I admit it: I may not be the most qualified person to be writing about where you and your girlfriends should go for a day of fun and re-connecting, but I work in a hotel — surrounded by women all day long. So I asked a few of them what they do when they want to have a girlfriend getaway in Tampa Bay. I got some interesting answers (including some that I can’t publish!). But there were a few that were consistent among many of the ladies. So next time you’re looking to do a girls-only retreat, check out these ideas for your escape.
Photo credit: Visit St. Pete/Clearwater CVB
“Girlfriending” Around in Gulfport
Not far from St. Pete Beach, the community of Gulfport is a somewhat hidden artsy and “funky” town made up of quirky shops, restaurants (from sidewalk cafes to intimate dining), crazy special events, art galleries and a beach to boot! It’s an ideal place to spend the day, do some shopping, enjoy a bite to eat, and just let your hair down. It’s a total “No Judgment Zone” where anything goes. Where Mayberry meets Shangri-La.
All the shops and boutiques are independently owned and offer merchandise that you probably won’t find anywhere else. You can find a list of shops on the Merchant Association’s web site, but be sure not to miss the Boulevard Shoppe & Garden where you’ll find FABFiber, The Nest and Thai Orchids & Leis. While there, stop for lunch at Sweet Tea Celebrations. A quaint tea room with some of the best chicken salad ever and a Flan that is made daily by the owners’ 90-year old Mom!
A Day of Bliss at Spa Oceana
Spa Days and girlfriend getaways go hand in hand. The Spa Oceana at Loews Don CeSar, has a variety of options that create the perfect atmosphere to re-connect, relax and refresh. The key is planning ahead so that you and your friends can get your preferred times, and no one is left waiting. Start with Yoga on the Beach. Get fit, take in the views and let your hair get swept away in salty breezes. You may not have perfected down dog, but you will have perfected the art of living life to the fullest together with your gal pals. After yoga, retreat to your own private Spa Suite where you can enjoy beverages, snacks or your favorite sweet treat. Throughout the day, select from a number of signature spa treatments from the Spa Oceana Splendor or Beach Glow Body treatment to a Sea of Life Facial or Floral Blossom Mani and Pedi. They even have a hair salon and spray tanning! Of course, you’ll need a lunch break. Gals can escape to the Spa Rooftop Terrace and be treated to a lunch overlooking the awesome views of the Gulf of Mexico.
Photo credit: Casey Thompson
SUP in St. Pete
It goes without saying that St. Pete is best known for its beaches and outdoor activities. For an adventurous and laid back day, visit The Getaway in Tampa Bay. The Getaway is just a great place to hang out with the locals, enjoy the sun and try your hand a Stand Up Paddle Boarding. A quick call to Uban Kai and they can arrange for paddle boards (or kayaks if you desire) to be delivered right to your feet.
You can SUP around the mangroves of Tampa Bay, or just chill on one of their many waterfront chairs. If you want to get a really memorable paddle boarding experience, and possibly see some St. Pete Sea Life up close, rent a paddle board right on the beach at Loews. You and your girlfriends can experience a day on one of the Top 10 beaches in the US (according to TripAdvisor). Afterward, grab a comfy cushion at one of the fire pits at the Rowe Bar. Order up some specialty hand-crafted cocktails, a Julep or share a Communal Punch. It will be a refreshing way to end the day.
For more trip ideas with your best girls, visit the St. Pete/Clearwater web site at loews.io/VSPC.