Top Ten Lists

Northern Pinellas County

Pinellas County is the most densely populated county in Florida, even more so than Tampa's Hillsborough and Miami's Broward County. Despite the endless of stream of congestion and shopping malls, you can still find a number of great parks, beaches, and activities.

Due to the size of the county, I have created a top 10 list for both Northern and Southern Pinellas County.

Featured below is a list of 10 fun things to do in Northern Pinellas County. For the purpose of this list, Northern Pinellas County includes the following towns: Palm Harbor, Oldsmar, Dunedin, Tarpon Springs, and Safety Harbor. You will find many great parks, beaches, and charming historic downtowns in this section of Pinellas County.

Enjoy the list and be sure to incorporate a few activities into your itinerary the next time you find yourself in the area.
  • 1. Watch a sunset at beautiful Fred Howard Park
    Watch a sunset at beautiful Fred Howard Park
    1700 Sunset Drive, , 34689
    Palm trees, white sand, and warm water await you at this quiet Tarpon Springs beach. Located away from the more popular, touristy beaches in Southern Pinellas County, Fred Howard offers you the opportunity to enjoy some sun and fun, minus the extreme crowds. Be sure to also plan a sunset visit for top notch photo opportunities.
  • 2. Walk the quiet trails & look for alligators at John Chestnut Park
    Walk the quiet trails & look for alligators at John Chestnut Park
    2200 E Lake Road, , 34685
    A great everyday park, Palm Harbor's John Chestnut, is the perfect choice for morning and evening exercise. In addition to a 3/4 mile loop which is idea for walks and jogs, the park provides the following great amenities: a large dog park, a sand volleyball court, several picnic shelters, and a mile plus of boardwalk trails complete with scenic swamp and lake views.

    Taking a walk across the cypress swamps gives you an idea of what Florida looked like in the old days. This low key, scenic community park is one of the best choices in the area for exercise, photography, and relaxation.
  • 3. Take a hike at Brooker Creek Preserve
    Take a hike at Brooker Creek Preserve
    3940 Keystone Road, , 34688
    This secluded preserve in Tarpon Springs offers a perfect solitary setting for the nature enthusiast. Several miles of scenic hiking trails and endless opportunities for sightings of various wildlife (turtles, birds, armadillos) await you at this quiet little gem.

    Trails are easy, peaceful, mostly shady, and often filled with wildlife. It's not uncommon to see a tortoise or armadillo crossing the path right in front of you!
  • 4. Take a stroll around historic downtown Dunedin
    Take a stroll around historic downtown Dunedin
    Main Street, , 34698
    Dunedin is home to one of the nicest historic downtowns in the Tampa metro area. In addition to a handful of great local restaurants, coffeehouses, and shops, you'll also find a lineup of unique yearly events, most notably the festive Holiday Boat Parade.

    In addition, monthly events like the 2nd Friday Art Walk and a weekly Farmer's Markets give you interesting activities to look forward to all year long. Taking a stroll around this charming downtown is a welcome departure from the many bland strip malls surrounding the area.

    Don't miss out on The Beatles Museum and beautiful Edgewater Park!
  • 5. Bike the Pinellas Trail
    Bike the Pinellas Trail
    Main Street, , 34698
    Biking enthusiasts must check out the Pinellas Trail, a Rail-Trail Hall of Fame recipient, offering 30+ miles of paved trails through several Gulf coast communities in the Tampa Bay area. The trail is flat, well-marked, and not overly crowded.

    The section which travels through Northern Pinellas county (Dunedin, Palm Harbor, and Tarpon Springs) is by far the more scenic and relaxing portion of the trail. Highlights include a mostly tree-lined course, little congestion, and easy access to downtown Dunedin and Tarpon Springs.

    In addition, the opportunity to take advantage of convenient detours (like Honeymoon Island State Park) makes the ride a bit more exciting.
  • 6. Relax and enjoy the views at Honeymoon Island State Park
    Relax and enjoy the views at Honeymoon Island State Park
    1 Causeway Blvd, , 34698
    Honeymoon Island almost always places well amongst various "best of" Florida beaches lists, due to the amazing sunsets that one can experience while visiting this pretty Gulf coast beach. Daytime spring and summer visits is a great time for swimming in the warm waters of the Gulf and collecting beautiful seashells.

    Beaches aside, the highlight here is the 2 miles of gorgeous, natural hiking trails. Along the trails, you will have the opportunity to see native Florida plants and observe all different types of wildlife including bald eagles, gopher tortoises, and armadillos.

    Tip: Visit the park one hour before sunset for reduced parking fees and fewer crowds.
  • 7. Soak in naturally rich mineral waters at Safety Harbor Resort and Spa
    Soak in naturally rich mineral waters at Safety Harbor Resort and Spa
    105 North Bayshore Drive, , 34695
    Safety Harbor is a small Gulf coast community said to be the location where the Fountain of Youth was found by Hernando De Soto. The Safety Harbor Resort and Spa was built on the land where the original springs were found.

    The resort is said to use these healing waters in their spa treatments, in their restaurants and drinking water stations, and in the indoor pool and spa. The restorative waters supposedly cure a long list of illnesses due to the heavy concentration of minerals including sulfur which is an all over body detoxifier.

    Whether or not the waters are actually beneficial, the spa is still an excellent place to plan a day of total relaxation. In addition to a long list of luxury treatments, you will be able to enjoy all the amenities (tennis courts, a lap pool, indoor and outdoor hot tubs, steam rooms and saunas, and 2 on site restaurants).
  • 8. Stroll around Hammock Park
    Stroll around Hammock Park
    1900 San Mateo Dr, , 34698
    This small, yet pretty park is a shady oasis during the summer months. You will find 5 miles of quiet nature trails where you can bird watch, alligator watch, and enjoy the native plants and animals of the region. The park is listed on the Great Florida Birding trail, and thus, is quite popular with avid bird watchers. Keep a keen eye on the trails as alligators are frequently sighted. Due to the heavy shade coverage, it's a great place to plan a picnic.
  • 9. Take a guided cruise to Anclote Island
    Take a guided cruise to Anclote Island
    776 Dodecanese Blvd, , 34689
    While visiting Tarpon Springs, you will want to plan some time out to take a relaxing cruise. A combined dolphin, sightseeing, and shelling cruise is offered aboard Odyssey cruises. This cruise is really fun as you get to enjoy all 3 activities for one low price. Anclote Island is located just 3 miles from the Tarpon coast, however, it is only accessible via boat. This island is a shelling hotspot (on the cruise you will be given a bag to collect your treasures).

    Best of all, dolphin sightings are guaranteed or you receive a free return ticket!
  • 10. Shop & dine in downtown Tarpon Springs
    Shop & dine in downtown Tarpon Springs
    Dodecanese Blvd., , 34689
    Tarpon Springs, most famous for being the sponge capital of the world, also happens to be home to the highest population of Greek residents in the US. The picturesque downtown area is home to a number of quality authentic Greek restaurants, the famous sponge docks, and Spongeorama (a unique place that sells the largest collection of natural sponges).

    Other attractions include cruise lines, shops, and several small museums. The town offers an interesting yearly lineup of great events including the extremely popular "There's Snow Place Like Tarpon Springs," a festive celebration featuring Santa visits, snow, a holiday boat parade, and carriage rides.