Re: Any recommendations for the gulf/west coast of Florida??
In the Tampa Bay Area there are a few places. Check out Anclote key and river there are plenty of boat friendly spots. The sponge docks are right there and worth checking out if you have never been. The locals are friendly and it isn't too spendy like Clearwater.
Once you are in the inter-coastal there are even more things to do - John's pass is generally a good time and Treasure Island is near by.