FLORIDA AUTO EXCHANGE STADIUM
If You Go ...
Dunedin is only 20 miles outside of Tampa-St. Pete and less than five miles away from Clearwater.
Dunedin is actually one of the oldest cities in Florida and for a time was a major seaport in the area. Today, the area is better known for its beaches and its proximity to Tampa/St. Petersburg. If you're craving some rays, you should check out Caladesi Island, which has been called one of the top 10 beaches in the United States, is located in Dunedin. Also worth checking out is Honeymoon Island, which was settled in the 1930s as a honeymoon resort and is now a state park.
Dunedin Stadium is a mile or so south of downtown Dunedin, which features small shops and restaurants. Directly on Douglas Avenue is Dunedin Brewery, a pretty decent brewpub and restaurant, and Main Street features Flanagan's Irish Pub, Casa Tina Mexican & Vegetarian Restaurant and the Deli News Cafe.
Tampa/St. Pete, of course, has its own set of attractions. If you're bringing the kids, a possible stop is Busch Gardens, a theme part built around a zoo, various rides, and a water park. I will confess it's been many years since I've visited Busch Gardens -- in fact, Anheuser-Busch still owned the park when I last visited -- so I can't wholeheartedly recommend Busch Gardens.
Those more in a mood to party will want to head to Ybor City, Tampa's Latin Quarter. It's a gentrified area that was once home to cigar factories that's now a shopping and entertainment mecca. Ybor City's larger buildings can be seen a ways away, and the district -- located on 7th Avenue East between 15th and 20th streets -- is well-served with many road signs showing the way. Notable nightlife spots include brewpub Barley Hopper's International Alehouse, the Green Iguana bar, and the Centro Ybor, which houses several clubs and restaurants. At night Ybor City gets pretty rowdy, as the music clubs bring them in. Oh, and you can still find hand-rolled cigars in Ybor City as well.
Also worth a trip is the Pier, located on the waterfront in downtown St. Petersburg, The Pier features a five-story inverted pyramid with giant tubes bubbling with fish and creatures from the sea, complete with a second-floor aquarium filled with native and tropical fish and sharks. You'll also find educational exhibits from the Great Explorations Museum and the historic H.M.S. Bounty docked pierside.
For the truly surreal, there's the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Pete. Get it? Surreal? Good.
Where to Stay: Because of the many teams that train in the Tampa area, you won't need to be staying too close to the stadium. Within a mile of the stadium are the Holiday Inn Clearwater and Best Western Yacht Harbor Inn and Suites, and there are several affordable hotels in Clearwater (Best Western Seastone Resort, Best Western Clearwater Centra, Radisson Suite Resort Sand Key, Hampton Inn Clearwater). But you could very easily stay in Tampa or St. Pete.
Flying In: Tampa International Airport is obviously the closest airport to Dunedin and the most convenient. It's not the biggest airport in the world and is easy to navigate. All the major airlines fly into Tampa.
You may also want to consider flying into Orlando and then driving to Tampa if the fare to Orlando is significantly cheaper. The drive is 79 miles and takes an hour and a half on I-4 -- which is not the best freeway in the world -- but if you can save $100 or so on your air fares, the drive will be worth it.
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