Gulf Coast’s Hidden Gem | Dunedin, FL | RTX Traveler Magazine

With Pristine natural beauty, a small town feel, warm hospitality and a convenient location in Pinellas County and near Tampa Bay, Dunedin is the perfect RTX vacation destination.

Dunedin (pronounced DONE-EE-DIN) is a quaint yet bustling waterfront town on the west coast of Florida. With 4 miles of picturesque waterfront, some of the best beaches in the country, a walkable and pet-friendly downtown, one-of-a-kind boutiques and friendly locals Dunedin is a relaxing and mellow beach retreat.

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AROUND TOWN

With Celtic shops and art all around town it becomes apparent there is a rich Scottish heritage in Dunedin; after all, the town was named by Scottish settlers. Learn more about the town’s past at the Dunedin Historical Museum where more than 2,000 artifacts are on display.

Continue your Dunedin discovery by visiting the local independent art galleries and antique shops that dot the town. Start at the Painted Fish Gallery or Institute for Creative Art then head over to the Firehouse Gallery, located in a converted fire station and featuring local art.

The Dunedin Fine Arts Center & Children’s Art Museum is a great place for the family to visit. More than just a gallery for local and regional artists, the center offers a wide variety of classes and interactive experiences that create a “village square” atmosphere and sense of community.

Of course a trip to Dunedin is not complete without a stroll down the town’s well-known Main Street. Dozens of quality restaurants like the Black Pearl, Kelly’s and Cafe Alfresco will provide you plenty of energy for a day of shopping. Everything from Scottish imports and antiques to gourmet cooking supplies and fine jewelry and art can be found in the quaint shops.

After a long day of walking and shopping grab a cold beer and cool off as Dunedin is known for its beer scene. Stop at The Dunedin Brewery, Florida’s oldest craft brewery, or swing by The Dunedin House of Beer for a large selection of craft beers on tap.

sports.fishing4WORLD-CLASS BEACHES

Looking to relax with sand and surf? Just minutes from downtown across the Dunedin Causeway are Honeymoon Island State Park and Caladesi Island State Park. Honeymoon Island, a natural getaway for boating, fishing, picnics, swimming and exploring nature has 4 miles of sandy shoreline perfect for shelling and relaxing. Learn more about the native wildlife at the island’s nature center and then take a hike on the Osprey Trail, aptly named after the birds of prey that inhabit the area.

Those looking to escape the crowd a little more and experience one of the most beautiful beaches in the world need to look no further than Caladesi Island State Park. Named the best beach in America on multiple occasions by a variety of sources, the clear turquoise water and soft white sand of the island’s beaches are reminiscent of tropical paradises.

Accessible only by private boat or ferry from Honeymoon Island, Caladesi Island is a nature lover’s dream come true. Discover the wildlife and fauna of the island’s inner mangroves with a hike on a 3-mile trail or paddle a kayak through the island’s interior. After storms the beaches are bombarded with shells, great for taking home keepsakes.

Good to know: Only 4 miles south of Beso Del Sol, Clearwater Beach was named “2013 Best Beach Town” by USA Today and is perfect for those looking for a more lively and active experience.

beach.clearwater3OUTDOOR FUN

Want to get outdoors for a little activity?  Known as the “Most Walkable Small City” in America, Dunedin residents and vacationers love to get out and about. From bicycling and walking to fishing the waters of the Gulf there are plenty of ways to stay active.

Start the day early with By Request Charters, Dunedin’s favorite fishing experience. Join Captain Dan Adams on the beautiful flats of the west central Gulf Coast and fish the clear waters for tarpon, snook, cobia, dolphin and more. With 28 years of local experience Captain Dan knows the waters well and takes pride in making sure everyone is a part of the entire fishing process, from locating fish to baiting.

Land lovers can explore Dunedin by visiting the The Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail.  The 40-mile trail is made of former railway tracks that were paved over, creating a pedestrian only path for jogging, inline skating and cycling. A main section of the trail runs through the heart of town, passing highlights like Pioneer Park, the Dunedin Brewery, the Dunedin Marina and Hammock Park.

Golfers will love the Dunedin Golf Club which is open to the public and widely considered the best golf value in the area. Designed by one of the world’s greatest golf course architects, Donald Ross, the course is perfect for beginners and experts alike.

Good to know: RTX members staying at Dunedin’s Beso Del Sol can stop by the resort office and sign out a new bicycle to explore the trail.

153205355_webAROUND THE BAY

Another key draw of Dunedin is its proximity to all of the best the Tampa Bay area has to offer. With world-class museums, professional sporting events, exciting nightlife, top-notch restaurants and even more famous beaches the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater offer up  plenty of entertainment options.

Relax the day away on St. Pete Beach or cast a line off Sunshine Skyway Pier where no license is needed. Spend the evening at Pier 60 in Clearwater where musicians, artists and street performers set up each evening as the sun sets. The town’s signature celebration is family-friendly and free so be sure to stop by.

Those seeking the excitement of big city nightlife will find an array of clubs, bars and late night eateries in the Ybor City neighborhood of nearby Tampa. Listen to jazz, blues, salsa, reggae and more in this historic district that is also known as one of Florida’s top-ranked night spots.

EVENTS & FESTIVALS

With ideal weather most of the year, Dunedin is a perfect place for a festival, especially during the fall. Take a look at these three events held each year in Dunedin.

DUNEDIN WINES THE BLUES November 9, 2013:This signature event for Dunedin is an upscale affair combining top notch blues music from all over the country with wine from all over the world and is held on Main Street each year.
DUNEDIN CELTIC FESTIVAL November 23, 2013:The Celtic Festival features Scottish-influenced music, dancing, food and fun. The annual nine day Highland Games and Festival draws athletes from miles around (even Scotland) to compete in ancient Scottish sports. There’s also Highland dancing, piping, drumming and parades of bands and clans.
DOWNTOWN DUNEDIN ART FESTIVAL January 11-12, 2014:Held on Main Street, you will meet 150 of the nation’s most talented artists showcasing a broad spectrum of mediums including sculpture, photography, glass, paintings, ceramics, jewelry, mixed media and more. Patrons will have the opportunity to personally meet with the artists, commission a work of art and learn what inspires the artists.

 

 

 

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