Indian Shores

indianshores11The quiet little town of Indian Shores averages just about a block in width and a mere 19 city blocks in length, but a ton of beauty is packed into this small community. The beaches are wide and pristine, with soft white sand and lovely sunset views. Parks and pavilions dot the landscape. At Town Square Nature Park, you can meander through lush mangroves on a boardwalk that traverses the natural landscape and ends at a fishing pier. Interested in picking up the pace, then perhaps check out the recreational activities offered through the Town of Indian Shores.

The Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, a non-profit agency dedicated to the care and release of injured birds, is located here. The public can visit any day to see native birds — pelicans, herons, owls, hawks, cormorants, and egrets – getting the care they need to be returned to the wild.

indianshores2A variety of shops and restaurants amply serve the 1,420 permanent residents as well as the larger winter contingent who enjoy life here. Al fresco dining with a view of the water is an Indian Shoes treat not to be missed.

 

 

 

Factoids:
Population: 1,420 according to the 2010 U.S. Census
Land Area: 0.33 Sq. Miles
 

Points of Interest: Beaches, Parks and pavilions, Town Square Nature Park, Boardwalk, Fishing pier, Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, Variety of shops and restaurants, Al fresco dining with a view of the water is an Indian Shores treat not to be missed.

Belleair Beach

The 1,560  residents of Belleair Beach enjoy a relaxed lifestyle on a barrier island, proud to have preserved their peaceful town as one of the last purely residential beaches in Pinellas County. Aside from a motel and a couple of timeshares, Belleair Beach is strictly residential and its citizens have every intention of keeping it that way.

Two miles of white sandy beach front and man-made fingers of land extending into the Intracoastal Waterway offer magnificent Gulf sunsets and superb water access to those fortunate to call Belleair Beach home.

belleairbeach2Because the city is but two miles long and less than a mile wide, every resident either lives on the water or within an easy stroll of the water. While many Belleair Beach residents maintain private boat docks, a city boat ramp and municipal marina provide access to all who wish to take to the sea. Walking paths through the town or along the beach make outdoor life here truly enjoyable. The city also maintains tennis courts, a basketball court and eleven public parks.


 Factoids:

Population: 1,560 according to the 2010 U.S. Census
Land Area: 0.58 Sq.
 

Points of Interest: Municipal marina, Walking paths through the town or along the beach, Tennis courts, Basketball court and eleven public parks.

Island Time

egmont1While many of Pinellas County’s communities are, indeed, islands, sometimes you just want to get away to another kind of island. Fortunately, you don’t have to go far: several island experiences are available to you without having to leave the county.

Egmont Key, at the mouth of Tampa Bay, is a wildlife refuge that also happens to be on the National Register of Historic Places thanks to its 150-year old lighthouse and remains of Fort Dade, a relic of the Spanish-American War. A visit there is a step back in time.

Caladesi Island State Park, designated as the 2008 #1 Beach in the U.S., is only accessible by boat – your own, or by taking the ferry with hourly departure. It is one of the few remaining all-natural islands on the west coast of Florida where you can swim, hike, fish, study or just loll on a pristine beach. Explore the mangrove-covered kayak trail. Spot a gopher tortoise. This is the way Florida looked a century ago.

Honeymoon Island is an island, but you can walk or drive there via a causeway from Dunedin. The natural preserve is known for its bird watching – it’s a rookery for eagles and ospreys. Gulf currents deposit a huge variety of seashells on the island’s newly re-nourished beaches, making the island a paradise for shell collectors.

Getting away for a little island time doesn’t require a plane ticket.  For the lucky ones who live here, island time is only minutes away.

honeymoon

Fort De Soto

fortdesoto2Locals have always known that Fort De Soto Park has one of the top beaches in the world and it’s right here in our own back yard. Experts and travelers from around the world agree.

In fact, in 2005 famous beach preservationist Dr. Stephen Leatherman named Fort De Soto North America’s number one beach. For two of the last three years, the world’s largest online travel community Trip Advisor has named Fort De Soto America’s Top Beach. Some 2.7 million visitors come every year to relax in this tranquil, breathtakingly lovely place.

fortdesoto3Fort De Soto Beach is located in Fort De Soto Park, Pinellas County’s largest park, with 1,136 acres spread across five interconnected islands. The 12-inch mortar battery, located at the fort for which the park was named, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, making the place a magnet to history buffs.

In Ft. De Soto Park nature is the real star with over 7 miles of waterfront, including almost three miles of the finest white sand beach in the United States. Visitors from near and far come to launch a boat or kayak, pitch a tent, throw a line in the water or hike the recreation trail. This is one of the few beaches in Florida where you can camp overnight, and fall to sleep to the sound of waves lapping the shore and wind rustling the palms.

Fort De Soto Park is one of the most incredible natural environments in the state, and probably the country.  And it’s only in Pinellas.