Pinellas County’s Indian Rocks Beach Access Park (1700 Gulf Blvd.) provides 80 parking spaces as well as restroom and shower facilities. It’s also incredibly crowded, especially on the weekends. There are two dozen other public beach access points located about once every block; the ones at 1st, 8th, 12th, 15th, 16th, 23rd, 26th, and 27th Avenues offer parking and showers, but only the main park has restroom facilities.
Madeira Beach has fostered a low-key beach-party atmosphere for decades thanks to its laid-back vibe and its unique allowance of alcohol consumption on the beach. Some may choose to overindulge, but the spacious white-sand beaches are far more appropriate for those who enjoy sipping on their cold ones in relaxed moderation.
Archibald Beach Park (15100 Gulf Blvd.), John’s Pass Park (130th Ave. W.), and Pinellas County’s Madeira Beach Access (14400 Gulf Blvd.) have ample parking along with shower and restroom facilities, but the tiny lot at the Kitty Stuart Pavilion, on Gulf Boulevard between 140th and 141st Avenues, is a better option. Although it only has a handful of spaces and a shower, it’s relatively quieter than the other big public access points, although by no means is it pastoral.
The city recently banned alcohol at all of its public pavilions, so the aggravation level at Kitty Stuart has dropped along with the crowds hanging out in the picnic shelters.