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A Desirable Road Trip to Dunedin, Florida: A Cute & Artsy Beach Town

A Desirable Road Trip to Dunedin, Florida: A Cute & Artsy Beach Town

Discover the enchanting charm of Dunedin – a vibrant and funky little town nestled on Florida’s picturesque West Coast. With its artsy vibe and stunning waterfront location, this beach town is a favorite destination for beach-goers, families, beer enthusiasts, baseball fans, and hipsters seeking an eclectic experience. Unveil the magic of this lesser-known Florida gem with a road trip to Dunedin that promises a weekend getaway or a perfect mini-vacation.

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Boasting around 36,000 residents and a sister city connection with Stirling, Scotland, this captivating community captivates visitors with its idyllic setting between the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay. Take a leisurely stroll or bike ride through the exceptionally walkable and bike-friendly downtown area and bask in the natural beauty that awaits.

Prepare to fall head over heels for the irresistible allure of Dunedin.

Explore Caladesi Island and Honeymoon Island State Parks

Dunedin boasts two stunning Florida State Parks. Caladesi State Park, a pristine natural gem accessible only by boat, lies along the Great Florida Birding Trail. The ferry ride to get there costs $4 (per person) or $8 (per vehicle).

Honeymoon Island State Park offers four miles of serene, crowd-less white sand beaches. Dogs are welcome in designated areas, such as the pet beach and nature trail. Free beach wheelchairs are available; inquire at the ranger station. These beautiful parks offer sunbathing, swimming, relaxation, shell hunting, and kayaking.

dog-at-honeymoon-island-dunedin

At Honeymoon Island State Park, visit the Rotary Centennial Nature Center to explore the area’s history and natural resources. Open from 9 AM to 5 PM daily, the center may grant you sightings of spoonbills, egrets, herons, osprey, and pelicans. Admission is free with park entrance.

sunset-honeymoon-island

Hit the Pinellas Trail

The Rails to Trails program revitalized Dunedin’s former railways, introducing the Fred Marquis “Pinellas Trail” – a 45-mile bicycle and pedestrian pathway perfect for families. Stretching from Tarpon Springs to St. Pete, this scenic trail accommodates in-line skaters, walkers, joggers, and cyclists. It’s the perfect attraction to add to your road trip to Dunedin itinerary.

Remember to follow trail etiquette by keeping right, passing on the left, and keeping your pets leashed and close by. Additionally, riders under 16 must wear helmets.

Parking for trail access is available at Florida Auto Exchange Field on Douglas Ave or downtown Dunedin along Main Street. While riding the trail downtown, you’ll find a variety of eateries and bars to satisfy your cravings.

historical-railroad-museum-downtown-dunedin

Dolphin Trail Art Installment

Dolphin Trail showcases unique dolphin sculptures that adorn the area’s top attractions, restaurants, and hotels. These 6′ tall resin/fiberglass dolphins, created by local artists, serve as a captivating tour of the region (Dunedin, Clearwater, St. Pete, and Pinellas County).

The Trail aims to spotlight talented artists while beautifying public spaces across Clearwater, Pinellas County, and beyond.

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For stunning sunset photo opportunities and a pleasant stroll with breathtaking Gulf views, visit Dunedin Marina, where you’ll find one of the art installments.

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Clearwater Jolley Trolley

Explore your road trip to Dunedin easily on the Clearwater Jolley Trolley for just $2.25 per ride, and let somebody else do the driving. Alternatively, you can opt for an unlimited all-day pass at $5—children eight and under ride for free. Visit their website for the Jolley Trolley map and routes. Exact change is appreciated. 

Guests staying at Opal Sands, Marriott Sandkey, Sandpearl, and Sheraton Sandkey can enjoy complimentary rides with their room card (+4 guests).

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Dunedin’s Fantastic Brewing Scene

Beer is a quintessential part of Dunedin’s laid-back vibe, with many options available. Dunedin Brewing, Florida’s oldest microbrewery, boasts a stunning outdoor beer garden and crafts small-batch brews in 15-barrel batches. Take advantage of Leonard Croon’s Old Mean Stout for dark beer enthusiasts or the Apricot Peach fruit wheat beer for those who prefer a lighter touch. 

Dunedin boasts the highest number of breweries per capita in Florida, with some being Caledonia Brewery, 7venth Sun Brewing Company, Soggy Bottom Brewing, HOB Brewing Co., and Dunedin House of Beer.

dunedin-brewing-patio

Downtown Dunedin

Downtown Dunedin on Main Street offers a delightful mix of shopping, entertainment, and dining options. Enjoy a stroll as you explore trendy restaurants and discover local art, reflecting Dunedin’s Celtic heritage. Capture charming moments with vibrant bungalows and picturesque architecture. Take advantage of the enchanting pocket parks.

As the sun sets, experience Dunedin’s thriving nightlife.

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On Friday and Saturday mornings, November through June, visit the Dunedin Downtown Market at Pioneer Park for fresh produce, crafts, and more.

Noteworthy shops include Nancy’s Fancy, Our House, and My Favorite Things, where you can also enjoy daily wine tastings. Indulge in a cold beer, wine, or delightful tea at one of the many inviting eateries with outdoor patios.

girls-shopping in-downtown-dunedin

Toronto Blue Jays Spring Baseball

A springtime road trip to Dunedin beckons you to immerse yourself in the Grapefruit League spring training baseball games. It is the perfect spot to catch the world-class Toronto Blue Jays play at TD Ballpark, the smallest among all spring baseball team parks. 

Catch thrilling matchups against the Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Atlanta Braves, and more from late February to late March. Handicap-accessible seating is conveniently located on platforms at the top of sections 105-107, 204, and 208.

Dunedin’s Tasty Dining Scene

Dunedin boasts a wealth of delightful eateries, perfect for food enthusiasts like myself. I have yet to meet a Dunedin eatery I didn’t love to date. Here are some of my faves.

Our Place

Look no further than Our Place if you’re in the mood for comforting fare. Consider trying their build-your-own omelet or a Greek omelet with sides of tzatziki and gyro meat — a personal favorite breakfast. Pictured below is my husband’s fajita omelet.

fajita-omelet-our-place-dunedin

Marguerite’s Cafe

Marguerite’s Cafe stands out for its delectable breakfast and lunch offerings outside of downtown. Prepare to be enticed by their mouth-watering breakfast classics, savory quiches, and heavenly homemade pies and cakes. And isn’t it adorable?

They are closed on Mondays.

marguerites-cafe-interior-decor-dunedin

Casa Tina’s

Are you craving Mexican cuisine? Casa Tina’s is the place to be. This eatery boasts fantastic Day of the Dead decor and a fresh, health-conscious approach to cooking. Don’t miss their Mole Poblano, a personal recommendation.

The Living Room

Visit The Living Room, a pet-friendly establishment featuring a charming outdoor patio and a special menu for your furry friend. Their must-try dish is the deviled eggs with crispy pork belly. To secure your reservation, utilize OpenTable.

Please note that this restaurant includes a 20% service charge instead of tipping, which is added to your bill.

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Hog Island Fish Camp

My top pick in Dunedin for lunch or dinner is Hog Island Fish Camp. Indulge in their must-try Blue Crab and Goat Cheese Dip, featuring luscious creaminess paired with pepper bacon jam and crostini. The Shrimp and Grits, served over a parmesan grit cake, make for an excellent main course. 

Hog Island offers a wonderful happy hour experience and both indoor and outdoor seating. If you’re fortunate enough to visit during stone crab claw season, be sure to savor this beloved Florida delicacy.

goat-cheese-dip-from-hog-island-fish-camp

Strachan’s Ice Cream

For delectable homemade ice cream, Strachan’s Ice Cream is a local favorite. Indulge in the Cherry Wow-Za, Rum Raisin, or Carrot Cake flavors. Alternatively, try the cinnamon or peppermint, which my husband adores.

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More to Love About Your Road Trip to Dunedin

Dunedin holds several other festivals and special events, such as the OktoBEERfest, Taste of Dunedin, and Old Fashioned Christmas & Holiday Parade.

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Dunedin: A Florida West-Coast Town Worth Exploring

Dunedin is a delightful place to add to your road trip, weekend getaway, or day trip itinerary. This artsy beach town is cram-packed with fun and a visual treat.

blue-mural-dunedin-florida

Read more of our Florida posts:

Top Things to Do in Pensacola

Best Places to Eat in the Florida Keys

Cool Things to See and Do in Central Florida

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The Ultimate USA Fall Travel Guide for Your Next Vacation

Thursday 17th of August 2017

[…] theme parks & beaches; we actually have four distinct sunny travel seasons. In fall, I visit Dunedin, a cute little town on the Gulf Coast, and sister city to Stirling, Scotland.┬áDunedin boasts an […]

Tara

Friday 20th of November 2015

Just found your blog. We are soon-to-be empty-nesters, but the real reason I clicked this post on Pinterest is because this is the town where I spent my childhood, and I was curious to see how it's changed. Dunedin was always a cute little village, but boy has it come a long way since I lived here! I love that they are focusing on the arts, and it sounds like Main Street is thriving. When I lived there it was all baseball all the time, and we spent just about all our time watching the Blue Jays in the winter and playing Little League in the summer. Thanks so much for sharing this. Now I really want to go back!

MelodyPittman

Saturday 21st of November 2015

I'm so glad! What a kind comment. ;) I really love it over there, a much different feel than the East coast of Florida where I currently live. The art show was splendid and it has a very "hipster" feel to it. I love that the Pinellas trail (for cycling) runs through the town and it is also close to other great little towns to visit such as Safety Harbor. Yes, they are still all about the baseball (its amazing to see the games for as cheap as $10) but have many new offerings as well. I hope you make it back to visit and when you do, dine out as much as possible. The food is remarkable.

Brianna

Monday 20th of July 2015

I can't visit the Clearwater area without getting the eggs benedict at Kelly's- definitely one of my favorite brekky's in the country!

MelodyPittman

Tuesday 21st of July 2015

We are gonna have to meet up there some day, just for a meal. ;)

Joyce

Saturday 18th of July 2015

I've lived in Dunedin for26 years and it IS lovely. Just wish I didn't have to work and could enjoy it more!:)

MelodyPittman

Monday 20th of July 2015

That would be great, huh? LOL I really love it there, too, and very fun cities nearby to explore as well. Have you ever been to that juried art show? It was really fabulous, and I'm new at art shows. ;)

Kathy

Saturday 18th of July 2015

Spent my first winter (snowbirds) in Dunedin and found it difficult to head back north. Wonderful place to retire.....by all means, check it out!!

MelodyPittman

Monday 20th of July 2015

My thoughts exactly. So relaxing and fun. The most strenuous thing to do was learn to pronounce the name correctly. ;)

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