Easy Escapes

The Quaint, History-Filled Florida Beach Town That's Still a Secret

by  Christina Valhouli | Updated on Mar 3, 2022
Dunedin, Florida
Dunedin, Florida / Photo courtesy of VisitStPeteClearwater.com

Dunedin, Florida — which is just 20 minutes from Clearwater Beach — feels like a world away. One of the oldest cities on Florida's west coast, Dunedin was originally settled by Scottish immigrants, and its name is the Gaelic version of Edinburgh. Marked by the red telephone box and street signs with names like Scotland Street and Highland Avenue, the town celebrates its Scottish heritage. The annual Dunedin Highland Games & Festival in the spring and the Dunedin Celtic Music and Craft Beer Festival each fall make for great reasons to visit. 

But, there's plenty to do here beyond kilts and bagpipes. Dunedin is an arts and culture hub, thanks to its vibrant street art and galleries. There are also craft breweries, restaurants, and boutiques waiting to welcome you. Read on for our official guide to Dunedin. 

What to See and Do 

Brush up on Dunedin's past at the Dunedin History Museum. The exhibits cover the town's settlers, as well as its railroad and citrus industries. Meanwhile, The Fab Four are the focus of Penny Lane, Beatles Museum that's is located above Rosie's Tavern of Dunedin. The museum, which is the brainchild of Liverpool native and Dunedin resident Dr. Robert Entel, showcases his collection of Beatles memorabilia, from soap bubbles to cake toppers to ticket stubs.

Also, the Beatles museum shares a space with Stirling Art Studios & Gallery, an artist collective comprised of 10 studios. The exhibits are constantly rotating, and if you want to meet the people behind the works, plan your visit accordingly: artist receptions are held the second Friday of every month. For even more art, check out Ann's Monroe St. Gallery, which showcases Ann Byal Feldshue's acrylic paintings alongside works from other artists.

You don't have to stop by a gallery to see art in Dunedin; the streets themselves are filled with colorful works. Keep an eye out for murals of oranges on building walls, which were painted by Stephen Spathelf. The artist sought inspiration from the vintage packing labels used to ship Dunedin's oranges in its heyday of citrus production. One of the most famous pieces of street art is an enormous mural of the city's dogs, with the slogan "Welcome to Dogedin."

Downtown Dunedin is also packed with independent boutiques. Key West Express Boutique sells fun resort wear like tunics and linen pants, while Emilia's Apothecary offers teas, tinctures, and herbal remedies. Nearly all of the products here are made with organic or wild-harvested herbs. Also, don't forget to pick up a beach read at Back in the Day Books, an independent shop that sells new and used tomes. Carve in some time to visit the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail, a pedestrian-only path that runs perpendicular to Main Street. Run, cycle, or stroll along the trail, which was once an abandoned railway path. The entire Pinellas trail spans more than 38 miles from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs.

One of Dunedin's biggest draws is its easy access to Honeymoon Island. This state park is home to one of the most pristine beaches along the Gulf of Mexico. If you walk for a few minutes past the beach entrance, it's easy to find a stretch of sand to call your own for the day. You can reach Honeymoon Island via a short drive on the Dunedin Causeway and rent a kayak to paddle there; alternatively, hire an electric bike from Kafe Racer.

Where to Eat and Drink

Back on land, grab a bite to eat at Casa Tina, a casual spot with an eclectic Florida-meets-Mexico menu featuring staples like ceviche and enchiladas. Hog Island Fish Camp, which is named after the original moniker for Honeymoon Island when it was connected to Caladesi Island (a hurricane split the land in two), is another must-visit. The specialty here is, of course, fish, which is available in the form of fried oysters, grouper sandwiches, and more. For a quick bite on the go, stop by the tiny Taco Baby, which is located in a 54-square-foot stand that formerly held an ATM. Craving something sweet? Strachan's Ice Cream scoops flavors like carrot cake, maple walnut, vanilla brownie, and so much more. 

No trip to Dunedin would be complete without sampling some craft beer. This compact town is home to seven breweries like Dunedin Brewery, the oldest microbrewery in Florida. Swing by to sample the small-batch Local Honey ale. In a hurry? Get yours to go in a growler or pick up a four-pack to bring a little taste of Dunedin home with you.

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