When I first moved here over 10 years ago, I had a completely different perspective on what I thought living in Florida was going to be like. For me, Florida was a necessary step to move away from my home state of South Carolina and start fresh.
Having family that lived in areas like New Port Richey and Homosassa, Florida, my past experiences visiting here were much different from my move many years later.
When I would come to visit family, Florida felt like a vast humid jungle with some beaches and theme parks. As I think back, most of the time I visited was in the summer and my family lived in pretty undeveloped areas farther away from the beaches coastal breezes.
While fun, my experiences didn’t make me fall in love with the idea of Florida until I found myself living here. Eventually I ended up in Pinellas County where the town of Indian Rocks Beach resides.
I knew nothing about Indian Rocks Beach at the time and I had only experienced visits to Clearwater Beach. To me, all beaches were the same… at least that’s what I thought.
But I’m here to tell you that not all beach towns here are the same, and Indian Rocks Beach sometimes referred to as IRB is a very fun beach town and a great place to live!
So without further adieu, let’s jump into the Top 8 Reasons To Move To Indian Rocks Beach!
8. It’s Not Overcrowded
Pinellas County has been nominated for several top beaches in the United States over the years. Beaches like Clearwater Beach and Caladesi Island State Park in Dunedin have been voted as top beaches in our area. While having these recognitions are great for helping our tourist economy it also creates, you guessed it… more tourists!
When you’re a local here, being on an overcrowded beach for most people is not something they strive for. At the time of this writing we are going through the COVID-19 Pandemic. If you’re reading this from the far off future, hopefully there’s some sense of normalcy again, but regardless, even with social distancing guidelines, popular beaches like Clearwater and St. Pete Beach have always been more packed than the lesser known beaches.
Indian Rocks Beach has always been a hidden gem. While on the same road as the bigger beaches, it often gets passed by as people GPS places like Clearwater Beach.
If you’re like me and you use the beach to destress, connect with the world again, and just enjoy life, you’ll find you’ll be much happier spending the day at Indian Rocks Beach versus many of the more crowded beaches in our tropical paradise.
7. Wide Variety Of Housing Options
If you want to make Indian Rocks Beach your next home and price is a big factor, you’ll be glad to know that you don’t have to be in the million and up category to live here.
Living in a beach town is almost always more expensive than living on the mainland, but there are still great options including townhomes in the high 300k and up range all the way up to 2 million and up price points for homes along the intracoastal waterway and beach.
The chart below reflects the average sales price per year for residential listings in Indian Rocks Beach. Because of the small amount of inventory and wide range of prices, it’s much more difficult to get an accurate read of growth from this chart alone.
I have seen our area continue to increase in value but the higher price points especially those in the $600,000 and up range on the beaches have increased at a more reasonable rate versus lower price points increasing more exponentially.
There’s also a variety of styles of homes from beach house/cottage styles to modern contemporary and everything in between.
6. Small Town Lifestyle
Some of the cities in Pinellas County cover pretty large areas of land including St. Petersburg which spans over 61 square miles of land and Clearwater which spans over 26 square miles of land.
Indian Rocks Beach is truly a small town which covers only .84 square miles of land. In 2018, the population was recorded at 4,286 people and that means you’ll probably run into people a lot more in such a small area that has so much to offer.
Because it’s a beach town, there’s a ton of great restaurants that are packed within it’s boundaries. Some of my favorite restaurants include Guppy’s, Keegan’s, The Original Crabby Bill’s, Aqua Prime, and Pajano’s Pizza and Subs to name a few.
What’s even better is all the restaurants are locally owned establishments!
5. Boater’s Paradise
Indian Rocks Beach really caters to people that love boats. Boat owners that plan on living on the beach or intracoastal will find many of the waterfront homes are already equipped with boat slips.
For those that don’t want the investment of a boat, there are boat rental options in the town including options for fishing boats, cruisers, and jet skis.
There are also nearby restaurants in adjacent towns like Indian Shores that have restaurants with docks where people can park their boats and dine in the restaurants such as Salt Rock Grill and Caddy’s.
There’s something about being on the water in this location that has to be experienced. Because the water is so serene and the area is mostly residential, it’s very relaxing.
Who wants to live in a town where nothing is going on? Thankfully that’s not the case in Indian Rocks Beach. The town is very active in sponsoring and hosting festival and events.
One of the most well known ones is the Annual Indian Rocks Beach Festival where they have live bands, food, games like volleyball tournaments, water games, corn hole and more!
Other special events you can check out directly on the IRB website include: Organized Cleanups Throughout The Year, Greenfest, Beauty And The Beach, The Biggest Beach Party Ever, Flag Day, Oktober Fest and Hallowfest, Taste of IRB, and the Christmas Tree Lighting, Street and Boat Parades.
3. Great Parks And Walkability
Indian Rocks Beach did a great job of also putting parks within it’s borders!
If you’re into walking and exploring, you’ll want to check out Indian Rocks Beach Nature Preserve. Located in the heart of Indian Rocks Beach, this boardwalk takes you on a nature walk through lush mangroves populated with wildlife.
There’s an information kiosk that will give you a snapshot of what to expect and they do accept donations to take care of injured wildlife. There’s also Kolb Park which is more oriented towards activities including a skate park, athletic courts & fields, and a playground.
A lot of the local residents take full advantage of the walkability of the town. With crosswalks to get from the beach side of Gulf Boulevard to the intracoastal and a bridge that is commonly used by runners and bikers, the community is setup to cater towards safety and it even includes bike lanes.
If you feel like doing something different, there’s the Splash Harbour Water Park located at the Holiday Inn with kids splash zones, slides, and a lazy river!
2. Clean And Easy Parking
If you’re living in a beach town, it’s more than likely you are going to have friends and/or family that want to come visit you. One of the things that struck me the most about Indian Rocks Beach is how clean they keep it.
When you look up reviews of the beach, it seems like every other review uses the word clean to describe how pristine and nice this beach is. The IRB leaders do a great job of maintaining a sense of community and there’s also plenty of public beach parking available.
The parking rates tend to be a lot more reasonable than some of the bigger beaches.
If you do have visitors that come to town and you would prefer they sleep in their own quarters, there’s plenty of options on the beach including cottages, hotels, and condos.
1. It’s Laid Back
This last point may tie into some of the other reasons, but I think it’s important to emphasize. When you go to beaches like Clearwater Beach, you expect there to be a lot of activities, people, and industry. While that’s fun to visit and experience once in awhile, if you’re a local, you recognize how important it is to find your own hidden gems.
The laid back vibe of Indian Rocks Beach is what makes it a hidden gem. It’s not overpopulated with unnecessary things, but it’s also not so remote that you can’t walk across the street to a restaurant and grab a bite to eat.
I’ve found this to be the perfect blend for my family and I when we choose beaches to spend the day. Because I have young children I think of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
If the beaches were like porridge, Clearwater Beach would = too hot (crowded, busy), Honeymoon Island State Park would = too cold (very remote), and Indian Rocks Beach would = just right (healthy balance between uncrowded and entertainment/dining options).
I hope you enjoyed this article and it gives you more perspective on the lifestyle of Indian Rocks Beach. I currently live in Seminole, Florida and frequent Indian Rocks Beach and Indian Shores all the time and it is one of my favorite beaches!
Thank you to the contributors that allowed us to share their photos a better image of what it’s like to be in IRB.