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.

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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

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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.

7 best days in Clearwater Beach for Couples

Looking for a great way to spend a fun and romantic week at Clearwater Beach? Here are some suggestions from Florida Beach Rentals.

 

Day 1 Arrive at Clearwater Beach

Arrive in town. Enjoy the scenery while you drive across the causeway toward the coast.

Check in

Locate the beach and take a stroll to unwind from your travels

Enjoy a casual dinner at Jimmy’s Fish House. Be sure to try the Bang Bang Shrimp.

Enjoy a nightcap while watching the sun set over the beach.

 

Day 2 Sightseeing at Clearwater Beach

Grab breakfast and coffee at local favorite Beach Shanty Café. Great breakfast specials.

Shop Mandalay Avenue for a beach dress for her and a lightweight beach shirt for him. Sunglasses are a good idea too.

Optional day trip to a beautiful Gulf Coast park like the Lowry Zoo or Homosassa Springs.

Dinner at the Island Way Grill. Enjoy fine dining while overlooking Clearwater Harbor.

Sunset stroll along the powder-soft sands of Clearwater Beach. Be sure to take off your shoes.

 

Day 3 Dolphin Sightings

Grab breakfast at the original Frenchy’s Café. A great beach experience.

Tour Clearwater Harbor aboard Little Toot, The Tropics, or Sea Screamer. Catch a glimpse of dolphins at play.

Bask on the beach under an umbrellas. Grab lunch at your leisure along Mandalay Avenue.

Enjoy fine dining at the Columbia restaurant. Romantic harbor views.

Head down the strip to the Pier 60 nightly sunset festival. Live shows, artists, vendors and more.

 

Day 4 on Mandalay Avenue

Coffee and Danishes for breakfast from Starbucks in the beautiful Sand Pearl Hotel.

Stroll Mandalay Ave again for souvenirs amid the fantastic gift shops.

Check out lunch at the unique Bait House restaurant. A unique dining experience.

Afternoon under a beach umbrella

Dinner at Crabby Bill’s seafood restaurant. Another great beach experience.

Catch the sunset while sitting or strolling on the beach

 

Day 5 Day Trip

Breakfast at the Clear Sky Beachside Café

Day trip to Tarpon Springs sponge docks. Great tourist shops and multiple boat cruises on the Anclote River.

Grab a famous Tarpon Springs Greek lunch. Be sure to check out the locally famous desserts!

Head back to Clearwater Beach for live music and dinner at Clearwater Beach Palm Pavilion Beachside Grill and Bar.

Stroll onto the sand from the Palm Pavilion to watch the sunset. A nightcap on the shore?

 

Day 6 Vacation Paradise

Breakfast at a Florida Beach Rentals favorite, Lenny’s. Don’t miss the Danish plate.

Head north for a stroll along the remarkable beaches of Honeymoon Island.

Enjoy a fantastic lunch at Shor American Seafood Grill. We recommend the lobster sandwich.

Rent jet skis or a boat to cruise the harbor on your own.

One last sunset at Pier 60 where you can buy that souvenir you’ve had your eye on

Dinner at Bobby’s Bistro and Wine Bar. A great way to cap off the week.

 

Day 7 Farewell

Farewell sunrise walk

Check out