The latest news from the most popular tourism destination on the Gulf of Mexico: St. Pete/Clearwater

The New St. Pete Pier Nears Completion - Opening Date Scheduled for May 30

Set to open on Saturday, May 30th and soon to be the Southeast’s largest waterfront playground, the St. Pete Pier is comprised of 26 acres of activated waterfront park located in St. Pete’s vibrant downtown.

Redefining the definition of a pier, this entertainment district is an extension of St. Pete’s bustling city center, offering a picturesque urban beach area, a unique children’s playground, a variety of modern-Florida dining spots, a pop-up marketplace with local vendors, eco-tourism opportunities and so much more. Some highlights of what to expect include:


Surrounded by water, there is no better view of Tampa Bay than from the St. Pete Pier. From observation decks to a rooftop bar, visitors will have a stunning view from all angles.


The Pier offers five total dining options. Known as "a vacation on a plate," Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille, located toward the heart of the Pier, will offer fresh seafood, daily specials and signature cocktails. The Café at the Pavilion will be a quick, refreshing place to relax, offering light meals and grab-and-go snacks for beachgoers. Teak, a Florida-themed restaurant, Pier Teakie, a rooftop bar with craft tiki cocktails and stunning views of Tampa Bay and the Driftwood Cafe, a casual dining space with sandwiches, salads and more are all located in the 3-story state-of-the-art building at the end of the Pier.


As a city of the arts, what better way to add to 600 murals and countless museums than the incorporation of critically acclaimed art at the St. Pete Pier. From the moment visitors enter the district, they'll be greeted with art installations from internationally-recognized Janet Echelman, and others. 

Environmental Education

An essential element of the St. Pete Pier is an interactive marine discovery center, focused on environmental education. Operated by Tampa Bay Watch, the Discovery Center will have an aquarium with many species found in Tampa Bay's local waters, touch tanks, interactive displays, video presentations, tours and more. The center will also be a destination for school field trips and summer camp programs, along with corporate and private centers. 

Clearwater Marine Aquarium Plans for Unveiling of $79 Million Expansion in 2020

The world-renowned marine life rescue center home to famous dolphins Winter and Hope, from the Dolphin Tale movies, will unveil a multi-million dollar expanded facility in mid-late 2020. Consisting of five connection pools, the enhanced, more natural habitat will offer sweeping views of all non-releasable dolphins in their new home. The increased capacity and capabilities within the new facility will support multiple programs simultaneously, increasing the educational impact and allowing CMA to establish an environmental legacy for generations to come. With new guest space, more hospital facilities for rescued marine life, state-of-the-art theatre and event space, the addition will usher in a new era for Clearwater Marine Aquarium. 

Museum of American Arts and Crafts Movement Announces Early Spring 2020 Opening

Projected to open in early spring 2020, the Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement will be the latest cultural offering to join St. Pete's collection of world-class museums and galleries. The five-story, 137,100-square-foot building designed by Alberto Alfonso will house businessman and collector Rudy Ciccarello's extensive collection, with furniture, pottery, photography, metalwork and other decorative arts from the American Arts and Crafts movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It will be the only major museum of its kind in the U.S.

St. Pete/Clearwater's First Marriott Tribute Portfolio Hotel Plans January 2020 Opening

As St. Pete/Clearwater obliterates tourism records, hotel developers are seizing the moment with 2,400 rooms in the pipeline over the next two years. Most notable are two Marriott-flagged properties planned from St. Pete's trendy EDGE District - a Moxy and Tribute Collection - as well as the country's first Ascent Hotel Collection hotel in Clearwater Beach. Here are a few projects quickly approaching completion, as well as recent openings:

The Karol Hotel (pictured below), Clearwater, Opened Feb. 2020

This new boutique hotel will be Marriott's first Tribute Portfolio Hotel to open in the destination. Centrally located in Feather Sound between Clearwater, St. Pete and Tampa, The Karol Hotel will feature 123 guest rooms and suites, a signature lobby bar and restaurant, a rooftop bar overlooking Tampa Bay, a combined 7,340 square feet event space and a resort-style pool and fitness center. The hotel is named for and inspired by Karol Kelly Bullard, "Miss Karol K," wife of Fred Bullard, CEO of The Bullard Group, which is developing the property.

Tru by Hilton, St. Pete, Opening April 2020

For travelers looking to stay in St. Pete's edgier, up-and-coming Grand Central District, the Tru by Hilton will offer an affordable, but vibrant option close to dining, shopping, breweries and more. 132 room select service hotel will not be prototypical and offer a more urban vibe due to its location when it opens in April 2020.

Winter the Dolphin's Beach Club Hotel, Clearwater Beach, Opening Spring 2020

Clearwater Marine Aquarium has partnered with Choice Hotels' Ascend Collection to open a 91-room dolphin and marine life themed, eco-friendly hotel featuring the inspiring dolphin made famous by the Dolphin Tale movies - Winter!  Measures to protect marine life and reduce environmental impact are at the heart of the refurbishment.  Guests will not only feel good about the sustainability of their stay, but proceeds from each room night will go directly to CMA to contribue to their non-profit mission.

FUSION Resort, Treasure Island

Opened in November 2019, this 42-room resort offers travelers the choice between two and three-bedroom suites with views of the intracoastal. Each suite has been curated to meld modern and traditional elements with more than 1,000 square feet of coastal Florida style. In addition to the stunning pool, 71 boat slips and complimentary paddle boats, kayaks and bikes, the resort features an on-property rooftop bar, SIPS, and café, VIBES Kitchen.

The Berkeley Beach Club, Pass-A-Grille

Officially opened in July 2019, the Berkeley Beach Club is inspired by all that is Pass-A-Grille and designed to give guests every opportunity to indulge in paradise. Featuring six luxury apartments (available to book on Airbnb), the mindfully-designed spaces offer idyllic views of historic 8th Avenue, Boca Ciega Bay and the Gulf of Mexico in the heart of Pass-A-Grille. Indulge in elevated modern beach cuisine at The Dewey Beach Bar Restaurant & Grill - whether in the dining room or rooftop bar with unparalleled sunset views. 

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