At first glance along Front Beach Road, the old PCB is hidden between new high rises. The news of a forthcoming international airport (to open in 2010) sparked a frenzy of development. Front and center, Pier Park--an enormous shopping complex stretching between Back Beach and Front Beach Roads--showcases almost 1 million square feet of shopping and dining.
The bedraggled mom-and-pop motels that once sat cheek by jowl have almost all been replaced by gleaming condo towers. Glassed-in walkways several stories high lead to parking decks crossing over Front Beach Road.
Drop by on a weekend, and you’ll find the largest crowds cruising Thomas Drive. Pubs and putt-putt golf still abound, as do water parks, airbrush shops, and pizzerias. And, as always, all you have to do is head west to de-stress in less rowdy locales such as Carillon.