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Florida: Indian Rocks Beach, A Secret Family Beach Vacation Spot on the Gulf. 753FLTommysBeachBallIndian Rock offers family vacations with an easy pace. Watch dolphins at play and count pelicans or ride the beach trolley for a day adventure. Relax on a white sandy stretch of beach and wait for the next awesome sunset.

Here's the scoop. Wedged between Clearwater Beach and St. Petersburg Beach, Indian Rocks Beach is one of our favorite family vacation spots because the pace is slower, and the atmosphere non commercial. The community has carefree spunkiness making it ideal for disconnecting, day dreaming and reviving.  In the 1920s the barrier island community was a secret weekend getaway for wealthy Tampa residents, and today it offers three miles of perhaps the friendliest beach in Pinellas County.

Family vacation base. Family-freindly sleeping spots span the gamut from updated vintage units reminiscent of the 1950s/60s to modern  properties with freshwater swimming pools. Because of the variety of rental units the area  works for families with young children, families with teenagers, girlfriend getaways, vacationers with disabilities, grandparents, and pet owners. Bonus points: There is a delightful French bakery, clever beach shops and a cozy movie theater plus a beach trolley which runs between St. Pete to Clearwater making it effortless and enjoyable to explore without a car.  

Family fun in the area. High energy activities in the area include some of the best family fun in Florida.  Ride the Sea Screamer in Clearwater; investigate the Clearwater Marine Aquarium; sail away with Captain Nemo. The city park four blocks away has both a basketball court and playground for tykes. Bonus points: Play with your pooch. Indian Rocks Beach has a stretch of beach on the Belleair Causeway reserved for canine beach bums. 753FLTommysFamilyBeach

Ride the trolley.  Suncoast Beach Trolley is an easy fun way to sightsee along the beach without driving and facing the parking challenge. The trolley runs from Clearwater Beach south to Pass-a-Grille. (PTSA details (727) 540-1900 or www.PSTA.net)
 
Snoop for a deal. From shell cover vases and vintage ash trays to formerly loved t-shirts and lime green flip-flops, no two days will be the same at Church of the Isles Thrift Store. Friendly volunteers manage the ever changing assortment of recycled items and offer insider tips to about the area to anyone who asks. (Church of the Isles Thrift Store 24th Avenue, Indian Rocks Beach, FL 33785. (727)595-1038) 
 
Kayak the shoreline. When we getaway to Indian rocks we often rent kayaks Johnny. Beach launching is easy and the chance of spotting dolphins is always excellent. Most mornings the same school of dolphins swims about 100 yards off of the beach along the buoys line. Often we join them as they bounce amid the waves. One morning in May I glided past a huge loggerhead turtle almost within touching distance. 

Go on a turtle watch. Visiting Indian Rocks offers an added bonus during turtle season (May - October). Loggerheads (protected, endangered species) return to this section of beach to nest at night. To facilitate the nesting process from May through October accommodations along the beach practice a lights-out policy. Once incubation is complete the hatchlings pop from the sand and scatter toward the sea.  (Details at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, 249 Windward Passage, Clearwater, FL 33767 or www.cmaquarium.org)
  
Arrange time on the water. Contact Captain Mike Longnecker and create a family adventure. He offers island trips, sunset cruises, general sightseeing and fishing on the Cat’s Paw. (Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Marina Harborside, 401 Second Street, Indian Rocks Beach, FL 33785. (727) 391-1438 or mobile (727) 580-3106) 
 
Rent a boat. If you have the skills and desire to navigate the area on your own then the guys at IRB Boat Rentals will make it happen. Rent a 21-foot Cobia or maybe try a 25-foot Tri-toon and navigate the lagoons and ply the waves. (Holiday Inn Harbourside 401 2nd Street Slip 10, Indian Rocks Beach, FL 33785.  (727) 517-1122 or www.irbboatrentals.com )

Content and images provided by Lisa Kamps-Duac, publisher for theFamilyTravelFiles.com . Copyright 2013.


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