Indian Rocks Beach

By SHEILA MULLANE ESTRADA, Times Correspondent
Published September 30, 2007

Geography: Indian Rocks Beach residents call this community of about 4,000 people "a little piece of heaven." Stretching about 2.5 miles along the Gulf of Mexico, the city is known for its quaint cottages, neighborhoods that feature all types and styles of homes, duplexes and small condominiums. Along the gulf there are larger condominiums, motels and resort hotels, and an eclectic mix of shops, taverns and restaurants.

A little history: The city has a long history, dating back centuries when Native Americans came here to fish and rest. A legendary spring with special healing properties is reputed to have been located near Kolb Park. The area was explored in the 1800s, and the first bridge between the mainland and the beach was built in 1916. The city was initially developed in the 1920s as a weekend getaway for area residents.

The beach: Indian Rocks Beach nearly tops the list of the northern beach communities in the number of access points to the beach -- there are 26. Nine have showers, but only one has restrooms.

Amenities: This is an active community, featuring a historical museum, an art center and a variety of city-wide events, including the Beauty & the Beach Festival, Fall Arts Festival and Oktoberfest. Accommodations range from bed and breakfast inns to the full service Holiday Inn Harbourside Resort and its popular Jimmy Guana's and Brewmasters Steakhouse restaurants.

Some drawbacks: One of the biggest problems visitors to Indian Rocks Beach will have to choosing where to eat. For casual beachfront dining, Guppy's on the Beach makes many visitor lists. Other popular spots include PJ's Oyster Bar, Coasters, the Gallace for Italian food and Cafe Largo for French cuisine.

Parking: Indian Rocks Beach has nearly 300 parking spaces, scattered among its many beach access points. There is little, if any, on-street parking.

Bottom line: The city's miles of easily accessible beaches, combined with a variety of public events that draw visitors each year for food and fun, make Indian Rocks Beach an attractive destination.