I think there is more going on in St Pete, plenty of beach bars and restaurants, but having said that the whole beach is accessible on the beach trolley, and the Pier at St Petersburg too.
The nightlife at St Pete is basically the bars and restaurants, if you want a cinema you would need to travel inland, otherwise there is a small one at Corey Avenue in St Pete which shows mainly art house movies (and "The Rocky Horror Show" every Friday night since time immemorial).
We stayed in Madeira Beach last year. Not much going on except the beautiful beach. The beach there is narrower than St. Pete Beach. We had to drive to get to everything - even John's Pass. This year we are staying in St. Pete Beach with the hope that we can get to restaurants and shops by walking. And there is so much more to do in St. Pete Beach...more nightlife (bars, restaurants, etc.) I think with two teenagers, you might be better off in St. Pete Beach. Madeira is a lot more laid back.
Thanks to both of you for your advice. We've stayed in St. Pete's before, back in 2000. We found it laid back, especially since we spent the previous week in Orlando. The kids were much younger then of course, but towards the end, they longed for a little more action.
If you say Madeira Beach is even more laid back than St. Pete's, then I guess it will be St. Petes. What about Treasure Island - any experience there?
Treasure Island is very nice, also. I have never stayed there, but have spent time there. 4 more days until St. Pete Beach for me! (:
We're staying in St. Pete Beach, but drove up to Madeira beach for dinner tonight - and got a $20 parking ticket at John's Pass. Pulled into a metered parking lot at 7pm to dine at a nearby restaurant. The meters did not indicate hours of operation; nearby drivers had not fed their meters. We logically assumed at that hour on a weeknight the meters didn't have to be fed. Wrong! We'll never go there again, staying instead in St. Pete Beach to eat and drink.
Clearwater Beach is usually the most active. It's a smaller area of beach than the Indian Rocks/Madeira/St. Pete beach so it tends to draw a bit of a younger crowd and be more active. Plenty of things for the teens to do, and other teens their age there also for playing frisbee, swimming etc. Plenty of restaurants, bars and shops are walkable also.
We have just returned from Medeira Beach and yes it is very laid back with beautiful sunsets. We had just spent a week in Orlando, so it was a welcome rest for us.
This was our second visit to Medeira Beach,we travelled there with my two children who are 12 and 8 they really enjoyed it . We stay opposite Johns Pass at the Medeira Norte Condos they are just accross the street from Johns Pass where you will find shops and restaurants.
We hired a speed boat one day and we also hired jet skies, the children loved both of these activities.
For eating out, I could recommend the Conch Republic in North Redington and the friendly Fisherman at Johns Pass, The Candy kitchen in Medeira beach is also a must for ice cream and make sure you visit their rest room.
We also had a meal at the Don Cesar one lunch time which was lovely. You have to pay $10 to park the car, but if you buy lunch then it is free as long as you don't forget to get your ticket stamped at the restaurant.
Most other places are within driving distance and not too far away.
We visited Tresure Island one day and yes it is very nice but not a lot going on for teenagers.
The shopping mall at Tyrone is only 15 min drive away from Medeira beach, this has plenty of shops or you could try the International shipping mall in Tampa where there are more designer shops, this is about half hour drive from Medeira beach.
Where ever you go I'm sure you will have a fab time.
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