My husband and I spent some time in Florida this winter. The majority of our time was spent in Dunedin, a quaint town with a lot of character. Since we are bikers, we brought our bicycles from upstate New York and had picked Dunedin based in its proximity to the biking trails. We ended up doing a lot of biking in Florida.
About the Pinellas Trail
The Pinellas Trails is one of the best ways to experience the lovely Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area in Florida. This urban path for pedestrians and cyclists crisscrosses the community. Countless people stay fit and enjoy the scenic outdoors from the Pinellas Trail.
The trail is a paved path and runs more than 50 miles in Pinellas County. It was built on a former railroad route. It’s primarily flat and 15 feet wide in most places, with a surface of either asphalt or concrete. And it is used – well used. Bicyclists and walkers adorn the trail. You’ll come across many places where the trail crosses heavily trafficked intersections. In those cases, use the crosswalk buttons. These are busy roads. Lots of traffic so use them!!
According to a group called Friends of the Pinellas Trail, this multi-use trail is extremely popular, with 1.5 million users a year. Those users include walkers, runners, cyclists, commuters, and parents taking their kids out for a stroll.
Since this metro area has a population of more than 3 million, and it’s also a popular tourist destination, this is a busy place. But the trail is a pleasant way to get some exercise, enjoy the warm sunny days, as well as get to places.
Biking from Dunedin to Tarpon Springs
Our first trip out was north to Tarpon Springs. This is a pleasant bike trip.
Tarpon Springs has many bars and restaurants and the best bike paths I have ever seen. The bike path at points runs down the middle of the road with cars using the sides.
Village of Tarpon Springs
Tarpon Springs is known as the sponge capital of the world. Tarpon Springs has the largest population of Greek and Greek-Americans in the U.S. The city is home to the World Famous Sponge Docks, which are still a working waterfront as they have been since the 1800s. A few Greek immigrants arrived in the city during the 1890s to work in the sponge industry. The technique of sponge diving was started by recruiting divers and crew members from Greece. The sponge industry soon became one of the leading maritime industries in Florida and the most important business in Tarpon Springs, generating millions of dollars a year. Sponge Diving still exists and the boats along the waterways show airing the sponges to dry in the sun. There is fabulous Greek food in the quaint village and Greek heritage is obvious.
Forbes published a great article on the sponge divers if you would like to read more.
Biking in Florida to Dunedin and beyond
Biking into downtown Dunedin is also pleasant. Dunedin has many great restaurants. Our favorite was Cafe Alfresco which also had the best blueberry mojitos. The atmosphere was great – from the guitar player on the street playing “The Sounds of Silence”, to the outdoor seating, to the great food.
The downtown is very bike friendly. Notice the racks for bikes in Dunedin.
Just off the bike path is Weaver Park Pier. The pier is used for walking, fishing and sunsets. Here I saw a fisherman reel in a puffer fish. A puffer fish, also called a blowfish, inflates itself with air and water when it senses danger. Puffer fish can contain toxic substances, so this fisherman did not keep this fish!
There is also an American Legion on the bike trail. Bikers and walkers enjoy it here and there is always music playing by a band or solo musician.
The Dunedin Causeway is 2.5 miles and connects the mainland with Honeymoon Island State Park. It is a series of three bridges and lined on each side with water. The outer bridges are fixed bridges, and the middle one is a drawbridge. With the exception of the drawbridge where you need to walk your bike due to the narrower pathway, the entire area to and through Honeymoon Island is very bike friendly.
The Dunedin Causeway has walking/biking paths and impressive white sand beaches. Vehicles can park right on the beach and it is a popular place to watch the sunset on the Gulf of Mexico.
While not part of the Pinellas Trail, a trip to Honeymoon Island is well worth the trip. Honeymoon Island is a state park, and a beautiful one! Honeymoon Island State Park is connected to the city of Dunedin on the mainland by the 2.5 mile long Dunedin Causeway. Our condo was on the causeway and this made a great bicycle trip.
Honeymoon Island State Park
Part of a string of barrier islands sparkling in the Gulf of Mexico off Florida’s West Coast, Honeymoon Island State Park is a real gem, preserved in a natural state for everyone to enjoy. Honeymoon Island State Park has more than four miles of unspoiled white sand beach and a three mile trail through one of the last remaining virgin slash pine forests. The nature trail is for walkers/bikers, although parts of the trail were difficult biking due to sand.
The natural nature trail is pretty and pleasant. Some points include trees with Spanish moss hanging. Fun fact: Spanish moss is not moss at all. Spanish moss does not have roots. It clings itself a host tree to survive and does not affect the host tree at all.
Wildlife on the nature trail includes eagles, osprey and great horned owls, while ground animals include gopher tortoises, raccoons and armadillos.
There is a cafe on the beach for food and drinks which has a gorgeous view of the Gulf.
South of Dunedin on the Pinellas Trail
The trail going south from Dunedin has some nice spots but goes through mostly urban areas that aren’t our preference. We started the trail twice, but turned around in Clearwater each time. Biking in the city was not what we were looking for.
We enjoyed our trip and if you don’t want to spend all of your time at the beach, or are looking for something different to do, check out the Pinellas bike trail. There is a mix of regular and electric bikes (e-bikes) on the trail. There are several places that rent both regular and e-bikes, on and around the trail. Our condo was perfectly located and we rarely took our vehicle anywhere.
I’m often asked what camera I shoot with. I’m a firm believer that any modern camera today and produce a good picture. I use a Canon R5 as my main camera. It is a mirrorless camera, but most importantly it is a great tool. I am able to get it to translate the vision that I see into a photograph. My key reasons for this camera are:
- It is 45 mp. For some photographers, that is too much. For a landscape photographer it is my sweet spot.
- It’s a Canon. I have used a lot of Canon cameras and have always found them dependable, reliable and intuitive to use.
- The RF lenses are truly amazing. I have always had EF-L series lenses, but the RF lenses produce stunning images.
- The image stabilization is outstanding
But this isn’t a blog about cameras. If you want to know more, please contact to me.
Debbi Marquette Photography is located in Upstate New York at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. Debbi is an award winning and published travel, landscape and bald eagle photographer specializing in artistic, authentic, and memorable landscape and wildlife photography. She travels frequently, lives near the mountains and constantly has a camera in her hand to capture photographs so others can see the beauty of our world.
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