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Monday, Jan 21, 2019
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Insider’s guide to Treasure Island: Where to stay, watersports and fitness, places to eat and drink, shopping and events

Where to stay

THUNDERBIRD RESORT: The hotel’s iconic neon sign greets you as soon as you arrive on Gulf Boulevard from 107th Avenue. The gulfside resort is directly on the beach and has been there since 1957. It features rooms with kitchenettes and incredible views, two pools and a jacuzzi.

TAHITIAN RESORT: A retro-style hotel with affordable rooms directly on the beach. This one features a kids’ pool and, true to its Florida roots, a shuffleboard court.

TREASURE ISLAND BEACH RESORT: This high-end resort opened in 2016 and offers luxury amenities, including poolside food and beverage services.

SUNSET INN AND COTTAGES: A recently renovated Old Florida motel that’s steps from Sunset Beach. There are six rooms and a penthouse suite, all stylishly designed and furnished.

Watersports and fitness

TREASURE ISLAND MARINA: Located on Boca Ciega Bay adjacent to the City Services Complex on 108th Avenue, the marina offers 12 boat slips for rent available for boats 45 feet and less. Slip fees are $15 per foot per month plus tax with a minimum of 28 feet.

There are also three public boat ramps, at 84th Avenue and Bayshore Drive; 100th Avenue and Gulf Boulevard; and 123rd Avenue and Lagoon Lane.

TAYLOR BEACH SERVICE: The vendor rents kayaks, paddleboards, chairs and cabanas. Reservations have to be made on site, but check their Facebook page for more information (also check with your hotel for vouchers).

TREASURE ISLE BOAT RENTALS: Situated directly on Gulf Boulevard, you can rent bicycles here, as well as deck and pontoon boats.

HUBBARD’S MARINA: Located in John’s Pass, they offer fishing trips, private charters, dolphin cruises, snorkeling expeditions and kayak and paddleboard rentals.

TREASURE BAY GOLF AND TENNIS: The public facility has eight clay and two asphalt tennis courts, two shuffleboard courts and a nine-hole golf course.

BEACH YOGA PINELLAS: Drop-ins are welcome to practice their sun salutations directly on the sand. They also offer paddle yoga and paddle fitness.

Places to eat and drink

VIP LOUNGE AND MEXICAN RESTAURANT: This full liquor dive bar serving Mexican-American eats is extremely popular with local and tourists, but has limited seating, so be prepared to wait.

RICKY T’S: A sports bar and grill with plenty of TV screens, bar food with a seafood slant and live music. It’s a gathering place for bikers, but think motorcycle clubs, not gangs. They also offer brunch.

FLORIDIAN RESTAURANT: Possibly the best Cuban sandwiches this side of Ybor City, along with black bean soup, deviled crab and papas rellenas. The Old Florida-style restaurant has a porch for dining, but the sandwiches are perfect for a picnic on the beach.

THE PEARL: A Mediterranean/Moroccan fine dining restaurant with an emphasis on seafood and an extensive wine list. Open for dinner only.

IKKI WOO WOOS TIKI HUT: The tiny drink stand on the pool deck of the Thunderbird Resort features authentic Tiki drinks like the Zombie (be careful) and a wide variety of frozen concoctions. Grab a seat and enjoy live music and beach views.

CADDY’S ON THE BEACH: The Sunset Beach landmark is directly on the sand and offers free lounge chairs and umbrellas while you enjoy drinks, food and live music. Please refer to the beach drinking section to see why it’s so popular.

SEA DOG BREWING COMPANY:  Enjoy craft beer, burgers, seafood and pub favorites while enjoying the view of the Blind Pass waterway at this chain location.

SNACK BAR AT MUNICIPAL BEACH: Note that the snack bar at 11260 Gulf Blvd. also serves mimosas and sangria.SUPER SCOOPS: Satisfy that sweet tooth at this tiny shack at 11025 Gulf Blvd., which has tables and also milkshakes, smoothies and retro candy.


PIRATE’S COVE: Billed as a “Tropical Department Store,” this Treasure Island staple at 10855 Gulf Blvd. has been around since 1977, and features beachy and coastal home decor, but also sells T-shirts, swimsuits, hats, postcards, shot glasses and other souvenirs.

THE FLORIDA SHELL SHOP: Buying shells at the beach may seem like cheating, but you’d never be able to collect the amount and variety of shells that this shop has. They also have cards, shell crafts, shell craft supplies and souvenirs.

BOOKS ON THE BEACH: Because you need a good read for that relaxing time at the beach, this shop in Treasure Island Plaza at 138 107th Ave. sells new and used books and doubles as a post office.

TREASURE ISLAND OUTDOOR FRIDAY MORNING MARKET: From December through April, local makers and food vendors sell their wares while live music plays at the Treasure Island Community Center.


TREASURE ISLAND KITE COMPETITION AND FESTIVAL: Every year on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend, the sky over the beach behind the Thunderbird is filled with kites of all shapes and sizes as flyers compete.

SANDING OVATIONS SAND SCULPTING COMPETITION AND FESTIVAL: Master sand sculptors come from around the world to build works of art from 150 pounds of sand.

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