Whether you call them "madding" like Thomas Hardy did back in 1874 or "maddening" as we modern day people do, most crowds are those words and other terms I usually only use around my husband, my friends, and my kids. (My kids are in their 20's; it’s okay. One of the best things about having grown children is no longer having to pretend to be horrified by swear words.)
Crowds on beaches are even worse than maddening, unless you’re a spring breaker, single and seeking, or drunk, or all of those things.
For the rest of us, there is Sunset Beach.
Sunset Beach is a residential beachfront community, a slight turn off the main drag as you travel from Treasure Island to St. Pete Beach. Residents would like for their little sort-of-secret neighborhood to remain that, but sadly for them there are people like us, guiding fellow travelers off the beaten path: take that right when the road bends to the left.
Officially Sunset Beach is Treasure Island, which was named in 1915 when hopeful developers buried wooden boxes in the sand and then "found" them: "Buried treasure! Come here and stay, and find your own booty!"
8000 West Gulf Blvd.
Treasure Island, FL
727-547-4575, ext. 237
- PARK/WALK: Though there are many beach access points in little Sunset Beach, parking is tricky. Check into your bungalow and utilize your parking space there. Metered parking is available at the beach pavilion, but will fill up quickly during peak times. (Weekends, holidays, snowbird season, spring break.)
- GO/RINSE: Outdoor showers and restrooms.
- CROWD FACTOR: Weekends see an influx of locals enjoying the beach but not so much that the beach feels crowded. Weekdays you may have the beach to yourself!
- GUARDS: No.
- IMBIBE: Yes, but no glass containers.
- BEST FRIEND: Dogs are not allowed on this beach
- WE LOVE: The fresh newly renovated look and feel of the pavilion, the small town feel of the whole area.
7925 West Gulf Blvd.
Treasure Island, FL 33706
Of course the “& Cottages” sparked our interest! This mid-century mom-and-pop was rescued from falling apart at its seams by some innovative women with great vision. Read their story, here, and click on the hotel name above for their full site.
Our cottage, attached to Tandem Two – named for obvious reasons! We fell in love at first sight with just the colors of this Inn alone.
- VIBE: Old Florida meets modern, fresh, whimsical, attention to detail, creative, great energy. The owners’ love and care of the place is evident everywhere, from our welcome as we arrived, to our little tour of our cottage and the “work in progress” updates they gave us on more to come (raising and enlarging “our” porch roof and that of the other cottages to provide more shade.) Even the graphics are appealing and cohesive, from the adorable hand lettered property map to the logo sticker on the folded point of the fresh roll of toilet paper! I almost took a photo of that…
- WALK: The perfect Triple B! Walkability is key: walk to the beach directly across the street, walk to the bar which is about a half mile away.
- DECOR: Contemporary, cute, a little quirky and very cozy.
- SLEEP: The beds were amazingly comfortable. Our cottage had two in the bedroom; one twin bed and one queen. Great for a family with a child.
- EXTRAS: Full kitchen in the cottages, kitchenettes in some of the hotel rooms; check the site to choose your ideal room type. Cookware and dishes are provided, microwave, coffee pot, and paper products. Bring your own coffee and filters. This Inn operates more like a vacation rental; clean towels will be provided as needed but we appreciate that they encourage the energy saving option to use our towel more than once. Wi-fi is free. Two cottages are pet friendly! There is a beautiful main courtyard (pictured above) with grills, a courtyard for the cottages, on-site laundry, and beach chairs and towels are available to rent for a small fee.
- RATES: Check the site for current rates. There is a 3 night minimum requirement.
- WE LOVE: The beauty! The visual pleasures everywhere we looked. How committed the owners, Laurie and Michele, are to the comfort and enjoyment of their guests and their no longer so secret little town.
The Lookout was the former manager’s quarters, and now is a second story penthouse suite with breathtaking views of the Gulf. Click here for interior photos from Sunset Inn’s site.Read more