Safety Harbor

safetyharbor1Tucked away like a hidden gem among the ancient oaks at the top of old Tampa Bay, the town of Safety Harbor is a small town hideaway with sparkling water views. Home of the historic Espiritu Santo Springs and a world-renowned spa, Safety Harbor has always drawn visitors with its restorative powers. Its natural beauty and ideal locale continue to attract young families, artists, retirees, working professionals and others who make Safety Harbor home.

This is a vibrant village, with weekly markets and festivals, boating marinas and fishing piers, and a quaint downtown, bustling with an eclectic array of shops, eateries and art galleries.  Residents of Safety Harbor enjoy seven city parks, the backdrop for live music events and lively outdoor pursuits – biking, roller-blading, jogging and strolling – as well as canoeing and kayaking in Tampa Bay. Big-city attractions are just minutes away, but once you’re home in Safety Harbor, the rest of the world seems distant, indeed.

Location, Location, Location
Safety Harbor residents cannot say enough about the contrast between the insulated feel of their Safety Harbor village and its location. It is minutes away from major north-south, east-west traffic corridors in Pinellas County, making it about the most centrally located community in the whole of the Tampa Bay metropolitan area. From a home in Safety Harbor, you can get to Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater quicker than from almost any other community. Yet when you are home, you feel like you are in a small town miles from anywhere.

“It’s like a little village off the beaten path,” according to long-time resident, Gary Bass. “When you make that turn to the east off McMullen Booth Road, you leave six lanes of traffic, the hustle and the stress and you feel like you’re on vacation.”

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 16,884 residents live in Safety Harbor, making it a rather small community by today’s standards. They consistently report that what they like about living in Safety Harbor is the small town feel, the traditional Main Street, and the quaint atmosphere. Location is also a big factor as residents can drive to just about anywhere around the area in just a few minutes.

Safety Harbor maintains an active Parks and Recreation Department, sponsoring a number of camps that children can enjoy for a small fee. These include everything from educationally oriented activities to sailing instruction. The camps are popular and a source of civic pride.

For Youngsters
The many young families send their children to Safety Harbor Elementary School and Safety Harbor Middle School. Most high-school students attend Countryside High a few miles to the north.

Abundance of Recreation
Safety Harborites have a relatively short drive to all that Tampa Bay has to offer. But they love their peaceful little enclave and produce many special community events. Each year there is a Seafood Festival, a Canoe and Kayak Festival and a Wine Festival, among others. Every third Friday of the month the city blocks of a big chunk of Main Street for music, dancing and food.

Medical Services
Mease Countryside Hospital is located in Safety Harbor and has a fully staffed emergency room. It also features maternity and pediatric care. Mease Countryside is a top quality operator and has been named as one of the country’s top 100 hospitals seven times. That’s quite remarkable considering that it only began in 1986.

 

Factoids:
Population: 16,884 according to the 2010 U.S. Census
Land Area: 4.92 Sq. Miles
 

Points of Interest: Weekly Markets and Festivals, boating, Fishing, Quaint Downtown, Art Galleries, Seven City Parks, Live Music Events, Biking, Roller-blading, Jogging, Canoeing and Kayaking, Seafood Festival, A Wine Festival.

Treasure Island

treasureisland1When Treasure Island residents cross over one of the three bridges to their barrier island homes, the tropical light, colorful foliage and the sound of seabirds in the air let them know they’ve arrived someplace very special.

The three and a half-mile beach that fronts the Gulf of Mexico makes up the western boundary of Treasure Island. Narrow at both ends and wide in the middle, locals claim that it’s the widest beach on the Gulf Coast. At the north end is John’s Pass, with Madeira Beach on the other side, and at the south end is Blind Pass, both have access to the Gulf of Mexico from inland waters. In fact, Treasure Island is an island.

Hotels, motels and condominiums occupy most of the beach front property while most of the town’s residents live along canals on the landside of the island. The proximity to the Gulf and the canal houses with boat slips make it a great place for boaters.

In addition to its marina and three very busy public boat ramps, the town also provides wonderful land-based recreational facilities.  The Treasure Island park system was designed with the goal that every resident would be within walking distance of a park.  The Treasure Island Golf & Tennis Center includes a 9-hole golf course, 10 tennis courts, plus facilities for volleyball, basketball, horseshoes and shuffleboard.

Life’s a Beach
treasureisland2 According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 6,705 residents enjoy an easygoing, flip-flop lifestyle. They have the advantages of living in a small, but well-serviced community where they essentially are on vacation every day of the week. Treasure Island features a lively restaurant and bar scene along the beach, catering to locals as well as the high number of annual visitors from near and far.

Fun in the Sand
 
An annual highlight of living in Treasure Island is the Master Sand Sculpting Competition and Music Festival called Sanding Ovations. It is a four day competition of sand sculpting masters from places in North America and Europe, who create astonishing works of art using nothing but sand, water and lots of their own imagination.

“Treasure Island was a really nice place to grow up. As kids we fished, went waterskiing and played on the beach and kids can still do that here. And you’ll not find better neighbors.  We stick together and really care about our community.” Butch Ellsworth, lifelong resident.

Factoids:

Population: 6,705 according to the 2010 U.S. Census
Land Area: 1.59 Sq. Miles
 

Points of Interest: The Sun, Sand and Swing festival, Beaches, Skim Boarding, Swimming, Fishing, Marina and three very busy public boat ramps, The Treasure Island Park System, The Treasure Island Golf & Tennis Center includes a 9-hole golf course, 10 tennis courts, plus facilities for volleyball, basketball, horseshoes and shuffleboard.

Madeira Beach

madeirabeach1Madeira Beach is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other. Its residents either live on the water or within walking distance of it. In fact, watch the daily migration of people as they wander down to the water each night to view the spectacular sunset.

With a population of 4,263 people as of the 2010 Census, Madeira Beach has a small town atmosphere and a largely residential feel. Families are in the minority here, as many Madeira Beach households are retirees or empty nesters.

madeirabeach2The main attraction of the city is John’s Pass, a quaint fishing village with unique shops and boutiques, a fishing fleet, cruise lines, boat rentals, parasailing and jet skiing, and a variety of restaurants. If deep sea fishing is of interest to you, several charters are available right here at John’s Pass. As you walk along a waterside boardwalk you will most likely see dolphins in the water below. Want a close-up photo with you and a pelican? Then, John’s Pass is your best bet. John’s Pass is named for the mysterious pirate turned turtle fisherman, John Levique, who is said to have found the pass after a large storm created it. You can read more about John Levique here.

Residents and visitors alike enjoy Gulf views from the white sand beaches, as well as the beauty of the Intracoastal along the 1,100 foot boardwalk.

Factoids:

Population: 4,263 per U.S. Census
Land Area: 1.03 Sq. Miles
 

Points of Interest: John’s Pass Village, fishing, restaurants and shops. Gulf views from the white sand beaches, the beauty of the Intracoastal along the 1,100 foot boardwalk.

Belleair Bluffs

The City of Belleair Bluffs, a tiny hamlet measuring less than three-quarters of a square mile, is home to 2,031 residents who enjoy life in a peaceful, close-knit community.

The city borders the Intracoastal Waterway, making it a haven for boaters. The Belleair Causeway, gateway to the barrier islands just beyond, provides residents easy access to a sandy beach with calm waters, and a boat launch for access to water sports.

With more than 200 commercial and professional businesses, Belleair Bluff provides for the needs of its residents right at home. For many who live here, a quick visit to a shop or lunch at a neighborhood restaurant is just a stroll away.

 

Factoids:

Population: 2,031 according to the 2010 U.S. Census
Land Area: 0.46 Sq. Miles

Points of Interest: Intracoastal Waterway, Boating, Bellaire Causeway, Sandy Beaches, Boat launches, Water sports, More than 200 commercial and professional businesses, Visits to a shop or lunch at a neighborhood restaurant is just a stroll away.

Belleair Beach

The 1,560  residents of Belleair Beach enjoy a relaxed lifestyle on a barrier island, proud to have preserved their peaceful town as one of the last purely residential beaches in Pinellas County. Aside from a motel and a couple of timeshares, Belleair Beach is strictly residential and its citizens have every intention of keeping it that way.

Two miles of white sandy beach front and man-made fingers of land extending into the Intracoastal Waterway offer magnificent Gulf sunsets and superb water access to those fortunate to call Belleair Beach home.

belleairbeach2Because the city is but two miles long and less than a mile wide, every resident either lives on the water or within an easy stroll of the water. While many Belleair Beach residents maintain private boat docks, a city boat ramp and municipal marina provide access to all who wish to take to the sea. Walking paths through the town or along the beach make outdoor life here truly enjoyable. The city also maintains tennis courts, a basketball court and eleven public parks.


 Factoids:

Population: 1,560 according to the 2010 U.S. Census
Land Area: 0.58 Sq.
 

Points of Interest: Municipal marina, Walking paths through the town or along the beach, Tennis courts, Basketball court and eleven public parks.