Have you heard of Indian Rocks Beach? Well, neither had I! I had never heard of this beach city in Florida up until fall of last year.
Indian Rocks Beach is located about 40 minutes from the Tampa Airport. It’s a super easy drive! This town is located just a bit south of Clearwater Beach and a bit north of St. Pete’s. Despite being located in the midst of all these touristy locations that you’ve surely heard of, Indian Rocks Beach is pretty low-key and not over-crowded.
We stayed south of the main downtown area of Indian Rocks Beach. The town doesn’t have a huge downtown area, there are a few shops and then it’s basically restaurants. In this post I want to share restaurants to eat at in Indian Rocks Beach, and then things that you should do in and around IRB!
Food in IRB
Crabby Bill’s is located right in downtown IRB. You can’t miss it, this is definitely one of the biggest places around. They have live music on the weekends, and obviously they have fantastic seafood.
We went to eat on a Friday night around 5:30 and it wasn’t super packed. But, it was off season, so take that with a grain of salt.
Okay, let’s talk covid-19. Out of ALL the places that we went in Florida, I was most impressed by the covid precautions taken by Crabby Bill’s. The restaurant is massive, but the tables are incredibly spaced out. This restaurant could make a killing by packing in the people, yet they took the time to remove tables and be as covid-conscious as possible. I was highly impressed.
We were a party of 6, so we tried a little bit of everything. I made sure to order an appetizer. They had spicy fried pickles that were calling my name! I was so glad we ordered them. They were incredible. I’ve eaten a lot of fried pickles, but never SPICY fried pickles. They were delicious!
The clam chowder was alright, but I had maybe 12 bowls of clam chowder that week (it’s one of my favorite foods!), and to be honest, it didn’t really outshine others that I tried while in Florida. For my entree, I ordered the Cajun Salmon. It was really good, if not as spicy as I expected. My Mom and Grandma split an order of crab legs. I had a bite and they were really good! It was a lot of food.
All around, Crabby Bills was delicious! Highly recommend stopping in here.
P.J.’s Oyster Bar
P.J.’s Oyster Bar is located almost kitty-corner to Crabby Bill’s. So, it’s also pretty centrally-located. This spot was probably my favorite just because of the atmosphere. It reminded me of one of my other favorite vacation restaurants, Downstairs at Eric’s, in Breckenridge, CO.
The restaurant is covered in all sorts of décor and memorabilia, so it is fun to look through everything! They have life sized Blues Brothers statues outside and inside, which is always welcoming to me, as a Chicagoan. They also sell t-shirts, which I picked up one of! If you’re eating here, do make sure to check out their little gift shop.
Now food–they have a pretty vast menu! I thought the clam chowder here was fantastic! Honestly, the clam chowder was way better than my meal. I ordered a grouper reuben and was pretty unimpressed. It was pretty much bread and grouper, nothing fancy. It was a bit disappointing! Everyone else (again, party of 6) enjoyed their meals, and I liked everything else that I tried!
Tropical Ice Cream and Coffee
We got ice cream here twice! This place claims to have the largest assortment of flavors in the entire country. I honestly kind of believe their claim–I’ve never seen so many flavors of ice cream in one place. Their display just keeps on going.
This is just a short walk away from both Crabby Bill’s or P.J.’s, so I recommend starting the night off eating dinner at one of those spots and then heading over to get some ice cream to finish the night!
Here are two other restaurants that were recommended to me, but that I didn’t try! My boss frequents IRB because her Dad lives down there, so these are both places she recommends!
- JD’s Restaurant and Lounge
- Pajano’s Pizza
What to Do in IRB
To be honest there isn’t a TON to do directly in Indian Rocks Beach. We took a few short drives and found some awesome stuff to do nearby though!
While in IRB, there is one thing you could check out! There is a rental place called Island Marine Rentals that we were going to rent some toys from, but we ended up getting caught in a hurricane so that plan didn’t pan out. They offer scooters, “scoot-coupes,” paddle boards, boat rentals, and more. It’s all actually pretty affordable as well.
Outside of IRB, here are my top recs!
Drive up to Tarpon Springs!
Tarpon Springs is a super neat, touristy town that I had never heard of before this trip to Florida. It’s about 40 minutes from IRB, but so worth the drive. You also go through some really neat towns along the way, so I think it’s worth the drive!
Tarpon Springs is famous for the sponge-diving industry! I didn’t realize it before this trip, but sponge-diving is a real thing. A lot of Tarpon Springs still makes a living off of it. The “must-see” spot in Tarpon Springs is obviously the sponge docks. These docks still see massive hauls of sponges coming through every day.
Make sure to walk past here a few times! When we walked by the first time, we got to see all these sponges! But when we walked back past a few hours later, there was nothing to be seen. So if they aren’t there initially, don’t give up!
Also head to Sponge-o-rama. This cool shop sells all the types of sponges you can imagine! They also show a movie about sponge diving, which is supposedly super cool, but we unfortunately didn’t get to see it.
Another thing to note about Tarpon Springs is that this town is SUPER Greek. We found a Greek restaurant called Mama’s, which was PHENOMENAL. One of my favorite foods ever is spanakopita. And it had been forever since I’d had good, authentic spanakopita. Theirs ticked all the boxes. We also got Saganaki, which, if you’ve never had it, you’re missing out. It’s flaming, ooey-gooey melted cheese. Delicious! For a meal, I had a lamb kebab, which was delicious, but it was a ton of food. We had so many leftovers!
Tarpon Springs was a super fun little excursion for us! I highly recommend driving up there if you have the time for it.
Okay. I do a ton of research before going anywhere, but somehow this gem totally escaped me! We were looking for something to do, and my Mom goes, “what about that John’s Pass? Everyone keeps saying we should go.” A quick Google search revealed that “that John’s Pass,” had over 5,000 reviews and all of them averaged out to 4.5 stars! So into the car we went.
John’s Pass is in Madeira Beach and it’s only about twenty minutes from IRB. If you’re choosing between Tarpon Springs and John’s Pass, I honestly think I would choose John’s Pass simply because it is closer and there is more to do.
What can you do at John’s Pass? The better question is, “What CAN’T you do at John’s Pass?”. Seriously. This place has everything. We went past a place where signs advertised that you can hold an alligator! John’s Pass is several blocks worth of shops, restaurants, and tourist attractions, which culminate in a boardwalk along the Boca Ciega Bay. The Boardwalk is gorgeous and would totally be somewhere I’d want to spend the day exploring!
Our first stop was a henna artist, and from there, we shopped around exploring the storefronts. When we made it to the boardwalk, we enjoyed the sunshine and stopped for ice cream. After ice cream, we headed into the Friendly Fisherman for a meal. I wasn’t hungry, so I skipped a meal and just ordered a mai tai in a coconut! My drink was excellent, and I got to keep this massive coconut as a souvenir.
John’s Pass is a great way to spend a day! I highly recommend exploring the area.
If you’re planning a trip to IRB, I hope that you found this post helpful! As always, feel free to leave questions or comments for me below.