Hit the Road: Plan a Road Trip with the Gulf Coast Itinerary

by Country Inns & Suites
Monday, August 12, 2013

The Sunshine State is a vacationer’s dream. From bustling cities to beautiful beaches, you can build an itinerary to please the pickiest of travelers. Choose attractions from our list of suggestions to create your next unforgettable trip!

Citrus Country

Brush up on your history at the South Florida Museum to fully appreciate the diversity of Florida. With the Bishop Planetarium to observe the skies, the Parker Manatee Aquarium to admire the seas, and the museum offering a look back in time, you’ll get three world-class attractions for the price of one.

South Florida Museum

Are you looking for a free way to spend an afternoon during your vacation? Village of the Arts is a unique area comprised of local artists from all genres. Visit the Art Walk during the first weekend in March or simply meander around the lovely galleries.

If bargain hunting is your vice, Red Barn Flea Market & Plaza is awfully nice. This 80,000 square foot attraction offers nearly 600 different vendors and is open every weekend. All of that treasure hunting is bound to make you hungry, so head down the street to the Anna Maria Oyster Bar. A mixture of fresh seafood, steak, pasta, and chicken dishes makes this restaurant an ideal location for any appetite. At the end of each day, our Country Inns & Suites By Carlson hotels in Bradenton and Pinellas Park are waiting for you with freshly baked cookies and friendly smiles.

Gold Gulf

You’ll never want to leave the beauty and adventure that awaits you on the Gulf Coast. Just take a sea-sprayed stroll along Russell-Fields Pier, the Gulf Coast’s longest pier, to see what we mean. Grab a rod and reel or take photos of the “golden hour” sunsets – they’re sure to make your friends and family jealous! Upload those photos using the complimentary high-speed Internet at the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Panama City hotel during your stay.

Russell-Fields Pier

Dive even deeper into the Gulf with a visit to Shell Island. A short ferry ride will land you on this uninhibited island, where you’ll be free to investigate the ecological wonders and pristine beaches. As you make your way back to the shore, beware of pirates! Pirates of mini golf, that is. Take to the greens of Pirate’s Island Mini Golf and you’ll be saying ‘Yar Har Har’ while you swing for ‘Par’. You can also explore raging waterfalls, captivating caves and haunted ships.

Gulf Coast beach


There is so much to see and do in Tampa, Florida, but one of the best features of this city is the shopping and dining! Visit the SoHo district for everything from restaurants to shopping to trendy living spaces. Speckled among the more than thirty eateries on South Howard Street, you’ll find art galleries and a variety of other specialty shops. Take a break and grab lunch at The Colonnade, where you’ll enjoy famous seafood po’boys and corn muffins. The real treat isn’t the dessert, it’s the view! The stunning scenery is something of a local secret and one you’re sure to remember to visit time and time again.

Tampa, Florida

Continue your shopping adventures at Channelside Bay Plaza. Although the plaza offers a myriad of shopping, dining and lounging opportunities, the best feature is probably the entertainment. It includes a cinema and bowling alley to keep you and your family entertained all afternoon.

Rest your head on a soft pillow at the end of each day when you stay at the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson,Tampa/Brandon or the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Tampa Airport North.

Whether you’re shopping in the city or jet skiing in the ocean, we hope you have a fantastic Florida vacation! Download a printable version of our Gulf Coast itinerary to make sure you don’t miss a thing. What attractions are must-sees on your itinerary?