Gulfport Florida
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Gulfport Florida – A Guide Of The Best Things to See and Do

Nestled on Florida’s west coast, Gulfport is a city that radiates historic allure and a vibrant community spirit. This quaint beach town, known for its “Old Florida” charm, offers many activities and attractions, making it a must-visit destination. There’s something for everyone, from the sandy beaches of Gulfport Beach Recreation Area to the vibrant art scene along the Gulfport Art Walk. This guide will take you through over 15 best things to do in Gulfport, Florida, ensuring you make the most of your visit to this scenic city.

Gulfport Florida

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Gulfport, Florida is more than just a beach town; it’s a place where every visit becomes a memorable experience. Whether planning a day trip or a more extended stay, this guide to Gulfport, Florida, will help you discover the best places and attractions this city offers. So, let’s dive in and explore the best things to do in Gulfport, FL.

History and Significance

Gulfport, Florida, a waterfront community in “Old Florida,” has a rich history:

  • Disston City: In the late 1800s, Gulfport was known as Disston City, envisioned as a booming town of 50,000 people. However, a steamship fire in 1892 led to its decline.
  • Veteran City: In 1904, plans to develop the area as a Civil War veterans’ retirement village led to a brief stint as Veteran City. The idea didn’t take off, and the town was incorporated as Gulfport in 1910.
  • Growth in the 1920s: The 1920s brought active change for Gulfport, with the population reaching around 1,000 by 1928. Despite a decline during the Great Depression, the city experienced a resurgence in the 1990s.
  • Gulfport Today: Now, Gulfport is known for its arts district and restaurants. It’s a popular area for fishing, with the city maintaining Williams Pier as a public fishing area and a full-service marina. The city’s parks, the Casino Ballroom, and the beautiful tropical scenery make it attractive for visitors and artisans.

From its humble beginnings, Gulfport has transformed into a quaint, pleasant city attractive to residents and visitors, making it one of Florida’s best places to visit.

Outdoor & Water Activities

Gulfport, Florida, is an excellent place for those who love outdoor and water activities.

Explore Clam Bayou Nature Park

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Gulfport by visiting the Clam Bayou Nature Park. This 170-acre estuary is a haven for local wildlife, including dolphins, manatees, and various bird species. The park’s mangrove forests, salt marshes, and scenic views of Boca Ciega Bay make it a perfect place for nature lovers and photographers.

For those who enjoy outdoor activities, Clam Bayou Nature Park offers excellent opportunities for hiking, bird watching, and kayaking. The park’s well-maintained trails are also perfect for running, offering a unique way to stay active while enjoying the beautiful surroundings. Before you embark on your adventure, ensure you have the proper footwear. Choosing the best footwear for outdoor activities can make all the difference, whether hiking or running.

Relax at Gulfport Beach Recreation Area

Gulfport Beach Recreation Area is one of the best places to relax and enjoy the Florida sun. Its sandy beaches, open-air booths, and beach volleyball courts make it fun for locals and visitors. Don’t forget to check out their website for special events.

Visit Bert and Walter Williams Pier for Fishing

Named after two of Gulfport’s pioneers, the Bert and Walt er Williams Pier is a popular spot for fishing. The pier extends into Boca Ciega Bay, offering fantastic views and a chance to catch various fish. It’s a must-visit attraction for fishing enthusiasts.

Enjoy the Animals at Wood Ibis Park

For wildlife enthusiasts, a visit to Wood Ibis Park is a must. This quaint park is home to various birds and offers a peaceful retreat from the city. Remember to bring your binoculars for birdwatching. The park is a haven for bird species, making it a perfect place for birding.

Whether you’re an experienced birder or a novice, you’ll appreciate the diversity of avian life here. If you need equipment, best binoculars for birding to enhance your birdwatching experience. Enjoy the serene environment as you spot and identify bird species in their natural habitat.

Family Fun

Gulfport offers endless opportunities for family fun, ensuring a memorable experience for all ages.

Visit Gulfport Recreation Center

The Gulfport Recreation Center is a treasure trove of family-friendly activities. Here are some of the essential amenities that make it a must-visit destination:

  • Playground: A fun-filled area where kids can safely play and burn off energy.
  • Beach Waterfront Complex: An open beach recreation area on Boca Ciega Bay, perfect for a day of sun and sand.
  • Recreation Center Field: A spacious field ideal for a game of catch or soccer.
  • Volleyball Courts: Six permanent courts located west of the Historic Casino Ballroom on Gulfport Beach, offering a fun and competitive activity.
  • Tennis Courts: Located at 27th Ave. S. & 53rd St. S., these courts are perfect for tennis enthusiasts. For more information on tennis lessons, call 727-893-1068.

Dog Parks in Gulfport and Nearby Areas

For those visiting with their furry friends, Gulfport and the surrounding areas offer several dog parks where your pet can run and play. Here are some of the top dog parks in the area:

  • Coquina Key Dog Park: Located at 3595 Locust St. SE, St. Petersburg, FL 33705. This park has both large and small dog areas. Scheduled maintenance is on Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • Crescent Lake Dog Park: Located at 1320 5th St. N., St. Petersburg, FL 33704. This park also has areas for large and small dogs. Scheduled maintenance is on Tuesdays from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
  • Kenwood Dog Park: Located at 401 20th St. N., St. Petersburg, FL 33713. This park offers areas for both large and small dogs. Scheduled maintenance is on Tuesdays from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
  • Lake Vista Dog Park: Located at 1401 62nd Ave. S., St. Petersburg, FL 33705. This park has areas for large and small dogs. Scheduled maintenance is on Tuesdays from 7:00 to 10:00 a.m.
  • North Shore Dog Park: Located at 901 North Shore Dr. NE., St. Petersburg, FL 33701. This park offers areas for both large and small dogs. Scheduled maintenance is on Tuesdays from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. and Fridays from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
  • Walter Fuller Dog Park: Located at 7901 30th Ave. N., St. Petersburg, FL 33710. This park has areas for both large and small dogs. Scheduled maintenance is on Tuesdays from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. and Fridays from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

If you’re visiting the area and are nervous about having your dog in a new place, check out these best dog GPS trackers to give you peace of mind while exploring one of these beautiful dog parks.

Luxury Cruising Experiences in and Around Gulfport

While Gulfport may not be a cruise departure point, its proximity to Tampa opens up a world of luxury cruising opportunities. A short drive away, Tampa is the gateway to various luxury cruises that set sail to exotic destinations.

For a more intimate and luxurious experience, consider the Yacht StarShip, which offers premier dining experiences and an open bar on select cruises. Before you set sail, check out this guide on the best luxury cruises to help you choose the perfect cruise for your luxury vacation. Remember, Gulfport is the ideal place to spend a few days before or after your cruise, exploring the local attractions and enjoying the beach.

Stroll along the Gulfport Art Walk

The Gulfport Art Walk is a vibrant scene that showcases the city’s creative spirit. Taking place every first Friday and third Saturday, the art walk is a fun place for families to explore. You can stroll along the Gulfport Art Walk and enjoy the variety of local art displayed in galleries and booths. The art walk is not just about art; it also offers a chance to sample local food and enjoy live music. The art walk is a perfect place to spend a day trip, offering something for everyone. Don’t forget to pick up a souvenir to remember your trip to Gulfport. The art walk is one of the popular Gulfport attractions you must visit.

Museums, Historical Sites, & Art

Imagine Gulfport’s rich history and vibrant arts scene by visiting its museums and historical sites. These places offer a glimpse into the city’s past and thriving cultural life.

Learn from the Gulfport History Museum

The Gulfport History Museum is a treasure trove of local history. Here, you can learn about the city’s past, from its establishment to its evolution into the vibrant community it is today. The Gulfport Historical Society runs the museum, and it is a must-visit for history enthusiasts.

Visit the Catherine A. Hickman Theater

The Catherine A. Hickman Theater is a state-of-the-art performing arts venue in Gulfport. It hosts a variety of performances, including plays, concerts, and community events. The theater is a testament to Gulfport’s vibrant arts scene and is a great place to spend an evening. Whether you’re a drama, music, or dance fan, the theater offers a memorable night out in Gulfport.

Explore Beach House 5317

Beach House 5317 is a unique attraction in Gulfport. This vibrant art gallery and gift shop offers a variety of handmade items, perfect for souvenirs to remember your trip. From metal art to local food, Beach House 5317 showcases the creativity and spirit of the Gulfport community.

Admire the Works in the Domingo Studio

The Domingo Studio is a gallery that showcases the work of local artists. The studio is in the heart of downtown Gulfport and is part of the city’s Art Walk. Here, you can admire various artworks, from paintings to sculptures, and even purchase a piece to remember your trip to Gulfport.

Shopping and Local Markets

Indulge in the charming shopping experiences and vibrant local markets that define Gulfport.

Shop Local at Gulfport Tuesday Fresh Market

Experience the vibrant community spirit of Gulfport at the Tuesday Fresh Market. This open-air market is a beloved local tradition, offering a variety of local produce, handmade crafts, and unique souvenirs. The market is a food lover’s paradise, from fresh fruits and vegetables to artisanal breads and cheeses. Don’t miss the chance to sample local food and support local businesses during your visit to Gulfport.

Shop at the Village Courtyard

The Village Courtyard is a charming shopping destination in the heart of Gulfport. This quaint shopping area features a variety of shops and boutiques, offering everything from handmade jewelry to unique home decor. The Village Courtyard is the perfect place to find a unique souvenir to remember your trip to Gulfport. Whether you’re looking for a special gift or want to spend the day browsing, the Village Courtyard offers an outstanding shopping experience in Gulfport.

Nightlife and Entertainment

As the sun sets, Gulfport comes alive with its laid-back nightlife and entertainment options.

Drink Handcrafted Beer at Gulfport Brewery + Eatery.

Experience the vibrant nightlife of Gulfport at the Gulfport Brewery + Eatery. This popular Gulfport attraction is known for its handcrafted beers and lively atmosphere. Whether you’re a craft beer connoisseur or just looking for a fun place to spend the evening, the Gulfport Brewery + Eatery is a must-visit. Enjoy a variety of local brews, from refreshing ales to robust stouts, all while soaking in the lively atmosphere of this beloved local brewery.

Enjoy the Atmosphere at the Village Courtyard

The Village Courtyard is not just a shopping destination but also a hub for nightlife and entertainment in Gulfport. This quaint courtyard comes alive in the evening with live music, a vibrant art scene, and a bustling crowd. It’s the perfect place to unwind after exploring Gulfport’s attractions. Enjoy a bite to eat at one of the local food stalls or stroll through the courtyard, soaking in the lively atmosphere and the “Old Florida” charm of downtown Gulfport. Don’t forget to check out their website for special events happening during your visit.

Dining and Cuisine

Gulfport’s culinary scene is a feast for the senses, offering a delightful array of dining experiences.

Dine with a View at Neptune Grill

Experience the best of Gulfport’s dining scene at the Neptune Grill. Located on the waterfront, this restaurant offers stunning views of Boca Ciega Bay, making it a perfect place for a romantic dinner or a relaxing meal with family. The Neptune Grill serves various dishes, from fresh seafood to classic American fare, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Don’t forget to try their local specialties while enjoying the scenic views.

Experience the Cuisine at the Historic Peninsula Inn

The Historic Peninsula Inn is not just a place to stay but also a culinary destination. This “Old Florida” inn features a restaurant serving various local and international dishes. The inn’s restaurant promises a memorable dining experience, from fresh produce to handmade pastries. After exploring Gulfport’s attractions, unwind with a delicious meal at the Historic Peninsula Inn.

Best Places to Stay in Gulfport, FL

Gulfport offers a range of accommodations to suit every traveler’s needs and preferences.

Spend the Night in the Historic Peninsula Inn

Located in the heart of Gulfport, the Historic Peninsula Inn offers visitors a charming and historic retreat. Immerse yourself in the “Old Florida” ambiance while enjoying modern amenities and comfortable accommodations. Whether you choose one of their cozy guest rooms or a spacious suite, you’ll be treated to warm hospitality and a memorable stay. The inn’s central location allows for easy access to Gulfport’s attractions, including the beach, the Gulfport Casino, and the vibrant downtown area.

Experience the Charm of Gulfport’s Local Accommodations

Gulfport offers a variety of local accommodations that capture the essence of this beach town. From cozy bed and breakfasts to vacation rentals with stunning waterfront views, there is something for every traveler. Experience the laid-back atmosphere and personalized service that Gulfport residents take pride in. Staying in one of the local accommodations provides the perfect place to spend your Gulfport getaway, with easy access to the beach, Gulfport’s attractions, and the vibrant art scene. During your visit, create lasting memories and feel like a part of the Gulfport community.

Check out their websites and book in advance to secure your stay in one of Gulfport’s best accommodations.

FAQs

What are the best things to do in Gulfport, Florida?

There are plenty of unique activities to enjoy in Gulfport, FL. Some of the best things to do include visiting Gulfport Beach, exploring the Gulfport History Museum, strolling along the Gulfport Art Walk, and checking out the Gulfport Tuesday Fresh Market.

Can you tell me more about Gulfport Beach?

Gulfport Beach is a beautiful waterfront area where visitors can relax, swim, sunbathe, and enjoy the stunning views of Tampa Bay. It offers a calm and peaceful atmosphere, making it a popular spot among locals and tourists.

What is the Gulfport History Museum?

The Gulfport History Museum is a fascinating attraction that showcases Gulfport, Florida’s rich history and heritage. It features exhibits, artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays that offer insights into the area’s past.

When does the Gulfport Tuesday Fresh Market take place?

The Gulfport Tuesday Fresh Market is held every Tuesday morning. It is a vibrant outdoor market where visitors can browse and purchase fresh produce, local crafts, baked goods, and more.

What is the Gulfport Art Walk?

The Gulfport Art Walk is a monthly event on the first Friday and third Saturday of every month. It showcases many local artists, street performers, live music, galleries, and shops, creating a lively and artistic atmosphere.

Where is the Bayou located in Gulfport, FL?

The Bayou is a picturesque water body located in Gulfport, FL. It is a popular spot for fishing, kayaking, and enjoying the area’s natural beauty.

Can you tell me more about the Gulfport Beach Recreation Area?

The Gulfport Beach Recreation Area is a great place to enjoy outdoor activities. It offers amenities like picnic areas, volleyball courts, playgrounds, and beach access. It’s the perfect spot for a day of fun in the sun!

What is the Gulfport Beach Bazaar?

The Gulfport Beach Bazaar is a local market that features a variety of vendors selling unique items such as arts, crafts, jewelry, clothing, and more. It’s a great place to find souvenirs or one-of-a-kind gifts.

Where can I find the Village Courtyard in Gulfport, FL?

The Village Courtyard is located along the Gulfport Art Walk in Gulfport, FL. It is a charming outdoor space often used for events, concerts, and gatherings. It’s a great area to relax and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the art walk.

What can I expect to see in the Clam Bayou Nature Park?

The Clam Bayou Nature Park is a beautiful nature preserve in Gulfport, FL. It offers trails for hiking, bird watching, and wildlife viewing. Visitors can spot various species of birds, turtles, and other wildlife in their natural habitat.

Closing Thoughts

Gulfport, FL, is a hidden gem on Florida’s west coast that offers a unique blend of “Old Florida” charm, a vibrant art scene, and stunning natural beauty. With its variety of local attractions, from the Gulfport History Museum to the Clam Bayou Nature Park, there’s no shortage of things to do in Gulfport.

Whether strolling along the Gulfport Art Walk, enjoying a day at the beach, or sampling local food at the Tuesday Fresh Market, Gulfport promises a memorable experience. So, pack your bags and prepare to spend the day exploring this quaint beach town. Remember your trip to Gulfport as one of your best vacations.

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One Comment

  1. Thank you for sharing this wonderful guide on Gulfport, Florida. I really enjoyed reading about the history and significance of this quaint beach town, as well as the various activities and attractions it offers. I have never been to Gulfport, but your article has inspired me to add it to my bucket list. It seems like a perfect place to relax and enjoy the natural scenery, the art scene, and the local cuisine. Thank you for giving me a glimpse of this charming city.

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