Renting property: For a few years Davis made a full-time job of managing the family's three Florida properties. She and 3-year-old daughter Jessica would spend as much time there as in Atlanta. Now the couple has decided to move their two original properties to annual leases, and the management demands are much less.
Small town feeling: Indian Rocks Beach enforces height restrictions that keep the cottage-feel of the original community. "Jessica goes to a little preschool that reminds me of 'Little House on the Prairie,'" Davis said. "There are still homes here that were built when the town was originally developed and have been in the same families for generations."
Activities available: The family enjoys riding their bikes and playing horseshoes and volleyball on the beach. They love to barbecue and the weather is perfect year-round for sitting out on the patio. "I love going to Gasparilla Pirate Festival in Tampa each winter, or you can just walk down the street and grab a sandwich and ice cream and listen to local musicians," Davis said.
For their sunset years: The Davises enjoy a spectacular sunset off their patio each evening. It's just one of the reasons they're happy they bought a home at Indian Rocks Beach. "As my husband and I grow older, we're sure we're going to want to spend more time in warmer areas for much of the year. We're really happy we bought this place when we were younger and when it was affordable," Davis said.
From downtown Atlanta: Take I-75 south to I-275 toward Tampa/St. Petersburg. Take Exit 31 to SR-688. Turn right on Gulf Boulevard. The trip is about 500 miles.
Indian Rocks Beach is one of a string of waterfront communities along the Gulf between Clearwater and St. Petersburg. The area offers real estate listings from raw land to high-rise condos, beachfront, bayfront and on the Intracoastal Waterway.
The Indian Rocks Beach community encompasses less than a square mile and has about 4,000 year-round residents. Broker-Realtor Liz Barrett of Lizard Realty specializes in both sales and rentals. She said these days the average price for a beachfront condo at Indian Rocks Beach is $385,000 or about $299 a square foot. Right now there are 34 properties for sale ranging from $329,000 to $1.2 million.
$198,000: 1 Windrush Blvd., Indian Rocks Beach, Fla. Three-bedroom two-bath second-floor condo with one-car carport. Balcony, water views from all rooms, clubhouse and pool on Intracoastal Waterway, walk to Gulf.
$1.35 million: 19832 Gulf Blvd., Indian Rocks Beach, Fla. Three-bedroom, two-bath 1920s beachfront home with lot through to Intracoastal Waterway and dock. Guest cottage with additional bedroom and bath. Wood-burning fireplace, original hardwood floors, vintage tile bathrooms, beachfront porch.
$425,000: 2618 Gulf Blvd., Indian Rocks Beach, Fla. Three-bedroom two-bath second story condo with direct beachfront views, one-car carport. Professionally decorated, sold furnished, wood-burning fireplace, community has heated pool, beachfront gazebo. Sold May 2010.