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Our top 10 beach camping spots

Make plans now to enjoy a great beach camping spot. Most are not crowded from June through August. You just have to know where to go, what to bring and how to survive for a few days without, heaven forbid, air-conditioning.

 

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  1. Craving gluten-free pizza? Here are four spots that do it right

    Food & Dining

    A few years ago, no one really knew what gluten was, but today the word is part of most people's vernacular — and excluded from a lot of their diets.

    A selection of the most popular gluten-free pizzas at the Gourmet Pizza Company.
  2. Exotic flavors shake up Tampa Bay margarita menus

    Bars & Spirits

    Tequila, the drink of champions, can be presented in many forms to get you to your desired state of inebriation. There's the shot — clean and to the point — or a variety of mixed concoctions to tamp down the acidity, but increase the quantity that crosses the lips.

    The Apple Pie margarita at Tequilas in Ybor City tastes like a McDonald’s apple pie, but don’t be fooled: It’s mostly tequila.
  3. Sing it, sister: Tampa bars host karaoke, Asian-style karaoke, even 'pornaoke'

    Bars & Spirits

    What's a bar without music? An abomination, that's what. Tampa Bay area proprietors understand the importance of adding a melody to the drinking experience, and offer everything from live music to letting you be the DJ.

    At Octave, home of all the bells and whistles of rock stardom, A.J. Gerdon and John Colby perform Meat Loaf’s I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That).
  4. Row merrily, merrily, merrily down one of Tampa Bay's best kayak trails

    Florida

    The benefits of a good kayak or canoe trip can be pretty wide-ranging.

    Caladesi Island on a kayak. 
Photo by Carole Liparoto
  5. For a great brunch cocktail, look beyond the Bloody Mary

    Bars & Spirits

    I hate Bloody Marys.

    These are fighting words, I know. Many swear by the Mary and its curative properties, others plot their entire weekends around some gargantuan build-your-own-Bloody Mary bar some unholy temple of tomato juice that garnishes drinks with bacon, pickled eggs, fried cheese, pig's feet, raw …

    Left: The Hemingway Daiquiri at Elevage at the Epicurean Hotel. Above: The Bourbon Milk Punch at the Brick House Tavern and Tap.
  6. School's out for summer, but Tampa Bay restaurants are still stuck on peanut butter and jelly

    Food & Dining

    The end of the school year is the perfect time to reconsider a cafeteria classic: The peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

    The Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream at Edison Food and Drink Lab in Tampa.
  7. Where to take your parents in Tampa Bay? Soccer, Grand Prix, 'Rocky Horror' and more

    Florida

    Tampa Bay Grand Prix

    The need for speed is not just a terrible Disney movie, it's also a real emotion, expressed by people of all ages. Indoor racing at Tampa Bay Grand Prix, which has tracks conveniently located in both Tampa and Clearwater, will allow your parents to get out their trash-talking competitive sides …

    Daniel Wallace/tbt*
  8. Express your selfie at Tampa Bay's best solo photo-op spots

    Florida

    Great selfies don't just capture a moment in time. In the best ones, you also get a sense of where you were in the universe at that moment. • As we all know, around here beach selfies are easy and cheap and so prevalent they hardly even rate. But is white sand and bluish surf the Tampa Bay area's only iconic …

    Commissioned in 2012 by Tampa’s public art program, this mounted wall mural at the corner of Royal Street and N Florida Avenue in downtown Tampa has the vibrancy to light up any dull selfie and enough colors to ensure nothing you wear will clash. Artist Carl Cowden was even courteous enough to build in a perfect place to stick your head, in the bottom right-hand corner.
  9. Meatless marvels: Discover the best veggie burgers in Tampa Bay

    Food & Dining

    Tell anyone you're vegetarian and a classic response is: "Man, I'd really love to do that, but burgers are just too good."

    The Alfresco’s Black Bean Burger, from the Vinoy Renaissance Resort, is made with rice, barley, mushrooms and black beans, giving it a little Tex-Mex flair.
  10. Ragin' for some Cajun? Tampa Bay is boiling over with true N'awlins flavor

    Food & Dining

    The need for beads has been ­satiated. Horny pirates spent two weekends in Tampa racking up plastic loot by filling their gullets with drink and showing their booties during Gasparilla celebrations.

    A plate of 15 battered and fried frog legs at Chancy’s Catfish Shack in Plant City. Photo by Luis Santana, tbt*