When we first moved to the Tampa Bay area eight years ago we didn’t really know where we wanted to live. We were familiar with St. Pete, but that was too far of a drive for my husband’s job. We really wanted to be close to the water, so we decided to let our real estate agent show us around. We were drawn to the North Pinellas area mostly due to how close it was for my husband to commute to work each day (near the airport), while still being close enough to the beach. We ended up finding a great little house in Palm Harbor and we couldn’t be happier with the area. If you’re ever in the area, here are some of our favorite hot spots!
Honeymoon Island State Park: While technically Honeymoon Island is located in Dunedin, it does run parallel with Palm Harbor. It was originally called Hog Island and later was renamed Honeymoon Isle in 1939. If you stop by the Nature Center you can see pictures of the old thatched bungalows where honeymooners vacationed on the Island. Now Honeymoon is the most visited state park in Florida.
What can you do on Honeymoon Island? The most popular activity of course is playing on the beach but there is so much more that you can do. There is a great nature trail that takes you around some hidden areas that most people don’t get to experience from the beach. There is a brand new playground and covered pavilions (perfect for birthday parties) where you can enjoy a picnic lunch after a long day at the beach.
If you forget to pack a picnic you can always stop by the Cafe for a breakfast, lunch or dinner. Be sure to stop by the Nature Center and let your kids explore and learn about the natural history of the island. My oldest took a field trip to Honeymoon this year and learned all about the sea turtles that frequent the island to lay their eggs.
Want to bring your dog to the beach? There is even a special section of the beach just for dogs to romp in the water. Finally, if you get bored of Honeymoon Island you can always hop on a boat and head over to Caladesi Island which is only accessibly by boat. There is a ferry that makes regular trips over to Caladesi. Tip: Go about an hour before sunset and watch the sun go to sleep from the beach. Be sure to bring your camera. Location: 1 Causeway Blvd, Dunedin, FL 34698 Phone: 727-469-5942 Hours: 8am until sundown, 365 days a year. Cost: Parking fee of $2-8 depending on how many people are in your vehicle.
Wall Springs State Park: Just one of the many parks in Pinellas County that our family likes to visit when the weather is great. Wall Springs is another park with a lot of history. The springs were actually used as a spa and bathing area until about 1960. The springs are now for viewing only to preserve the wildlife that lives there. The park currently spans 210 acres and is full of hidden treasures around every corner.
The primary activity at Wall Springs is their barrier free and covered playground. This is my kids favorite playground in Palm Harbor and if they are bored they will ask to go here. It’s not uncommon to run into other friends from school when the kids are playing. If you’re looking for a place to have a birthday this is another favorite park that offers several pavilions that can be rented for $26.75. Reserve it early as they book up quick.
If you want a safe place to ride your bike, Wall Springs park is located along side the Pinellas Trail. Park at Wall Springs and hop on the trail for a short ride around town or let your little ones practice their bike skills on the boardwalk back to the observation tower at the back of the park. Must Do: Take a walk down to the spring head and then continue on a short walk down the trail to the observation tower. Climb all the way to the top and take a look at the area. Best view in all of Pinellas County! Location: 3725 De Soto Blvd, Palm Harbor, FL 34683. Cost: Free!
Our favorite places to eat in Palm Harbor are Lee Roy Selmon’s (34200 US 19, Palm Harbor, FL 34684) and Fireside Pizza Cafe (Downtown Palm Harbor, 1104 Nebraska Ave, Palm Harbor, FL 34683). I would recommend the Chicken and Waffles at Selmon’s and any of the wood-fired pizzas at Fireside. You really can’t go wrong with anything on their menu though.
Southern Steer Butcher: A premier butcher shop and specialty market located just outside of Palm Harbor in Clearwater. Southern Steer just opened this summer and is quickly becoming THE place to go to find the highest quality meats, local seafood, and wine. Their specialty is their marinated meats – I’d recommend trying the marinated steak tips! If you stop by, tell Greg and Kym how you heard about them. Be sure to bring your kids in with you, they usually have their snow cone machine going just for the kids. Location: 30214 US 19, Clearwater, FL 33761. Phone: 727-784-4100
First Friday in Palm Harbor: Pack up your friends and family and come to my favorite event every month – the First Friday Food Truck Rally in downtown Palm Harbor! Bring an empty stomach, some lawn chairs, and relax while the kids dance with the DJ from 5-9pm the first Friday of each month. There are usually 10 or more different food trucks along with a few local vendors and a DJ each month. My favorite trucks are Jimmy Meatballs, The Dude and His Food, PAO Truck and Lucia’s Gelato. Jimmy makes a mean ginger sesame balls and you may want to save room for the Nutella chocolate brownie balls too. As Jimmy always says, “Life’s Short….have a BALL!” There is usually a DJ, a magician, a balloon artist, and sometimes a bounce house for the kids. They usually have sidewalk chalk out for the kids to decorate the parking lot also. If you want to find me on the first Friday – you know where I’ll be! Location: Old Palm Harbor Main Street, 1190 Georgia Ave. Cost: Free plus the cost of food.
Do you live in Palm Harbor? What would you have added to this list? Tell me about it in the comments!