Clear water at Indian Rocks Beach in Indian Shores, Florida

What better way to enjoy a weekday afternoon than a relaxing afternoon of reading, swimming, and listening to the waves? Indian Rocks Beach, a hidden gem on the Gulf Coast of Florida, is the perfect place to escape for a day of R&R.

Take a refreshing dip in the clear waters of the Gulf. The water here is much clearer than more popular tourist destinations like Honeymoon Island and much cooler as well. As you can see in the photo below, I can actually see my feet in the water! You can see the fish swimming around as well, which is pretty neat. And, the light waves made the swimming a bit more exciting.

I can see my feet in the clear waters at Indian Rocks Beach - Indian Shores, Florida
Crystal clear waters at Indian Rocks Beach in Indian Shores, Florida

The sand was white, although not very smooth, a bit too rocky and too many cigarette butts lying around to enjoy walking barefoot. Don’t they strain the sand at any of these beaches!? Frustrating to say the least! On the bright side, this is one of the better beaches for shelling. If you walk in the water a bit, it’s much easier on your feet.

The most gorgeous beach for a stroll!

On the other hand, I did enjoy a nice leisurely jog down by the water. It is often too hot to run outside in Florida, especially during the hot, humid afternoons. Being able to run with a fresh breeze, great view, and the cool waters splashing against my feet and legs is a definite plus in my book. It enabled me to take a jog without worrying about the high temperatures overheating me and slowing me down.

During my jog, I noticed that the beach becomes less crowded the further you walk away from the main entrances near the parking lots. Because most of the beaches on the Gulf coast of Florida are a bit narrow compared to California beaches, there often isn’t enough room to spread out and enjoy the views.

It is worth the hassle to lug your chairs and umbrellas down for the peace and quiet. Overall, the beach wasn’t overly crowded, and we were able to enjoy a leisurely day of relaxing, taking in the beautiful views, and listening to the waves. After just one visit, this quickly became one of our favorite beaches in the Tampa Bay region. Today, it is still our preferred beach for swimming, walking, and relaxing.

Looking down at Indian Rocks Beach in Indian Shores, Florida
A partly cloudy day at Indian Rocks Beach in Indian Shores, Florida
Boat on the water - Indian Rocks Beach - Indian Shores, Florida

Overall – one of the best Gulf Coast beaches

Indian Rocks is a great beach pick for a relaxing, carefree day. There are no fancy amenities nor much in the way of recreation (no bike paths, boardwalks, volleyball nets, etc.). However, if you are looking to get away from it all, then I recommend stopping by and enjoying a 3 mile walk along the blue-green waters of the Gulf. If you visit early in the morning, it’s not uncommon to see manatees or dolphins. I did see a manatee come within a few feet of me while swimming once – thought it was a shark at first, so a pretty scary experience!

Indian Rocks is located at 1700 Gulf Blvd in Indian Rocks Beach, about 20 minutes from Clearwater and 40 minutes from St. Petersburg. Parking is $2.50 per hour.

The best cup of joe in Tampa Bay!

Tip: before your visit enjoy a coffee and pastry on the gorgeous outdoor patio of Indian Shores Coffee (one of the Bay’s best coffee roasters).

Great drink and pastries at Indian Shores Coffee in Tampa Bay
Great drinks and pastries at Indian Shores – just across from the beach

A full guide to exploring Indian Rocks beach.

Have you ever visited Indian Rocks? What other area beaches would you recommend?