Where to stay in St. Petersburg, FL first time: 5 Safe areas

Finding where to stay in St. Petersburg as a first-timer can be a headache. That’s why, in today’s article, I will help you to find safe places to stay in St. Petersburg for first-time visitors.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safest areas to stay in St. Petersburg for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map and areas to avoid. I’ll also share where I stayed in St. Petersburg and recommend some of the best hotels for various budgets.

St. Petersburg is a popular beach destination on the west coast of Florida, United States. Located between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, the city is known for its beautiful waterfront, vibrant arts scene, and numerous outdoor recreational opportunities. 

The city is recognized for its thriving arts community, with numerous museums, galleries, and theaters. The Salvador Dalí Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, and The Dalí are notable cultural institutions. The Mahaffey Theater and the Palladium Theater host a variety of performances.

St. Petersburg offers a range of outdoor activities. The city has several parks, including the waterfront Vinoy Park and North Shore Park. You can enjoy activities such as boating, fishing, and biking along the scenic Pinellas Trail.

The city is close to the Gulf Coast’s white sandy beaches, such as St. Pete Beach and Fort De Soto Park, known for their beautiful shores and recreational activities.

Is St. Petersburg safe to visit?

St. Petersburg is generally safe to visit. Just like any other city, it has property crimes, petty theft, robbery, bike theft or a car break in. It is important to use common sense, take care of your belongings, don’t keep valuables in my car, and avoid walking alone at night.

Also, Be aware of weather conditions, especially during hurricane season (between June and November). You should stay informed about any potential weather-related advisories.

Where to stay in St. Petersburg for the first time?

The best and safe areas to stay in St. Petersburg for first-timers and tourists are St Pete Beach, Downtown Saint Petersburg, Treasure Island, Madeira Beach, and North Redington Beach.

In general, Downtown is the best area for those who want a blend of city life and cultural experiences. This area is vibrant and walkable, with a mix of museums, galleries, shops, and restaurants. You’ll find attractions like the Salvador Dali Museum, the Chihuly Collection, and the Museum of Fine Arts.

If you prefer a beach vacation, you can book your accommodation in  St Pete Beach, Treasure Island, Madeira Beach, and North Redington Beach. These areas are known for their beautiful sandy beaches, and variety of beachfront hotels and resorts.

Just take a note that accommodations on the beach area tend to be very expensive, even for a 3-star hotel. But they have many choices, so I am sure, you will find one that suits your budgets and needs;

While Downtown and the beachfront area are generally safe for visitors, it is best to avoid staying in certain neighborhoods if possible. These include Jordan Park and Bartlett Park because they have higher crime rates compared to other parts of the city.

During my trip to St. Petersburg, I stayed at the St. Pete Beach Suites. It was a lovely beachfront hotel, located close to everything, easy access to the beach and tourist facilities. My suite was clean and comfortable. Would definitely stay here again.

Below is a map of the popular areas in St. Petersburg for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in St. Petersburg first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in St. Petersburg first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in St. Petersburg, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in St. Petersburg have been carefully selected by me from well-known and secure booking sites such as booking.com, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. 

If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

5 Safe areas to stay in St. Petersburg for first-timers and tourists:

1. St Pete Beach

St Pete Beach is one of the most popular areas to stay in St. Petersburg for first-timers, especially for those who want a lively beach holiday. It is located on the barrier island of Long Key, known for its stunning sandy beaches and lively atmosphere.

St Pete Beach boasts wide, white sandy beaches with clear Gulf of Mexico waters, making it a favorite spot for sunbathing, swimming, and various water activities.

The Gulf Coast of Florida is famous for its stunning sunsets, and St. Pete Beach is no exception. Many visitors gather to watch the sunset and celebrate the “green flash” phenomenon.

St. Pete Beach offers a variety of waterfront dining options where visitors can enjoy fresh seafood and beautiful views of the Gulf. Corey Avenue is packed with shops, galleries, and restaurants.

This area is home to the historic Pass-a-Grille district. It has a laid-back atmosphere, with quaint shops, restaurants, and historic architecture.

In addition to beach activities, you can explore nearby parks, engage in water-based excursions, or take part in eco-tours to discover the natural beauty of the region. A short drive away, Fort De Soto Park offers natural beauty, historical sites, and outdoor activities.

Best places to stay in St. Petersburg Beach for first-timers:

Mid-range ($$): St. Pete Beach Suites, popular 3-star hotel located in St. Pete Beach, close to everything, within walking distance to the beach, restaurants, ice cream and shops on the strip. It has an outdoor pool, barbecue facilities, free bikes to use, and onsite free parking. Rooms are comfortable and spacious.

Luxury ($$$): The Don CeSar, 4-star historic beachfront hotel, often referred to as the Pink Palace, has direct access to the beach with many deck chairs to use. It also has  a pool, a fitness center, and Good breakfast. Good base for beach vacations and exploring nearby points of interest like Salvador Dalí’s art at The Dalí Museum, Fort De Soto Park, and Tropicana Field.

Budget ($): Carlton House Motel and Suites, 1-star good value for money accommodation located on 71st Avenue, within walking distance from the sandy beaches and a few restaurants. The hotel has paid airport transfer, family rooms, and an outdoor swimming pool. All rooms come with a kitchenette.


2. Downtown Saint Petersburg

Downtown St. Petersburg is the best base for those who want a lively city experience with cultural offerings. It is a vibrant and lively area known for its cultural attractions, waterfront views, and diverse entertainment options.

Downtown is home to several museums and art galleries. The Salvador Dalí Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Chihuly Collection showcase impressive collections of art and cultural exhibits.

The downtown area is situated along the waterfront, offering beautiful views of Tampa Bay. Parks like Vinoy Park and North Straub Park provide green spaces for relaxation, picnics, and events.

 The St. Petersburg Pier is a popular destination with shops, restaurants, and recreational activities. It provides a scenic spot for walking, fishing, or simply enjoying the waterfront.

The downtown area offers a diverse range of restaurants, cafes, and bars. The nightlife scene is also vibrant, with bars, clubs, and live music venues. Central Avenue is a popular thoroughfare with lots of dining and entertainment options.

Downtown features unique boutiques, antique shops, and art galleries, making it a great place for shopping and exploring local businesses.

St. Petersburg has been designated as a Cultural Arts District, reflecting its commitment to the arts. The district encompasses a variety of cultural venues and public art installations.

The downtown area is home to several historic districts with charming architecture. The Old Northeast and Roser Park historic districts are known for their well-preserved homes and tree-lined streets.

Downtown St. Petersburg is easily accessible, and the city has a convenient trolley system that provides transportation to various attractions. While Downtown itself is not on the beach, it’s a short drive to nearby St. Pete Beach and Treasure Island.

Best places to stay in Downtown St. Petersburg for first-timers:

Luxury ($$$): Prestige Collection, Hotel Boutique,  5-star hotel centrally located in Downtown St Petersburg, 1-2 blocks to the bay waterfront, walkable to all the sights and hotspots. Easy access to Spa Beach, Chihuly Collection and The Pier on foot and by Uber/Taxi. 

Mid-range ($$): The Birchwood, 4-star hotel centrally located in the middle of downtown St. Petersburg, easy access to nearby cultural attractions, shops, restaurants, and bars. Within walking distance to the  The Chihuly Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, and Saint Petersburg Museum of History.

Budget ($): Hyatt Place St. Petersburg/Downtown, popular 3-star hotel in the heart of the city,  easy walking distance to restaurants, museums and waterfront. You can park your car at the hotel, and explore Downtown on foot. Close to the Chihuly Collection and The Dali’ Museum.


3. Treasure Island

Treasure Island is one of the best locations in St Petersburg for beach vacation. Treasure Island boasts several miles of sandy beaches along the Gulf of Mexico. You can enjoy sunbathing, swimming, and various water sports.

One of the neighborhoods within Treasure Island is Sunset Beach, known for its beautiful sunsets. It offers a relaxed atmosphere and is a favorite spot for those seeking a peaceful beach experience.

John’s Pass is a popular attraction located nearby, offering a boardwalk with shops, restaurants, and water-based activities. It’s a vibrant area where you can enjoy shopping, dining, and water excursions.

Best places to stay in St. Petersburg in Treasure Island:

Mid-range ($$): Treasure Island Beach Resort, great 3-star beachfront accommodation in Treasure Island, offering  suites with a kitchenette and private bathroom. Walking distance to various restaurants, ice cream, pizza, and groceries. Short Uber ride from the famous John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk. It has free parking, which is a bonus for those who drive.

Mid-range ($$): FUSION Resort Two Bedroom Suites, popular 3-star hotel located within a 15 min walk to the beach. You can find several pubs and restaurants nearby. It has one complimentary parking, free bikes, 24-hour front desk, and comfortable accommodations with a kitchen.

Budget ($): Sea Jay Motel and Marina, lovely art deco style Motel conveniently located within walking to the beach, supermarket, and tourist amenities. The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool, free private parking, water sports facilities and barbecue facilities.


4. Madeira Beach

Madeira Beach is a great choice for those who prefer a more relaxed beach atmosphere with a focus on water activities, fishing, and a quaint village setting. 

One of the main attractions in Madeira Beach is John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk. This area offers a blend of shops, restaurants, and water activities. You can explore unique boutiques, enjoy fresh seafood, and take part in boat tours or water excursions.

Best places to stay in St. Petersburg in Madeira Beach:

Mid-range ($$): Barefoot Beach Club, 3-star beachfront hotel located on a private beach,  5 minutes’ walk from John’s Pass entertainment and historic area, 5 mins drive from Host Dolphin Tours. It has a pool with a view of the Gulf of Mexico, free parking, and a fitness center.

Mid-range ($$): Cambria Hotel St Petersburg-Madeira Beach Marina, popular 3-star seafront hotel on Madeira Beach, walking distance to beach, restaurants, nightlife, shopping; easy to travel to Treasure island and the other parts of Tampa, like Tropicana Field.

Mid-range ($$): Shoreline Island Resort – Exclusively Adult, 3-star good value for money adults only accommodation, catering to adults 21 or older, located directly on the beach.  The rooms have a fully-equipped kitchen, so you can prepare your own meal and the Publix Market is a few minutes by car.


5. North Redington Beach

North Redington Beach might be the right choice if you prefer a peaceful and residential beach experience away from the hustle and bustle of more commercialized areas.

Best places to stay in St. Petersburg in North Redington Beach:


In conclusion, St Pete Beach, Downtown St. Petersburg, Treasure Island, Madeira Beach, North Redington Beach are the best places to stay in St Petersburg for first-timers and tourists. These are generally safe areas and provide a range of accommodations for visitors to stay and explore the city.

You can continue reading about other popular destinations in Florida in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to St. Petersburg. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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