A few weeks ago I had to travel to Tampa and, given the chance to stay the night, decided to return to a place the missus and I had visited about 15 years ago.
It’s the small town of Gulfport and it’s at the tip of the peninsula that separates St. Petersburg from St. Pete Beach. Because of its location, it takes a little effort to reach it. In fact, if you don’t know it’s there, chances are you’d drive right past it. But if you turn off the main east-west drag and drive a few blocks south, you’ll find what I can only describe as a small Key West-style village.
There are no chain stores or strip malls along the main drag; just a handful of independent merchants, several wonderful restaurants ranging from French to family (including highly-recommended Backfin Blue Cafe), the Peninsula Inn bed and breakfast and, at the end of the block, the weirdly anachronistic and picturesque Gulfport Casino. Around the corner there are a few waterfront watering holes.
It’s really an amazingly intriguing place. As I said, the vibe here is a little like circa 1962 Key West. An authentic slice of Florida. See Gulfport before the word gets out.