25 Fun Facts About St. Pete / Clearwater
downtown night skyline from tampa bay high rise buildings and marina lights reflected st pete

Welcome to the beautiful and vibrant St. Pete/Clearwater area! Located on the stunning Gulf Coast of Florida, this destination is a popular spot for tourists looking for sunshine, beaches, and relaxation. But there’s so much more to this charming region than just its crystal clear waters and endless stretches of sand. From unique history and culture to one-of-a-kind attractions and activities, St. Pete/Clearwater has plenty of fun facts that will surprise and delight tourists of all kinds. Whether you’re planning your next vacation or simply curious about this unique spot, get ready to learn 25 fascinating facts about St. Pete and Clearwater that will make you fall in love with it even more! So sit back, grab a refreshing drink, and let us take you on a journey through these little-known but delightful tidbits about these beloved tourist destinations in the Sunshine State.


1) St. Pete was named for the Russian city St. Petersburg following a coin toss.

In 1888, Peter Demens brought the Orange Belt Railway to the area, meeting with land-owner John Williams to form the town. According to legend, the two men decided to flip a coin over who would name it. Demens, the winner of the toss, decided to name the town after his birthplace – the beautiful city of St. Petersburg in Russia. Williams, who lost the toss, named the town’s new lodging after his hometown as well – The Detroit Hotel. And thus, St. Pete was born (allegedly) thanks to a friendly game of chance.

2) The world’s first commercial flight crossed Tampa Bay in 1914.

In the early days of aviation, the idea of carrying paying passengers was still a novel concept. However, the Benoist XIV, a small biplane flying boat built in 1913, set out to change that. With the hope of providing scheduled airline services, the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line launched the first-ever fixed-wing airline on January 1, 1914. Piloted by Tony Jannus, the flight was a success, and over the course of three months, two Benoist planes carried 1,205 passengers across Tampa Bay. Although the airline’s lifetime was short, it paved the way for the future of commercial aviation.

3) The City of Clearwater donated the property for the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

The story of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s humble beginnings is a testament to one city’s dedication to a brighter future for marine animals. In 1978, the city of Clearwater saw potential in an abandoned water treatment plant on Island Estates, and made the decision to donate it to the cause. Clearwater Marine Aquarium officially opened its doors in 1981. Since then, the facility has made countless strides in marine conservation. Its work with rescued dolphins, which began in 1984, has been especially impactful. Through caring for these incredible creatures, Clearwater Marine Aquarium has been able to educate the public on the preservation of marine life, and inspire action towards a more sustainable future.

exterior of building with bubbled atrium glass and sun flare at the dali museum st pete

4) The Firestone Grand Prix is held annually in St. Pete.

For nearly 20 years, the Firestone Grand Prix race has been a beloved annual event that takes place right in the heart of downtown St. Pete. Each spring, this street circuit track attracts racing enthusiasts from all over the country, eager to watch top IndyCar drivers zip around the track at breakneck speeds. The setup for this thrilling event takes weeks to complete, with the course stretching along Tampa Bay past the St. Petersburg Harbor & Marina, Duke Energy Center for the Arts (Mahaffey Theater), The Dalí­ Museum, and even extends onto the runway of Albert Whitted Airport, making for an unforgettable racing experience that spectators come from miles to see.

5) The Dalí­ Museum hosts the world’s largest retrospective collection of a single artist.

Art lovers from all over the world flock to The Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida to witness the unparalleled collection of Salvador Dal­í’s creative works. With over 2,400 pieces of art, including oil paintings, watercolors, sculptures, and textiles, visitors are able to experience a visual representation of every moment and medium in Dalí­’s creative life. The collection is recognized internationally with a Michelin Guide three-star rating, making it the only museum in the Southeastern United States to hold such an honor. Visitors to The Dalí­ can truly appreciate the bizarre and surreal mind of one of the most celebrated modern artists of all time.

6) Sunshine Skyway Bridge is the highest and longest cable-stayed concrete bridge in the world.

Stretching across the expansive Tampa Bay, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is an engineering marvel that truly takes one’s breath away. Towering above the shimmering water, this concrete beauty stretches for an impressive 6.7 kilometers, making it the longest cable stayed bridge of its kind on the planet. With a height of 430 feet, it’s enough to make even the bravest of souls a little dizzy. Interestingly, the current Sunshine Skyway wasn’t always so grand. The original bridge was completed in 1954 and was a two-lane beam bridge with a truss bridge to the west. However, this was later replaced with the iconic structure we see today, with a second span added in 1971. The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is a testament to human ingenuity and sheer willpower, a sight every traveler to Florida should behold.

7) St. Pete holds a Guinness World Record for the most consecutive days of sunshine.

If you’re looking for a bright, sunny destination, head to St. Petersburg. Nicknamed “The Sunshine City,” St. Pete has a track record to live up to. It recorded an incredible 768 consecutive sunny days from February 9th 1967 to March 17th 1969. But it’s not just the past that makes St. Petersburg a great place to visit – the weather is consistently warm and sunny, with averages of 74° F and an impressive 361 days of sunshine per year. Whether you’re looking to soak up some rays on one of the city’s many beaches, or explore its vibrant cultural scene, St. Petersburg is sure to leave you feeling warm and welcome.

pink sky sunset with magenta lighted sunshine skyway bridge over tampa bay st pete

8) Clearwater is home to the world’s largest speedboat.

Ready for an adventure on the high seas? Step aboard the Sea Screamer, the world’s largest speedboat! This 72-foot vessel is powered by twin turbocharged diesel engines, reaching speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. Its deep-V hull ensures a smooth ride as you race across the Gulf of Mexico. And if that’s not exciting enough, Sea Screamer Dolphin Cruises depart four times a day, offering the opportunity to spot some marine life in their natural habitat. Don’t miss your chance to experience the thrill ride of a lifetime aboard Clearwater’s Sea Screamer!

9) St. Pete has been the spring training home to the Philadelphia Phillies since 1948.

Philadelphia Phillies fans have loved St. Pete since it became the team’s spring training home in 1948. After many different fields, BayCare Ballpark opened in 2004. The venue seats 7,300 people, plus an additional 1,000 seats on the grass berm in the outfield. Palm trees and Spanish Mediterranean architecture transport visitors to a tropical paradise, and the Tiki Pavilion, a full-service bar, adds to the laid-back atmosphere. Whether you’re a die-hard baseball fan or just looking for a fun day out, BayCare Ballpark is the perfect place to catch a game and soak up some sun.

10) A 6,000-year-old spearhead was found at Marshall Street Park in Safety Harbor.

Safety Harbor is filled with history. From ancient pottery to copper, shell, and stone artifacts, the area is rich with reminders of its past. One of the most striking discoveries was a spearhead found at Marshall Street Park in 2008 that dates back to 6,000 years ago! Little is known about the earliest inhabitants of the area, but the Tocobaga and Timuquan people were the first recorded inhabitants. These peoples fished and lived in villages around Tampa Bay from the 1500s to the 1700s, right before the arrival of European explorers. It’s amazing to think about all the people who have called this place home over the centuries and how much they have contributed to shaping the area we know and love today.

11) Over 100 years ago, Sunken Gardens developed as one of the first Florida roadside attractions.

Nestled in the heart of St. Petersburg, Florida lies a little piece of paradise that has enchanted visitors for almost a century. It all began when George Turner, Sr. purchased 4.1 acres of land in 1902 that contained a sinkhole called Curlew Pond. Through his hard work and ingenuity, Mr. Turner drained the pond and turned the area into a lush garden paradise that quickly became the talk of the town. Visitors came from far and wide to explore the maze of clay tiles and stroll through Mr. Turner’s Sunken Gardens. Today, the gardens still bring delight to visitors of all ages as they take in the tropical scenery and flowing ponds. The Turner family’s vision lives on, and this tranquil oasis remains a beloved landmark in St. Petersburg’s history.

several colorful dolphin statues along curved sidewalk and grass at dolphin trail clearwater

12) St. Pete is the largest city in Florida that’s not also a county seat.

Pinellas County is a bustling area located on the west central coast of Florida. The county boasts a population of nearly 1 million residents, making it the seventh-most populous county in the state. It’s also the most densely populated county in Florida, with 3,491 residents per square mile. However, Clearwater is considered the county seat of Pinellas County. Despite this, St. Pete still holds a special place in the hearts of Floridians due to its exciting attractions, beautiful beaches, and warm temperatures year-round.

13) Of the 300 men in the first inland exploration of North America, only four survived.

The Pánfilo de Narváez expedition may not be a story you learned in history class, but it was a significant event for Spanish exploration in the Americas. In April 1528, the expedition landed on the shores of Boca Ciega Bay at what is now St. Pete Beach in Florida. Led by Pánfilo de Narváez, the group aimed to explore and establish colonial settlements in the area. However, the expedition was met with countless challenges, including harsh weather conditions and resistance from Native American tribes. As a result, many members lost their lives, including Narváez himself. Only four survivors made it back to Mexico City in 1536, after trekking through the American southwest. Despite the many losses and hardships, this expedition marked the first known non-Native American contact in the Gulf of Mexico.

14) The Dolphin Trail includes over 100 locally-designed dolphin sculptures.

If you’re looking for a unique and fun way to explore the city of Clearwater, the Dolphin Trail is a must-see. This public arts program celebrates the city’s dolphin-focused industry with over 100 6-foot tall sculptures displayed throughout Clearwater Beach and downtown. Local artists are commissioned to contribute to the collection, resulting in a stunning variety of fiberglass, ceramic, and decoupage designs. It’s not just limited to these two areas either, as some of the dolphins can be found scattered throughout other locations in the city and even neighboring towns. Whether you’re a fan of marine life or art, the Dolphin Trail is an excellent way to experience Clearwater’s vibrant culture.

15) The St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club is the oldest still-operating shuffleboard club in the country.

Step back in time to St. Pete in 1923, and discover the new, exciting game that was just arriving on the scene. That game was shuffleboard, and it was introduced to the city by a newcomer from Connecticut, a jeweler named Phineas T. Ives. Ives was determined to bring the game to St. Petersburg. He persuaded the city to build courts in Mirror Lake Park, where that autumn the first shuffleboard club was established. The St. Petersburg Mirror Lake Park Shuffleboard Club, with only six members, soon became the largest shuffleboard club in the world. Who knew that a small group of people playing shuffleboard in the 1920s would later become a vibrant part of St. Petersburg’s history?

man sorting sponges on dock under clear sky with boat and statue of suited diver at tarpon springs clearwater

16) The Mahaffey Theater has been renovated several times since its opening in 1965.

The city of St. Petersburg is proud home to the illustrious Mahaffey Theater. This iconic performing arts facility and concert hall has been entertaining audiences for over 55 years! The 2,031-seat auditorium boasts European box-style seating, a ballroom space, and breathtaking views of Tampa Bay. The Mahaffey Theater is an integral part of the downtown area, with proximity to other cultural hotspots, such as the Salvador Dalí Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts. The Mahaffey has had the pleasure of hosting big names from the worlds of Broadway, classical, pop, rock, country, Americana/folk, jazz, comedy, dance, and, of course, The Florida Orchestra. With such a diverse range of performances on offer, it’s no wonder this cultural icon has been renovated so many times, a necessary effort to keep up with its ongoing legacy.

17) Central Avenue in St. Petersburg is a hub for art enthusiasts.

Whether it’s day or night, Central Avenue is always bustling with activity. This lively street boasts a plethora of art galleries and studios, each showcasing a unique array of artwork that ranges from contemporary to traditional. Art lovers can immerse themselves in the beauty of murals and museums, while foodies can indulge in mouthwatering cuisine from local eateries. To add to the excitement, live musicians can be heard in the air, creating a vibrant atmosphere. Shopaholics also have plenty to look forward to as they explore local shops for rare finds. So, if you’re seeking a diverse and vibrant setting in St. Pete, look no further than Central Avenue.

18) Tarpon Springs is the “Sponge Capital of the World.”

Tarpon Springs is a little slice of Greece right in the heart of Florida. The Sponge Industry that was established in the area in the early 1900s brought with it a vibrant Greek community that still thrives today. Along the stunning Dodecanese Boulevard, Greek restaurants, markets, and bakeries stand proudly, offering everything from souvlaki to spanakopita. But the sponge industry isn’t just responsible for the fabulous food – it’s also what put Tarpon Springs on the map. The world’s finest sponges have been harvested from these bountiful waters for over a century, and the industry shows no signs of slowing down. Come for the sponges, stay for the food, and leave with an appreciation for the rich Greek culture that permeates every aspect of this charming town just north of Clearwater.

19) The Chihuly Collection resides in a building designed specifically for the exhibit.

The Chihuly Collection is a permanent exhibit of Dale Chihuly’s one-of-a-kind artwork, and it is truly a sight to behold. What sets this installation apart from others is that it is the first-ever building precisely designed to showcase this blown-glass art. The structure itself is a marvel, with its architecture harmonizing exquisitely with the art to create a visitor experience that is unparalleled. One of the most striking features is the 20-foot masterpiece sculpture that greets guests at the entrance, setting the tone for the journey through the incredible world of Chihuly’s imagination. Once inside, visitors can marvel at the large-scale installations such as the Ruby Red Icicle Chandelier, created specifically for the Collection, and numerous other extraordinary series works that inspire and delight visitors from around the world.

several colorful blown glass bowls on exhibit display in darkened room at chihuly collection morean arts center st pete

20) The Temple Mound at Philippe Park is one of the last remaining examples of the Tocabaga civilization.

As you walk through Philippe Park in Safety Harbor, you’ll come across a sprawling mound that rises from the ground. This is the Temple Mound, built by the Tocobaga Native Americans and the largest mound in the entire Gulf Coast region of Florida. It’s hard to imagine how this impressive structure was built by hand, using layers of shell and sand. Archeologists believe that at the top, there could have been a structure used for religious ceremonies or even as a home for the chief of the tribe. At the base of the mound, there was once a town plaza where people would gather for important events. The Temple Mound is a fascinating glimpse into the past of the Tocobaga people and a testament to the ingenuity and skill of the Native American tribes that once lived in the area.

21) Shell Key is one of the state’s most important preserves for shorebird nesting and wintering.

Shell Key Preserve is a true gem of the state, playing a critical role in protecting some of Florida’s most precious marine habitats. It serves as a haven for many species of wading birds such as the great blue heron, snowy egret, reddish egret and great egret, along with gulls, terns, black skimmers and Wilson’s plovers. The preserve spans a vast 1,800 acres of land, incorporating a diverse range of ecosystems from Pinellas County’s largest undeveloped barrier island to extensive seagrass beds and numerous mangroves. This incredible preserve provides a crucial nesting and wintering location for many shorebirds, and is a remarkable place for birdwatching enthusiasts and nature lovers to come and appreciate Florida’s incredible wildlife up close.

22) The Pinellas Trail is one of Florida’s most popular and unique urban pathways.

Spend a day soaking up the Florida sun, surrounded by stunning scenery and the gentle hum of your bike tires on the pavement. That’s exactly what you can expect on the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail – the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts looking for a leisurely ride or hike through Pinellas County. Covering an impressive 46 miles, this rail trail spans from Tarpon Springs to St. Petersburg and leads visitors through charming towns like Palm Harbor, Dunedin, and Gulfport. The best part? The trail is completely ADA-friendly, making it accessible to everyone. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or just looking for a fun family outing, the Pinellas Trail won’t disappoint.

23) Safety Harbor was named for its protection of sailors against pirates.

Tucked in along the shores of Tampa Bay, the town of Safety Harbor takes its name from its history as a haven for sailors seeking refuge from the dangers of piracy. Once a hotbed of buccaneer activity, the area earned its reputation as a “Safe Harbor” thanks to its strategic location and treacherous waters that kept most pirates at bay. It was here that Odet Philippe, a French nobleman, first made his home and introduced Florida to the grapefruit. Today, this quaint town is a popular destination for visitors seeking the perfect blend of history, natural beauty, and small-town charm. With its scenic waterfront, picturesque streets, and vibrant community, there’s something for everyone in this hidden gem in the Tampa Bay area.

aerial view from ocean of pink resort with rows of blue and white striped umbrella loungers on beach at the don cesar st pete beach

24) The Don CeSar has hosted travelers to St. Pete Beach for nearly a century.

The Don CeSar is not just any hotel – it’s an icon of the Gulf Coast with a rich and illustrious history dating back nearly a century. From its beginnings in the Roaring 1920s, this “Pink Palace” has been the playground of high society, graced by some of the most distinguished celebrities of the day. Names like Clarence Darrow and F. Scott Fitzgerald have stayed within its elegant walls, adding to the aura of glamour and sophistication that this hotel exudes. However, The Don CeSar is more than just a relic of a bygone era. It saw action during World War II and has since become a top resort with an array of amenities such as a pristine beach, a world-class spa, and a vibrant restaurant scene. Whether you’re looking for timeless elegance or modern luxury, The Don CeSar has it all and is waiting to welcome you to St. Pete Beach.

25) In 2007, a rescued dolphin named Winter was fitted for the world’s first fully-prosthetic tail.

Winter’s story is one of both tragedy and triumph. The little dolphin was caught in a crab trap in the coastal waters of Florida back in 2005, leading to the loss of her tail. This event may have spelled the end for a normal dolphin in the wild, but luckily Winter was rescued and taken to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. There, she spent the next 16 years of her life, becoming a beloved member of the community. Despite her tail-less state, Winter learned to swim in her own unique way, but it wasn’t perfect. Thankfully, science and ingenuity stepped in and Winter was fitted with a custom-made silicone and plastic tail. This gave her a whole new lease on life and the ability to swim normally once more. It’s a story of resilience and adaptation that has captured the hearts of people the world over in book and movie form.


In conclusion, we hope you enjoyed learning these interesting facts about St. Pete and Clearwater. From the sunny weather to the rich history, sports culture to vibrant art museums, stunning architecture to exciting boating opportunities, and diverse marine life to thrilling attractions, it’s clear that this destination has something for everyone. So why not plan your next vacation here? With so much to see and do, you’ll never run out of things to explore and experience. Don’t forget to check out our St. Pete / Clearwater Vacation Guide for even more insider information and tips on how to make the most of your trip. Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, this charming coastal city will captivate you with its endless charm and beauty. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable getaway in St. Pete/Clearwater! We can’t wait for you to discover all that this incredible destination has to offer.