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Top recommendations from locals

From sightseeing to hidden gems, find out what makes the city unique with the help of the locals who know it best.
Playground
“Pinellas County in the Tampa Bay area maintains some of the finest parks in the state. The waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay surround the peninsula that makes up Pinellas County. In 1948, Pinellas County began acquiring land through purchases and donations, and creating free parks for the county residents and visitors. Spanning 122 acres, the county acquired the land that became Philippe Park in 1948. It is located on the east coast of Pinellas County along the western shores of Old Tampa Bay in a small town called Safety Harbor. Philippe Park in Safety Harbor offers lots of activities to visitors. Large groups can rent one of the many picnic pavilions for birthday parties or group functions. Many single picnic tables and grills also dot the grounds of the park and are available on a first-come basis. The boat ramp gives boaters easy access to Old Tampa Bay for a day on the water or fishing. Those who don’t own a boat can fish along the one mile of shoreline in Philippe Park. Benches or flat grassy areas give visitors perfect places to rest for a view of the Bay. Three playgrounds and a ball field provide sporting and play fun for all ages. Like most of the Pinellas County parks, Philippe Park has been thoughtfully planned out and is a popular (and free) place for exercise and relaxation for the local residents. The park holds historical significance for two reasons. First, it’s the site of Count Odet Philippe’s 160 acre plantation which he purchased in 1842. Count Philippe was the county’s first permanent, non-native settler. A successful businessman, he introduced grapefruit and cigar-making to the Tampa Bay area. When he died in 1869 he was buried on his plantation, and though the exact site of his grave is unknown it is believed to be somewhere within the park, which is named for him. Local artists paint grapefruit by request on buildings in nearby Safety Harbor, a nod to Philippe’s contribution to Florida’s citrus industry. Philippe Park’s more historical significance lies in the presence of an Indian mound within the park’s boundaries Indian mounds in Florida can be found in many coastal locations. There were 14 between Tampa and Sarasota, seven of which still remain. The native Tocobaga tribes constructed Indian mounds in three distinct varieties – burial mounds, the midden (or trash pile), and ceremonial mounds. The mound in Philippe Park was a ceremonial mound though experts believe many middens were also located throughout the park. Philippe Park’s Indian mounds stands approximately 20 feet tall and is approximately 100 feet at each side at the base. A ceremonial building likely stoop on the flat top of the mound, overlooking upper Tampa Bay. The ceremonial mound at Philippe Park in Safety Harbor overlooks Old Tampa Bay offering beautiful views of the water and surrounding park. The village which once surrounded the mound was probably the “capital” of the Tocobago civilization which lived in Pinellas County from 900 to the late 1700s. In 1966 the mound was designated an historic site by the National Park Service and is known as the Safety Harbor Site. The Tocobaga feasted on the abundant oysters in the nearby shallow water, and over the years the discarded oyster shells grew into the large mound. On this Sunday the park is filled with people. The picnic pavilions overflow with families and special events. Walkers, joggers,parents and children, and fishermen amble along the shoreline. Older couples sit on picnic tables under the hundreds of oak trees, laughing or talking, enjoying the warm weather and beautiful day. Children scamper over playground equipment. Families walk up the ramp on the Indian mound to enjoy the view from the top. Sitting under the oaks at the base of the mound, Tampa Bay’s waters lap at the seawall a few feet away from me. For a moment, I don’t see jet-skiers racing in the waters or people clad n shorts and t-shirts enjoying their weekend. For a moment, I see an earthen ramp leading from the top of the mound to a plaza filled with women and children. I see the land sloping to shell-strewn beaches where men clamber out of dugouts. Instead of airplanes and jet ski motors, I hear the wind pushing through dried palm fronds and the muted voices of the village. It’s easy to see why the Tocobago would have chosen this site for their capital. Easy access to the water, beautiful views, and a sheltered location would have invited them to settle here and build a life, as much as the site later invited Count Philippe to build his plantation and now invites the visitors to Philippe Park to settle down for a few hours and enjoy the outdoors.”
  • 14 locals recommend
Playground
“This is a large park with several hiking trails, ponds, a hug lake, fishing, boating, bicycling, Shelters with BBQ grills.”
  • 15 locals recommend
Place to shop
“Great prices on art, vegetables, fruit, berries, classic video games and hardware for retro systems such as Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Playstation, Windows 98, 2000, XP and 7.”
  • 10 locals recommend
American Restaurant
$$
“The food is all good. Our go to place for a steak. they have something for everybody. The bar is friendly and they make a great vodka tonic. Go for a high top table in the bar or a cozy booth. Good anytime. $$$ but worth it. ”
  • 7 locals recommend
Playground
“Beautiful water front park with playground, picnic areas, bandshell, and fishing pier.”
  • 5 locals recommend
Restaurant
  • 3 locals recommend
Bar
“Great outdoor music and an indoor/outdoor bar. Island atmosphere and Floribean food.”
  • 3 locals recommend
Point of Interest
“Zipline through the treetops and over the water. See bids and fish from above. This adventure is located at a park where you can rent canoes, go on hikes, go fishing etc! There is a dog park here also!”
  • 3 locals recommend
Bar
$$
“This is a really great place for socializing and dinner. It has a tasty menu including seafood, a full bar, and is very popular especially on weekends.”
  • 1 local recommends
Bar
  • 4 locals recommend
Route
“Beautiful walkways along Tampa Bay and great biking and playgrounds for kids....picnic pavilions and boat launch”
  • 3 locals recommend
Cafe
$$
  • 2 locals recommend
Grocery or Supermarket
$
“Great organic choices... vegetables, spices, meatless products and much more!”
  • 2 locals recommend
Restaurant
$$
  • 1 local recommends
Cafe
“They have a yummy breakfast menu with all the classics and their own baked goods.”
  • 2 locals recommend
Bus Station
“An awesome beautiful park on the water with many old live oak trees as well as historic Native American mounds. ”
  • 2 locals recommend

Top restaurants

American Restaurant
“The food is all good. Our go to place for a steak. they have something for everybody. The bar is friendly and they make a great vodka tonic. Go for a high top table in the bar or a cozy booth. Good anytime. $$$ but worth it. ”
  • 7 locals recommend
Restaurant
  • 3 locals recommend
Bar
“Great outdoor music and an indoor/outdoor bar. Island atmosphere and Floribean food.”
  • 3 locals recommend
Bar
“This is a really great place for socializing and dinner. It has a tasty menu including seafood, a full bar, and is very popular especially on weekends.”
  • 1 local recommends
Bar
  • 4 locals recommend
Restaurant
  • 1 local recommends
Cafe
“They have a yummy breakfast menu with all the classics and their own baked goods.”
  • 2 locals recommend
Restaurant
“You know...Chillis...Good but not great...but you always know what to expect.”
  • 3 locals recommend

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