The main street--Beach Blvd.--has some neat little shops and an increasing number of diverse eating places. Gulfport has many Key West type elements--a kind of tropical artsy and diverse community-- at one-third or else or less of the cost. Although is not directly on the Gulf itself, it has a nice beach and pier on Boca Ciega Bay and is located perhaps two miles from the Gulf beaches at St. Petersburg Beach.
I know Gulfport well and would be happy to serve as your buyer's agent to find you some of the extraordinary buys available there now in properties. Tell me what you are looking for (size, price, and I will provide some specific examples).