The Intracoastal Waterway is a 3,000 mile recreational and shipping channel that runs along the coast from Maine to Texas. The waterway was authorized in 1919 and is maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers.
The 5.5-mile long Sunshine Skyway Bridge carries I-275 and US-19 over the mouth of Tampa Bay connecting St. Petersburg and Sarasota. The bridge was constructed from 1982 to 1987 to replace the original Sunshine Skyway Bridge that was badly damaged in a boat collision in 1980. The first bridge here had one span built in 1954 and the second span in 1969. The bridge suffered tremendous damage in 1980 when the freighter MV Summit Venture crashed into a pier during a storm, casing a quarter mile of the bridge to collapse, and killing 35 people.
The Gandy Bridge is the only direct connection between the bay area cities of Tampa and St. Pete. The original Gandy Bridge opened in 1924 as the longest toll bridge in the world, and it cut the driving distance between Tampa and St. Pete from 43 to 19 miles. It is interesting to note that the bridge stopped charging toll in 1944 when it was seized by the federal government during World War II. This bridge was removed in 1975, after three more spans had been built over the ensuing years.
In 1956 a second span was added to the original bridge, thereby allowing the 1924 span to carry eastbound traffic and the new bridge span to carry westbound traffic. In 1997, after the third and fourth spans were both constructed, this third span was decommissioned for automobile traffic. In 1999 this old span reopened as the Friendship Trail Bridge, though it was forced to close in 2008 when it was determined the structure could collapse at any time. Plans are in the works to reopen the Friendship Trail Bridge, but a solution seems years away.
The third span, and current eastbound bridge, was built in 1975, and the original Gandy bridge was destroyed shortly thereafter.
The fourth span of the Gandy Bridge was just finished in 1996. For the first year of its existence, it carried eastbound traffic while the 1975 bridge was retrofitted. In 1997 this new bridge began carrying westbound traffic.
The Looper Downtown Trolley Ride is a great way to see the best attractions downtown for just a quarter. The drivers are humorous and full of knowledge about all the attractions and historic buildings in the area. They will drive by or stop by all of these attractions, so this is a great option for newcomers to get familiar with downtown quickly in a fun atmosphere. Daily Service between the hours of 10am and 5pm. Service is every 15 minutes. The last 30 minute trip leaves The Pier at 4:30pm.
This vehicle will transport you around town and then it drives into the water to give you a tour of the city, looking from the beautiful blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It's called The DUCK TOURS and the children love it.
Our bright colored Trollys are great transportation when you are going from one place to another. They can drop you off at the frount of all the places you would like to visit on your stay. They also will transport you down to any one of the beaches for a day of fun in the sun. All of the employees that drive the trolly's are more then happy to assist our visitors to FLORIDA and they will often point out points of interest.
Drive or fly to Tampa airport. Some smaller airlines fly into St Pete/Clearwater especially charters from Canada. I75 goes right thru the heart of St. Petersburg via a spur called 275. This travels further south via the Sunshine Skyway and connets with I75 around Palmetto, Florida. Commercial bus service does come to St. Petersburg but there is no train service.
Everything is very spread out within the city and to the next several towns so rent a car or try to take the bus which on most routes only runs once an hour. The taxi cabs are very expensive and charge by the quarter of the hour.
It's not a big place, so I would rent a (topless)car/bike and/or blades. There is a free trolley service downtown from the pier that takes you on a sightseeing tour...good if you're pushed for time or too lazy to do it yourself. Biking and blading is good too as we have 40 miles of pedestrianized trails (ask for directions to the pinellas trail)
A fun day on the water you might want to be the CAPTAIN of your own boat. If you are into sailing then try the Saint Petersburg Marina and bring sun tan oil. Most people come back red as lobsters.
SAINT PETERSBURG has very larg cruise ships that will take you and yours to the CARRIBBEAN for fun in the sun. "WARRING"
DO NOT take your diet on a cruise ship....
it will not work (I-KNOW)!
Tampa International Airport; everything you want to know.
I will recommend rent a car.