If you're coming to the Gulf Coast and you're looking for interesting things to do that are recommended by the locals, well you came to the right place. I'm going to spill the beans for you here and offer a wealth of information and advice for your upcoming trip! These tips should suit you whether you are spending a day, a week or a month on our beautiful beaches.
I do however want to lay a few customary guidelines for enjoying our beaches. If you're not from around here - this is for you.
Please fill your umbrella and castle holes for the turtles. Small baby turtles who call these beaches home become trapped in these holes and DIE
Please reconsider bringing small plastic wrappers to the beach or other materials that can easily be left behind for a turtle or small bird to discover - pick up all your trash items and properly discard when leaving the beach
Please consider purchasing reef friendly sunblocks. It's been proven that most sunblocks ruin the ocean due to the chemical make up of them. Reef Safe Sunblock is a bit more expensive - with that being said I think it's important to spend more money on purchases that make a difference.
Please consider picking up OTHER people's left behind trash. I know it's super sad that this is even a THING, but I have discovered that when others see me picking up left behind trash items, it sparks something in them to also do the same if they see something.
THANK YOU KIND PEOPLE - THE TURTLES, BIRDS AND BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE OF TREASURE ISLAND THANK YOU
FREE (AWESOME) THINGS TO DO
Who doesn't enjoy free stuff? The more you know the more you save!
1. Visit The Seaside Seabird Sanctuary
A free educational experience for locals and visitors alike. This is the place doing the most good in the community for our beautiful native birds. You can visit here early in the morning and learn about the birds currently at the rehab facility. The Sanctuary also offers some fantastic views of the beach from the "bird nest." Also, if you spot an injured bird at the beach - these are the people to call.
**PRO TIP: I would get here either really early in the morning, or later in the afternoon on cooler days. When you congregate a lot of birds together - they tend to smell a bit and it can be a bit overwhelming (at least that was my experience). Still worth a look see.
2. Attend The WEekly Drum Circle
If you're down for cool, weird and interesting vibes head down to the beach for an interesting event known as the drum circle! This good time takes place every Sunday from 6pm - 10pm right by the Publix near my home, which is now featured on Airbnb. You can check them out with the link below!
3. Get Around For Free With FREE Taxi Rides All Along The Coast
That's right! You can get a FREE ride anywhere along the beach! You just need to tip the friendly people of freebeachrides
They go all up and down the entire Gulf Coast - from Clearwater Beach to Passagrille.
4. Attend The Ding Dong Sunset @ PassaGrille Beach
The antique bell is attached to a post set in the seawall at the municipal building at Gulf Way and 10th Avenue currently occupied by the Paradise Grill. Over the years, thousands of people from around the world have rung the bell at sunset and recorded their names in the Historical Museum’s “campanologist” guest books, which are now on their 19th volume. This is an every day event, rain or shine.
Islands To Ferry TO < $30
What I love so much about the islands is that they are relatively less popular than our beaches especially during the week - weekends are usually busier. If you go during the week, you can relax at any of the islands in true Florida style and practically have the entire island to yourself.
1. Shell Key
For $25 a person you can ferry over to this really amazing beach just south of Passagrille! Arrive at Merry Pier first thing in the morning and take the ferry in the to the island. You can stay there all day and the boat will come back to pick you up. There are no facilities on the island so make sure you bring everything with you including food and water. You can find every shell imaginable to Florida in perfect condition here - it's my favorite place to shell.
2. Caladesi Island
For $16 a person you can ferry from Honeymoon Island to Caladesi State Park. This is one of the most pristine islands that I've ever been to. The ferry to the island doubles as a dolphin sighting cruise ias it takes a good 10 - 15 minutes to get to the island. There is a small gift shop and snack bar on the island but that's it. There are no homes here and this land is protected. You can also rent a kayak and cruise the surrounding mangroves. You are guaranteed to spot all kinds of Florida wildlife here.
3. Egmont Key
For around $20 a person, you can get to Egmont Key from the Fort Desoto ferry. The fort, known as Fort Dade was built in the late 1890s as the United States prepared for the Spanish-American War. Previously, the island had served as a camp for captured Seminoles during the Third Seminole War and as a Union Navy base during the Civil War. The fort remained active until 1923, and today, you can still see ruins of the structure and trek through them. You can easily spot Egmont Key's 87-foot-tall lighthouse, originally constructed in 1858, that still guides water traffic in and out of Tampa Bay.
Nearby Museum's & Art Galleries
I am so thankful to live in such an artistic community! If you are an art lover yourself, there are some really fantastic and beautiful communities for admiring local art and famous art!
1. Dali Museum
You can visit the Dali any day of the week but the best days to visit are Sundays for mimosa's and masterpieces! The museum is located in downtown St. Petersburg, about a 15 minute drive from my home in Treasure Island.
PRO TIP: A pretty interesting nearby restaurant is The Hanger Restaurant and Flight Lounge. It's a cool place to grab a bite to eat and watch people fly in for landing at the runway - literally AT this restaurant.
2. Ocean Blue Galleries in DTSP
My favorite art gallery in downtown St. Pete - if you're in the area, stop by!
PRO TIP: Fresco's Waterfront Bistro is a great restaurant nearby to the art gallery. It is walking distance from the Gallery. Another awesome place for a bite to eat (or a sunset drink) is The Canopy @ The Birchwood. Their rooftop bar offers a fantastic view of the marina and Beach Dr.
3. Second Saturday Artwalk
DTSP does a monthly "artwalk" the second saturday of every month. You can meet the artist's that the gallery features. Some come from all over the world and some come from The Burg!
4. Visit Gulfport First Friday Artwalk
The first Friday of every month, the little town of Gulfport sponsors a local art-walk featuring many artists. It's a fun time to explore the cute little beach town, which has always reminded me of some that I've seen in Hawaii.
Nearby Beach Towns Worth Exploring
Treasure Island is the perfect location for exploring other well worth it - coastal towns. Most people come here for Clearwater Beach (which is nice don't get me wrong) but it's got nothing on what i'm about to share with you!
1. Passagrille Beach
South of Treasure Island, at the tip of the gulf peninsula lies the town of Passagrille Beach. You know you've made it once you pass the incredible Pink Palace AKA The Don Cesar! Passagrille is a great little place and it reminds me of Key West with the atmosphere and the fact that it really is a tiny little peninsula! You can fish off at the Merry Pier which is directly across the street from a great breakfast spot known as The Seahorse. Make it down to Paradise Grille for drinks and food while enjoying the beach area. Stay for the daily bell ring at sunset which is a free and super enjoyable historic event.
Like I said earlier, Gulfport literally reminds me of some awesome Hawaiian towns that I've explored. It just has a really cool and chill vibe to it. They also have a pretty decent vegan scene (The Golden Dinosaur is my fave!) and you can find some awesome dishes for every type of eater. Gulfport also hosts the monthly artwalk on the first Friday of every month which is worth visiting.
3. Tarpon Springs
The cutest little historic Greek town with the largest Greek community in the US. I love the sponge docks, you can definitely make a day out of it walking around the shops, eating and relaxing! There's even a beach nearby ( Fred Howard ) where you can enjoy a sunset! There's nothing like the sponge docks that can be experienced anywhere else in the US. It's worth it, trust me! Also, BUY A SPONGE, drink a Mythos and enjoy the food at Hellas for me! Thanks lol!