nature preserve in indian rocks beach florida

Best Things to do in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida

Indian Rocks Beach, Florida, is one of Florida’s more laid-back beaches compared to the more well-known spots. This Pinellas County beach town is on the Gulf Coast of Florida, close to Clearwater Beach but much quieter. Many call this the “locals beach” because you’re not going to find as many high rise buildings or chain restaurants lining the streets. And it definitely is a local’s favorite.

Today, you will learn all about what there is to do in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida, so that you can start planning your own trip!

best florida beaches for families

Things to do in Indian Rocks Beach

Let’s get right to the fun! If you are visiting Indian Rocks Beach, it’s likely because you want to relax, soak up the coastal vibes, get some quality time in with your friends or family, and relax. Indian Rocks Beach will offer a more relaxed beach vacation than other destinations while still offering plenty to do! Win-win!

Go to the Beach

It’s probably not surprising that going to the beach is one of the best things to do in Indian Rocks Beach. Indian Rocks has beautiful beaches and soft white sand that you would expect from Florida’s Gulf Coast and will probably be the main attraction of your vacation. Even though Indian Rocks Beach will be quieter than other beaches on Florida’s Gulf Coast, it is definitely starting to gain attention so it can get busy, especially in areas near public parking. But comparatively it is much quieter. Indian Rocks Beach offers two miles of beach along Florida’s gulf coast. 

boardwalk entrance to the beach at indian rocks beach florida

Splash Harbour Water Park

If you need a break from the beach for a day, you can head to Splash Harbor Water Park. The all outdoor waterpark is located at the Holiday Inn and Suites hotel but you don’t have to be a guest to stay there. It is a good place to visit for any age. There is a splash zone for younger ages, slides for the older kids, and a lazy river. 

Location: 399 2nd St, Indian Rocks Beach, FL 33785

Indian Rocks Beach Nature Preserve 

This is a hidden gem in Indian Rocks Beach, especially for nature lovers. There is a boardwalk path path that you can take through the mangroves until you reach water views. You might see different types of local birds, fish, and similar wildlife. Throughout the nature trails you’ll find informational signs on the different species so you know what you’re looking at. The trail is about a half a mile long. There is also a playground for your kids and a dog park for your dog kids at this location. It’s a very peaceful place to take a leisurely stroll.  

Location: right off of Gulf Boulevard between 9th and 10th Ave.

boardwalk through the mangroves at the indian rocks beach nature preserve in florida

Seaside Bird Sanctuary 

Technically, this is located in Indian Shores, but it’s that’s right next door to Indian Rocks. The Seaside Bird Sanctuary is a non-profit that helps care for and release injured wild birds and it’s actually the largest bird hospital in the United States. The sanctuary offers free admission, making it easy to visit on your next visit.

Location: 18328 Gulf Boulevard in Indian Shores.

Indian Rocks Historical Museum

The Indian Rocks Historical Museum is a great place to explore local history. The museum is small and won’t take too much time to get through but it is worth visiting. There are artifacts and exhibits on landmarks, shipwrecks, and beach life.

Check Out Local Events

Indian Rocks is very community oriented with a lot of events depending on the time of year. Often, you will see this advertised on a banner as you enter the island but I recommend checking out the Indian Rocks city calendar of events and the Indian Shores events calendar to see what might be going on while you are visiting.

Yoga on the Beach

There is yoga on the beach held three times per week. Once a month, they even have a potluck after the class! Classes are held Saturdays 9 am – 10:15 am; Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 pm-7:15 pm in the summer; and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5pm – 6:15 in the winter. It’s good for all levels and is a great way to meet people whether you’re visiting or whether you live here. It’s held at the 16th Avenue North beach access and costs $10.

Best Day Trips

Even though there are plenty of fun things to do in Indian Rocks, there are a lot of other great spots close by in the Tampa Bay area that are worth a day trip. Here are a few ideas:

You could take the trolley to any of the other Tampa Bay beaches. The Suncoast Beach Trolley goes from Clearwater Beach to St Pete Beach. It runs every 30 minutes from 5 am to 11:30 pm with later hours on Friday and Saturday. John’s Pass at Madeira Beach is a great stop as well as Clearwater Beach but you can’t go wrong with any of them.

If you have a car, then you could easily take a day trip to Dunedin or Downtown St Pete.

But even if you don’t have a car, you have several options. You can take the Suncoast Beach Trolley (the trolley I mentioned above) to Clearwater Beach. From there, you could get on the Jolley Trolley which could then take you to Downtown Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor or Tarpon Springs. Or you could take it to St Pete Beach and grab the SunRunner to downtown St Petersburg.

The Florida Botanical Gardens are a hidden gem in Largo, just a short drive away. You could easily spend all day here walking through the gardens. This is also attached to Heritage Village. Heritage Village is a great way to learn about local history with old buildings set up just like they were back in the day. There is an old church, old houses, an old store, and more. While the Botanical Gardens are open 7 days a week, Heritage Village is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Welcome Center

Indian Rocks Beach is a quiet town, but there’s a lot to do within a short distance. The Welcome Center offers discounted tickets for several activities.

Location: 105 5th Ave N, Indian Rocks Beach, FL 33785

nature preserve indian rocks beach florida

Where to Eat in Indian Rocks Beach

Here are some of the best restaurants in Indian Rocks Beach:

Cafe De Paris Bakery is a good breakfast option. They have pastries, bread, sandwiches, and coffee. Just note that they are closed on Mondays.

Kooky Coconut is a small shack best for grabbing great food to go. They have good sandwiches, ice cream, and even fresh coconut. Even though we prefer to take our food to go, they do have some indoor and outdoor seating.

PJ’s Oyster Bar is a great place for fresh seafood. Their seafood is local and fresh. They also have non-seafood options if someone in your party would prefer something different.

Beach Waves Grill We recently ate here for the first time and the food was great! It is actually our favorite place because not only was the food good, but every single employee was so welcoming and friendly. My husband and I both felt so appreciated as customers. This is one of our new favorite spots and it can’t be located much closer to the beach!

JD’s has great live music with the vibe to match. Plus, their food is great! I highly recommend their Chicago style oysters. They are oysters baked with garlic butter and cheese.

Guppy’s on the Beach – first, be warned that while it is very close to the beach, it is not directly on the beach. We go to Indian Rocks Beach at least once per week and almost every time, Guppy’s has a crowd of visitors and locals waiting to be seated because is a very popular place! It is a bit more upscale than your typical beach bar restaurant. They have local seafood and steak options.

Crabby Bill’s has great beachy vibes and often has live music to match. The best way to describe Crabby Bills is fun! It’s a really great spot and you can show up as dressed up or as dressed down as you’re feeling for the occasion. They have a large outdoor space with plenty of room for dancing to live music. Food is good too with seafood and other bar-type food.

Candy Kitchen is a must-stop if you have a sweet tooth. This is a great destination for dessert after dinner or an afternoon snack. Candy Kitchen is a unique stop that anyone would love, but if you have kids in your group, I think they will especially find this place to be magical. There are a few Candy Kitchens throughout Florida’s Gulf Coast beaches.

Villa Gallace is my favorite restaurant in Indian Rocks beach and one of the best Italian restaurants around. And it’s not just me – this family owned restaurant has been visited by many celebrities over the years (their pictures are displayed in the hallway!) It’s a bit of a nicer restaurant but still reasonably priced. You can’t go wrong ordering anything from here but my go to is the tortellini alla panna, which is a tortellini pasta with proscuitto. It’s so good.

Coffee in Indian Rocks Beach

The Haus Coffee Shop is one of our favorites. They have specialty drinks as well as all of your classic favorites ready to order. It’s not on the island, but it’s just over the bridge. My favorite drink is their iced cinnamon sugar latte.

best bars indian rocks beach florida

Best Places to Grab a Drink

Mahuffer’s is a unique and funky bar experience in Indian Shores, Florida. I love this place but it might not be for everyone. It is the ultimate dive bar where you will be surrounded by salvaged junkyard artifacts. You’ll either think it’s cool or you’ll think everything inside needs to go to, well, the junkyard. What I love is that Mahuffer’s makes no apologies for what they are. The bartenders are great and the beer is ice cold. They often have live entertainment as well. It’s a hole in the wall type of place enjoyed by all ages, locals, and visitors.

Anecdote Brewing Company I absolutely love breweries and was so happy when small town Indian Rocks got their own! Anecdote is still a newer brewery, it actually opened in the middle of the pandemic. They really had to adapt and overcome from day one which just makes me love them more. Grab a beer or a flight and enjoy the atmosphere or take a crowler to go. Either way you’ll be satisfied. 

indian rocks beach florida

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *