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What is New and Exciting This Year on the Gulf Coast of Florida

What is New and Exciting This Year on the Gulf Coast of Florida 

Every year has something new and wonderful to offer visitors, vacationers and residents of Florida’s Gulf Coast and 2017 is no different. Along with your usual favorites of white sugar sands, sparkling clear Gulf of Mexico waters, happy palm trees, and all of the fun in the Florida sun to be found in our Gulf Coast towns, there are always new experiences to be had. Here is a preview of what’s new and exciting this year on the Gulf Coast of Florida at our favorite attractions, on our beaches and around town. Start making your 2017 Gulf beach vacation plans now and get a head start on all of the best things to do and see while you’re here. 


2017 Florida Gulf Coast Events

Let’s start with first things first with an exclusive look at the 2017 events on the Gulf Coast of Florida. From Indian Rocks Beach and Indian Shores and beyond, here are the best local festivals and events you want to know about. Get out your calendar and mark these dates. You won’t want to miss out on any of the Florida fun. Start planning now! Follow Plumlee Realty’s blog and get everything you need to know about what’s happening on the Gulf Coast and important topics of interest. We’ve got you covered. 


Mark Your Calendar

Jan. 2: Outback Bowl College Football @ Raymond James Stadium, Tampa 
Jan. 6: Tarpon Springs Epiphany Ceremony @ Waterfront, Tarpon Springs
Jan. 28: Pinellas Folk Festival @ Heritage Village, Largo
Jan-Mar: Gasparilla Season @ Waterfront Downtown Tampa


Feb. 9-20: Florida State Fair @ Tampa State Fairgrounds
Feb. 18: Winterfest on the Rocks, Indian Rocks Beach
Feb. 18: Beach Art Center Annual Carnival 
Feb.-Apr. 2: Bay Area Renaissance Festival @ MOSI, Tampa
TBA: Bilmar/Sloppy Joe’s Sand Sculpture


All Month: Baseball Spring Training starts all over the Bay area
Mar. 2-12: Strawberry Festival, Plant City
Mar. 5-13: Valspar Championship PGA Tournament @ Innisbrook, Tarpon Springs 
Mar. 18: St. Patrick’s Day Art Festival, Indian Shores
Mar. 10-12: Firestone’s Grand Prix, St. Petersburg
Mar. 25: Greenfest, Indian Rocks Beach 
TBA: Bluegrass Festival, Indian Rocks Beach



Apr. 22: Art Festival & Beachfest, Indian Rocks Beach
TBA: Gulfside Gallop, Indian Rocks Beach



May 20: Hands Across the Sand, Indian Rocks Beach
May 13-14: Madeira Beach Craft Festival
May 20: Summer Sizzle @ Indian Rocks Beach Art Center 
TBA: Kids’ Fishing Tournament @ John’s Pass, Madeira Beach


June 14: Flag Day Flag Retirement Ceremony, Indian Rocks Beach




July 4: Independence Day celebrations along the Gulf beaches and in neighboring Gulf Coast towns



Starting Mid-Aug: Bucs Preseason NFL Football @ Raymond James Stadium, Tampa


Sept. 2-3: Gecko Fest, Gulfport on Labor Day weekend




Oct. 7: Scavenger Hunt & Pub Crawl, Indian Rocks Beach
Oct. 14: Oktoberfest, Indian Rocks Beach
Oct. 19-22: Clearwater Jazz Holiday @ Coachman Park, Clearwater
Oct. 21: IRB Hallowfest, Indian Rocks Beach
Oct. 26-29: John’s Pass Seafood Festival @ John’s Pass, Maderia Beach 
Oct. 26-29: International Folk Fair, St. Petersburg


Nov. 11: Taste of IRB, Indian Rocks Beach


Nov. 11: Veterans’ Day Parade, Maderia Beach
Nov. 15-19: Sanding Ovation’s Master’s Cup Sand Sculpting, Treasure Island


All Month: Holiday Boat Parades, most beach cities and towns, every weekend in Dec.
Dec. 1-5: Sand Pearl Christmas Sand Sculpture, Clearwater (built 1-5 will display till Jan. 6) 
Dec. 1: Holiday Tree Lighting, Indian Rocks Beach
Dec. 3: Indian Rocks Beach Street Parade 
Dec. 9: Indian Rocks Beach Holiday Home Tour
Dec. 16: Lighted Boat Parade, Indian Rocks Beach
TBA: Christmas In The Village, Madeira Beach

Now here’s the inside scoop on what else is happening at some of our favorite Gulf Coast attractions in 2017. Find what is new and exciting on the Gulf Coast beaches and around our Gulf Coast towns when it comes to things to see, do and experience on Florida’s west coast. You’ll see some of your annual favorites are back along with some new and different things to explore. Here’s what you need to know.


Smashburger Comes to Clearwater

If you’re craving a burger and need a quick fix, you might want to head on over to the new Smashburger at 5300 E Bay at the Tri City Plaza in Clearwater. You’re not going to find another one in the area unless you’re heading down to Sarasota, so you should go while you’re here. With always fresh, never frozen all natural Certified Angus Beef that’s literally smashed onto a hot buttered grill and topped to your liking, it’s easy to see why Smashburger has an epic following. Pair your burger with a side of Smash Fries which are tossed up in some Italian olive oil, rosemary and garlic and cooked to crispy perfection and you’ll be good to go. Oh, you’ll probably want to add a milkshake to your order which is made with only the best: Haagen-Dazs ice cream.
The ingredients are always super fresh and delicious no matter what you order. There are chicken selections and salads, too. Smashburger is also vegetarian-friendly and kid-approved with options for each. Is your mouth watering yet? Check out Smashburger’s menu here and see what tempts your tastebuds. Then, go!

2017 Movie Lineup for Sunset Cinema at Pier 60 in Clearwater BeachMovie Lineup

Pier 60 in Clearwater Beach is a favorite place to be any day of the year. In addition to the nightly Sunsets at Pier 60 Festival, there’s also the family-friendly and date-night worthy Sunset Cinema at Pier 60 on Friday and Saturday evenings. Enjoy free outdoor movies under the stars all throughout the year. All you need to do is gather up your family, friends or someone special and bring a beach blanket or low-lying beach chair. Then sit back, relax and enjoy the show. Movies begin at dusk and popcorn and concessions are available onsite for your convenience.
The 2017 movie lineup at the Sunset Cinema is ready to roll with some of your most loved classics and new favorites for your viewing pleasure. See what’s now playing at the Sunset Cinema

*Photo Credit: Sunsets at Pier 60


Clearwater’s Ruth Eckerd Hall 2017 Performers Are Sure to Please 

The 2017 performance lineup at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater is smokin’ hot. With an always talented and varied selection of live performances, you’re guaranteed to have a fabulous night out on the town. This year’s scheduled performers include Steve Martin and Martin Short, Kenny G, The Piano Guys, Cirque D’Or, America and Three Dog Night, Norah Jones, Kristin Chenoweth, and Sheryl Crow are only a few of the many amazing shows and stellar performances lined up for this year. 
Visit Ruth Eckerd Hall’s website, Facebook page and check out their new blog for all of the latest and greatest events. Then go ahead and get your show tickets!


What’s New at the Lowry Park Zoo in TampaLowry Park Zoo Florida

Along with the awesome exhibits, up-close animal encounters, behind-the-scenes experiences, water-play fun and rides, along with dining and shopping fun for everyone, there’s also a host of special events at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa all year long. 2017 signature events at the zoo include Dinos Alive, Feast with the Beasts, Sunset Celebration, Creatures of the Night and Christmas in the Wild. 
Seasonal events are included with Annual Zoo Membership and the pay for a day – come back all year tickets. Find out all of the Lowry Park Zoo special event details here.


New Parking Garage at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium

In order to make your Clearwater Marine Aquarium experience even better, a new parking garage is currently under construction to better accommodate aquarium guests. Don’t worry, you can still stop by and see Winter and Hope the dolphins, as well as enjoy all that the CMA has to offer you. 
Thee expected completion date is coming soon in March 2017. But for now, here are a few helpful parking tips. To secure a parking space in one of the nearby lots, please plan to arrive within the first few hours of when the Aquarium opens, or visit after 3pm. Parking attendants are there to help guide you to specific locations. If you’re visiting on the weekends, we recommend starting your visit at Winter’s Dolphin Tale Adventure, where plenty of free parking and access to the free shuttles between the two locations is available. (Winter’s Dolphin Tale Adventure is only open on Saturdays, Sundays ,holidays and seasonal dates. Please check seasonal hours for full schedule.)


2017 Special Events at Busch Gardens TampaBusch Gardens

Recently named one of the best amusement parks in the world, Busch Gardens Tampa is thrill-seeker’s paradise with adrenaline-rushing rides and fun adventures for everyone. There are shows, animals, rides, restaurants, and so much more to fill your Florida days and nights. Add to that list a spectacular lineup of special events at Busch Gardens and you’re going to want to come back again and again. 

This year spotlights the Real Music Series, the Food & Wine Festival, Sesame Street Safari of Fun, Jack Hanna Weekend, Summer Nights, Howl-O-Scream and Christmas Town. Each offers up its own unique highlights to an already jam-packed park experience. Find out everything you need to know about the 2017 events and things to do at Busch Gardens Tampa here.


And More…



Stay tuned and we’ll continue to update this page with more new and exciting Gulf Coast adventures as the year progresses. Don’t forget that many of the Gulf Coast attractions mentioned here are part of the Tampa Bay CityPass which gives you a big discount on big attractions. Click here to get your Tampa Bay CityPass tickets.



Where will you be spending your time on the Gulf Coast of Florida this year? At any of these attractions, festivals or special events? Let us know!

What is New and Exciting This Year on the Gulf Coast of Florida Pin