18 Best Things To Do in Indian Rocks Beach in 2023

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By Erin
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Looking for the best things to do in Indian Rocks Beach? We’ve got you covered! Here is a local’s guide to the top activities you don’t want to miss.

Indian Rocks Beach is a small, quaint beach town located on the Gulf of Mexico in Pinellas County, Florida.

With its sugar sand beaches and warm gulf waters, it’s no wonder this town is a popular tourist destination.

This cute, chill beach town has plenty to do and many fun places to explore. It is only half an hour from Tampa and about 20 minutes to the beautiful beaches and artistic vibe of St Pete. The location is superb for midway between Tampa and St Petersburg. So you can easily see both cities on your vacation getaway.

If you are considering visiting Indian Rocks Beach (known as IRB to locals), you have made a great choice. The name came from the large red rocks found along the shoreline. Many years past, it was a Native American campsite.

To help you enjoy Indian Rocks Beach and to ensure you have a great time, I have put together this guide. As a local, I’m sharing my favorite hidden gems as well as popular spots!

Indian Rocks Beach Florida Map

Walkway to the beach with white sandy beaches, things to do in Indian Rocks Beach.
Beautiful beaches line this small town

Here is an interactive map of Indian Rocks Beach, Florida to quickly check location and distance information.

It is just 30 minutes from the Tampa International Airport and 20 minutes from Downtown St. Pete.

Indian Rocks Beach Parking

Indian Rocks Beach parking can be challenging during peak times. To make it easier, here are some details on where you can find public parking.

FREE public parking spots are available at the beach accesses on the West Side of Gulf Blvd. at:

  • From 27th Ave to 19th Ave, there are some FREE public parking spots.
  • Indian Rocks Beach Access County Park, 1700 Gulf Blvd
  • 16th Ave, 15th Ave, 12th Ave, 8th Ave, 4th, 2nd and 1st Ave, Central Ave.

So let’s get you up to speed for a fantastic vacation. Here is my favorite things to do in Indian Rocks Beach and several top destinations nearby worth checking out.

🌴 Read Next: 13 Best Things to Do in Madeira Beach, Florida

Spend Time at the Beach

Beach access point sign in Indian Rocks Beach
Best Things to Do in Indian Rocks Beach? Truly the Beach!

The first stop for me is always the beach. Nothing beats beautiful beaches; whether a glance, a sunset stroll, or several hours with your toes in the sand – it’s a must while in Indian Rocks Beach.

Chair rentals are available, so you don’t have to lug a bunch of items to the beach.

If you like historical walking tours, there is a more educational way to see the beach. The FREE app is available to download on Android and Apple devices called “Walk Indian Rocks Beach.” The walking tour has 14 stops accompanied by historical images and music. You will get to experience all the best of the rich heritage that makes this small town special.

Make sure to also catch one of the beautiful sunsets at the beach. With unobstructed waterfront views, the sunsets here are truly magnificent.

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Have Fun on the Water

Boat charters are fun way to spend time on the Gulf of Mexico.  Photos an ariel shot of a charter boat.
Boat Charters are especially fun as a group

I’m a boater, so I may be slightly biased in this next statement. However, I genuinely believe you haven’t seen Tampa Bay until you spend time on the water.

Why not take a boat tour with your own knowledgeable captain? You can enjoy a half or full day in the Gulf of Mexico.

Some of the most popular boat tours include glass bottom kayaks adventure, sunset cruise, pirate adventure cruise, and a deep sea fishing tour. Don’t be surprised if you see lots of outdoor wildlife, such as sea turtles and bottlenose dolphins.

Speaking of dolphins, no boat trip to Florida is complete without some dolphin spotting. The Dolphin Racer Tour is a super fun experience to see bottlenose dolphins and other wildlife! Adults and kids get a kick out of zooming around on a speedboat.

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Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf

Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf showing sign decorated in skulls and gators.
Smugglers Cove is great for all age groups

After spending a day at the beach, you may be ready to do something different! Nothing gets further from the beach than playing putt-putt golf with live alligators. Luckily, you’re not playing literally around them, but it definitely adds to the excitement to see them at the course. There are also waterfalls and caves to add to the fun.

There is gator food offered upon arrival, as well as beverages for you to purchase.

Smuggler’s Cove Adventure Course is located next door to one of my favorite restaurants, Salt Rock Grill. So, I tend to partner this experience with a meal out, making it a date night or a family fun day.

đź’° Pro Tip: Pack your own beverages and save a few bucks. You’ll appreciate it on a hot day.

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Splash Harbour Water Park

Photo Canva License By dikti.  Splash Harbour Water Park.
Have fun at the water parks

The Splash Harbour Water Park is located just a couple of blocks off Gulf Blvd. It has everything for a great family day out.

The two high slides, one for use with a tube and one without, will keep the kids amused all day. For younger children, there is a play area with smaller slides.

The lazy river can let parents float down, relaxing with a cocktail in hand before having a swim in the large pool.

Climb to the top of the towers and have a superb view of the bay and beach.

Nearby you have Jimmy Iguana’s restaurant, Crabby Bill’s, and Slyce Pizza Bar for a great pizza.

  • Address: 399 2nd St, Indian Rocks Beach, FL 33785
  • Hours: Open 10 am – 6 pm, 7 Days a week (Hours subject to change)
  • Cost: Adult Regular Admission $27.95 & Up; Under 48″ $25.95 & Up; 2 years & under – Free; Discounts offered for after 3 pm, as well as seniors, military, and Florida residents.
  • Website: Splash Harbour Water Park
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Indian Rocks Beach Nature Reserve

The Indian Rocks Beach Nature Reserve is off Gulf Boulevard between 9th Avenue & 10th Avenue. The park is perfect for all ages and abilities and is a fun place to visit.

There is a flat wooden boardwalk through mangroves into the intra-coastal waterway. You will have plenty of opportunity for nature watching from the boardwalk lookouts. There is a lot of wildlife such as birds, fish, lizards, crabs, and sometimes even snakes.

A fenced dog park allows you the enjoy the park with your dog. The park has a restroom and water station to refill water bottles. This park has a very laid-back, chilled vibe with lots to entertain the whole family including a playground.

There is also a quiet beach that offers an incredible view of the water and the sunset. It is ideally suited for strolling in the mornings to enjoy the sunrise in a peaceful environment. On weekends and during peak times, this park can become busy and limited parking nearby.

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Jet Ski Indian Rocks Beach

Jet Ski Indian Rocks Beach at sunset with gorgeous yellow orange ski in the background.  By YanLev Canva.
Indian Rocks Beach Things to Do

Looking for your own solo adventure on the water? Jet ski rentals in Indian Rocks Beach is a fun way to explore!

Follow your guide, on your own jet ski excursion. You will get to stop at many locations that are full of bottlenose dolphins, stingrays, and sharks.

There are many jet ski rentals near Indian Rocks Beach. Wet Rentals is conveniently located right in the Holiday Inn & Suites at Indian Rocks Beach (as well as other nearby locations. In addition to jet ski rentals, they offer boat and paddle board rentals.

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Seaside Seabird Sanctuary

Photo inside the Seaside Seabird Santuary.
Seaside Seabird Sanctuary has a variety of bird species.

If you like wildlife it is definitely worth visiting the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary in Indian Shores. This sanctuary is a special place that dedicates its time to the rescue, rehabilitation, and future release of birds back into the wild.

There is the Marie L. Farr Avian Hospital on the property that admits more than 3,500 injured or sick birds every year. The sanctuary also fields over 10,800 hotline calls annually with volunteers helping with these efforts.

Come visit the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary and see over 100+ bird species including pelicans, owls, macaws, hawks, and many more! It’s a great place to photograph a variety of birds within close proximity. Plus, they have an educational center to learn more about various species.

You won’t want to miss the fantastic views from the Observation Tower which is located in the Sanctuary’s Shade Garden. You will get to see sweeping 360-degree views of the Gulf of Mexico.

They also offer a store selling merchandise, so you can support the mission and get souvenirs from them. There is no fee to visit, but donations are gladly accepted.

  • Address: 18328 Gulf Blvd, Indian Shores, FL 33785
  • Cost: FREE Admission & Free Parking
  • Hours: Monday – Sunday 8 am – 4 pm
  • Website: Seaside Seabird Sanctuary

Explore John’s Pass Village

John's Pass Village
John’s Pass Village in Madeira Beach
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Just a short drive from Indian Rocks Beach is John’s Pass Village & Boardwalk in the small city of Maderia Beach. It is one of the top attractions in Tampa Bay!

This family-friendly entertainment complex offers some of the best sightseeing tours to people who travel from all over the globe.

There are 100+ shops, bars, and top notch restaurants, as well as several fishing charters and water sports equipment rentals available.

Boat Tours

One of our favorite tours is the Parasail Flight at Madeira Beach. This boat crew is exceptional at putting those wary at ease by feeling safe and secure, plus added humor! You will remember this experience for years to come.

Florida Winery

The Florida Winery is an award-winning winery that has produced over 20 local varieties. While Florida is not known for wines, these are some of the best slushy wines around! Come here for a fun wine tasting experience. You’ll find yourself wanting to bring home the perfect souvenir.

Alligator & Wildlife Discovery Center

The Alligator & Wildlife Discovery Center at John’s Pass Village gives visitors an opportunity to meet alligators and Florida wildlife. It is a perfect place to experience some of nature’s most dangerous creatures in a safe setting. This is one of our top activities in Madeira Beach for kids things to do with over 250 exotic animals housed here.

Metered Parking in Madeira Beach

Madeira Beach is a popular destination and metered parking can be limited especially on holidays and weekends. Additional information on John’s Pass Village can be found on their website.

Indian Rocks Historical Museum

Photo inside the museum showing the swing years display and local motel information from years ago.  One of the best history lessons and things to do in Indian Rocks Beach Florida https://www.irbmuseum.com/
Photo credit: Indian Rocks Historical Museum

I always feel that when you visit an area for the first time, you have a duty to understand its journey.

Indian Rocks Historical Museum is a traditional old house. Furnishing is as accurate to its time as possible. There are exhibits of antiques and fascinating old pictures of the area. The displays are informative and highlight the local history.

The museum tells the story of the changes to IRB up to the present. It charts the presence of Native Americans and resident changes. Fishing development and how families have lived here are also displayed.

It has an excellent variety of American history, covering WWI to Vietnam. There are also some excellent photos showing life in the ’40s and ’50s.

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Best Restaurants in Indian Rocks Beach

Outdoor dining & docks at Salt Rock Grill.  Photo shows outdoor dining and the bar is located to the right outdoors.  There are public docks.  Best restaurants in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida. https://www.saltrockgrill.com/
Outdoor dining & docks at Salt Rock Grill

As a local, I’ve enjoyed my share of the cuisine in Indian Rocks Beach. There is an excellent variety of delicious options. This area primarily specializes in fresh-caught seafood. However, there are plenty of other great options too.

A few of the best restaurants in Indian Rocks Beach are Salt Rock Grill, Slyce Pizza Bar, and VIP Mexican American Cuisine.

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Chief Chic-A-Si Park

Head to 4th Avenue & 2nd Street, opposite the post office, and you will find this fantastic family friendly park.

It is more of a children’s play park than a complete park. It is clean and well-maintained, which is true of all the IRB parks.

There is plenty of grass for the children or your pooch to enjoy. The covered pavilion is a lovely place to hold a family event or even a casual wedding ceremony.

Picnic areas are available for a bit of al-fresco dining. You will be glad of them after you have built up an appetite on the Bocci Ball court.

Taste of IRB

Each year the Taste of IRB is held in this lovely historical park. This FREE event has a variety of live music, food, beverages, and more fun!

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Kolb Park

Are you looking for a fun time for FREE? Then head to Kolb Park.

Although small, the park has loads of features and attractions and is clean and well-cared for. There is a skate park, a baseball field, handball court, basketball courts, and two shaded playgrounds.

Swings and a merry-go-round will keep the kids amused. There are very welcome bathroom facilities. A covered pavilion is perfect for a family get-together.

Kolb Park is an excellent alternative to the beach. And when you finish having fun at the park, the community art center and library are next door. Plus, restaurants and ice cream shops are within walking distance in this family friendly area.

  • Address: 1508 Bay Palm Blvd, Indian Rocks Beach, FL 33785
  • Website: Kolb Park
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Clearwater Pier 60

Pier 60 Clearwater Beach, Clearwater Pier 60 and views of the white sand beaches and water.
Views from Pier 60 Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Pier 60 is a public fishing pier, recreational park, and tourist hot spot in Clearwater Beach. It is just a little under 7 miles away from Indian Rocks Beach.

The recreational fun park is a family friendly area with plenty of free things to do, such as a playground and a beach recreational area.

Pier 60 also plays host to a number of events throughout the year. The “Sunsets at the Pier” occurs nightly from 6 pm to 9 pm featuring local artists, food, and musicians performing as the sun goes down.

Nightlife Tropical Party Cruise

If you’re looking for a little bit of adventure, take a party boat cruise that launches just across the street. Your designated driver (aka boat captain) takes all the stress away by taking you to the best places to see on the Gulf of Mexico. Enjoy the bar, music, and gorgeous 360-degree water views. The Nightlife Tropical Party Cruise is a super fun way to make the most of your vacation.

Aspirations Winery

If you prefer to stay on land, Aspirations Winery is also an outstanding experience in Clearwater. With over 25 wines, this is a very enjoyable wine tasting experience for adults.

Since I tend to prefer California Cabernet wines, I prefer their sweet dessert wines. Aspirations Winery is one of the most highly-rated businesses in the area (and prices are reasonable).

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IRB Local Events & Festivals | IRB Oktoberfest

Photo Credit: IRB Ocktoberfest.  Photo shows three young adults dressed in german attire dancing at the IRB Oktoberfest.
IRB Oktoberfest

The lively city hosts an annual IRB Oktoberfest at the beginning of October. It is usually held on the first Saturday of the month in Kolb Park.

This beachy non-traditional style German event is full of fun things to do including:

  • Beer
  • Food vendors
  • Live music
  • Silent auction & raffles
  • Arts and craft show
  • Famous Keg Throwing & Stein Carrying Contests

This event is talked about all year and is definitely worth seeing if you’re in town. And, I love that it is all for a great cause. Proceeds go to funding city improvements such as shelters.

Other Community Events

Here is a short list of the other community events in IRB to check out:

  • Taste of IRB
  • Easter Egg Hunt
  • Indian Rocks Beach Pub Crawl
  • Holiday Home Tour
  • Spooktacular
  • Holiday Toy Drive
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Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Waterview of the Clearwater Aquarium in Clearwater Beach.  Shows the boat tour boats and view of buildings in the distance near the beach.
Where “Winter” Lived from the Dolphin Tale Movies

Within a short drive away from Indian Rocks Beach is the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. If you haven’t visited before it should be added to your list.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of suffering marine animals. They provide public education including dolphin boat tours and conservation efforts in a hands-on experience.

The aquarium gained worldwide recognition for being where the Bottlenose Dolphin, “Winter” lived from the Dolphin Tale Movies.

Once you finish at the museum, Island Way Grill located next to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is an outstanding choice. While there is plenty of food options, we tend to prefer their sushi. Sit on the patio for expansive views of Clearwater Beach. This restaurant also has boat dock access.

Read Next: The 25+ Fun Date Things to Do in Tampa for Couples

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Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks

Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks
Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks

Home to a lively historical boardwalk, a rail trail, and excellent Greek food, there’s so much to do here on a day trip to Tarpon Springs! Tarpon Springs is a 30-mile drive from Indian Rocks Beach, roughly an hour’s drive.

My favorite restaurant is Hella’s for authentic Greek food. Hella’s Restaurant also has a bakery next door with some delightful treats to take home.

If you’re looking for free things to do, you’ll want to stop at the Tarpon Springs Splash Park. It’s ideal for toddlers and young children and is just a short drive from the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks.

World Class Museums in St Petersburg

The Salvador Dali Museum in St Petersburg
The Salvador Dali Museum in St Petersburg Florida

I love museums and have spent countless hours in them. If you’re a museum fan, you must prioritize visiting downtown St Petersburg.

The Salvador Dali Museum is a must-see when visiting St Petersburg. Not only does it boast an impressive permanent collection of Salvador Dali’s works, but it also offers visitors the chance to experience the surreal world of the artist. It features masterpieces from every stage of Dali’s career, allowing guests to gain a comprehensive understanding of his unique talent.

You’ll also want to check out my full article about the best museums in St Petersburg, which offers information on how to get free or discounted tickets.

Final Thoughts: Things to Do in Indian Rocks Beach

While there is not as much going on as in the larger beach cities, there is still plenty of fun things to do in Indian Rocks Beach. Whether you’re looking for a fun day at the beach or an opportunity to learn about Florida’s history IRB has something for everyone. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your vacation planning today!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Indian Rocks Beach known for?

Indian Rocks Beach is known for the large red rocks found along the shoreline. Long ago, it was a historical Indian campsite, which is proudly where it gets its name.

Where is Indian Rocks Beach Florida?

Indian Rocks Beach, Florida is located in the northwestern portion of Pinellas County on the Gulf of Mexico. It is 25 miles from Tampa International Airport (TPA), and 23 miles from downtown St. Petersburg. It is located just south of Clearwater Beach and Bellaire Beach.

Can you swim at Indian Rocks Beach?

Indian Rocks Beach is a great place for swimming and spending time in the Gulf of Mexico. It is an ideal place for those that are looking for a laid-back environment with beaches. However, there is no life guard on duty. Safety precautions advised by the public beach areas are required at all times.

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Authored By: Erin
Welcome to Erin’s Travel Tips, a Florida Travel Website. I specialize in unique family travel destinations, outdoor getaways in Florida and beyond! I’m a proud Floridian who loves a good cup of coffee, boating, and of course, traveling with my family to some of the most interesting places in the world.

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