Page 1


Inside ... the best dining,

shopping, beaches & more


Welcome to Our

Paradise T

he past couple of years have been dizzying, to say the least. Whether we’re ad-

justing to life back in the office or taking Zoom calls from our couch, we’ve all had to deal with change in some form or another. As warmer weather settles in, it’s time instead to answer the call of the ocean. Power down your phone, lace up your shoes and head out into the natural splendor of Florida beckoning just beyond your doorstep.

If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve assembled a

range of recommendations to take you from the shore to the shops to sweet places to dine. Whether you’re staying near or going far, we invite you to explore the magic of the Sunshine State through its best beaches, meals and boutiques.

Your destination?


Destination Florida was designed and produced by the Marketing department of Times Total Media. WRITER: Erin Feitsma DESIGNER: Sally Moe Scan QR code to read and share digital version. For information, call 800-333-7505 ext. 8725 or email



Sunday, June 19, 2022 | Tampa Bay Times

Tampa Bay Times | Sunday, June 19, 2022 |


Islands & beaches & sand - OH MY! Hernando County

Get a feel for vintage Florida with a trip to Brooksville’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. Weeki Wachee is known for its magical mermaid shows and the clear, crisp waters of Weeki Wachee Springs. Buccaneer Bay, the on-site water park, is open on weekends only and offers water slides and lazy river tubing. Boat tours are also available, and you can make a reservation through Weeki Fresh Water Adventures to kayak down the Weeki Wachee River. Arrive early to avoid lines.

Pinellas County

For a piece of paradise, visit the consistently topranked Clearwater Beach, an ever-popular coastal destination with plush, soft sands and picturesque views. But there’s more than the shore: evening visitors will enjoy Sunsets at Pier 60, a nightly



Sunday, June 19, 2022 |

Tampa Bay Times

event held along the beach’s 1,080-foot pier, replete with street performers, vendors selling handmade creations, live music and more. Pier 60 is also the perfect place to go fishing, no license needed. Right around the corner is the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which rescues and nurses all kinds of marine animals back to health. Clearwater Beach is also near a bustling downtown area with places to shop and dine. Just north of Clearwater Beach lies Caladesi Island State Park, a Gulf Coast gem that can only be reached by boat. Take a leisurely ferry ride over from Honeymoon Island and discover a secluded oasis where you can kayak through a mangrove-laden trail or enjoy a peaceful place to picnic. The park also offers concessions in the form of Café Caladesi, which boasts burgers, fish, smoothies and more. Pick up a souvenir at the gift shop, or head to the water to collect beautiful shells as a memento from your trip. caladesi-island-state-park Rather remain on Honeymoon Island? Stay a while and stroll along over four miles of sprawling white sand. Animal lovers are in for a treat: osprey, armadillos and gopher tortoises call the island home, and your pup can enjoy the dog days of summer, too, when you visit Honeymoon Island’s very own Pet Beach. Go to visitflorida .com/en-us/florida-beaches/dog-friendly.html for a full list of dog-friendly beaches. Bikes and kayaks are available to rent, and you’ll be over the moon when you traverse the

Cont’d on Pg. 6

Tampa Bay Times


Sunday, June 19, 2022 |


cont’d from Oh My! Pg. 5

miles-long Osprey and Pelican Cove Trails, which wind through a virgin slash pine forest and mangroves, respectively. floridastate Southwest of St. Petersburg is Fort De Soto Park, which extends for a whopping 1,136 acres and consists of five nature-laden keys. Visit the park’s namesake fort or journey to the Quartermaster Storehouse Museum to learn more about its history.

Sarasota-Manatee County

Further south is Anna Maria Island, a stunning barrier island with an old-Florida feel. Cruise around town in one of the island’s street-legal golf carts, or take a stroll along miles of sandy shore, from Bradenton Beach to Holmes Beach to Bean Point Beach. Arrive early to secure parking. Travel south and discover Longboat Key, a coastal community home to Beer Can Island, a remote sand bar with beautiful views. Head south to nearby Lido Key for more fun in the sun. Lido Key has many sites to enjoy, including South Lido Beach, the perfect place for a picnic, birdwatching or canoe adventure. Not far away is the popular Siesta Key Beach, a top-ranked seaside getaway known for its lush, quartz-rich sand. Savor the shore with a variety of engaging activities, from morning yoga sessions on the beach to electric bike tours. Music and dance lovers will enjoy the Siesta Key Drum Circle, a gathering that has been meeting on Sunday nights for decades. Close by is Turtle Beach Campground, a small campsite with direct access to the beach where turtles make their nests from May through October. Head south to Venice Beach, where divers and snorkelers will love exploring the nearby coral reef, and those in search of sharks’ teeth are in luck. Artsy types are sure to enjoy the city’s International Chalk Festival, which gives professional artists an opportunity to display intricate 6EF


Sunday, June 19, 2022 |

Tampa Bay Times

works of chalk art on concrete.

... and beyond

Your last stop is further south and past the Everglades: the breathtaking Florida Keys. Head to Key West to find the Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, a National Historic Monument that you can tour and explore. Bookworms will be delighted to visit the Hemingway Home and Museum where Ernest Hemingway once lived, and those with their sights set on a nature adventure will love the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. t

Tampa Bay Times

| Sunday, June 19, 2022 |


ShoP LOCAL Sure, shopping online is easier than ever, but why wait for your treasure to ship when you can score a sweet deal locally? You can’t beat the intimate experience of browsing indie shops in real life, where the merchandise is artfully assembled, and you can support (and chat with) small-business owners face to face. Put your dollars to good use this summer and show these Florida shops some love.

St. Petersburg

A cool find for St. Pete art lovers is The Canyon Museum Shop Café, located in the expansive architectural wonder that is The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art. If you have a flair for bright splashes of color, you’ll love perusing the shop’s offerings, including statement jewelry, woven coasters, museum merch and more. The Canyon also serves drinks and southwestern meals at its vintage Western bar. Try juicy burgers or decadent desserts during your stop. For whimsical wares and one-of-a-kind finds, be sure to stop by St. Petersburg’s ARTpool Gallery. ARTpool sells a curated selection of vintage clothing and serves up charming retro vibes with its eye-catching window displays and antique items. Next door to the main shop is ARTpool Records, a peaceful space to search the crates for the record your collection is miss-



Sunday, June 19, 2022 | Tampa Bay Times

ing. The store also sells graphic tees, quirky pins and toys, plus refreshments if you’re feeling snacky. Masks are required for entry into both shops. No bookworm’s summer could be complete without enough volumes to fill up a beach bag (or a suitcase … or a car trunk … can you ever have enough books, really?). Tombolo Books knows the struggle. Tucked in a cozy corner next to Black Crow Coffee, this pleasantly low-key and charming indie bookstore in St. Pete is set up for people to linger, implicitly inviting you to mosey over with a matcha latte and dwell in the shop for many moons. With a variety of selections and a shelf of staff picks, Tombolo Books has a little something for everyone.

Wesley Chapel

Make shopping an event with The Market

Culture’s Market Elaine. This local nighttime market gathers over 60 local makers and musicians on the first Friday of the month at The Grove in Wesley Chapel. Vendors may vary. Recent businesses who have set up shop include Botany Bakeshop (Instagram-worthy, nature-inspired cakes, cookies and brownies); Sakinah Scents (African soaps, bonnets and naturally made incense); Hope Candles by Paige (soy candles with scents like Funfetti, Tranquility and Tropical Escape), among an array of others.


It wouldn’t be an indie shopping trip without a visit to Tampa’s stunning Oxford Exchange, an all-in-one hipster paradise where you can enjoy breakfast tacos, sip Buddy Brew coffee, browse books and pick up aesthetic paper goods in your finest upcycled threads. At Oxford Exchange, there is beauty everywhere you turn, from the gallery portraits hanging along the sweeping stairwell to the dappled light illuminating the bookstore’s swirling patterned floors. This is the perfect place to grab brunch and stay a while. The space is also available to rent out for private events. A short drive away is the historic Hyde Park Village, six blocks of highly strollable shops and restaurants nestled near gorgeous neighborhoods. In addition to big-name businesses like Anthropologie and Madewell, local fixtures like The Hyppo (an ice pop shop that uses natural ingredients) and The Candle Pour (a store that lets you design your own custom candle) have made Hyde Park Village their brick-andmortar home. Shoppers can also meander through the Fresh Market, where nearly 100 local vendors set up shop on the first Sunday of the month. Or, if you’re a plant person, come

back on Wednesday afternoons to pick up a bouquet from Posies Flower Truck. If for no other reason, this quaint shopping destination is worth a visit simply to enjoy Sprinkles Tampa, a delightful pink storefront with a 24-hour cupcake ATM. Pastries for days.

Tarpon Springs

Antique and secondhand shop lovers will enjoy the vintage stores in Tarpon Springs, including Court of Two Sisters, Bear Haven Land Company Vintage Toys and Tampa Bay Salvage. The retro vibe continues at Replay Museum, where you can pop in and play pinball or oldschool arcade games (who could resist a game of Ms. Pac-Man?).


Proving you don’t need a reason to go on a shopping spree is Sarasota’s whimsical gift and décor shop Just/ Because, located in St. Armands Circle (a shopping

Cont’d on Pg. 13

Tampa Bay Times | Sunday, June 19, 2022 |


Florida is for FOODIES What better place for fresh eats than Florida? We’ve compiled a list of delectable dining options from Italian bazaar to friendly dog bar, and everything in between. We hope you have an appetite, because these outstanding eateries will keep you coming back all summer long.

Indian Shores

For an eclectic vibe, don’t sleep on cozy beachside café Indian Shores Coffee. The coffeehouse is the brainchild of Greg Bauman, who also owns St. Petersburg’s Black Crow Coffee. Indian Shores has a similar bohemian vibe but at a slightly sleepier pace; the screen patio is the perfect place to sip cold brew while doodling in a notebook. Indian Shores also offers open mic nights, organic coffee and baked goods made in-house. Vegan and gluten-free options abound. facebook .com/IndianShoresCoffee For fresh and scrumptious French cuisine, take a short drive to Café de Paris Bakery on Indian Rocks Beach. Owner Xavier De Marchi first opened a bakery in southwest France before relocating to Florida, where his family-run café has brought baguettes to the beaches since 2003. Enjoy croissants, crépes and quiches (not to mention pumpkin soup), and don’t miss Café de Paris’ selection of baked goods, including delectable pastries and richly flavored custom cakes. Arrive early to secure seating; expect lines.

St. Petersburg

If you’re searching for specialty Italian cuisine, look no further than the ever-popular Mazzaro’s Italian Market. Mazzaro’s has been serving the St. Petersburg community since the ’90s, and offers a rich selection of Italian fare, from baked cod piccata to house-made gelato and so much more. 10EF


Sunday, June 19, 2022 | Tampa Bay Times

Right next door is Casa di Mazzaro, which sells kitchenware and over five dozen different flavors of loose-leaf tea, among other specialty products. Play chef and brush up on your culinary skills with the shop’s hands-on cooking classes and live demonstrations. For Italian food with a twist, grab a slice at Noble Crust. Winner of the Tampa Bay Times 2021 Best of the Best award for brunch fare, there’s no better place to enjoy strawberry cheesecake French toast, zesty lemon ricotta pancakes or a Noble sangria. Noble Crust has locations in St. Petersburg, Tampa and Wesley Chapel, and infuses its Italian cuisine with Southern ingredients for maximum flavor. Besides top-notch pizza, other don’t-miss dishes include shrimp and grits, skillet garlic knots and Southern-fried chicken. Canine lovers will adore the playful paw-sibilities at The Dog Bar in St. Petersburg, a sports bar with indoor and outdoor dog parks that gives people and pups alike a place to relax. Enjoy doggone good food trucks, a full bar, game room and regular events. Fluffy will love socializing with other doggies while you enjoy draft beer, cocktails or cold-brew coffee. No dog? No problem. Patrons without four-legged friends are welcome to enjoy the space as well. For more information on membership and entry requirements for your pup, visit dogbarstpete .com. It’s all about flavor at The Floribbean, a St. Petersburg-based restaurant that wows with its Caribbean-fusion cuisine. Chow down on one of The Floribbean’s signature combination bowls, such as the Island Umami or Sweet Heat Havana, or mix things up and build your own. Vegetarians and vegans also have options aplenty here. If you’re looking for a restaurant with that old-Florida feel, check out The Chattaway. This local eatery is family-owned and operated and

has served the St. Petersburg community in several different forms over its 90-year tenure. The restaurant offers al fresco dining, live music, top-rated burgers (it’s the Original Cheese Chattaburger for us) and even, yes, a koi pond. For those who fancy a tea party, make a reservation to enjoy afternoon tea in the restaurant’s English Tea Room.


Refresh your tastebuds and explore new perspectives with Tampa’s edison: food+drink lab, an award-winning gastropub that re-imagines familiar foods from a fresh, modern angle. Chef Jeannie Pierola is a five-time James Beard semifinalist who brings her flair for creativity to the restaurant’s inventive dishes, including artisan cocktails, confit pork belly Wellington and sweet corn sugar-crusted butter cake. Bon appétit! Next up, don’t miss the historic Columbia, the oldest restaurant in Florida. Columbia Restaurant has been serving up traditional Spanish cuisine in the Sunshine State since 1905, beginning with its flagship location in Ybor. There

are also Columbia restaurants in Sarasota, St. Augustine, Clearwater Beach and near Orlando, so wherever summer takes you, you can’t miss it. Make sure to add the Columbia’s Original “1905” Salad® to your plate when dining, and if you find yourself at the Ybor location, walk next door to the Columbia Restaurant Gift Store, which offers beautiful Spanish pottery, specialty food items and more. For classic Southern cuisine with an upscale vibe, you can’t beat the award-winning, mouth-watering fare of Tampa’s 7th + Grove. The combination restaurant/lounge space is a welcomingly luxe affair with plush, pink seating that also doubles as an event venue. The menu is packed with comfort food and cocktails, featuring catchily named items like Welcome to Atlanta (peach bourbon or watermelon barbecue glazed wings) and Hit Different (Southern-fried donuts with cream cheese icing). 7thandgrove .com/ybor-location

Tarpon Springs

If your mouth waters for Mediterranean dishes, Tarpon Springs is the town for you. Here you will find an absolute abundance of top-notch Greek eateries, starting with the pastry haven of Hellas Bakery & Restaurant, located only steps away from the beloved Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks. After loading up on baklava and Greekstyle cannoli, your next stop is another traditional Greek eatery, Mykonos, which one reviewer said, “may be the best restaurant in the world.” Don’t mind if we do! For other kinds of cuisine, Rusty Bellies Waterfront Grill is a great option, serving up seafood, jambalaya and burgers. Or for breakfast bites, the place to go is Rodie’s Restaurant & Pancake House. Try brunch faves like Belgian waffles or strawberry banana French toast. Ro-

die’s also has a location in Clearwater.

Clearwater Beach

If you’re dining by Clearwater Beach, you can’t miss Frenchy’s. Originally debuting on the coastal restaurant scene in 1981, Frenchy’s has since expanded to include numerous offshoot locations and a retro-style motel. We recommend snagging a seat at Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill, the largest location in the Frenchy’s family, to try the fan-favorite She Crab soup or grouper sandwich.

If it’s sushi you’re after, hop on over to Sushi Tu. This lesser-known and must-try restaurant makes

Cont’d on Pg. 12

Tampa Bay Times |

Sunday, June 19, 2022 |


Cont’d from Foodies, Pg. 11 delicious sushi bowls and rolls in an intimate dining setting, and customers are raving.

Anna Maria Island

For an atmosphere reminiscent of old Florida, grab a seat at the historic, award-winning Waterfront Restaurant, located on the tropical oasis of Anna Maria Island. The popular eatery and craft bar, housed inside a charming cottage, partners with local fishermen to bring specialty ingredients to its menu, ensuring patrons enjoy the freshest food possible. The restaurant offers an abundance of gluten-free options and is the perfect place to sit porch-side while reveling in craft cocktails and to-die-for dishes like shrimp and grits, lobster bisque or the grouper cake sandwich. The Waterfront Restaurant is also within walking distance of the Anna Maria City Pier, where you can visit a gift shop and take in exquisite views.



Sunday, June 19, 2022 | Tampa Bay Times

Arrive early to secure parking. Head next door and enjoy an ice cream cone (or two … or three) at Two Scoops, a top-rated ice cream parlor and café that serves up nearly three-dozen homemade flavors of deliciousness (we recommend the Trashcan or Blueberry Pie varieties). If you’re strolling over to grab a meal instead, you’ll enjoy a myriad of tasty options, including Two Scoops’ chili dogs, a fan favorite. The ice cream parlor has been in business for over 15 years and wows with its sugary desserts and beachside digs. What could say summer more than relaxing by the water with a scoop and the sunshine?

Longboat Key

Food fanatics can’t miss Longboat Key’s The Old Salty Dog, a seaside restaurant by way of a British pub. The unique restaurant offers go-to seafood dishes (coconut shrimp and steamed mussels) with a hint of English-inspired eats

(fish ‘n’ chips). The restaurant, which has sister locations in Siesta Key and Venice Island, is known for its namesake Salty Dog dish, a fried hot dog slathered in batter, as seen on the show “Man v. Food.” Only a hop and a skip away is the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, sure to delight attendees of all ages with its resident sea life. Decadent dishes abound at the sleek and sumptuous French fine-dining experience that is Maison Blanche. At the helm is Chef José Martinez, a James Beard semifinalist and Michelin star-awarded talent who brings his expertise to gourmet dishes like roasted octopus, Mediterranean sea bass, beef short ribs and more. Also a staple in Longboat Key is the Euphemia Haye Restaurant & The Haye Loft, an intimate restaurant rich with foliage that’s served up luxurious dishes to locals for over four decades. The establishment’s formal dining space offers fresh and high-quality menu items like roasted duckling or snails Leslie. For a more casual ambience, climb on up to the restaurant’s Haye Loft (featuring the lauded Dessert Room) for a laid-back, lounge-worthy dining experience. t

Cont’d from Shop Local, Pg. 9. center originally dreamed up by John Ringling). Just/Because is owned by two sisters who stock the shop with the creations of over 90 different artists, many of which are handmade or created with sustainability in mind. Other offerings include quirky home décor pieces, nature-inspired jewelry and pretty patterned hankies, making it the perfect place to pick up a little treasure you can’t find anywhere else.

Key West

Nothing could encapsulate the carefree coastal vibe more than Key West’s aptly named boutique Good Day on a Happy Planet. Follow the sunny vibes inside

for a hodgepodge of gifts and souvenirs, including a cheerful assortment of guitars and musical instruments suspended from the ceiling, just waiting to be played. If you’re looking for jewelry, cool beachy clothes and backpacks alongside friendly service and a shopping experience that will leave you smiling, you have arrived at the right place. For the lighthearted shopper among us, we recommend the Funky Chicken Store (yes, really), Key West’s onestop-shop for all things … chicken. If you like your paintings to include poultry or your housewares to highlight hens, this art-centric souvenir shop is for you. Celebrate the city’s population

of wild chickens with such delights as chicken T-shirts, kitchen towels, metal roosters and more chicken merchandise than you thought existed. This shop’s unique goods are sure to cheer up anyone in a “fowl” mood. t

Tampa Bay Times |

Sunday, June 19, 2022 |


Green Getaways Your getaway is going green. Keep an eye out for eco-friendly adventures with our guide on enjoying environmentally conscious activities.

Pinellas County

Have some fun in the sun and help create a more spotless shore with Pinellas’ Baskets for Beaches initiative. Bright yellow baskets sprinkled along Fort De Soto, Fred Howard and Sand Key Parks make it easier than ever for beachgoers to pick up their trash (or any surrounding litter, for that matter) after a day spent by the sea. Bonus point: the more trash you pick up, the less likely it is that you will get attacked by a flock of bloodthirsty seagulls. They know that you know they are willing to risk everything to nab a single stale french fry buried in a fast-food bag. Yellow baskets, to the rescue! beach-basket.htm If you’re looking to secure luxurious overnight lodging that is also eco-friendly, make sure the hotel you choose is part of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Green Lodging Program. Establishments that bear this designation have committed to conservation with a focus on creating environmentally friendly practices in their day-to-day operations. Local Florida Green Lodging hotels include the Sheraton Sand Key Resort and the


| Sunday, June 19, 2022 | Tampa Bay Times

Sandpearl Resort, both on Clearwater Beach, and the pastel pink castle that is The Don CeSar on St. Pete Beach. Not traveling here? Don’t fear: There are over 300 establishments in the state that are designated Florida Green Lodgings.

Pasco County

If you’re looking for an immersive outdoor challenge that will put you right in the thick of the forest, visit Dade City’s TreeHoppers Aerial Adventure Park. TreeHoppers has nine different climbing courses that use zip lines, bridges and ladders to give participants a thrilling trek through the treetops. Little climbers ages 1-6 years old have their own miniature course for an exciting expedition they are sure to enjoy. Tree Hoppers is a fun alternative to visiting a theme park (which typically features attractions that contribute to air pollution). Paddle through gorgeous natural landscapes on a guided ecotour led by the team at Salty Dog Kayak Rentals in Port Richey. Enjoy a private two-hour tour as you glide through the waters of Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park. All tours are

run by a professional naturalist, who will teach you about the park’s history and its environment. Animal lovers are in luck: You might just encounter a critter or two on your journey. saltydogkayak

Hillsborough County

For a sustainable staycation, have an at-home spa day with the help of Lüfka Refillables Zero Waste Store. Lüfka is the first refillable shop in Tampa, offering eco-friendly and handcrafted wares like face masques, body butters and scented bath bombs. The business has storefronts in Seminole Heights, South Tampa and Wesley Chapel. Make your world a better place with Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, an environmentally conscious program dedicated to taking care of Tampa Bay’s natural ecosystems through service projects and special events. Volunteer with the organization this summer to clean up your community, one piece of trash at a time.

Hernando County

Enjoy a trip to Brooksville’s Bramble Creek Farms, 12 sprawling acres with spaces for visitors to pick their own blackberries, passion fruit and figs. The farm also sells natural products like goat milk soap, homemade jam and Florida-made honey. A short drive away is Sweetfields Farm. Inspired by the owners’ passion for sustainability, Sweetfields sells produce from organic crops grown onsite that guests can pick and purchase. Delicious homegrown offerings include butternut squash, cucumbers, watermelon, zucchini and more. If you’re looking to go off the grid, take a restorative walk through the woods. Connecting with and preserving the natural world is what it’s all about at Brooksville’s Chinsegut Wildlife and Environmental Area, a peaceful preserve with multiple trails that offer miles of marsh and uplands to explore through its Big Pine and Conservation Center Tracts. If you’re in luck, you may catch a glimpse of a slow-going gopher tortoise or scampering deer. To learn more about Florida wildlife and ecosystems, visit the Chinsegut Conservation Center and take part in any of its informative programs. chinsegut/

Monroe County

Nothing will delight your inner (or actual) child more than the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory, where live butterflies fly free and are more likely than not to land on your shoulder for a tiny hello. The conservatory is as educational as it is enchanting, and gives visitors insight into all things butterfly. Keep the Keys clean: If you happen to be in Big Pine Key, enlist in the Conch Republic Marine Army, a nonprofit organization that preserves the Keys’ mangroves through weekly volunteer clean-ups. Their collective mission and manpower have made a difference: The organization has cleaned up over 400,000 pounds of detritus to date. t

Tampa Bay Times

| Sunday, June 19, 2022 |




Sunday, June 19, 2022 |

Tampa Bay Times