Radically Relaxing in Indialantic, Florida

 

 

 

Okay, yes, I completely copied Longdogger’s tagline “Radically Relaxed Bar and Grill.” I am particularly fond of this type of oxymoron, as I am particularly fond of Longdogger’s Grill and Brew. A must-visit when in Indialantic (it also has 4 other locations.) CH says they have the best wings he’s come across since college in Gainesville, which is high praise, trust me.

 

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Indialantic is the kind of low-key, sun-bleached town where you can absolutely relax in a radical way. Serene stretches of beach where you can settle back, a homey downtown good for a meander, boardwalk type eateries and a few gourmet restaurants sprinkled in the mix as well. The town is mostly residential, with few tourists. Just friendly people; families, happy kids spending most of their time outdoors, headed to the beach on whatever mode of transportation will get them and their board there fastest. Oldsters with trim tan physiques from livin’ the good life in a laid back beach town. Luckies!

 

Our stay in Indialantic flowed smoothly (unlike when we donned our Two Stooges personas, see here) so I don’t have any laughable stories of us making asses of ourselves! We just thoroughly felt becalmed and mellow.

 

One thing that jarred me out of my total R and R trance, though, was WHY THE NAME. It should be IndiaTlantic, right? It’s on the Atlantic, after all. And, why India??

 

I couldn’t find out why the missing “t,” but the India part is because of the location; between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River. Duh, Mb.

 

Funny story:  The founder guy, Ernest Kouwan-Hoven, bought a strip of land in 1915 hoping it would become an exclusive beachfront resort – and it did. But the only access then was by boat or ferry. So, Ernest began building a wooden bridge nicknamed by pessimists of the day (who thought poor Ernie would never complete it) “Kouwen-Hoven’s Folly.” Nice.

 

The funny, or actually scary, part is that it was lit by kerosene lanterns, and so the bridge was often set afire as the lanterns were blown or knocked over!

 

And here I can bring in my beloved “radical” part of this story title. Back in the day, Indialantic had a bit of a colorful reputation: rum-running was big here, and in the 1920’s the Indialantic Casino was built. To later become The Bahama Beach Club, then the Tradewinds Hotel, and now just some regular old single family residences, sigh.

 

From rum-running, to gambling, to clubbing…. to 3/2’s with attached garages. As much as I’d secretly love to see some swarthy crooked looking guys in suits consorting in the shadows slipping each other suitcases of big money, Indialantic’s gradual transition from the colorful high life to a safe and fun beach town with top-rated schools and welcoming locals made our visit the perfect Triple-B.

 

THE BEACH

5th Avenue and A1A

 

motel-beach-walkway

 

  • PARK/WALK:  Parking is not free. Metered parking costs $1 an hour. There is easy access to a wide variety of food right there by the beach:  Bizzaro’s Pizza is good, and though we don’t like to promote big-timey chains, there is a Cold Stone and a Starbuck’s. Just down 5th Avenue within walking distance is The Beachside Cafe, Around the World Cafe, Skewer’s Restaurant, to name a few good ones.
  • CROWD FACTOR:  Not crowded but a more popular spot than other public beach accesses in the area.
  • GO/RINSE:  Good, clean facilities, and a nice little boardwalk where it seems mostly old people sit and observe and wish they were younger.
  • GUARDS:  Yes.
  • IMBIBE:  No alcohol allowed. Ugh.
  • BEST FRIEND:  No but there is a dog beach just north in Indian Harbour Beach, Canova Beach Dog Park. Yay!
  • WE LOVE:  The old-fashioned boardwalk feel that you don’t often find in Florida.

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THE BAR

City Tropics Bistro

249 5th Ave.

 

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  • VIBE:  Fun, Caribbean style decor and atmosphere.
  • ARRIVE:  Plenty of parking in their lot out back. City Tropics is within walking distance of The Beach and The Bungalow.
  • SIT:  Lots of seating options, inside and out.
  • SIP:  Happy hour from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.!
  • NOSH:  Varied menu including great specialty pizzas, sushi, burgers, and more serious dinner choices like seafood and steaks.
  • LISTEN:  Live music almost every Friday and Sunday.
  • WE LOVE:  The happy, tropical atmosphere and the specialty pizzas.

THE BUNGALOW

Oceanfront Cottages

612 Wavecrest Avenue

 

motel-sign

 

  • VIBE:  The suites are named Bahama, Cayman, Havana, Jamaica,  St. Thomas  which may give you a clue as to the vibe. Quiet, so relaxing, zen, just lovely. Though the property doesn’t have detached cottages, it has that kind of feel.
  • WALK:  Five blocks from the FOOD BEACH (we call it) not too long a walk – 6 or so blocks – from City Tropics, The Bar.
  • DECOR:  Oceanfront Cottages is more upscale than our usual Triple-B. The furnishings are beautiful, the beds and linens luxurious. Whoever did the interiors has imagination and creativity – not always seen in our old-timey beach stays. We stayed in the Jamaica Suite, which is less expensive than others; I hear that some have private hot tubs on their balcony! Cool!
  • SLEEP:  Probably the best hotel mattress ever. And the sheets – you know I’m a bit of a sheet freak. Everyone has their “thing!” The linens were amazingly soft and rich-feeling.
  • EXTRAS:  Each accommodation is a suite, with a living room, kitchen, and bedroom. Mexican tile floors, marble showers, flat screen televisions. Complimentary towels, beach chairs and umbrellas, and also an on-site laundry room. A swimming pool with a lush, private atmosphere.
  • RATES:  The higher price than we’re used to was totally worth it; we got what we paid for, and then some! The Jamaican Suite was $159/night May through January, and $175 February, March and April at the time of our stay. Check their website for current rates.

 

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more-motel-tikis

 

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And here are some more photos from this old-timey town:

 

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With two local surf shops within splashing distance of one another –  The Longboard House, and also The Paddleboard House where you can rent a stand up paddleboard –  there are great options for a day of not dilly-dallying the day away in your beach chair. Get out on the water; boogie board, surfboard, paddleboard, skim board…..  But is it Newton’s Law of Motion that says that a body not in motion tends to stay not in motion? Whatever, we decided to park it, and I can honestly say, were happy as lizards in the Indialantic sun.

 

Have you been to this little-known mellow beach town? Tell us where you’ve found the best places to unwind on the coast!

 

Indialantic is on Florida’s east coast, 16 miles south of Cocoa Beach and 1.5 miles north of Melbourne Beach.

7 Comments

  1. Hey guys, I think the surf shop you have pictured above, might be closed now… Sad to say.

    1. Yes, I’m afraid so, surferdad. I did look at their facebook page and there haven’t been comments since 2012. I will go by there though, soon, to see if maybe they’ve moved somewhere and are still up and running. I love the building though, it really embodies old-timey Florida, don’t you think? So I’m keeping the photo where it is. :)

  2. Yes, it is a great building. Gotta love those Florida murals. And the tiki hut.

  3. This is our town!! Our place is 5 blocks down from the boardwalk! We just love it! We always tell folks it is just a little redneck Florida Beach town, but we are trying to say low key and just plain fun and friendly!

    1. I love the way you describe your town “a little redneck Florida beach town.” Thanks for not minding that we’re telling people about your town ;)

  4. One correction. The Tradewinds Hotel and the Bahama Beach Club were different buildings. The Tradewinds (junior prom for my class) was on a large property on Shannon Avenue and is now residential properties.

    The Bahama Beach Club was right on the beach one block north of Fifth Avenue and is now a park.

    1. Thanks for the correction Orrin! Good to know. It’s funny how though I researched the history pretty thoroughly, you just can’t believe everything you read on the internet… Like in the State Farm French model commercial, “They can’t put anything on the internet that isn’t true.” I love that.

      I bet it was fun having your junior prom at The Tradewinds.

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