Things to Do on Florida’s Gulf Shore

Remote and bleisure workers who spend time in cities along Florida’s southwest shore—which hugs the Gulf of Mexico—are rewarded with laid-back vibes, breathtaking beach scenes and exciting cultural experiences. The region includes Tampa, loved for its museums; Naples, known for its calm waters and swanky shopping and dining; and Sarasota, a white sand paradise also known for its cultural attractions.

Get your blood pumping between long Zoom meetings at the Tampa Riverwalk, a 2.6-mile pathway that runs along the Hillsborough River. The route is padded with shops, restaurants, and kid-pleasing attractions such as the Tampa Bay History Center and the Florida Aquarium—great for visiting on the weekend. Grab a seafood lunch or snack on the patio at Stones Throw at Armature Works, a waterfront food hall and market. The Riverwalk is also home to a lively nightlife scene, making it an excellent place to grab a brew, glass of wine or cocktail to reward yourself after a long day.

Tampa Riverwalk
Tampa Riverwalk

Tampa Riverwalk at night, with the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in the distance, with lights and reflections on the Hillsborough river.

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Tampa Riverwalk
Tampa Riverwalk

Tampa Riverwalk - Kennedy Boulevard - University of Tampa

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Tampa Bay History Center
Tampa Bay History Center

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Tampa Riverwalk
Tampa Riverwalk

Tampa Riverwalk at night, with the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in the distance, with lights and reflections on the Hillsborough river.

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Tampa is the home turf of the Super Bowl–winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who play at Raymond James stadium in front of a roaring crowd of fans clad in red during the NFL season (early September–early January). Sports fans can get in on the action by purchasing tickets to games, which are available starting in mid-May, when the schedule is released. The Buccaneers are set to square off with the Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, and other exciting teams at home in 2022.

 

In St. Petersburg, use your spare time to connect with your inner beach bum. Bond with your partner over daiquiris and margaritas at an open-air beach bar on the sand at St. Pete Beach, also ideal for swimming and sunbathing. Or go for a walk or run along the water at Pass-A-Grille Beach, a charming, historic community without a high rise in sight.

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Raymond James Stadium in Tampa
Raymond James Stadium in Tampa

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Skyline of St. Petersburg
Skyline of St. Petersburg

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The aquamarine waters and white sands of Sarasota’s nationally recognized beaches beckon remote workers and their families. There, you can spend your offline hours swimming, sunning and building sandcastles at Siesta Key, Lido Key and Longboat Key—which are often listed as some of the best beaches in the United States by websites like TripAdvisor.

 

If arts and culture are your forte, the Ringling Museum of Art offers discounted admission from 5–8 p.m. via its Art after 5 program for $15 (usually $25). That gives you three hours to admire the collections, which include 28,000 works of art from the ancient periods to the 21st century. The museum was founded by circus giant and art enthusiast John Ringling, one of five operators of what was known as “The Greatest Show on Earth.”

Sarasota
Sarasota

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Sarasota
Sarasota

Sarasota, Florida, USA downtown city skyline

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John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota
John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota

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Sarasota
Sarasota

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Take a mid-day siesta in relaxed Fort Myers to shop for dinner at the Lakes Park Farmers Market (Wednesdays, 9 a.m.–1 p.m., October–April) or the River District Farmers Market in Centennial Park (Thursdays, 9 a.m.–1 p.m., year-round). At these bazaars, vendors sell their best local produce, fresh seafood, meats, coffee, sweet treats, baked goodies and other tasty must-haves.

Every March, 15 MLB teams from across the country convene in Florida for Spring Training via the Grapefruit League. While the league is having a delayed start this year, tickets for games hosted at cities across the Sunshine State—including Fort Myers, Sarasota, and Tampa—after March 12 are still available for sale. View a full list of teams and stadiums, along with their schedules,  and check for the most current updates on the league’s website.

 

After you’ve accomplished your #workgoals for the day in Naples, wade into the blue waters at Seagate Beach or Barefoot Beach Preserve County Park. Families enjoy playing volleyball at Lowdermilk Park, while the sunsets from Naples Pier (also a popular dolphin-spotting locale with beach access) are hard to beat.

Naples beach
Naples beach

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Naples
Naples

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Baseball Spring Training
Baseball Spring Training

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Naples beach
Naples beach

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Hotels in Tampa/St Petersburg and Sarasota

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BW Premier Floridan Palace Hotel

905 N Florida Ave,

Tampa, FL 33602

Book ID G1773

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BW Plus Siesta Key

6600 S Tamiami Trail,

Sarasota, FL 34231

Book ID 10082

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BW Wesley Chapel

5639 Oakley Blvd,

Wesley Chapel, FL 33544

Book ID B0969

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Best Western Plus Bradenton Gateway Hotel

648 67th St Cir E,

Bradenton, FL 34208

Book ID 98366

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BW Plus Yacht Harbor

150 Marina Plaza,

Dunedin, FL 34698

Book ID 13095

 

Hotels in Fort Myers/Naples

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Best Western Plus Beach Resort

684 Estero Blvd,

Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931

Book ID 11230

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Best Western Naples Plaza Hotel

6400 Dudley Dr,

Naples, FL 34105

Book ID 95933

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Best Western Fort Myers Inn & Suites

4400 Ford Street Ext,

Fort Myers, FL 33916

Book ID 75875

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BW Fort Myers Waterfront

13021 N Cleveland Ave,

Fort Myers, FL 33903

Book ID 87152