I had enough points from my rewards credit card to get my flight for free. I highly recommend getting a travel rewards credit card because you can save so much money on flying. See my post on the best travel rewards credit cards.
My husband had enough Marriott Rewards points from previous work trips to pay for two nights at a hotel so we just had to pay for one night. All we had to pay for was a rental car, one night at a hotel, food, and whatever we decided to do. All of my husband's travel was payed for.
Before I travel anywhere, I always research the area to see what kinds of things we want to do and where we want to eat while we're there. When I researched Tampa, I realized that there are a lot of things to do like museums and shopping but we mostly just wanted to go to the beach. We live in Utah so we take advantage of any opportunity we can to hit the beach!
We decided to stay in the St. Petersburg and Clearwater area so we could be closer to the beaches. We spent one day at Universal Studios Orlando, which was an hour and a half away. It was a blast! I love Universal Studios. It's definitely a must-see! The rest of the trip was mostly spent at different beaches in the area.
The beaches we went to were Clearwater Beach, Madeira Beach, Treasure Island Beach, and St. Pete Beach.
I think my favorite of all of these beaches was Madeira Beach, even though I read that Clearwater Beach was the most popular. Across the street from Madeira Beach was a place called John's Pass Boardwalk. There were lots of shops and restaurants right on the pier. It was one of my favorite places we went on our trip. It was such a fun atmosphere!
We also ate a lot of really yummy seafood while we were there. I always research restaurants and read the reviews and menus before we go on a trip. These are the restaurants that we ate at:
Frenchy's Rockaway Grille- Clearwater Beach:
This restaurant was right on the beach so it was a really fun atmosphere. A lot of people recommended this restaurant so I had high expectations. My husband and I shared a Grouper sandwich and we each had a bowl of crab soup. The soup was amazing but the sandwich was just okay. There are a few other Frenchy's locations in the area and I'm wondering if one of the other locations might be a little better.
Crabby Bills- Clearwater Beach:
My husband and I both ordered a bucket of crab legs, shrimp, mussels, and clams. I've never had mussels or clams before so it was a new experience. The mussels were good but the clams were interesting. The crab and shrimp were good but I've had better at other restaurants.
The Hut- Madeira Beach at St. John's Pass
This restaurant was right on the dock. It was such a fun experience. We had shrimp tacos and a shrimp caesar wrap. The food was okay. It was kind of generic food, nothing special. But the view was amazing, the weather was perfect, and we had so much fun.
The Oyster Shucker- St. Pete Beach
My husband and I both ordered all you can eat crab legs. Oh my goodness! They were so good! This was probably one of the best meals I've had in my life.
Chevy's Fresh Mex- Orlando
This is where we ate after Universal Studios. We usually don't like to go to chain restaurants on vacation because we like to try the local food. But we don't have a Chevy's near us so we decided to give it a try. The chips and salsa were delicious. I ordered fish tacos and they were probably the best fish tacos I've ever had. It was made with mahi mahi and topped with a pineapple salsa. Seriously so good!
Fourth Street Shrimp Store- St. Petersburg
This was probably one of the best meals of our trip. My husband and I shared a lobster and shrimp roll and peel and eat shrimp. The lobster roll had so much lobster meat and whole pieces of shrimp. It was heavenly. Peel and eat shrimp is also one of our favorite things to eat and it was so good here because it tasted so fresh. I would definitely come back here if we are ever in the area again.
This was such a fun trip! I would definitely recommend visiting this area if you've never been here. I love Florida and I love the beach. It was such a perfect little getaway!