Expert Tips


Top 10 Budget Hotel Choices in St Petersburg and Clearwater

The St Petersburg/Clearwater area is popular any time of year but as you might expect, it’s especially appealing during the cold winter months when “snow birds,” want to escape the frigid grip of Father Winter.

It’s not surprising that hotel and resort prices fluctuate with the seasons with winter, holidays and “spring break” vacations commanding the highest prices. There are some deals, however to be found in tried and true establishments such as the Thunderbird Beach Resort, Bilmar Resort and Beachcomber Resort.

If being on the beach isn't important, then the downtown Cordova Inn, blending both history with modern-day touches, is close to some of the area’s finest museums, shopping and tourist sites.

For longer stays, Alden Suites and the Hotel Cabana Clearwater are excellent options for the budget-conscious visitor. If you’re traveling with children, check ahead before you book anything because many resorts offer free stays and/or free breakfast for children under a certain age.

No matter when you go, just keep in mind that there is never a bad time to visit this beautiful area!

Howard Johnson Resort Hotel St Pete Beach
Photo courtesy of Howard Johnson St Pete Beach Resort


A popular hotel for budget-conscious travelers is the Howard Johnson Resort Hotel. Located on the Gulf of Mexico, it features 136 fairly large rooms and suites (some with kitchens) and balconies (some with ocean views). Guest rooms offer free...  Read More

Long Key Beach Resort
Photo courtesy of Long Key Beach Resort


Perfectly poised on the tranquil beach on the Gulf of Mexico, this low-key gem features studios, standard rooms and apartments with free Wi-Fi and cable TV with a host of channels. The 16 suites and apartments feature kitchenettes and living...  Read More

St. Petersburg
The Cordova Inn
Photo courtesy of The Cordova Inn


Built in 1921 and fully restored, this historic inn is walking distance to the many activities of the Sundial shopping and entertainment center, area museums and St Petersburg's downtown waterfront. The 32 tastefully appointed guest rooms offer...  Read More

Bon-Aire Resort
Photo courtesy of Bon-Aire Resort


Located just 10 miles from downtown St Petersburg, this small resort on the Gulf of Mexico has been wooing vacationers since it first opened in 1953. This family-run 81- unit boutique resort offers the charm of a kinder, gentler time, while...  Read More

Alden Suites - A Beachfront Resort
Photo courtesy of Alden Suites


Set on five lush acres lining the Gulf of Mexico, this no-frills resort is conveniently located near popular attractions such as John's Pass and Boardwalk. The 140 comfortably appointed suites feature balconies, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs,...  Read More

Hotel Cabana Clearwater
Photo courtesy of Hotel Cabana Clearwater


This low-key boutique hotel overlooks the Mandalay Channel and is within walking distance to Caladesi State Park and Clearwater Beach. Built in 1947 it underwent a major renovation and re-opened in June 2017. There are 27 guest-rooms and suites...  Read More

Bilmar Beach Resort
Photo courtesy of Bilmar Beach Resort


Located just two miles from the tourist-friendly John's Pass Village and Boardwalk, the Bilmar, on the Gulf of Mexico is another longtime favorite with visitors to the area. The casual hotel houses guestrooms, suites and efficiencies with...  Read More

Thunderbird Beach Resort
Photo courtesy of Thunderbird Beach Resort


The giant, retro Thunderbird sign marks the spot of this casual, family-owned beachfront hotel on Treasure Island, which has been drawing visitors to the area since it first opened its doors in 1957. Guestrooms vary from standard courtyard rooms...  Read More

Dolphin Beach Resort
Photo courtesy of Dolphin Beach Resort


Recent refurbishments and affordable lodging make this a favorite beach resort on the Gulf of Mexico. Colorful rooms, many with Gulf views and balconies, include coffeemakers, satellite TV, microwaves, complimentary Wi-Fi, laptop compatible...  Read More

Beachcomber Beach Resort
Photo courtesy of Beachcomber Beach Resort


Sitting on a beach overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, the casual Beachcomber is a longtime favorite with travelers looking for good value and comfortable amenities. Garden, fountain or oceanfront rooms feature free Wi-Fi, TVs, DVD players,...  Read More


Meet Michelle da Silva Richmond

Michelle da Silva Richmond is an award-winning travel editor and member of the Society of American Travel Writers and other journalism organizations. 

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