To many Americans, the phrase "Treasure Island" brings up images of a high-rise casino hotel in Las Vegas. Long before that was built; however, the real Treasure Island was already a thriving small community along the Gulf Coast of Florida. Today, the city boasts fewer than 10,000 permanent residents and also contains Treasure Island holiday homes that allow visitors from across the United States and the world to stay in Pinellas County and enjoy the relaxation of a beach vacation on the Gulf of Mexico.
Prospective visitors should understand that Treasure Island is a coastal city on the mainland, not an actual island. The name derives from the early 20th century, when land developers in the area decided that pretending to find "buried treasure" on the beaches would bring national attention to the homes and land available there.
Notable residents of Treasure Island have included baseball legend Babe Ruth, who like many Americans spent winters during his retirement in Florida so that he could take advantage of the warm climate to be had in this semi-tropical state. Today, Treasure Island has a thriving tourist trade with bars and restaurants catering to visitors who have come south in search of sea breezes and the opportunity to sit out on the beach even during the colder months of the year.
A popular event held in the city is "Sanding Ovations, a sand sculpture contest that features ten artists who are masters at this unusual craft.