop motels to extravagant resorts, St. Pete offers over 3000 vacation accommodations. Don Cesar Hotel
   There's no mistaking Don Cesar Beach Resort and Spa as visitors drive along Gulf Boulevard. Known as the Pink Castle (inset) since it first opened in 1928, the 10 story hotel offers grand views of the Gulf of Mexico and Boca Ciega Bay. Reaching its zenith during the Jazz Age, the rich and famous visitors included Clarence Darrow, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Al Capone, Lou Gehrig and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. After the death of developer Don Rowe, the hotel slowly fell into disrepair. During World War II, the hotel was converted into a military hospital and convalescent home. By 1968 the GSA planned to tear down the once-famous vacation resort, but the community raised a furor. After an extensive restoration, the flamingo-pink hotel was reopened, and now includes the exclusive Maritana Grille.

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