I love Florida. It’s sunny, warm, and there’s that citrus-like smell that hits you right as you step off the plane that is just amazing. There’s also water, beaches, boardwalks, live bands, tiki bars, and so much more. What’s not to love?
That’s why we go three to four times a year and surprisingly enough, we’re able to travel there most of the times rather inexpensively. Of course, having a mother and brother that have homes there helps, but there are plenty of great deals out there if you spend a little time looking. Did you know you can fly out of Flint, Michigan? The airport is so convenient and easy. There are many budget airlines like Allegiant, Frontier and Southwest that offer some incredibly discounted fares.
So where are my favorite places in Florida? As a kid, my parents took us all around Florida. From Key West to Clearwater to Cocoa Beach, but the gulf coast was always our favorite and my mother purchased a home in the beautiful area of Treasure Island Florida on the gulf side over 15 years ago.
What I love about the gulf are the beautiful beaches. Just driving down Gulf Boulevard along the coast is a wonderful, relaxing ride. St. Pete’s Beach has tons of energy and some the best tiki bars you’ll find anywhere. Our favorite (as well as lot of others as it has won Florida’s best beach bar many multiple years in a row) is Jimmy B’s Beach Bar that offers entertainment seven days a week from afternoon to 2 AM. The bartenders are tons of fun and make fabulous drinks. Make sure to get your platinum card. It’s free to sign up and you’ll enjoy discounts on food and drinks.
Just a quick walk along the beach and you can stop by the Toasted Monkey or the Postcard Inn where you can catch a volleyball game or toss a game of corn hole. Walk a half mile down get a drink at Bongos Beach Bar and The Undertow —which if you love women in bikinis, that is the place to be. You’ll be sure to see bachelorette and bachelor parties doing pub crawls along the beach or catch a couple taking their wedding vows in the sand.
I can’t forget to mention the entertainment. I’ve been following bands like Stormbringer, Sweet Spot, The Big Brother Band, The Honey Badgers, and more. If you want to hear some good classic rock, check out Ricky T’s in Treasure Island. Here’s where the locals hang out. It’s never a doll moment. In fact, you can go there for breakfast bright and early and stay until the final song is played around 1:30 a.m. It’s a full service kind of bar!
One of the great things about the Treasure Island/St. Pete Beach area is that they have “Free Beach Rides“. Yes free! They just work on tips, and it’s worth every penny if you’ve had a few too many drinks! What’s great about this service is that you call and they can be there within 5 to 10 minutes to pick you up. There’s about a 10 mile radius up-and-down the beach.
North of Treasure Island, down Gulf Blvd, is Madeira Beach. Here you will find a board walk and fishing village called John’s Pass. It’s a cool place with tons of bars, restaurants and shopping. There’s a Hooters, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, and a fresh catch seafood place called Scully’s. You can also catch a band playing on the upper deck at the huge tiki bar called The Hut. There’s something for everyone! And if you’re lucky enough you will get a free dolphin show in front of the draw bridge. There are always dolphins frolicking as boats venture in and out of the channel.
I can’t say enough about this fun area along Florida’s gulf coast. It’s certainly not a tourist trap like many other popular areas in the Sunshine state, but it has something for everyone whether you’re down for a long weekend or a four-month snowbird! And the sunset’s on the gulf are amazing!