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Nice beach, gentle surf, lots of sunshine, good local eateries, less "scuz" than the Daytona-type venues
Lots of homeless people wandering about and that stupid roundabout.
In a nutshell
If you're on the west Florida coast and you want a beach, it's a good choice
The best thing about this little place is the fact that it carries a LOT of D and DD bathing suits AND you can mix and match the bottoms in case you only have a big top. :-)
When we went there they were having terrific sale so we bought about 6 bathing suits, a few T shirts and other misc items and it seemed like it should have cost WAY more then it did for everything that we got.
What to buy: Bathing Suits! They have a HUGE selection of beautiful colors and styles. You will NOT be disapointed in this little place, it holds a LOT. The sunglasses are really inexpensive also, I got a really good pair for 10.00 but they also had a bunch that were only 2.00 and 6.00 etc. Just not in styles that *I* liked. :-) You will also find a good selection of beach cover ups and tank tops etc.
If you want to see what it looks like then type in the address to google and go to street view keep going until it shows up that address on the street.
What to pay: As much or as little as you want.
Updated May 12, 2008
Address: 19501 gulf blvd, indian shores FL
Drink, and drink more. Get beer/wine at the CVS on Mandalay for best deal. Just watch your car for the towtrucks in this parking lot. Will tow in a BLINK.
They stalk this parking lot even when CVS is closed throughout the wee hours, so don't park there for any longer than a couple of minutes even when you're shopping! People get towed while waiting in long CVS lines to pay! Oh, which reminds me: If you see a taller man with glasses cashiering, hop in another line or go to the Picture Developing cashier. If no other cashiers, save time by walking down to Southbeach to WalGreens.
Drinking is THE local custom on Cl. Beach, aside from tattoos (running second). Get them in the little strip beside Suntrust bank a block south -- this goes for you men, too.
Then hit the two bars on Mandalay for most local flavor. The restaurants are more touristy and expensive.
Perhaps the biggest tip is to WALK everywhere you possibly can or take Jolley Trolleys or the bus which runs later than 10 p.m. The traffic is not even traffic, just cars sitting still. Especially extremely brutal on Sunday nights. I can't emphasize this enough. Wait until very late, or bail early Sunday if you even want to attempt crossing the Causeway bridge. Please CARPOOL!!!!!!
Updated Feb 15, 2007
If you find yourself in the Tampa-St Pete-Clearwater area during baseball season, you might want to slide over and see the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays play their games - actually - in St. Petersburg, at an indoor domed park called Tropicana Field. It's nickname is "the Trop". From Clearwater, it's really a hop, skip and jump over to St. Pete, and rarely are Ray games complete sellouts, so you can safely go over without tickets and expect to get in. Another nice thing about Rays baseball is that there is a LOT of parking nearby to the Trop. Depending on how close you get, the rate can start at $5 and go AS high as $20 to park. My advice is to find a $10 lot - that's usually close enough in to be convenient, and yet far enough from the park to make leaving less of a hassle.
If you are looking TO do a baseball weekend, you'll probably want to stay over in St. Petersburg. Please check out my St. Petersburg, FL "Three Days with the Rays" page for more information.
To buy tickets, go to www.raysbaseball.com.
If you like to have some suds with your baseball, there are all sorts of choices at the Trop. They have more brands than most bars. Sure, they're way overpriced, but.... the best deal is to spend $11 for one of those big chilled 24 ounce canned Coronas... that way, you're getting two "regular beers". And if you are a more serious alcoholic (just kidding folks - have fun, just don't drive), there are lots of other options. ONLY in a place like Tampa do the guys walking in the stadium yell "marrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgaritas, marrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgaritas". Also, you can go to the Captain Morgan club, where they make some killer rum drinks.
Oh, one more thing.... during the summer, there is a "summer concert series". About every three weeks or so, they follow up Saturday night games with a free (to baseball game ticket holders) concert. On our recent visit to the Trop, we enjoyed one of my favorite acts, the Barenaked Ladies. There are a wide variety of choices throughout the summer. Recent visits have included The Beach Boys, the Go-Gos, Daughtry, the Atlanta Rhythm Section, Vanilla Ice (really... egad) and others. Among the upcoming shows will be American Idol favorite Adam Lambert. The concerts are not quite as long as what you'd go to see for a "real concert", maybe a little over an hour and 15 minutes. But the sound isn't bad and the venue is relaxing. Enjoy.
Oh, and if you get caught in one of south Florida's summer rainstorms after the game, duck into nearby Ferg's Sports Bar. They usually have a good deal on domestic bottled beer and its ice cold.
Updated Jul 8, 2010
Address: 1 Tropicana Way, St. Petersburg, FL