Looking for something to do in Apollo Beach? Scroll down this page for places to go and things to do while you're there!
Apollo Beach, Florida is a 5.9 square mile unincorporated commubity close to Brandon. With a 2010 census population of just under 15,000, this small but thriving waterfront area is a great spot to live and visit.
It wasn't always that way, though... Apollo Beach was started in 1923 on land owned by Paul Dickman, Much of the land was mangrove and low-elevation, and though some was used for seasonal farming, it was largely considered uninhabitable.
In the 1930s, Dickman decided to build a waterfront community on his land. Situated half-way between Tampa and Bradenton, Dickman felt the location was ideal.
Dickman hired an engineering firm in Miami to design a subdivision including roads, canals, schools, recreation areas, and community services.
In the early 1950s, Dickman negotiated the sale of the land to three men from New York, who renamed it Tampa Beach believing the association with Tampa would attract more people.
Construction began on the Flamingo Canal near U.S. 41, and proceeded toward Fairway Boulevard, with the intent to extend the canal to Tampa Bay allowing access to open water. The task became too large for the amount of money invested and the abilities of the teams involved. In 1956 they notified Dickman that they could not complete the project.
In 1957, Francis Corr, a retired businessman from Michigan, purchased the land and renamed it, La Vida Beach. Legend has it that in 1958 his wife, Dorothy, suggested changing the name to Apollo Beach, as a nod to the area's abundant sunshine. Corr did that, and started construction on 50 homes in the area.
In the early 1960s, Corr sold his company and the Apollo Beach land to Flora Sun Corporation, a Miami company. Flora Sun sold some of the land on the northern border of the development to Tampa Electric Company, who developed the Big Bend power plant. Flora Sun failed in its obligations, however, in the purchase of the land from the Corr family, and about seven years later the family got the land back out of bankruptcy court.
In the mid-1960s, Corr's son, Thomas, moved his young family to the area to continue work on the Apollo Beach project. The Corr family continued to struggle with the development over the years, facing regulatory hurdles and tightening growth policies in Florida.
Thomas Corr didn't give up. He continued to develop the community, donated land for parks and schools, and preserved hundreds of acres of mangrove swamps and environmental areas. He started a community bank, a chamber of commerce, civic clubs, and festivals. Thomas Corr died in 1998. In 2006, Hillsborough County honored his work by naming the new elementary school on Big Bend Road after him.
Today, Apollo Beach is a thriving waterfront community with year-round boating, fishing, and other water activities. An estimated 55 miles of canals lead to Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
Our mini-guide to Apollo Beach, below will help you discover more about this beautiful community near Brandon in sunny Florida.