I’ve been living in Florida for six weeks now. Each weekend I’ve tried to get out and explore somewhere new. Over the weekend, I decided to venture to the beach, gardens, and a historic village. The trip below includes Pass-A-Grill Beach, the Sunken Gardens and Largo’s Heritage Village.
I wasn’t sure where I wanted to explore when waking up Saturday morning, but after some Pinterest and Instagram searching, I decided to drive along the coast from Clearwater down to Pass-a-Grille Beach. It’s about a forty five minute trip for me from my apartment in Clearwater down to Pass-a-Grille. I went down route 699 South that goes through a bunch of the beach towns.
My first stop was John’s Pass near Madeira Beach. It’s a pass that was originally created by a hurricane in 1848. It’s now a tourist stop with a boardwalk and village. I got there before it got busy, about 10ish. You can pay for parking along the street and it’s only a few dollars. I paid for two hours since I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I went in a few stores and got some early Christmas shopping done. If you don’t know me, I love giving gifts. I pick things up throughout the year and keep them in a basket ready for birthdays, Christmas, or just any reason. After spending some time checking out the stores, I walked down to the boardwalk which was cooler than I anticipated it would be. There were a bunch of restaurants and you could eat on the docks over the water. It wasn’t lunch time yet so I popped in a coffee shop called Addicted to the Bean. I got an iced vanilla latte and a breakfast sandwich which were both delicious and got back on the road.
I drove south continuing on 699 toward St. Pete Beach and Pass-a-Grille. Since I was getting there right around prime beach time, the parking was slim. I ended up parking at the end of the point in Pass-a-Grille. It’s right along the beach and you pay a few bucks to park. I walked along the beach and then down into down. There’s a few places to eat and a few shops downtown. If you like architecture at all, I would recommend just walking the streets and enjoying the colors and the styles of the various homes. They’re all so different but beautiful. The Don Cesar (Pink Palace) which is on the way is a stunning historic hotel. While I didn’t go in, it’s on my list to visit at some point.
Next stop was the Sunken Gardens which are north of downtown. It was $10 to get into the gardens, and absolutely worth it. The gardens are sunken because there was originally a lake on the property that was drained to make way for the gardens. It’s an open air garden (no roof), and is beautiful. There are painted walkways, a pond, flamingos, waterfalls, grassy areas, and so many plants and palm trees.
It took about an hour or so to walk through. I didn’t read all the signs, mostly just enjoyed and took pictures. There’s places to picnic and you can bring in outside food and drink. They have a little gift shop where I picked up another ornament to commemorate more of the places I’ve traveled.
About 30 minutes from there in Largo is Heritage Village. I hadn’t looked it up prior to going, I just saw historic buildings and thought, why not? I got there around 2:30 and it has free admission. Win! It is about twenty acres of land that has historical buildings from around Pinellas County. There’s a variety of buildings that include a school house, auto body shop, church, bandstand, train station, cabin, and various family homes.
Many of the buildings you can walk right into and explore and really take a walk into history. I spent about an hour walking around the paths and each of the various buildings. You could definitely spend a few hours there exploring. They also have picnic tables and benches where you could bring food and picnic.
All in all, it was a great day to explore. It was hot and humid as heck, but I didn’t run into any of the usual thunderstorms so I’ll call it a success!