An RV adventure to Pasco County brought me to visiting Dade City on a day trip. Dade City is an hour northeast of Tampa, to give you an idea of its location. As I drove into this cute little slice of Americana and an adorable Main Street town square, I knew I was going to love it. An excellent meal, afternoon tea, excellent shopping finds, and 100+ pictures later, I was right. Here is what to do on your visit to Dade City, Florida.
The local restaurant scene in Dade City is quite impressive. I tend to study TripAdvisor reviews for the top eateries in places I’m not familiar with, and the list had some really delectable choices. I chose Kafe Kokopelli and hit the jackpot with this gem. My friend, Vada, and I loved the decor and the cool things to look at all around the restaurant. A separate bar area was especially appealing and offered a hunting lodge-like setting.
We were greeted by a friendly server who was quick to recommend Kafe Kokopelli’s best selling dishes. Had I not had my heart set on a proper afternoon tea (more food!), I would have ordered one of the delicious-sounding appetizers.
Vada chose blackened Black Grouper Tacos for her main course. I went with the Short Rib Tacos with pickled red onion and goat cheese. OMG, these tacos are off-the-hook with incredible flavor and creaminess. A horseradish sauce elevated them to the next level. Garlic green beans were my side item, and I could have made a meal on those alone.
Kafe Kokopelli offers menu items for vegans and vegetarians and serves brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 11 AM to 4 PM. The Chicken and Waffles may entice me to drive 2+ hours one weekend to try them.
Dade City had several other restaurants that looked appealing, including Lunch on Limoges, Green Door on 8th, and Steph’s Southern Soul Restaurant.
Take Time For Tea
Afternoon tea is one of my all-time favorite things. I was glad to be visiting Dade City with a friend who loves and appreciates tea. We stepped into the Angel Tea Room to a magical Victorian setting that reminded me of a pretty holiday card. The tables had all types seated and enjoying tea and food, not just those celebrating a special occasion. Beautiful china sat on the tables; we couldn’t wait to dig in.
Vada ordered the chocolate cake, while I had my favorite three-tiered dessert and sandwich spread, all homemade. The charming display held cucumber, chicken salad, and pimento cheese finger sandwiches, along with fresh fruit, bite-size pastries, shortbread, and mousse. The star of the display, though, was a savory scone.
I hate to be a food snob, but all scones are not created equal. It’s tough to get one in the US that is really good (comparatively speaking to British scones). The scones at Angel Tea Room were top-notch, and the cream and jam pairing created the perfect combination. I enjoyed all these lovely homemade goodies with a pot of traditional English breakfast tea. Vada chose a specialty tea, which they offered a few. I can’t wait to go again!
Support Local Shopping
You’ll find some fabulous local shops in downtown Dade City, which is pretty much the only place I visited. I managed to contribute to the local economy with fabulous finds from Lori Anne’s (holiday gifts and trinkets), Thalia’s (retro comic books), and The Book Shack. I literally wanted everything I saw in the European Emporium, a specialty grocery store with an awe-inspiring selection.
Dade City is known for the collection of antique stores. We strolled through a few of them and could honestly have spent hours browsing for treasures. I was bummed that the Dade City Candy, Comics, & Collectibles hadn’t opened yet, but I was intrigued by the notion.
While you stroll around this quaint downtown, be sure to admire the lovely Pasco County Courthouse (built 1909) and historical plaques. Pick up an iced pastry (called a bread stick) from Olga’s Bakery & Deli for a quick pick-me-up and sugar rush.
Dade City Attractions
Dade City is the jewel of Pasco County, Florida. It has the only snow tubing park in Florida with Snowcat Ridge Alpine Snow Park’s recent opening. You can enjoy tubing on the 60-foot-tall, 400-foot-long snow-covered hill or enjoy the festivities at both the Arctic Igloo and Alpine Village. Arctic Igloo is a space designated for those three and under, where they can partake in fun. Alpine Village is a spot for eating, drinking, and relaxing. There is even a campfire and s’mores roasting at this fun Florida attraction.
In the same area is Treehoppers Aerial Adventure Park with several dozen zip lines, bridges, and climbing challenges. You won’t believe you are in Florida with this zenful setting! Or, you can visit the beautiful giraffe at Giraffe Ranch, a nature and animal lovers kind of place that you can also see by Segway.
At Halloween, in the same vicinity is Scream-A-Geddon Horror Park. This scary, interactive experience features six haunted houses (and a setting that adds to the spooky factor by night) and is all the rage and talk around the Sunshine State. I’m too chicken to go there and try it, so you will just have to try it for yourself.
What a Way to Stay!
If you decide to make it an overnight in Pasco County, consider a cool alternative arrangement—a park model RV. You’ll find them at Barrington Hills RV Resort, an Encore property. Barrington Hills has a little under four hundred RV spots and a handful of park model RVs, or “cottages”.
A park model RV is like you’ve parked your RV and now get to enjoy the home-like feeling of the accommodations and all the amenities that the resort offers.
Dogs are welcome (on a leash) at Barrington Hills, though not in the cottages. They even have their very own designated dog walk area.
You might be surprised to know that you can rent these park model RVs long term (6 to 12 months) for cheaper than paying rent, plus you get to enjoy all the perks. Group activities (though maybe different with COVID) may include:
- Line Dancing
- Coffee Socials
- Arts & Crafts
I stayed in a two-bedroom, 1 1/2 bath park model unit at Barrington Hills. It was tastefully decorated, had an enormous kitchen and dining area, living room, 32″ flat-screen tv, and cute covered front porch with rocking chairs. Included with your stay are basic cable TV, linens, towels, and a fully furnished kitchen. Wi-Fi is available for a small fee. This is a fantastic place to walk or ride bikes, so you may want to bring one along.
The RV Park Perks
Hudson, Florida is where you’ll find Barrington Hills. The RV resort offers an exercise and billiards room, clubhouse (for group events), potluck meals, and outdoor favorites like shuffleboard, horseshoes, and bocce ball. The outdoor swimming pool is a hit with the guests. You may even catch a water aerobics class going on, or participate. A laundry room, grills, a picnic area, and shower facilities are nearby.
Fun Fact: Each year Dade City hosts the Kumquat Festival, celebrating the tart citrus fruit that is grown here.
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