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Cheap and Free Things To Do with the Kids in St. Petersburg / Clearwater

Updated: Feb 14

Home to America's Best Beaches, a vibrant arts community and amazing outdoor experiences, St. Petersburg/Clearwater is one of our favorite place to visit in Florida!

St Pete is less than two hours from Orlando and it's an amazing spot to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, our favorite place to head to is the beach, and with 35 miles of the most beautiful beaches along the Gulf Coast, you can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and a variety of water sports, not to mention the amazing beach bars, local seafood restaurants, and little shops dotted alongside the beach.

St Pete Beach Florida

Oh and just wait until the sun goes down, you will get to experience the most spectacular sunsets of your life, trust us, there is something quite magical about sitting on the beach and watching the sun slowly set over the horizon,

St. Pete is also home to a thriving arts scene, with amazing galleries and museums, while the city's historic downtown district is filled with charming local shops, restaurants, and bars.

Additionally, nature lovers can explore the 100-acre Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, which contains six different ecosystems and offers unlimiteff opportunities for hiking and bird-watching.

All in all, St. Pete, really does offers something for everyone, and you'll find that St. Pete/Clearwater offers plenty of affordable and child-friendly fun, so check out this list of fun things to do that are either free, inexpensive or simply, great value for families.

Cheap and Free Family Friendly Thing's To Do in St Pete

Cheap and Free Family Fun in St Pete/Clearwater

Sunsets at Pier 60

Every sunset is memorable in St. Pete/Clearwater, but when you add artisans, jugglers, musicians and other entertainers at the nightly Pier 60 sunset celebration, you’re in for a real treat.

Did we mention the celebration is free? The party takes place on famous Clearwater Beach, plus, it costs only $1 to walk to the end of the pier, or you can take your kids fishing for a nominal fee.

Explore the New St. Pete Pier District

This place is peerless for inexpensive family fun. Sure, you could splurge on a delicious waterfront lunch at the St. Pete Pier (hey, that’s a great idea!), but you’ll also find plenty of free and cheap options for kids.

Let little ones play in the splash pad fountains, have fun at the marine-themed playground and go for a quick swim at Spa Beach.

Your family won’t want to miss the Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center, where kids can learn about the local marine environment through interactive exhibits.

Explore the New St. Pete Pier District

Run Free at North Shore Park

If your kids need to run off some steam, St. Pete’s waterfront North Shore Park is the perfect place to do it.

Kids will be entertained by the parade of runners, walkers with dogs, bicyclists and rollerbladers. Parents will appreciate the opportunity to let the kids run and play in a place where no one tells them to slow down or be quiet.

A few minutes’ drive north, check out the pirate-themed playground at Coffee Pot Park, with its view of pretty Coffee Pot Bayou. Or head south to the playground at Albert Whitted Park, with its view of Tampa Bay.

Run Free at North Shore Park St Pete

Be Artsy at MFA and the Morean Arts Center

Kids will love the tortuously twisted trunks and radical roots of the towering banyan trees in North Straub Park, very near St. Pete’s Museum of Fine Arts on Beach Drive in St. Pete. (Side note: this a great place for an impromptu family portrait.)

Check online or call the museum to learn more about special children's programming.

St. Pete’s Museum of Fine Arts

Just a short distance away, the Morean Arts Center on Central Ave. in St. Pete offers free family programs called “Drop-In Art Studios” on most Saturdays (several sessions are offered; preregistration is required) geared toward children ages 5-10.

Be Artsy at MFA and the Morean Arts Center
Grab a Bite on Central Ave. in St. Pete

If you get hungry, St. Pete’s Central Ave. and the surrounding area offer dozens of bistros and local mom ‘n’ pop restaurants offering affordable lunches.

Some pizza and sandwich shops have inexpensive meal specials including drinks. For a tiny splurge, stop in at The Hyppo on Central Ave. for gourmet ice pops in an unbelievable variety of unusual flavorsincluding Kale Apple Cucumber, Peanut Butter Pie or Honey Honey Dew!

Grab a Bite on Central Ave. in St. Pete

Learn at Great Explorations Children's Museum

Families with toddlers through early-elementary school kids will enjoy the hands-on approach to fun at Great Explorations Children’s Museum on 4th Street in St. Pete.

Here, children can create artwork, shop in a kid-sized supermarket or act like a newscaster at a miniature TV news desk.

Great Explorations Children's Museum

The lovely Sunken Gardens, right next door, is reasonably priced and a great place to walk with kids and look for flamingoes and parrots.

Sunken Gardens St Pete

Zoom Down a Mega Slide on Treasure Island

On Treasure Island, you can have a perfect beach day (and some inexpensive kid-sized fun, too) at Treasure Island Slide Florida, with its giant inflatable slide, bungee trampoline and bounce house.

Zoom Down a Mega Slide on Treasure Island

Farther to the north, in Largo, take the kids to the Highland Family Aquatic Center to enjoy several water slides, the pool, a water play area and more. It’s open every day in the summer (check for weekend hours at other times of the year).

 Highland Family Aquatic Center

Take a Bike Ride in Dunedin

The Pinellas Trail runs through many cities in St. Pete/Clearwater, including charming Dunedin. The trail is nearly 50 miles long. Dunedin is sweet little town with easy access to the Pinellas Trail. What better place, then, to rent a bike, explore and get some exercise?

Check out Kafe Racer for reasonably priced rental bikes and a great little cafe where you can grab a bite before or after your ride.

If you're looking for a sweet confection after your outing, head to Strachan's Homemade Ice Cream for a frozen treat.

Take a Bike Ride in Dunedin Florida

Plan a Beach Day at Fort De Soto Park

Families should put Fort De Soto Park on their must-do list while visiting St. Pete/Clearwater for two reasons.

The first is the amazing expanse of white sand at Fort De Soto’s North Beach, where tidal variations result in kid-friendly lagoon pools and sandbars perfect for exploring. (There’s also a pirate ship-themed playground adjacent to North Beach.)

Fort De Soto Park has won many awards including “Best Family Beach” from both Parents magazine and USA Today.

When you’re done playing in the sand at North Beach, it’s time to explore the Spanish American-era fort that is the park’s namesake.

Fort De Soto in St. Petersburg

Here, kids can run in and out of the cool cement-block chambers that are under the fort – they just happen to be perfect places to shout out a greeting or sing a song. Kids find the other-worldly acoustics fascinating. Don’t miss it.

With 35 miles of soft sands fringed by blue-green water, there’s no shortage of beaches for families to explore in St. Pete/Clearwater.

Cheap and Free Family Friendly Thing's To Do in St Pete

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