Cool, happy, and fun things to do in Indian Rocks Beach include enjoying small beach town vibes, experiencing an uncrowded Florida Gulf Coast destination, and savoring world class sunsets.
Indian Rocks Beach (IRB) is a small town along the Florida Gulf Coast. IRB is part of Clearwater Beach and is about 3 miles long—from Bellaire Beach in the north to Indian Shores in the south. Unlike Clearwater Beach though, Indian Rocks Beach maintains a residential Old Florida small town charm. IRB has placed limits on housing development and the ginormous condo buildings and hotels do not blight the landscape here.
Things to Do in Indian Rocks Beach
Where is Indian Rocks Beach?
Indian Rocks Beach is located 12 miles directly west of St Pete-Clearwater Airport and 25 miles from Tampa Airport. Indian Rocks Beach is the westernmost stretch of land along the Florida Gulf Coast (south of Cedar Key). Wow! The town is part of Clearwater Beach and Pinellas County and on the island called Sand Key.
Do you wonder where the name Indian Rocks Beach comes from?
1. Beaches of Indian Rocks Beach
Besides the amazing weather (especially in winter months), the Florida Gulf Coast beaches are the main attraction for people to Indian Rocks Beach. 27 public beach entrances offer plenty of opportunities to find a favorite spot or several. Each entrance has colorful signs and some entrances have showers and/or faucets to wash feet, benches, and free parking. Always check parking signs for hours and restrictions.
The IRB beach sand is firm enough that bicycle riding is common. Yet just a few yards from the water the sand is soft enough to be comfortable to sit on. For a fun local Indian Beach Rocks activity, join a Yoga on the Beach session at the 22nd Avenue entrance.
2. Celebrate Gulf Coast Sunsets
Gulf Coast sunsets offer a chance for a daily celebration of all things relaxing, inspirational, and transformational. During your Florida Gulf Coast vacation, every sunset will have some common elements and also some unique occurrences. Couples, families, and groups gather by the shoreline for photos because the natural lighting is ideal. Some individuals or groups choose sunset as a time for exercise or reflection. Often there is someone sounding a Queen conch shell at sunset near IRB 15th Avenue. Establish your own memorable sunset traditions.
3. Indian Rocks Beach Nature Preserve
Located between Ninth and Tenth Avenues and stretching from Gulf Blvd to the intracoastal is the largest undeveloped land area in IRB and a great photo spot for Florida nature lovers. The Indian Rocks Beach Nature Preserve has a mangrove boardwalk trail which runs about a half mile total over marshland allowing frequent bird and crab sightings. The IRB Community Garden and IRB Dog Park are on either side of the restroom building at the main entrance, and there is a tot lot playground with fun adult fitness machines at the other end.
4. Kolb Park at Indian Rocks Beach
Kolb Park is adjacent to the Indian Rocks Beach Public Library (inside IRB City Hall) and Beach Arts Center (exhibitions, classes, workshops, studio rental). The park has basketball courts, baseball/softball field, skateboard park, tennis/pickle ball courts, and a playground. A historic stone marker in the northeast corner commemorates the site of sulphur springs used by Timucuan Indians.
5. Paddle the Intracoastal Waterway
Sections of Indian Rocks Beach are less than 500 feet wide between the beach and the intracoastal waterway. The interior intracoastal waterway is protected by Sand Key with no outlet to the Gulf of Mexico from Clearwater Pass (five miles north) to Johns Pass (10 miles south). The protected waterway is ideal for kayaking, SUP, or other #LiquidRoadTrip adventures. IRB has some interesting spits of land and a couple of small islands that are fun to explore from the water. South of the Fifth Avenue bridge, the intracoastal waterway is known as The Narrows. In that area, Keegan Clair Park has public boat docks.
6. Explore Indian Rocks Beach Neighborhoods
Many people walk along Gulf Blvd but I prefer walking the beach at least once a day. And when I want to “shoe” walk or ride my bicycle, I prefer the residential streets. There is less traffic than on Gulf Blvd plus a whole bunch of fun things to see. I particularly love seeing dozens of clever, creative, and fun Florida mailboxes, colorful signs, and so many friendly people.
Walking across the 5th Avenue bridge is fun, particularly at sunrise. McGough Nature Park across the bridge in Largo has nice nature trails leading to the intracoastal waterway, a half-dozen owls along with other birds and reptiles. For a longer route, head north to and across the Belleair Bridge. It is about two miles from IRB Nature Reserve to Bayside Park next to the bridge.
The little boat ramp park at 15th Avenue is a wonderful setting for stargazing on dark nights and early mornings/sunrises. Brown Park, at the far north end of IRB, has tennis and basketball courts, a playground, a covered picnic area, and recycling drop off boxes.
Bicycles come with many vacation rental properties. Or rent from a local shop, such as Nekton Surf Shop.
7. Indian Rocks Historical Museum
Explore exhibits covering over 100 years of local history at the Indian Rocks Historic Museum. They also have artifacts on display and a history of Tocobaga natives to 1500s. The building is located across the street from the post office and on the grounds on Chief Chic-A-Si Park (which has a bocce ball court).
8. The Best Indian Rocks Beach Restaurants
Our favorite places to eat in Indian Rocks Beach (in order of frequency!):
- Jake’s Coastal Cantina—check out their daily 2-for-1 specials
- Guppy’s Restaurant—order the group picatta, grouper tacos, and everything grouper!
- Salt Public House—the Devil Kiss fries are super spicy
- 18 on the Rocks—more grouper tacos!
- Kooky Coconut—excellent Cuban sandwich
- Keegan’s Seafood Grille
- Crabby Bills
- Groupers on the Gulf
Nearby places we really like:
- Seabreeze Island Grill in Reddington Shores—$3 margaritas all day and amazing specials until 6pm
- St Pete Bagel Co in Largo
- Indian Rocks Fresh Market in Largo
- Pie Factory in Largo—love their key lime pie
- Mad Beach Brewing
- Scuppers in Johns Pass
IRB Restaurants We Still Have Not Tried:
- Beach Wave Grill (formerly Thai Pan Alley)
- Aqua Prime
- RickDaddy’s Eatin’ Fresh
- Chicago Jax
9. Best Places to Stay in Indian Rocks Beach
Vacation rentals are the most sensible Indian Rocks Beach lodging option. We have stayed in three different vacation rentals, including this two-bedroom duplex close to the beach. Other IRB vacation rentals we would like to try include—cottage with heated pool, beach cottage, and beachfront condo.
IRB hotels are located in The Narrows area south of the 5th Avenue bridge. Some of the best Indian Rocks hotels include Holiday Inn and Suites, Harbourside Resort, Colonial Court Inn, Great Heron Inn, and the family-friendly Splash Harbor Water Park.
What other fun things to do in Indian Rocks Beach Florida do you recommend?