tarpon springs is an interesting side trip from downtown clearwater. tarpon springs is a greek fishing village near the gulf of mexico. tarpon springs has the best collection of greek restaurants in the state of florida. a very interesting small town to visit in west florida. from downtown clearwater take US 19ALT north about 4 miles to dunedin than another 8 miles to tarpon springs. see my tarpon springs pages for more information.
just north of downtown clearwater is the charming town of dunedin. dunedin has a very nice historic downtown area and just west of town is honeymoon island and caladesi island state parks. these two gulf beach state parks offer beautiful unspoiled beaches, fishing, and nature trails. dunedin is a very worth while side trip from clearwater. to get to dunedin take US 19ALT about 4 miles north to dunedin. from dunedin take SR 586 west to honeymoon island and caladesi island. see my dunedin pages for more information.
This is a unique Florida experience. There are so many options for fresh citrus...many items that are not available outside Florida. Of course, it varies with the seasons. This place, on US Highway 19 just south of US 60, is very convenient when you're traveling from the airport to Clearwater Beach (or vice versa). They have a huge Florida gift shop, and lots of fresh Florida produce. I was there in January, and they had honeybells (very sweet seedless orange), Temple oranges, winter squash, strawberries, and so much more that I cannot remember. You can buy citrus to eat here, get some orange soft serve ice cream, or have citrus shipped home or as a gift. The gift shop is seriously the largest I've seen anywhere (and I've been lots of places), with lots of food items as well as the usual tourist fare.
Location: Off route 60, turn south on US 19. Go 1-2 miles to the corner of 19 and Bellaire. It is the warehouse on the right just after Bellaire.
Safety Harbor is a charming tranquil little town, established 1917, whose downtown area is 8 blocks long and 2 blocks wide. There are no traffic lights, but cars yield to visitors walking around visiting the quaint shops and lovely places to eat and viewing art everywhere. We found this town by accident driving north on McMullen-Booth from Hwy 60, Clearwater.
By good fortune we stopped first at Safety Harbor Antiques and Collectibles where the delightful whitehaired owner, Ms. Lois Spencer, shared with us her "5 cent Tour" of Safety Harbor, a map which she had handdrawn. She marked on her map the "must see" places. There was the massive live oak at the corner of 2nd Street and 2nd Ave, said to be the oldest oak in Pinellas County. There we also found a beautiful mosiac /bronze scupture honoring children throught the years, done by a local artist. There was also the Firehouse on Main, where there was a mural of a horse drawn fire wagon painted on the tower by another local artist. Several other buildings on Main Street sported eye catching murals painted by locals.
At the eastern end of town was the fabulous new Safety Harbor Resort and Spa, built at the site of the original seven mineral springs. Beside the spa was the beautiful Safety Harbor Marina and Phillipe Park with its bronze sculptured fountain and beautiful view of the harbor.
For a bite to eat, Ms. Lois recommended the Tech Cafe across the street for sandwiches, coffee and internet access. There was also a Starbucks, sidewalk pizza place, Stone Creamery for homeade ice cream and fresh baked waffle cones. Several other local restaurants, both homey and upscale looked very inviting.
Our last "must see" was the best. The "Bowling Ball House" on 12th. If you like visual arts, you must see this remarkable home of two artists. Check out www.kiaralinda.com for pictures and more info. This was one of the most pleasurable things we did on our Tampa vacation.
Dolphin Encounter Cruise
Watch dolphins and other marine animals aboard the 125 person the double-deck Clearwater Express.
Sea Screamer Clearwater, speed boot through the clearwater area, enjoy the narrated cruise, and explore the ocean for dolphins!