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Treasure Island Road Trip Guide: Gay Florida Travel

Treasure Island Map

For a true Florida experience, check out the Gulf community of Treasure Island. This gem of a town offers something for everyone. And with my Treasure Island road trip suggestions, it will be a breeze to plan your stay.  

Treasure Island is directly north of St. Pete Beach, less than 20 minutes west of Downtown St. Petersburg, and just 35 minutes from Tampa International Airport. Treasure Island is an easy trolley or bus ride to nearby Clearwater, and you can even take a leisurely stroll along the sand to the entertainment complex at John’s Pass, just two miles away.

Although neighboring beach towns are usually recognized in travel reviews and marketing, Treasure Island is not to be missed and has some of the best events in the region and widest beaches.

Start planning your Treasure Island road trip today.

History of Treasure Island

This little island has been drawing visitors for over 150 years. Learn how this charming Gulf community got its name, and more Treasure Island information, with expert insight from Treasure Island’s Bilmar Beach Resort General Manager, Clyde Smith.

How Gay is Treasure Island?

Although Treasure Island isn’t the go-to destination for LGBTQ travel to the Tampa Bay Area, it’s fair to say that the entire St Petersburg region, including Treasure Island, is very welcoming to all visitors. And when resorts like the Bilmar Beach Resort go above and beyond to market themselves as openly welcoming LGBTQ travelers, it makes for a very LGBTQ-inclusive experience.

There are also several LGBTQ bars, clubs, businesses and events within a short drive from Treasure Island, including the new Shaded Keg Pub on Corey Avenue, “Where Pride is Always on Tap.”

Where to Stay in Treasure Island

Treasure Island offers a variety of lodgings to meet your every vacation need. From resorts to classic “mom and pop” accommodations, you’ll feel right at home during your Treasure Island road trip.

Bilmar Beach Resort

10650 Gulf Boulevard

Settle into the heart of Treasure Island. The Bilmar Beach Resort has been welcoming families for years. It is also a “family-friendly” property. With multiple restaurants, shops, and activity options you’ll wish you could stay forever.

The Bilmar Beach Resort
The Bilmar Beach Resort sits on the coast of Treasure Island. Image provided by the Bilmar Beach Resort.

The recently upgraded Bilmar sits along the Gulf of Mexico. The property is unique in that 90 percent of their rooms offer direct beach walkout access or water views.

In true resort style the Bilmar has amenities for everyone. Enjoy bicycles, paddle boards, other watersports, and activities. Relaxation-minded guests will enjoy the attended beach chairs and evenings at the communal fire pits. Internet and parking are also included. Start planning your Treasure Island road trip stay here

This hotel also loves its locals! The Bilmar Beach Resort not only markets to visitors to the region but also to local residents. The property is host to several activities and events, including Sanding Ovations, wine and paint events, and lots more. And their restaurant, Sloppy Joe’s is a favorite watering hole for local Islanders.

Other Accommodations

Booking.com

Where to Eat & Drink

Treasure Island is home to a variety of bars and restaurants. Choose from casual beach snacks to fine dining. Here are some favorites to enjoy during your Treasure Island road trip.   

Waves Fun Zone and Events

10650 Gulf Boulevard

Cruise over to Waves at the Bilmar for casual eats and full bar offerings from Sloppy Joe’s restaurant next door.

This Beachfront venue features an open air deck overlooking the resort’s pool. Guests of all ages will enjoy this beachside game room. Try your hand at pool, ping pong, darts, and arcade favorites. Waves also offers adult events including wine tastings and painting classes. Check out their activity and entertainment schedule here.

https://www.bilmarbeachresort.com/dining/bilmar-beach-cafe

Sloppy Joe’s on the Beach

10650 Gulf Boulevard

The Bilmar Beach Resort brings a bit of the Florida Keys to Treasure Island with Sloppy Joe’s on the Beach. Enjoy their Caribbean-inspired menu, two-tiered beachfront deck, and live entertainment. They serve-up breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Favorites include the grouper sandwich, bleu cheese chips, and firecracker shrimp tacos.

Sloppy Joe’s hosts events Thurs-Sunday. Check out their latest events here.

Sloppy Joe’s popular daily happy hour features drink specials and great bar bites. It’s a great place to unwind during your Treasure Island road trip. View the menu here.

Middle Grounds Grill

10925 Gulf Boulevard

Middle Ground Grill is one of the true gems of Treasure Island. Known for their “Fresh Sea to Table” approach. They are known for local and regional seafood. Don’t miss the mango nut crusted grouper or the crab cakes.

Steak fans will enjoy Middle Grounds certified angus beef selections. Favorites include bone-in cowboy ribeye and filet mignon grilled to perfection.  Explore the menu and book your reservations for this cozy and popular fine dining spot.

R Bar and Grill Brew House

245 108th Avenue, Treasure Island

Grab your pre-beach breakfast at R Bar and Grill (they open at 8:00 a.m. daily!). Or stop by after your fun in the sun and wind down with a cocktail or house-brewed beer. This local hangout is known for its relaxed vibe, friendly service, and great casual eats, any time of day.  

R Bar’s food doesn’t disappoint. Indulge in their daily all-you-can-eat specials (including snow crab on Tuesdays and Thursdays!). Other favorites include oysters, fresh grouper, and a creative burgers.

Find the R Bar menu, daily specials, and live entertainment schedule here.

Super Scoops Ice Cream

11025 Gulf Boulevard, Treasure Island

Complete your beach day with fresh, homemade ice cream. Super Scoops serves the stuff happy memories are made of. Don’t take our word for it – they’ve been voted “Best on the Beach” by fans from around the world on Tripadvisor.

They’ve got plenty of fresh, natural flavors to choose from. They source their ingredients locally – even the cream! Favorite flavors include chocolate peanut butter and salted caramel. Turn your treat into something extra, try a house-made waffle cone, decadent sundae, or super-thick milkshake.

What to Do in Treasure Island

There is plenty to experience during your Treasure Island road trip. Whether you want to explore nature, try your luck at fishing, or hunt for perfect souvenirs, there’s something for every visitor to enjoy.

Treasure Island Beach – of Course!

Treasure Island Beach

The soft white sands of Treasure Island make for a perfect getaway. Treasure Island’s beach has something for everyone. It is also accessible to everyone! Treasure Island is the first public beach in Pinellas County to offer a beach wheelchair path for visitors using mobility devices. 

Treasure Island is also home to the Sanding Ovations Festival every November. To learn more, click here.

Relax the day away in a rented cabana. Collect shells along the sugary soft sand. Or get adventurous with a watersport rental, surfing lesson, or parasail ride.  

Shopping

John’s Pass Village in Madeira Beach, a short drive from Treasure Island. Photo Credit: Editorial credit: Jerome LABOUYRIE / Shutterstock.com

When it’s time for some retail therapy and souvenir seeking during your Treasure Island road trip, you’ll have plenty to choose from.

Find unique gifts, for yourself or others, along the Gulf Boulevard Strip. The Florida Shell Shop (9901 Gulf Boulevard) has been delighting visitors with thousands of shells and other gems from the sea since 1955. Learn more about this slice of “Old Florida”.

Get everything you need to hit the waves at the Suncoast Surf Shop (9841 W. Gulf Boulevard). Whether you’re looking for rental equipment, or to buy your own, Suncoast has it all. This one-of-a-kind shop has been outfitting surfers, skateboarders, and paddleboarders since 1966. Their professional and friendly staff can even offer you the local surf report! Check them out here.

Spice up your Treasure Island road trip with a stop at Vine & Grind (111 107th Avenue). This specialty gourmet shop offers a large selection of olive oils and over 40 specialty vinegars. Check out favorites like their espresso balsamic vinegar or truffle oils. Don’t miss their other gourmet nibbles, coffee, gift baskets, and housewares. Find out more here.

Travel just north of Treasure Island to John’s Pass Village & Boardwalk (12902 Village Boulevard, Madeira Beach). This historic fishing village is home to a multi-level shopping, dining, and entertainment complex. Explore the many clothing, jewelry, and specialty shops. Stroll up to the Boardwalk to watch the fishing fleet and charter boats coming and going. Lucky visitors might even spot dolphins frolicking in the inlet. Catch all the details about this unique destination.     

Buggy Tours

Treasure Island Buggy Tours by Toy Barn Rentals. Image via Toy Barn Rentals website.

Take your Treasure Island road trip to the next level! Hop behind the wheel of a rental beach buggy, golf cart, or scooter from the Toy Barn! They offer a variety of eco-friendly electric vehicles for your day of adventure. Reserve your ride here.

Helicopter Ride Over The Beaches

Treasure Island Beach Aerial View
Treasure Island Aerial View by Javier Cruz Acosta, Shutterstock.com

Get a bird’s eye view! Enjoy an aerial sightseeing tour of Treasure Island, and beyond, from Tampa Bay Aviation. Make amazing new memories with an unforgettable helicopter tour or private plane excursion of the entire Bay area. Book your aerial adventures here.

Dolphin Cruise

Shift your perspective. Enjoy the view of Treasure Island from the Gulf! Get onboard one of Charter Finders vessels. Join a sunset cruise and bask in the glow of the sinking sun. Make a day of it and look for dolphin with a stop for shelling or snorkeling.  Reserve your Gulf experience here.

COVID Updates

Covid19-related information for Treasure Island and surrounding areas of Florida’s Gulf Coast is frequently updated to ensure safety for residents and visitors. During this unusual time please travel safe. Know before you go. Check with your hosts, restaurants, and other venues in advance to learn their current plans and regulations.

Check here for Covid19 related safety updates and advisories during your Treasure Island road trip.

Book your Treasure Island Road Trip

The gem of the Gulf Coast is a wonderful place to gather the most cherished gems of all – happy new memories. Yours are waiting to be made during your Treasure Island road trip.


Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).  

Written by Rachel Covello

Rachel Covello is an award-winning speaker, writer, diversity consultant, and LGBT advocate. She is the Founder of LGBT Equality Alliance, a Chester County, PA nonprofit organization, and CEO of OUTCOAST, an online marketing and concierge platform marketing the Gulf Coast as an LGBTQ-inclusive place to VISIT, CELEBRATE, and LIVE.

Rachel is also an avid event photographer and has captured photos for LGBT organizations around the world, including the IGLTA, NGLCC, NLGJA, and Out & Equal.


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