Updated: Jan 23
A small Scottish town surrounded by the hustle and bustle of Tampa Bay, Dunedin is a hidden gem! Joe was born and raised 8 miles from Dunedin, and my great-grandmother lived here in the 70s. After spending almost every weekend here, Dunedin became our hometown in 2016 when we purchased Kuma Too.
Two Scotsmen from Edinburgh named Dunedin after their hometown – Dunedin (Dùn Éideann) means Edinburgh in Scottish Gaelic, and its present day sister city is Stirling, Scotland. In the early days, Dunedin was primarily covered in cotton fields and citrus farms and was a major seaport for the West Coast of Florida. At one time, the largest fleet of sailing vessels in Florida made berth here, and the “Pram” sailboat racer originated here.
Orange Juice concentrate also originated here! Homes and businesses all over Dunedin now have hand painted oranges at the entrance. In the beginning, local artist, Steve Spathelf, secretly painted the first oranges in the middle of the night. Businesses would hang signs asking the anonymous artist to paint the oranges on their shops. Years later, he is well known and has a pretty good side gig with the oranges. We’ve been honored to host Steve and other artists on board Kuma Too for a good friend’s birthday party.
The Dunedin Municipal Marina, where Kuma Too is based, is situated on the Intracoastal Waterway (and The Great Loop) along Florida’s Gulf Coast. The marina is walking distance to the entire downtown that is lined with local businesses selling unique mementos. You won’t find any chain stores or restaurants here! With good music and great food, there is never a shortage of entertainment throughout the town. It’s impossible to name all our favorite places because we love them all. Check out some of the local businesses at the Chamber of Commerce.
We love being a part of a small community! As members of the Chamber of Commerce, we have face time with other business owners on a monthly basis. We also participate in Florida Incubator’s Spark Tank, which is a great platform to test new ideas for your business and increase business connections. Another major perk to a small community is first name basis with City Dignitaries! Our mayor and her team are always involved in happenings around town, which encourages citizen participation. We’ve hosted the City Dignitaries on board Kuma Too the last two years for the Holiday Boat Parade (click here to read about it). The Preserve the Vibe Dunedin does exactly that - they are devoted to preserving the small town feel, as Dunedin is quickly becoming the newest hotspot!
The best time of year starts in the fall and runs through May, as countless festivals take place all throughout town. The Dunedin Downtown Market on Friday and Saturday is one of the places we purchased snacks for our charters. Our all time favorite festival is the Dunedin Celtic Music and Craft Beer Festival! Other popular festivals include Dunedin Wines the Blues, Orange Festival, Highland Games, Seafood Festival, and multiple Craft Festivals to showcase the amazing work of local artists.
When we get an evening to ourselves, our favorite way to spend it is wandering around the neighborhood streets just before sunset. The historic homes and shaded brick streets provide such a lovely ambiance to the evening! My absolute favorite thing about Dunedin is their World Class Pipe Band! The middle school and high school band play throughout town on the weekends - they may show up in the park or inside the bar! There are so many wonderful aspects to our little town that I’m sure I missed describing so much! To the locals reading this, please add your favorite things about Dunedin to the comments!
If you cruise with us, be sure to plan a little extra time before or after your trip to enjoy this wonderful Scottish town of Dunedin, Florida. To learn about charters on board Kuma Too, visit www.SailingKumaToo.com
Until next week, Happy Sailing!
Update: As of November 2019, Kuma Too has relocated from Dunedin, Florida to St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.