Stay in nautical-themed RumFish Beach Resort on St. Pete Beach and you’ll be on one of the finest stretches of sand you can get to without leaving the USA. Once known as Guy Harvey Outpost, this resort offers a great tropical break for couples, but even better for families thanks to a long list of activities.
It was still sunny and warm on St. Pete Beach when we originally put up this post in late December. The water temperature in the Gulf of Mexico seldom dips below 70F either, so if you’re hardy enough you can swim in February. If nothing else you can stroll on the sand without being bundled up.
We’ve been back several times since, most recently in early summer when the resort was still hopping with road-tripping family vacation crowds and they were in the midst of renovating the former Alden Suites St. Pete that they bought, a next-door hotel that has since raised the RumFish Resort room capacity quite a bit.
The former name of Guy Harvey Outpost came from the famous painter who depicts fish and other sea creatures and much of his work was on display in the hotel and separate restaurant building when we visited. There’s still a whole large gift shop where some of his merchandise is still in the mix, but the resort no longer bears his name.
What makes this RumFish Resort especially attractive is the fact it shares ownership with the Tradewinds Island Grand Resort two doors down. That’s the most kid-friendly place to stay in the whole Tampa Bay region and guests here have access to all the fun activities at both hotels. Now that they took over the Alden Suites, there’s nothing in between anymore, so this is one long 40-acre beachfront stretch of fun.
Friendly staffers greet you at reception and equip you with a wristband. This is not for free-flowing drinks, unfortunately. Each room night levies a $45 resort fee, which includes a long list of activities this bracelet gets you access to at both resorts.
Saint Pete Beach Activities and Dining
That additional resort fee covers a surf simulator, a touch tank with sea creatures like horseshoe crabs and urchins, a giant water slide, s’mores by a fire pit at night, paddleboards, beach games, and plenty of supervised kids’ activities on a rotating schedule.
Because it also includes sister resort Tradewinds Island Grand down the beach as well, the potential activities include paddleboats, mini golf, a giant slide, and more. During the summer there’s also a floating waterpark just beyond the gentle waves.
That wristband also grants you a beach lounger with a pull-up covering for shade–an amenity that’s rare in nearby Clearwater Beach since there’s a street between many hotels and the beach. RumFish sits on the widest and most attractive part of St. Petersburg Beach so there’s plenty of room between the strollers, the volleyball players, and the beach bar partiers.
The Sandbar beach bar is a large open rectangle with table seating around it. On the other side of the pool is Guy’s Gulfside Grill, serving tried and true favorites (including a kids’ menu) for all three meals until 8:00 p.m. Either is a great place to take in the sunset. There are also outdoor living room set-ups here and at night they have gas fire pits in the middle of each.
The swimming pools are all that large, but there are two to choose from. The main pool here is diminutive for such a large resort, a reminder that some of the buildings have been here for decades, put up when guest expectations were not so grand. There’s a whole Gulf-blue ocean to swim in out in front of you though, plus you’ve got access to a second pool that came with the acquisition of the neighboring property; that one is for adults only.
There are two hot tubs by the family pool and one by the adult pool. If you want to splash out, there are a few VIP cabanas to rent for the day that come with waiter service. Eventually, the old Alden lobby will be transformed into a spa that’s larger than the current one. .
The kids won’t want to just hang out by the pool all day probably since there’s so much else to do. The most recent addition is a zipline that leads from where the hotel rooms are down to a spot on the beach.
There’s a staffed kids’ club at the Tradewinds, where mom can drop off the tykes and then go have some adult fun.
RumFish Grill gave the resort its current name and has become a local institution. It’s one of the top-rated restaurants on the strip and certainly wins for the most dramatic interior. The attractive space is kept dark and menus are lighted tablets in order to let the main attraction shine: a massive 33,500-gallon aquarium that’s one whole wall of the restaurant.
Built by the hosts of Animal Planet’s Tanked show, it was featured on one episode. Inside it swim a variety of local fish, rays, and a moray eel. Thankfully the food can keep up with the wow factor of the aquarium. There are a lot of land choices on the menu, but you can get a good seafood fix with conch fritters, spiced blue crab bisque, grilled jerk swordfish, seafood bouillabaisse, and much more. I had an excellent grilled grouper dish last time I was there after we shared a few appetizers and some interesting cocktails.
That building also has an attractive lounge that’s air-conditioned when it’s time to escape the sun and beach after changing into evening attire. Decorated with a fishing theme and some dark wood, it’s a clubby space with a good beer and cocktail list for taking in sports games on several big-screen TVs.
If you are staying a week and get bored with the selection here, there are 10 bars and restaurants at Tradewinds Island Grand, where Rumfish guests can just put the tab on their room bill. Plus there a few more options on the strip and on the beach within walking distance, 100 more if you want to venture to downtown St. Pete for a brewpub crawl or to see the Dali Museum.
RumFish Resort Rooms and Suites
The smallest standard rooms here reflect the time they were built, so take a close look when booking and you might want to go up a few notches. They’re well-decorated and comfortable, and many even have a kitchenette, but there’s not room for much beyond you and your things.
There are a few dozen different room categories here at RumFish Beach Resort though and the bulk of the choices are larger with a view and/or balcony. The best options have a direct frontal view of the ocean.
The regular rooms in the former Alden building are brand new, including the appliances, and now they match the color scheme so it all feels seamless. Those have a separate living room with a kitchenette, dining table, and sleeper sofa. Since they just got the revamp in 2022, they’ve got plenty of outlets and a cool bathroom mirror where you can change the color of the LED lights.
A set of ground-floor rooms in that building have a beach house feel and more room to spread out, plus they’re the ideal choice for any guests who want easy access to the pool and beach without going up and down an elevator.
The largest units—including a penthouse suite with a full kitchen and party-sized balcony—have two bedrooms and two baths. All rooms are bright and cheerful, well-maintained, and have Wi-Fi that works well.
Rates can dip below $200 a night before taxes and resort fees in the off-season of September and October, but figure $350 to $800 during much of the year. The highest rates are in March and April. Besides the activities mentioned earlier, the resort fee also includes parking, tennis, Wi-Fi, yoga/fitness classes, and two bottles of water per day.
There are certainly less expensive places to stay on the Gulf Coast of Florida, but it’s hard to find a beachfront place that’s this much fun for the whole family all year long. RumFish St. Pete is a great option on the water and with 352 rooms under management now just in this complex, you’ll probably still have a good choice of rooms when are planning a good Tamba Bay beaches family vacation.
Review and all photos by editor Tim Leffel. He was hosted one night at the resort and has been back several times for drinks, meals, and updates. This post was updated in 2023.