How to Live Like a Local in Treasure Island

With soft, sandy beaches and a friendly, laid-back vibe, Treasure Island (or T.I., as the locals call it) just might be the perfect Florida vacation spot.

A colorful store sign says Relax, We're on Beach Time

Catch the "island time" vibe in Treasure Island.

Maybe it’s the towering pirates who welcome you to town – or the fact that it was named after a hotelier’s publicity stunt that involved buried treasure chests – but Treasure Island is one beach town that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Here’s how to experience it like a local.


Where to Dance in the Sand

A group of beach-goers dance in the sand to drums on the beach at sunset.

Get your toes in the sand at the weekly sunset drum circle.

On Sunday afternoons, locals gather in the sand behind the Gulf Front Lot for the weekly sunset drum circle. The longstanding gathering is a come-as-you-are affair that will have you grooving well into sunset. On weekends, Caddy’s Treasure Island on Sunset Beach brings live music and DJs to the beach. There’s a dance floor, sure, but the sand is a great place to bust a move.


How to Ramp Up the Beach Fun

Woman walks along the ocean holding a stand-up paddleboard under her arm.

Rent a paddleboard at the beach kiosks and enjoy our calm Gulf waters.

Consider yourself the ultimate beach lover? This is the place for you! There’s plenty of space to set up your gear (or rent a shaded cabana for the day) and play paddleball or fly a kite between dips in the Gulf of Mexico. To rent a paddleboard, check out Suncoast Surf Shop, water sports vendors right on the beach or automated kiosks at some of the public beach accesses. Want to feel like a kid again? Zoom down the giant inflatable waterslide near the Gulf Front Lot. Pay no attention to your sliding style and just let the good times roll.


Where to Have a Drink With Friends

Two women enjoying drinks on the deck of a restaurant overlooking the beach and ocean

The food and drinks come with the best views at Caddy's Treasure Island.

When you’re on island time, tropical-inspired cocktails fit the vibe in a fruity and refreshing way. Sloppy Joe’s is the spot for daiquiris, mai tais, margaritas, piña coladas and other concoctions – frozen or on the rocks. (There are also plenty of alcohol-free versions.) Get yours in a fun souvenir cup and save a few bucks on refills. Alcohol on the beach is legal here (as long as it’s not in glass containers), so at beachfront bars like Sloppy Joe’s and Caddy’s, you can venture right into the sand to responsibly enjoy your adult beverages. For one of the best margaritas around, head to VIP Mexican Restaurant and Lounge. If fruity isn't your style, Sea Dog Brewing Company near Blind Pass is your best bet for craft beer in Treasure Island.


What to Do When Hunger Strikes

fried grouper sandwich with onions lettuce tomatoes and french fries on a bright blue plate

There's nothing better than a fresh grouper sandwich by the beach.

Locals come from all around for the burritos at VIP Lounge. Order one for yourself and you'll soon see why. Find elevated pub fare at BRGR Kitchen & Bar for an amazing menu of custom burgers. Beach bars like Caddy's are the perfect spots to get fried seafood. And if you’re feeling fancy, reserve a table at sophisticated Middle Grounds Grill for a fine seafood experience. Hungry yet?


Where to Rock Out

Restaurant sign for Ka'Tiki that says Locals Know First and Last Call and Best Place to Drink

Ka'Tiki is a great little dive bar, done tiki-style.

Nearly every night of the week – as well as on weekend afternoons – Ka’Tiki on Sunset Beach brings some great local and touring bands to town. It’s a small-but-mighty dive bar where folks party well into the night. Up the beach, Ricky T’s features excellent live music, from acoustic sets to full bands. Sloppy Joe’s on the Beach across the street has live music and daily specials as well. 


What to Wear

a woman in a yellow shirt and pink shorts and another woman in a green sundress walking on the beach

Dress light, bright and breezy for your vacation.

In our beach town, it’s easy to go directly from playing in the sun and sand to hitting the nearest happy hour. You’ll want to have versatile beachwear, such as a flowy sundress or cute sarong you can slip over your swimsuit, loose shorts and a lightweight T-shirt or button-up. If you're going to spend a lot of time in the sun, be sure to wear a hat and protective clothing. As far as footwear goes, there’s only one answer: flip-flops. All that said, wear what you want – this is a laid-back place.


Where to Get Your Shop On

A souvenir shop with starfish and other sea shells on display

Shop for the perfect memento of your time on Treasure Island.

No need to go to the mainland for a forgotten essential! For toiletries and sunscreen, there are convenience stores and supermarkets on Treasure Island. If you need something to wear to the beach or out on the town, Suncoast Surf Shop is a classic mom-and-pop shop that carries popular surf brands like Billabong and O’Neill as well as beach accessories. (It's also a good spot to rent a paddleboard or beach cruiser). For beachwear, boogie boards and pretty much anything else you might need for a day of fun in the sun, Surf Style has you covered. For beachy souvenirs, head to The Florida Shell Shop.


Where to Watch "Rock the Block" featuring Treasure Island

cast of rock the block hgtv show on a doc on treasure island

The cast of season 5 of HGTV's "Rock the Block."

Until you can get here yourself, you can stream a little Treasure Island right in your living room when you watch HGTV's mega-hit home renovation show, "Rock the Block." The show features Ty Pennington and season 5 was filmed on beautiful Treasure Island. 


See our Treasure Island FAQs for more vacation planning help.