I've driven my mother miles and miles and hours and hours around the St. Pete area. Where? (in case you have the same task). Drive the Beach road along St. Pete Beach all the up to Clearwater Beach. Stop for ice cream along the way. For a break, get off the barrier islands & zip into Bellair. It's a beautiful area and actually is a little bit above sea level.
A hill in Florida! When you run out of road on Clearwater Beach go over to the mainland and head north on OLD Highway 19 all the way to Tarpon Springs. If you are lucky, the traffic will be bad and it will take a couple hours.
With the slow down in the economy, there is much less tourist activity in this part of Florida. Hotel prices are very competitive, so hunt for bargains.
Rent cars are also less expensive than in the past. Bargain hunt with them also, before you go to Florida.
Looking at my expenses for my 7/01/01 trip, I spent about 35% less than on previous trips at the same time of the year. The savings were on the rent car, air fare and gas.