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.

Tierra Verde

tierraverde1At the southern tip of Pinellas County, where Tampa Bay meets the Gulf of Mexico, is a string of islands collectively called Tierra Verde. This exclusive, unincorporated area is home to 3,721 residents according to the 2010 U.S. Census, with a little more than a third living in single family homes and the balance residing in condominiums and townhomes.

tierraverde2

Residents enjoy all the luxuries and conveniences right here with a wide range of restaurants, specialty shops, spa services, boutiques and more. The Tierra Verde Marina is a full-service facility catering to the many boaters who live nearby. The waterways, 150 to 350 feet wide and some 15 feet deep, have been especially engineered to allow the Gulf of Mexico’s tidal actions to help sweep them clean.

At the southern tip of Tierra Verde is one of the world’s most pristine and famous beaches, Fort DeSoto Park, designated as the #1 U.S. Beach in 2005 and named America’s Top Beach in 2009 by Trip Advisor.

A morning stroll on soft white sand, an afternoon of fishing, or an evening out at a fine restaurant can all be found “at home” when home is Tierra Verde. But should you want to venture out, St. Petersburg is only 15 minutes away, and downtown Tampa can be reached in 35 minutes.

Factoids:

Population: 3,721 according to the 2010 U.S. Census
Land Area: 1.5 Sq. Miles
 

Points of Interest: Fort De Soto Park – At the southern tip of Tierra Verde. Tierra Verde Marina.

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.

St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg has been listed on Livability.com’s “Top 100 Most Livable Cities in America” for 2014! It has been named one of America’s most livable communities, much thanks to its parks and recreational amenities, a focus on the arts community, a vibrant downtown and active neighborhood associations.  It is also known for its world-famed, nearby beaches and a blessed climate where the sun shines some 360 days each year.

Pinellas Largest City
St. Petersburg’s 244,769 residents (according to the 2010 U.S. Census) live in more than 100 communities.  To say there is something for everyone in St. Pete is not an exaggeration.  You could choose a Craftsman-style bungalow in friendly Historic Kenwood or a Mediterranean villa estate on Snell Isle.  Find a restored Colonial Revival along the tree-shaded streets of Old Northeast, or a more contemporary home along the famed “Pink Streets” of Pinellas Point, a luxury high-rise condo overlooking the downtown waterfront, or a rehabbed 1920s Tudor in charming Crescent Lake.

A Vibrant City Center
Downtown is a magnet to residents and visitors alike, with its phenomenal shopping and dining offerings, art galleries, antique shops and cultural and recreational facilities, including the Museum of Fine Arts.

Endless To Do List
tropicanafieldSt. Pete residents tend to be quite active in their own communities, but have plenty of reason to get out and about.  Saturday morning at the outdoor market is a popular spot, in fact one of the nation’s largest of its kind. You may choose a night out on the town with live theater and find dining or maybe an afternoon with a glimpse of rare wildlife at Boyd Hill Nature Park. You can spend an afternoon with the kids at Great Explorations, an interactive museum, maybe followed by an evening of theater at American Stage, the Bay area’s oldest professional theater company. You can enjoy a stroll through a waterfront art festival or maybe attend a Tampa Bay Rays Major League Baseball game at Tropicana Field nearby.

dali2No where else
St. Pete folks are especially proud of The Salvador Dali Museum, the world’s largest collection of Dali Art outside of Spain. Visible from downtown is the beautiful Sunshine Skyway Bridge, at 4.1 miles long and 19 stories high, the largest cable suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere.

Green Space
St. Pete is also one of Florida’s greenest cities with 2,300 acres of public land dedicated to parks and recreation areas across 137 city parks.  Jewels include historic the Weedon Island Preserve, with a canoe trail taking you through a tunnel of native mangroves, and a portion of the Pinellas Trail.

“What strikes me about our town is that in spite of lots of new construction, condos, office buildings, even a professional baseball stadium, St. Pete still feels like a small town. And with its many old buildings still preserved its evident the city has a rich history and didn’t just spring up in the last few years. Finally, I love the way our downtown waterfront has been preserved as it for the most part it is open and free for everyone to enjoy.” Pat Mason, 40-year resident.

Factoids:

Population: 244,769 according to the 2010 U.S. Census
Land Area: 60.9 Sq. Miles
 

Points of Interest: Museum of Fine Arts, Saturday morning market, Boyd Hill Nature Park, American Stage, St. Petersburg Pier, Great Explorations, Tampa Bay Rays, The Salvador Dali Museum, Sunshine Skyway Bridge