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Things to do in the Tampa Bay area, St. Petersburg, Sarasota and the Tampa Bay area, RV and tent camping, kayaking, beaches, festivals.

Honeymoon Island has a big, natural beach where you can get away from people, but also offers a cafe, bikes and kayaks to rent and a playground. Recently, the beautiful sandspit beach that extends miles north split in two! Erosion has connected the Gulf to the Intracoastal, and it’s still shifting. Don’t worry: There are still miles of beach to walk.

Read More about Honeymoon Island: Its spectacular natural beach has split in two

Visiting here, I found myself amazed that places like Anna Maria Island survive — a low-rise beach town with quaint cottages and a spectacular beach. Daytrippers will be happy to learn they can skip the weekend traffic and parking hassles with an affordable new ferry service from Bradenton.

Read More about Anna Maria Island: A charming Old Florida beach town; now you can skip the traffic

In Dunedin, we love bicycling the Pinellas Trail, but this charming Tampa Bay area town has more to offer, with eight breweries plus great restaurants and coffee shops in its walkable historic downtown. Twenty minutes away are two excellent state parks with award-winning beaches.

Read More about Dunedin: Delightful biking, breweries, beaches and historic downtown

J. B. Starkey Wilderness Park flies under the radar for most people planning Florida trips. It’s not a state park and it’s not near a population center. But this vast water-management preserve offers tent sites in the woods and rustic cabins you can rent quite cheaply. There are miles of trails, including an excellent paved bike trail.

Read More about J. B. Starkey Wilderness Park: Vast refuge for tent campers with rustic cabins and no RVs

Myakka is one of the oldest and biggest state parks, a great place for seeing wildlife, from huge gators to flocks of birds in winter. Go here for its log cabins, appealing camp sites, excellent kayaking, extensive hiking and good bike trails. It’s also a good spot for nature neophytes, who enjoy the airboat ride and canopy walk.

Read More about Myakka River State Park: 10 reasons to visit this big, wild Sarasota preserve

Here’s a great destination for hot summer weekends. Three new art museums in St. Petersburg – each built to house extraordinary private collections – make this a Florida city with lots to do indoors. Opening Aug. 3, the Dali Museum also will debut a dome with a 360 degree immersive art experience.

Read More about 3 new collections boost St. Petersburg as ‘City of Art’