We finally took a trip that we wanted to do for a while. We visited 2 cities that we already know very well and love, Vero Beach and St. Pete Beach. The 1st located on the east coast of the state, in the Atlantic side and the 2nd one in the Gulf of Mexico, on the west coast of Florida.
The idea is the following: to enjoy the sunrise in the east of the state and the sunset in the west, on the same day. Of course, you have to plan well because we already know how the weather in Florida can change super quick.
We decided on a Saturday, after seeing the weather in both cities, to go to Vero Beach on a Monday, so we can wake up on Tuesday and start the road trip to St. Pete Beach to appreciate the sunset on the other side. Of course, with some extra time to enjoy the beach and towns.
On this trip we decided to take our 2 kids, our dogs Chewie and Ramona, so I’ll also tell you a little about places to visit with puppies.
From Orlando to Vero Beach, it’s about 2-hours drive. When we arrived in the city, we needed to go first to a dog park, and we’ve been to this one already.
In Vero Beach we usually stay at Holiday Inn & Suites Vero Beach-Oceanside, an IHG Hotel, since they have good prices, perfectly located so you don’t have to drive much, just stroll around the area. It is not the best one, but it is decent, very good service and for this trip it was the best since it accepts doggies. Another option that we have done on other trips is Costa d’Este, that is nearby.
As always we had an amazing day in Vero Beach. We dined with family at Mulligan’s Beach House, and we enjoyed the beach for few minutes, although at the time of our visit, the water was already getting a little cold for these Floridians 😆 (end of October, after a cold front).
For Tuesday, sunrise time was at 7:28 am, so we decided to wake up 1 hour earlier, or so, to be able to have coffee, sit on the balcony of the room and not miss a thing. Gorgeous! The rays of light that could be seen through the clouds was a breathtaking view.
After enjoying the ‘show’, we went to have breakfast at Mulligan’s (we have a 10% off discount and it’s right there at the hotel), packed our things and got ready to drive from east to west, from Vero Beach to St. Petersburg. Most of the drive was on State Road 60 (SR60).
It took us a little over 3 hours as we stopped for gas, take the dogs out from time to time and have a quick lunch.
Once in St. Pete Beach, we headed to a very small beach for dogs. It is not directly in the Gulf of Mexico, but in the area of the canals. The water is very calm and super clear. Pass A Grille Dog Beach was a good option to visit with them. And even better because we managed to see dolphins. If you don’t have dogs, any spot on St. Pete Beach is perfect. I promise.
Finally we went to the hotel where we would spend the last night of the trip. This time we decided to try Postcard Inn On The Beach. We always try to go to a different one.
After dropping our bags in the room, we went to the little bar by the beach (in the same hotel) from where we could see the sunset very well. However, when the time got closer, we walked closer to the water.
The sunset, as always on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico (in Florida), was another beautiful thing to see. Stunning! I remember that at our wedding, just steps from where we were on this trip, we also enjoyed the beautiful sunset with friends and family.
Do I recommend doing this trip?
We’ve been living in Florida for a long time. I moved here in 1999 and my husband in 2016, and we always try to visit different places. This time we wanted to do a different activity and it turned out to be a good experience that we would do again. If you are visiting Florida for a short time, it may be a good option since you get to see both coasts, I would recommend, however, spending more days in both cities to get to know it better.
Another option, which it won’t include to see the sunrise and sunset on the same day on 2 different coasts, plan to visit both cities for more days, perhaps on the way along SR60, you could make a stop for 2 or 3 nights at Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo. It’s on my list of places to visit. It has many activities for the whole family, from horseback riding or pony rides, swimming pools, fishing areas, boat or airboat rides and much more. And you can do ‘glamping’ which is more comfortable with beds and even air conditioning.
Also in Lake Wales you’ll find Bok Tower Gardens, which it’s gorgeous.
And obviously, then you have Tampa (north of St. Petersburg) with many activities and places to visit, from museums, malls, aquarium and more.
A short video of the drive from Vero Beach to St. Pete Beach: