Category Archives: Central Gulf Coast Restaurants

Find restaurants on the Central Gulf Coast, either on the coast barrier islands where the beaches are or inland.

Tarpon Springs

It Is All Greek to Florida

Tarpon Springs, Florida

Tarpon Springs shopsTarpon Springs is a fun and unique tourist town on the Florida Gulf Coast. It is well known for its dining, and its sponge diving industry. The main road through the tourist district is one lane in each direction, with slow traffic that allows tourists to have a fairly free rein of the town. The street has a Greek name. Because the name is relatively unknown in the U.S., it sometimes is mistaken for other, somewhat similar Greek titles. It starts with a “D,” but is it Diogenes, Dionysis, or something else?  Remembering the name isn’t always easy. It might help if you first define three words from the country of Greece that start with a “D,” which we have listed below. Learn them here, and, on your next trip to Tarpon Spring, Florida, you can sound like an expert.

 

Diogenes, Greek Philosopher

DiogenesRemember the philosopher who carried a lantern in the daytime to find an honest man? It was Diogenes, or so the tale goes.  He lived in Greece, the exact years unknown, roughly from 404BC to 323BC. The tale of the lantern might be the most famous, but is not the only one to survive him. As a philosopher, he was best known for challenging conventional wisdom and roles in society. An account exists telling of Diogenes meeting Alexander the Great. When Alexander sought out the philosopher, Diogenes did not bother to stand up, asking Alexander to stand out of his sunlight. Despite being a poor man, he was famous in Greece, and other philosophers of the time were familiar with his views.

 

Dionysus, Greek God

Le_joueur_d'aulos_(BNF_-_Opéra_de_Paris)Dionysus was the Greek god of wine, grape harvest, wine making, and ritual madness. As the story goes, he was a deity, but his mother was an ordinary human. In one version of Dionysus’ story, Zeus rescued his son when his mother died. To preserve the child, Zeus stitched Dionysus into his thigh, an act which transferred immortality. Dionysus was later accepted into Mount Olympus as a god. Dionysus, in mythology, was raised by nymphs, and is associated with satyrs. The followers of Dionysus apparently worshiped their god in the woods. His followers engaged in holidays so excessive that, at one point, the celebrations were outlawed.

 

Dodecanese, Greek Islands

Dodecanese IslandsDodecanese is the easiest of these three words to define. It refers to a group of 162 islands off the coast of Greece. The islands lie between Greece and Turkey, in the Aegean Sea. The core islands are twelve in number, with smaller islands surrounding them. The words Dodeca means twelve, thus Dodecanese Islands. They are positioned at the crossroads of the world, between Asia and Europe. Evidence of habitation dates back to prehistoric times, with ruins from various eras still to be found on the islands. The architecture includes both Classical Greek structures and medieval castles.

 

Dodecanese Boulevard in Tarpon Springs

Tarpon Springs diver sculptureYou will find the small tourist town of Tarpon Springs on the Central Gulf Coast of Florida, near Tampa Bay. Tarpon Springs’ claim to fame is that it is the number one sponge diving location in the United States. Back in 1905, when the sponge industry became mechanized, a local entrepreneur invited 500 sponge divers from the Greek islands to come to Tarpon Springs. Thereafter, the sponge industry and the city were known as a haven of Greek culture. Today, when you walk down the streets of Tarpon Springs, you stand a good chance of hearing Greek spoken in the shops or on the streets. The name of the main street leading through the Sponge Docks is Dodecanese Blvd. On the first Saturday of the month, during the summer, you will find a Greek festival on that streets called Night in the Islands. One can only assume that the name of the festival refers to the Dodecanese Islands. So, when you visit Tarpon Springs, remember, the main street through town is Dodacanese, named after the Greek Islands, not philosophers or gods.

spice shop Tarpon SpringsThe town of Tarpon Springs is a great tourist stop, with loads of nautical souvenirs and natural sponges for sale. The Greek food is fantastic, and the pastry shops are good enough to make the trip to Tarpon Springs worth it all on their own. If you happen to slip up and use the wrong “D” word from above, don’t worry. The important thing is to enjoy the food, fun, and goodies in this charming tourist town.

Other posts you might enjoy:

Discovering the Artificial Reefs of the Florida Gulf Coast

Never Confuse a Bayou with a Backwater Again

Osprey Nesting Season on the Florida Gulf Coast

 

References: http://tarponspringsareahistoricalsociety.org/Local-History/local-history.htm
Tampa Bay Activities

Wild Winter Wonders on the Florida Gulf Coast

Upcoming Events on the Florida Gulf Coast

Florida Gulf CoastIf you are looking for an exciting getaway from the chilly winter duldrums, the Florida Gulf Coast might have the answer. Aside from warmer weather than nearly anywhere else in the United States, the Gulf Coast is also known for its endless line up of festivals and events. The winter of 2015 will be no exception to that rule. Here, below, you will find a list of events coming soon to the Florida Gulf Coast. The list includes some of the top events. It does not include them all. The Florida Gulf Coast has more events in 2015 than you might imagine!

 

Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso Under One Roof

Salvador Dali museumThe famous Salvador Dali Museum in St Petersburg, Florida is a fantastic museum for art enthusiasts. It is also a remarkable start for those new to the world of art. The Dali exhibits, open year round, are fascinating. With the inclusion of works from Pablo Picasso, the museum becomes a must-visit location. The additional exhibits of Picasso’s works began in November 2014 and will run until February 16th, 2015. Be sure not to miss this intriguing combination of two of the world’s most famous artists.

 

Treasure Island Kite Festival and Sport Kite Competition

kite festivalThis gigantic kite event is set on the expansive swath of sand in Treasure Island, Florida. Unlike any other kite event you will find, the Treasure Island Kite Festival and Sport Kite Competition is a joy to attend. The 2015 event will be held January 16th through the 18th. See the biggest kites in the sky hovering over the beautiful sands of the Florida Gulf Coast. Watch stunt kite competitions, and stroll the sands to stand beneath your favorite monster kites. If you like the beach, oversized displays, and loads of bright colors, this is the event for you.

 

Running and More Running on the Florida Gulf Coast

If you enjoy participating in or spectating marathons or running events, then be sure to hit the Florida Gulf Coast this winter. Three great events will be held on our shores, each one unique in its own right.

triathlonThe Clearwater Distance Classic

The Clearwater Distance Classic event will include a true marathon distance (26.2 miles), plus other, shorter events, down to a 5 mile course. The staging grounds for this event is popular Coachman Park, an open air park on the waterfront of Clearwater Harbor. The event will be held January 18th. An expo for the event will be held at the park on the 17th.

Discover Caladesi Island 5K and 10 Miler

This Caladesi Island running event is truly unique. Caladesi is a natural island with no roads. This race will take place on the beach itself. Runners will enjoy one of the most beautiful natural beaches on Earth as the setting for these 10 mile and 5K events. This will be one to remember for both participants and spectators.

2015 Gasparilla Distance Classic

The Gasparilla Distance Classic is a great way to get a taste of famous Tampa Bay. Well-known for its scenic water views, Bayshore Blvd runs a surprisingly long distance of the waterfront. The scenic drive is the setting for the race named after the famous pirate, Gasparailla. Enjoy beautiful homes, sparkling bay waters, and the Tampa skyline on this multi-tiered race. The 2015 Gasparilla Distance Classic takes place February 21st and 22nd.

 

Pinellas Folk Festival

Heritage VillageLocated at the fascinating Heritage Village in Largo, Florida, the Pinellas Polk Festival uses the historic theme of the park to its advantage. Heritage Village is home to an intriguing display of old Florida homes and other buildings, with walkways leading through the park. Tours are available, on a schedule, to guide you through the historic buildings. The event is scheduled for January 31st, 2015, 10am to 4pm. The Pinellas Folk Festival adds music, food, live demonstrations, and speakers to a location that is already bursting with interesting artifacts.

 

Gasparilla Pirate Fest

GasparillaAlso known as the Gasparilla Pirate Invasion, this event is one of the  highlights of the year for Tampa Bay. The pirate invasion is a must-see event, with pirate ships and a massive flotilla of private boats entering the Port of Tampa. Following the boats, a Mardi Gras style parade cruises the waterfront, complete with plenty of pirates and loads of bead necklaces for the kids. This noisy, lively parade will lift your spirits and leave your kids with big smiles. The street festival, with a vibrant street scene that is the peak of the year in the Tampa Bay area, is fun for everyone, the nighttime activities more attuned to adults. The invasion runs from 11:30am to 1pm January 31st, followed by the parade at 2pm to 5:30pm. The street festival runs two days, January 30 and 31st, from 10am to 10pm. Be sure to visit the Gasparilla Pirate Fest if you are in the Tampa Bay area at the end of January.

 

Clearwater Beach Uncorked

Champagne_corkClearwater Beach Uncorked is a wine tasting and food event held on Clearwater Beach. It is an upscale event aimed at those who love to sample wine and food. Taste creations from some of Clearwater Beach’s best. The 2015 event will be held February 7th and 8th.

 

For the Love of Baseball

Typical_baseball_gameSpring training is a happy time in Tampa Bay. The Philadelphia Phillies and the Toronto Blue Jays arrive in town to give Clearwater and Dunedin a perfect opportunity to enjoy the sport. Regardless of what team you root for in the regular season, take advantage of this extra helping of baseball served up locally. Phillies train from March 1st to April 2nd. Blue Jays train from March 3rd to the 31st. Spring training on the Florida Gulf Coast is the perfect excuse to come out to the ball park!

 

Fun on the Florida Gulf Coast

If you are looking for a fun spot to spend your winter, take another look at the Florida Gulf Coast. Aside from our mild winters and remarkable beaches, we also are host to a steady stream of great activities. Come visit us!

Chowder Challenge 2014

Pass A Grille Chowder Challenge

Discovering the Pass A Grille Chowder Challenge 2014

Pass a Grille Chowder ChallengeThe Pass A Grille Chowder Challenge happened last weekend, November 8th and 9th, bringing a lively event to a beach community that is a bit different from the rest of its neighbors on the coast. Pass A Grille is a laid back Florida beach community, sitting on a relatively small section of island. It is the southernmost inhabited section of the barrier islands along Florida Gulf Coast of Pinellas County. It is located just south of St Pete Beach and just north of the uninhabited Shell Key. Pass A Grille might not be the kind of place where you wind up often, it being the end of the road, with no way out other than the way you came in. The fantastic white sands of the Florida Gulf Coast line its shores, with beautiful views to the south of the barrier islands there. In the heart of Pass A Grille you will find Hurley Park, with a picnic pavilion, a basketball court, and a baseball field. On November 8th and 9th this year, Hurley Park became the staging ground for the annual Chowder Challenge, a chowder cook-off that set area restaurants against each other in a very friendly competition.

 

Entering the Pass A Grille Chowder Challenge

Chowder Challenge desertsWe arrived at the Pass A Grille Chowder Challenge as inexperienced novices, new to the ways of the competition. Hurley Park was filled to the brim with chowder lovers who had arrived before us. Vender tents lined the perimeter, with the rest of the grass area occupied by dining tables, every one filled with chatting chowder challengers. Souvenirs were available along with an inviting table of deserts just outside the gates of the baseball field. Entering the main event area cost $20, an entrance fee that purchased a wristband pass into the chowder sampling area. We paid while still in mystery as to what we would get. To put it simply, the Pass A Grille Chowder Challenge wound up being more than worth it.

 

Serving up the Pass A Grille Chowder Challenge

Chowder Challenge chowdersEntering the baseball diamond we saw the participating restaurants for the Pass A Grille Chowder Challenge lining the outer edge. Plenty of room was left over for milling in the center of the field, a space used by many to aim for the next bowl of chowder. We were handed rectangular trays with papers set on them that showed the names of the competing Tampa Bay area restaurants. The labeled tray was accompanied by a score card. It took only a moment to understand the game. Under pop up canopies the restaurant representatives waited with vats of chowder ready to serve the hungry crowds. When we visited the first table, we were served a tiny cup of chowder, placed carefully over the restaurant name. We went from table to table, collecting more of the small cups, placed over the corresponding names of the restaurants. Then it was off to taste the chowder at the dining tables spread across the lawn. It was time to decide who was king of the Chowder Challenge.

 

Chowder Challengers at Pass A Grille

The Chowder Challenge had some great competitors, including some of the best restaurants in the Tampa Bay region. One of the remarkable characters of the event is that every single booth had smiling participants, happy to talk to event attendees or pose for photos.

  • Chowder Challenge LoewsShells Chowder ChallengeBilly’s Stone Crab
  • Brass Monkey
  • Crabby Bills
  • Gennaro’s
  • Jackie’s on Corey
  • Leverocks Seafood House
  • Loews Don CeSar Resort & Spa
  • Middle Grounds Grill
  • PJs Oyster BarFriendly Fisherman at Chowder ChallengeNori Thai
  • PJ’s Oyster Bar
  • Rick’s Reef
  • Ricky T’s
  • RumFish Grill at Guy Harvey Outpost
  • Salty Rim
  • Shark Tales of St Pete Beach
  • Shell’s Seafood
  • Salty Rim at Chowder ChallengeLeverocks at Chowder ChallengeSt Pete Produce & Deli

 

We did our best to catch every name, and to taste every chowder! If we missed your restaurant at the Chowder Challenge or somehow left off your name, please let us know and we will add you to our list!

 

Choosing the Chowder Challenge Champion

Chowder Challenge votingOur attempt at picking a winner at the Pass A Grille Chowder Challenge went well – at first. With the first eight chowders to choose from, we picked our winners. When we went back to sample eight more, the trouble began. There really weren’t any bad chowders. On the higher end of the tasting scale were some of the best chowders we’d ever tried. Some topped out the list on traditional style chowders while others served up recipes we hadn’t heard of before, such as the Rumfish version of Caribbean Lion Fish Chowder or the Nori Thai chowder which included coconut. By the time we were done with our second tray of samples, we had to go get more score cards because our first ones were destroyed with too many conflicting marks – and yes, they had chowder on them. The final scoring was tallied via plastic gold coins, handed to us when we purchased our entry. Attendees received only three of the golden coins with which to vote. Each restaurant table had business cards or menus to remind us who they were, but they also had plastic beach buckets. The buckets were for the gold coins. Attendees were to choose their top chowders and drop the coins off at their three favorite restaurant booths. Chowder Challenge Chowder choiceWe grudgingly eliminated the runners up and dropped off our coins. Because we also made a mess of the second score cards, we can no longer tell you where those coins went. Our personal favorites were Ricky T’s, Salty Rim, Shells Seafood, Brass Monkey, Leverocks, and Loews Don CeSar, with our unique-recipe favorite going to Rumfish Restauant’s Lionfish Chowder. We hope the others will understand. We left the Chowder Challenge with full bellies and smiles on our faces, thanks to all the great chowders.

 

​Official Winners of the Pass A Grille Chowder Challenge 2014

The official winners according the official Chowder Challenge Website were:

Golden Ladle:  RumFish Grill at Guy Harvey Outpost for its Caribbean Lionfish Chowder
Peoples Choice 1st Place:  Shells for its New England Clam Chowder
People’s Choice 2nd Place:  Gennaro’s for its Gennaro’s Clam Chowder
People’s Choice 3rd Place:  Friendly Fisherman for its Clam Chowder
Celebrity Chef’s Choice:  Shark Tales for its Fresh Seafood Clam Chowder
Celebrity Chef’s Honorable Mention:  Lowes – Don CeSar for its Conch Chowder
Celebrity Chef’s Honorable Mention:  Shells on St Pete Beach for its New England Clam Chowder

 

Looking forward to the Next Pass A Grille Chowder Challenge

Billys at Chowder ChallengeWe will return next year to the Pass A Grille Chowder Challenge and here is why. The food was remarkable, giving us a wide variety of the best chowders our region had to offer. Despite the miniature size of the bowls, we were eventually unable to get to the bottom of the final samples, so it was satisfying for the big eaters too. The restaurant participants were all smiles, happy to be there and very personable when approached. Further, and possibly best, were the fellow attendees. The tables were large, fitting more than one group at a sitting. When we sat down, the conversations were easy to start because each person attending was also sampling the chowders. Don Cesar at Chowder ChallengeThe exchange of ideas began immediately, concerning which chowders were best, and which restaurants had cooked them. Because of the constant flow of attendees moving from the chowder serving area to the seats outside the baseball field, we wound up sitting in two different locations, each time striking up conversation with other happy chowder tasters.

For all of those reasons, we are looking forward to the Pass A Grille Chowder Challenge next year and we hope to see you there too.

 

Other posts you might enjoy:

5 Favorite Party Spots at Clearwater Beach

Explore the Gulf Coast Dolphin Trail

John’s Pass

 

Beach Bar

5 Favorite Party Spots at Clearwater Beach

Clearwater BeachFavorite Party Spots on Clearwater Beach

Finding a fun place to let your hair down at night on Clearwater Beach is not really that difficult. Bright lights and lively music give these locations away. However, to make our list worthwhile, we have include why each of our five favorites have made the list.

 

Tropix Island Tiki Bar

Clearwater PassTropix is a bar located along the Clearwater Pass, that strip of water connecting the Gulf of Mexico to Clearwater Harbor. This bar includes access to its own tiny strip of beach. It is located at the back of the Quality Beach Resort of well-known Quality Hotel. This made our 5 favorite party places list for being laid back and comfortable. It is an open-air bar, right next to the pool, with very nice views of the water.

 

Cooters Clearwater BeachCooters of Clearwater Beach

Cooters is the next Clearwater Beach party location on our list. It made our list because of its ability to seamlessly blend a fun hang out spot that serves alcohol with a great family restaurant. The staff are friendly and laid back. It is located on Poinsettia Avenue that runs parallel to Mandalay Avenue. While it is not on the sands of the beach, it succeeds quite well at being a very beachy establishment. It is also one of the hosts of the yearly Stone Crab Festival at Clearwater Beach.

 

Crabby’s Bar and Grill

Crabbys Bar and GrillAnyone who knows Clearwater Beach knows the name Crabby Bill. A restaurant by that name sits at the central beach roundabout. However, the party location of which we speak is on the South Beach portion of the strip and is called Crabby’s Bar and Grill. This two story bar is flashy and bright, yet homey. It has fantastic views of the beach and immediate access to and from the popular Beach Walk that runs along the sands of Clearwater Beach. Party with friends and watch the sunset from this quintessential beach bar.

 

Brown Boxer

Brown Boxer Clearwater BeachThe Brown Boxer is located on the north end of the business district of Clearwater Beach on Mandalay Avenue. It has made our list of beach bar favorites because of two very important words, Happy Hour. Don’t let the terminology fool you however, because the happy hour specials at the Brown Boxer go from 11Am to 7PM. That’s quite an hour. Enjoy discounted drinks and maintain your center by eating happy hour chicken wings. You can even lean over the railing and wave at us here at the Florida Beach Rentals office. As a disclaimer, there is no guarantee that we will see you waving.

 

Shephards on Clearwater Beach

Shephards of Clearwater BeachAnyone who has strolled or driven Clearwater Beach after dark has surely discovered Shephards. Their rocking live music is a well-known beacon to beach bar party seekers. Have your smile ready at the door, as well as a high tolerance for ear thumping tunes and wild times. Shephards is an establishment for those who take their beach bars seriously. It has two options for night-clubing as well as a restaurant. Shephard’s Tiki Beach Bar has a waterfront deck facing Clearwater Pass.

 

 

Note Regarding Coconut Cove

Florida Beach Rentals manages vacation rentals at the Coconut Cove, sister hotel to the Quality Beach Resort mentioned above. That means that anyone staying in Coconut Cove has access to the beach and swimming pool at the Tropix Island Tiki Bar.

 

Other posts you might enjoy:

The Amazing Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival at Clearwater Beach

9 Need to Know Differences between Hotels and Vacation Rentals

Top Clearwater Beach Day Trip Destinations

 

John Levique Pirate Days

Fun Times at John Levique Pirate Days

History of John Levique

John Levique Pirate Days 9The history of John Levique and the history of John’s Pass are linked by the legend naming John Levique as the first man to sail through the pass. According to the legend, a large storm rearranged the sands of the barrier islands, opening a new inlet to Boca Ciega Bay. The new inlet was subsequently named John’s Pass. The boardwalks, restaurants, and gift shops did not appear for another 150 years. The name John Levique is remembered, thanks to his discovery of the pass. Today, his name is used for one of the best celebrations you will find on the Florida Gulf Coast. John Levique Pirate days skeleton manequinJohn Levique was a turtle farmer, so you might wonder why the celebration is called ‘pirate days.’ Here on the Florida Gulf Coast, and especially in Tampa Bay, a true pirate history exists. The pirate theme, often invoked in this region, has been used to enhance the John Levique celebration. Once you’ve experienced the fun at the John Levique Pirate Days event, you will see that John Levique would probably not mind at all.

 

John’s Pass

John Levique Pirate DaysJohn’s Pass Village and Boardwalk is one of the best tourist stops on the Florida Gulf Coast. The small but popular shopping and restaurant district is lined with loads of souvenir shops and lots of great dining. John’s Pass is a fun diversion where you can spend hours walking from one interesting knickknack shop to the next. When you need to resupply your energy, you can choose from a number of unique restaurants, many of them on the waterfront. Seafood is popular at John’s Pass, thanks to the numerous fishing boats that use John’s Pass to reach the Gulf of Mexico. The boardwalks and sidewalks are fun to stroll, and when you are done with your dining, stop into a candy shop to finish off your day. You can find all of these things on an ordinary day at John’s Pass. During the John Levique Pirate Days celebration, that entertaining setting becomes a backdrop for much more.

 

John Levique Pirate Days Celebration

John Levique Pirate Days foodThe John Levique Pirate Days event was on our roster of things to see this spring. This year it was held May 9th through 11th. The event took us by surprise. We expected a few pirates standing in the doorways and perhaps few kiosks- not by a long-shot. The entirety of John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk had been transformed in to one giant event. The street was filled with tents and kiosks selling everything imaginable, much of it pirate themed. Instead of a parking lot we found a large tent where the musicians and dancers performed, along with lots of tables for dining. John Levique Pirate Days 8The other side of the parking lot was the food court, with banquet style vending stalls selling mouthwatering food. Amid the lively setup strolled a large number of attendees, enjoying shops, vending tents, the shows, and the food. However, all of those things together were still not the best surprise. We found no mere dozen pirates at the John Levique Pirate Days event, but rather the streets were filled with them. The pirates had erected tents to mock up how original pirates had camped on the shores of the Gulf Coast. Tons of professional pirate actors roamed the streets along with a number of enthusiasts. Aside from the pirate encampment, we found a pirate wrestling ring, a mechanical bull, a tropical bar, a hula hoop contest and an inflatable slide for the kids, and roaming musicians. John Levique Pirate Days 4Lastly came the large pirate show down at the waterfront of John’s Pass. On the sandy shore, amid the older pylons, some 50 to 60 pirates put on a mock battle. The battle included walking the plank, musket fire, sword fights, and, our personal favorite, ‘death by mermaid,’ which consisted of throwing convicted pirates to the trio of mermaids waiting just off shore. John Levique Pirate Days 6The mayhem lasted for a good five minutes, all under the thunderous explosions from cannons set on the shore. Watching from the drawbridge between Madeira Beach and Treasure Island, the handrails under our palms trembled from the shock wave of the cannon fire. Spectators lined the John’s Pass boardwalk to watch the show, many of them dressed in pirate costumes themselves.

 

John Levique Pirate Days Recommended

John Levique Pirate Days 7

For Love or Money Band

After our visit to the John Levique Pirate Days celebration, we definitely recommend it to visitors to the Florida Gulf Coast. The event was a lot of fun and definitely lived up to its name. There were pirates galore, lots of in-theme trinkets and souvenirs to purchase, good music shows, and fantastic food. The pirate battle topped off the event with a performance that brought the theme to life. The event has earned a place on our list of celebrations to visit year after year.

 

Other posts you might enjoy:

Treasure Island Kite Festival 2014

Best View of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge

Clearwater Beach Stone Crab Festival 2013

 

Johns Pass

Johns Pass

What is Johns Pass?

John's Pass drawbridgeJohn’s Pass is a fun tourist stop along the waterway known as John’s Pass. According to local history, it was created by a hurricane in the mid 1800’s, when the storm rearranged the shoreline, forming a new opening into the bay. Today the bay is known as Boca Ciega Bay, with John’s Pass serving as a major entrance. On your visit to John’s Pass, you will undoubtedly notice the active drawbridge, allowing taller sailboats into John’s Pass. Fishermen still embark from the shores of the pass and seafood restaurants dot the shoreline. Dolphins swimming in John's PassClose to major barrier island beaches, the undeveloped shores of the pass are lined with mangroves, a plant that is very good at fighting erosion. While you walk along the boardwalks, you will see plenty of seafood shops, mangroves, and passing boats. You might even get to see some of the dolphins that also frequently use John’s Pass to enter and exit Boca Ciega Bay.

 

Where is Johns Pass?

John's Pass mapJohn’s Pass divides the barrier islands that host the cities of Madeira Beach and Treasure Island, Florida, USA. Barrier islands line the coast of Pinellas County, home to Clearwater Beach, St Petersburg, and St Pete Beach, as well as the popular beaches of Honeymoon Island, Caladesi Island, Sand Key, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores, Redington Shores, Redington Beach, and Fort Desoto Park. John’s Pass sits among these famous beaches as a unique feature, being a well-visited attraction despite having no white-sand shoreline. You will find John’s Pass 16 miles south of Clearwater Beach and just 5 miles north of St Pete Beach. It is a fun place to visit and definitely worth the short trip from any of the local beaches. John’s Pass is an entertaining addition to a Gulf Coast beach vacation.

 

What to Do at Johns Pass

John's Pass restaurantJohn’s Pass is a quintessential tourist stop. You will find every type of nautical gift shop you can imagine, loaded with shells, starfish, toys, souvenirs, specialty soaps, t-shirts, dresses, hats, and even pirate costumes.  After you’ve cruised the gift shops, you will definitely want to dine at John’s Pass. The restaurants are one of the main reasons for visiting! Cruise the streets and the boardwalks to find your perfect dining experience. You can dine inside or out, on a pier over the water or down below the boardwalk in a fun and rustic setting. Some of the restaurants are tall enough to provide sweeping views of the area. Keep your eye out for the restaurants south of the drawbridge too! Jet Ski and parasail rentalAfter you have dined, it’s time for some taffy, coffee, or ice cream in one of the many sweets shops. You’re on vacation after all, right? Lastly, you will want to take advantage of the rentals and cruises at the docks. You can take a dolphin sighting tour or a cruise on a fun pirate ship. If that’s too slow for you, then rent one of the powerboats or jet skis. Fishing charters also cast off from the docks, so you might want to try them too. Whatever you like on a fun filled vacation, you will find some fun memories at the docks of John’s Pass.

Souvenir shop John's Pass

John’s Pass souvenir shops

Shops at John's Pass

John’s Pass restaurants

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other blogs you might like:

Treasure Island Kite Festival 2014

Hurricane Pass Tidal Currents

Where the Heck is Pinellas County and Why Should I Care?

 

Tarpon Springs sponge dock boat

Tarpon Springs Activities

Things to Do in Tarpon Springs

Tarpon Springs (24)The Gulf Coast Florida city of Tarpons Springs has a lot to do and see. It has tons of gifts shops along with some beautiful riverside harbor scenery. The area was settled by Greek sponge divers and so you will find much of the area is Greek-themed. The street has a Greek feel and boasts some of the best restaurants for Greek food in the region. It is located along the Anclote River, the location still active for fishing and sponge diving.

Here are a few links to get your day started from the Tarpons Springs area .

Belle Boat Rentals

Tarpon Springs Aquarium

Tarpon Springs Fishing Charter

Spongorama sightseeing excursions

Sponge Docks, Tarpon Springs

 

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7 Best days in Clearwater Beach for Families

 

7 best days in Clearwater Beach Families

Day 1 Arrive at Clearwater Beach

Arrive in town. Enjoy your ride from the airport across the beautiful causeway!

Check in with Florida Beach Rentals.

Introduce yourselves to Clearwater Beach with a stroll on the sand

Find your way off the sand at Jimmy’s Fish House. The Bang Bang Shrimp is a Florida Beach Rentals staff favorite!

Enjoy sunset from the restaurant or stroll back onto the sand to dip your toes in the surf.

Relax at your beautiful rental to charge up for a great beach vacation at Clearwater Beach. Sneak in a nightcap on the patio after the kids are asleep!

 

Day 2 Sightseeing at Clearwater Beach

Breakfast at the Clear Sky Beachside Café. Great breakfast specials!

Clearwater Marine Aquarium and Sea Life Safari for the kids. Home of Winter the dolphin from the movie Dolphin Tale. Hint-watch the movie before you go!

Optional road trip to area theme parks like Busch Gardens, Legoland, Lowry Zoo or Dinosaur World. Kids go crazy for these!

Live music and dinner at Palm Pavilion Beachside Grill and Bar. Right at one of the most popular and active areas of the beach!

Sunset at the beach. Take beach chairs, towels, or just stroll along. A football for the kids is a smart move!

After the sun goes down, why not head out for some local putt putt golf at Congo River, Smugglers Cove, or Captain Bligh’s Landing. The local courses have great themes!

 

Day 3 Dolphin Sightings

Breakfast out at the Beach Shanty restaurant. Great reviews online!

Make the most of the beach with a morning in the sun and surf. Some of the best beach weather is in the morning!

Grab lunch at the original Frenchy’s Café. A great little diner just off of Mandalay Ave!

Grab a dolphin sighting tour with Little Toot, The Tropics, or Sea Screamer. Take your camera!

Dinner at the lively Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill. Indoor and outdoor dining right off the sand!

Catch Pier 60 nightly sunset festival for live music, live shows, artists, souvenirs, and much more.

 

Day 4 on Mandalay Avenue

Try coffee for you and pastries for the kids from Starbucks in the Sand Pearl Hotel. Right next door to Florida Beach Rentals!

Stroll and shop on Mandalay Ave. Take the kids to Four Monkeys Candy Connection- if you dare!

Lunch at Gondolier Pizza.

Afternoon under a beach umbrella with beach or water craft rentals for the kids. Splurge with a jet ski or be surprised at how much fun the kids can have with a 5 dollar inflatable raft!

A finer dining experience at Island Way Grill. Enjoy the pleasant interior or beautiful outdoor deck overlooking Clearwater Harbor. Check out the kids menu and early bird special!

Sunset watch or sit down at the beach. Hint-area hotels rent chairs and umbrellas!

 

Day 5 Day Trip

Breakfast snacks on the beach. A sandy stroll is a great way to start the day!

Optional day trip to Tarpon Springs sponge docks and shops, including the Tarpon Springs Aquarium and playroom. Kids love this!

Grab a famous Tarpon Springs Greek lunch, followed by mouthwatering desert. Watch your kids’ eyes when they see these deserts!

Take a sunset cruise on Clearwater Harbor with pirate Captain Memo or on board the Calypso Queen. These are must-do cruises for Clearwater Beach vacations!

Grab a unique seaside dinner at the Bait House. On the pier, not far from cruise rentals!

 

Day 6 Vacation Paradise

You’ve been here five days. Day number six belongs to you. It’s time to check into all those places you’ve spotted along the way.

Coffee at that local breakfast diner you spied the other day.

Rent bicycles or something else to tour the beach.

Lunch at that beach diner you’ve had your eye on.

Rent your favorite watercraft at the beach.

Dinner at that restaurant you passed up earlier in the week.

One last sunset at Pier 60 where you buy that souvenir you wish you’d picked up the first time. Catch the Pier 60 outdoor movies which play Friday and Saturday nights!

Grab a final evening stroll along Mandalay Avenue’s gift shops. You can’t go home without that T-shirt that says you were here!

 

Day 7 Farewell

Farewell sunrise walk.

Check out with Florida Beach Rentals.