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Eco-Tourism in Florida: Treasure Island


| 9/30/2016 2:33:00 PM


Treasure Island Florida got its name in just the way you would expect…depending on which story you believe. Some speculate a French pirate buried real treasure, which was lost forever during the 1848 Hurricane, Gale, which split the land into smaller islands. Others say a group of clever property owners buried, then “discovered”, fake treasure, to boost land value. Regardless, the island is appropriately named, featuring memorable beaches, sunsets, dining and lodging, all of which locals work hard to preserve.

EPIC Efforts

The Environmental Preservation Initiative for our Communities, or EPIC, encourages businesses to adapt sustainable practices like recycling, using energy efficient equipment and following guidelines to protect turtle hatchlings from nighttime lighting that may guide them away from the ocean.  The EPIC program is fairly new and is currently working on their “Ocean Friendly Bar and Restaurant” campaign. “This campaign will be voluntary to participants and intends to educate businesses on reduction of disposable plastic, liquid and environmentally abrasive waste along with inform businesses of energy efficient uses of electricity and turtle friendly lighting,” states the Treasure Island Chamber of Commerce. “EPIC intends to instill a year round program focused on clean air, clean water, clean energy and the preservation of the Gulf Beaches and surrounding communities.”


Photo by Karyn Wofford

Gulf Eats

Personally, I get into the seafood state of mind while vacationing at the beach. With Treasure island’s new initiatives, many restaurants are becoming more appealing to eco-travelers.

Shrimpy’s Blues Bistro is one of those “blink and you miss it” locations that is situated alongside several businesses with identical styled signs. Luckily, a large pirate figurine sits right outside the door, welcoming you to try some of the best seafood around. The interior is small, but eclectic and filled with character, exactly what you’d expect from an authentic seafood joint.



Shrimpy’s uses organic, wild-caught seafood and other local ingredients from the gulf in their dishes. They also serve up solid breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. Typically, I’m a health nut and skip the fried stuff, but the Ipswitch Clam Po’boy with horseradish mashed potatoes was calling my name. Lightly fried with little detectable grease, the enormous portion of clams was served on a soft-on-the-inside, crisp-on-the-outside roll with mayo, pickles and lettuce. The Apalachicola Oyster Po’boy was just as large and paired perfectly with the Seafood Gumbo. If you’re adventurous with your food, try out the Surfer Quesadilla, loaded with scallops and cheeses.  Shrimpy’s will forever be a Treasure Island tradition for us.



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