St. Petersburg Airport Car Rental

St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport Background…

The first commercial flight across Tampa Bay is a well recorded event that took place in 1913. The craft, an amphibious model, reportedly reached a maximum speed of seventy-five miles per hour as it flew fifty feet above the water and made history. The St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line set the stage and served the area for a couple decades before construction of the current airport site began in 1941. The airport was built for commercial use but taken by the United States Army Air Forces before the first commercial craft ever touched foot on the airfield. The airport was named Pinellas Army Airfield until it was handed over to Pinellas County soon after the war ended.

The airport was initially named Pinellas International Airport but received its current name as the times and area changed. Now it is more aptly named for the area it services, although it still holds the same three letter designation it used to. Today the airport serves about seven hundred and fifty thousand passengers each year.

PIE Baggage Claim

St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport Car Rentals…

There are six on-site car rental companies to choose from, each of which are nationally renowned chains, and a seventh company that is located off-site. The six on-site include Avis, Alamo, National, Budget, Enterprise, and Hertz. The off-site company, Dollar, offers a free shuttle service to anyone who calls for the shuttle or is in the designated pick-up area when the shuttle comes in. All six on-site companies are located near the baggage claim area of the main terminal. Rental car agencies are required to stay open up to thirty minutes after the last flight of the day lands. If you are that flight, make sure you make reservations within the appropriate time limit and make your way to your rental counter as quickly as possible after landing.

To get to your car, simply exit out of the front of the terminal, and veer to your right.  Rental cars will be parked in the front of the large parking area that sits in front of the terminal, and will be segregated to themselves.  Simply find the rental company signs that you have booked with and find your vehicle, and you’re good to go.  Be aware that the airport has moved the location of its rental cars around recently, so make sure and ask the car rental agent of the exact pickup and drop-off locations. 

Directions to St. Petersburg or Clearwater…

If you’re planning on using this airport as your final flight destination then you should know that you’re landing in the most massive metropolitan area Florida has to offer. The stretch of land Clearwater, St. Petersburg and Palm Harbor share barely meets the requirements of a peninsula due to a small connection located far north. For all intents and purposes though, you’re landing in a massive fully industrialized island. Roads stretch, bend, and wind throughout the island, reaching every corner there is.

Once you have your vehicle you’ll get started the same way anyone else leaving the airport does, via Airport Parkway Dr leading out to Roosevelt Blvd. Once you find yourself at the Roosevelt Blvd fork, it’s time to make some decisions. Taking a left onto Roosevelt and following it to its end will take you to Ulmerton Rd, where you’ll need to take a left. Follow Ulmerton Rd until it ends and you’ll be faced with the decision of which way to follow on I-275. I-275 North will take you across a long bridge and into Tampa while I-275 South will take you straight into downtown St. Petersburg. Your other choice, taking a right onto Roosevelt, will take you to the northern end of the peninsula. Head west after going north about five miles and you’ll hit Clearwater just before you end up in the Gulf of Mexico. Further north along the west coast will take you to Palm Harbor and Tarpon Springs.

Restaurants Near the St. Petersburg Airport...

One of the local favorites near the airport is a little place called Little Greek.  It sits on Ulmerton Road less than 2 miles from the terminal.  The restaurant serves all types of Greek-style foods such as salads, chicken dishes, gyros and more.  Prices are reasonable, and the location is easy to find in your rental car.

Ulmerton Road Sign St. Petersburg Florida

St. Petersburg Airport Car Rental Return…

When returning your rental, just reverser the direction that you used to get to your ultimate destination, reverse the course and travel back.  You will find adequate signage when you get back to the airport road directing you to the rental car return parking lot.  Drive slowly and you’ll be fine.

Being in a major metropolitan area makes finding a gas station a breeze. You’ll have chances to refuel on Ulmarton Rd, Roosevelt Blvd, and a variety of other streets. Refuel whenever you start getting within a couple miles of the airport and you’ll easily make it back with your tank on “F”.

Other Car Rental Options at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport…

Being a major area, the airport car rental companies see quite a bit of business each year and are well supplied. However, the area can be quite confusing and extensively maze-like, which is why I didn’t give you full driving directions to all of the major locations. Make sure you grab a GPS system from whichever company you choose to go with. The satellite link they all have will save you a lot of time and money during your stay in the area.  
 
Source: St. Petersburg / Clearwater Airport

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