The BEST Kept Secret in Tampa Bay Florida

There is a place in Florida, one of the best places that maybe you’ve never heard about. A place with a slow rhythm, with as many dogs, bikes and kids as there are cars. The speed limit on Main Street is 25 mph if that gives you a hint.

Here, time slows down and pace become relaxed. This place is Safety Harbor, Florida, often referred to as the Jewel of Tampa Bay.

Safety Harbor is located on the west shore of Tampa Bay. The Tampa Bay waterfront is Safety Harbor’s most prominent feature with beautiful pedestrian and bike trails along the waterfront, reaching from Philippe park to the north and the Courtney Campbell causeway to the south, connecting with the Rheem-Wilson trail along the way.

Safety Harbor has a perfect location.  It is centrally located to the Tampa Bay area, within minutes of Clearwater, Tampa, Dunedin, tarpon springs and St. Petersburg.

This town is blessed with the most friendly people and year round fun events. Music festivals, antique car shows, sea food festivals, wine on main street, Sunday Farmer’s Market, there are events just about every week. And every third Friday, Main Street is shut down and the entire town turns in to one big street party with food, drink, music, art and more!

Another great thing about safety harbor: it has an amazing collection of great local restaurants, far more than you would expect for a small town. These restaurants and pubs are all Locally owned, chief centric and one of kind. Downtown Safety Harbor is only 10 blocks long and a couple blocks wide, so the only transportation you’ll need is your own two feet!

The Beach Not Taken

Philippe Park Beach

“How far away is the beach?” This is definitely one of the most frequently asked questions from our guests. John and I have been sharing the most well-known beaches around Tampa Bay such as Clearwater Beach, Indian Rock Beach, and Honeymoon Island.

Then things changed this week.

We were pleasantly surprised to find that Safety Harbor has its own beach! Not just one, but two!!

Both beaches are similar in the fact that :

  • Stunningly beautiful
  • Very seclusive, only a few locals know about
  • Free and abundant parking

These Rare Find beaches are only 5 minutes away when you stay at any one of our Safety Harbor Vacation Homes. Check here for availability.

The first beach we discovered is at the far end of Philippe Park. The park itself is A Hidden Jewel in the Tampa Area, and this beach is a hidden jewel SQUARED!

Bring a beach chair, umbrella, and a cooler, no need to worry about finding or paying for parking, just walk to the beach, relax, listen to the waves and watch the palm trees swing in the breeze.

Philippe Park Beach

How about a picnic after the sun? Thoughtfully located picnic tables are steps away.

Philippe Park Beach Picnic Table

The second beach is even closer! Located right at the Safety Harbor City Marina. This beach is much smaller in comparison to the Clearwater beach, and that’s exactly why it’s so charming.

Drive or walk to the Safety Harbor City Marina any day of the week, find one of the free and abundant parking spots, then walk about 50 yards, and it is likely that the beach is all yours to enjoy!

Safety Harbor City Marina Beach
Safety Harbor City Marina Beach

This brand new beach experience reminded me of the poem:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

This Town Has Art In Its Heart

I am a true believer that everyone is an artist. Art is not just pretty things displayed in a museum or gallery, it is all the things that stop us, from our daily rush, to pause for a second or two, and really see the beauty around us.

When you come to Safety Harbor, Florida, you will see artistry everywhere, created by the most friendly and fun-loving people here.

Safety Harbor Welcomes You with Art Along Main Street

Art in front of the Whistle Stop Restaurant
Art created by the fishermen (unknowingly ) at the sunrise of Philippe Park
Mural Art on Main Street
Art at the street corner
Art at the street corner
Art at the street corner
This is my favorite piece of art, it is painted on a picnic table at Philippe Park, can I challenge you to find it 🙂
Art created by Nature
Art created by Nature

Inspired by all the artistry at Safety Harbor, here comes our Casa Artista 2 bed, 2 bath vacation home, packed with color, nature, luxury, and comfort.

Blackberry at Casa Artista
Sunroom at Casa Artista
Casa Artista, A Dream Vacation Home in Downtown Safety Harbor, FL

Learn more about Casa Artista, check it out here:–the-most-enchanting-relaxing-escape/218355

Philippe Park, A Hidden Jewel in Safety Harbor

I have seen many beautiful parks in this country. Yet, Philippe Park continues to be one of my all-time favorites.

Here is why! ( Couple of pro-tips at the end)

  • It is Stunningly beautiful, everywhere!
  • It is a perfect place for every member of the family. Kiddos, adults, more mature adults, furry friends, everyone with 2 legs or 4 legs, all can find something to love here.
  • There are so many fun things to do here: hiking, biking, fishing, picnic, hammocking, beach, or take the BEST selfies under the magnificent tree canopy
  • Abundant Parking, FREE.

Here are what you will see on a beautiful Friday morning in May

Hiking Trail along the water front

Indian Mount

The most biking/walking trail

Do you know that there is a beach in the park? Few locals do, now you do too.

Share a peaceful environment when the true locals show up!

Boating anyone?

Pro-Tip 1:

Before you get to the park, pay a visit to our friends at First Choice Food & Deli (335 Philippe Pkwy, Safety Harbor, FL 34695). Eddie and his wife make the absolutely BEST Cuban sandwiches in the area. Grab a bottle of wine while you are there and you’ll have the best picnic in 10 minutes. Take to the park, find a table near the water and have a beautiful experience you’ll never forget!

Pro-Tip 2:

You will be minutes away (by walking) to this fabulous park when you stay in any of our beautiful vacation homes in Safety Harbor.

Enjoy a Fun & Inspiring Stay at Casa Artista

The world is changing rapidly in front of our eyes, and we all manage this interesting change one way or another.

If you were to ask our most recent guest Cheryl, and her four-legged friend Chloe, Life is as wonderful as this home-made French Toast. Literally!

Home Made French Toast at Casa Artista

and Chloe agrees!!

Chloe Checking out Birds at the Front Porch of Casa Artista

A great breakfast keeps the doctors away… so here is an awesome and tested recipe cooked completely in the kitchen of Casa Artista.

Super Soft and Custard-y Japanese Style French Toast

This Japanese tamagoyaki-inspired french toast is soft and custardy on the inside and crisp on the outside. The perfect combination of sweet and savory!

Serves 2

Prep Time 10 mins

Cook Time 20 mins

Total Time 30 mins


  • 2 slices thick-cut bread
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • oil for the pan

To Serve

  • whipped cream
  • maple syrup
  • cubed mango or any fruit of your preference


Trim the crusts off the bread and set aside.

In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, cream, sugar, soy, and mirin. If you want to go the extra mile, strain the egg mixture.

Divide the egg mixture equally between two shallow bowls and add one slice of bread to each. Let soak for 1-2 hours covered, in the fridge, then very gently flip and let soak, covered, for another hour to two.

When ready to cook, heat up a non-stick pan over very low heat. Add a touch of oil and add the custard soaked bread (let the excess drip back into the shallow bowl) and cook, over low heat, covered, for about 10 minutes, until slightly golden on the bottom side. Gently flip and continue to cook, covered, until the other side is golden and the toast is puffy.

Serve and enjoy hot, either unadorned or with whipped cream, syrup, cubed mango and if desired, toasted pine nuts.

The Toast was thoroughly enjoyed in the Sunroom of Casa Artista, our newly renovated vacation home located in Safety Harbor, Florida.

Breakfast/Sunroom at Casa Artista, Safety Harbor, Florida
2 bedrooms, 2 baths, sunroom, open concept living room, kitchen, private yard
Sunroom with daybed and pull out trundle bed
Open space Livingroom, dining room, and Kitchen
Superfast Internet, over 200 Cable Channels
10 minutes walk will take you to this stunning sunrise at the City Marina.

Safety Harbor – Small Town with Award-Winning Restaurants

If this is your first visit to Safety Harbor, you are in for a treat!

Known as the hidden jewel of Tampa Bay, I could not imagine a more relaxing and inspiring place.

Among the stunning sunrise, city marina, boutique shops, year-round festivities, one big mystery remains about safety harbor:

How is such a small town packed with so many fantastic restaurants?!

Ellen and I both love great food, and drinks 🙂 So please, let us introduce you to some of our all-time favorite places to eat, drink and have a great time.

Pizzeria Gregorio

The first must go is Pizzeria Gregorio – its a boutique pizza shop. The man making the pies is the owner, Greg. Greg is seriously a perfectionist when it comes to bread baking, making the best tomato sauce, and house-made mozzarella. Fresh ingredients plus Greg’s passion explained the unexplainable great taste of the pizza.

Also, please don’t tell him that we said this. We think Greg is a philosopher disguised as a chef. I would recommend sitting at the bar in front of the pizza oven, you are well dined and well entertained!

Parts of Paris

Another one of our favorite places. It is french food served with southern hospitality. Owner Chris and everyone at the bar will make you feel right at home.

We have tried just about everything on the menu and it has all been fantastic. We once brought a friend of ours who lived in France for years, he ordered lamb chops, he rated it two thumbs up!

Bar Fly

Be sure to also visit BarFly on the east end of downtown. It is an awesome Caribbean-themed place with fresh seafood, fun decorations, and the most relaxing atmosphere.

If you happen to be in town on Tuesday, be sure to check out the famous Taco Tuesday at BarFly, it will be a fantastic time to see many locals as well as happy visitors.

The Kitchen and Bar at Safety Harbor

Set in a charming bungalow, the Kitchen and Bar at Safety Harbor is one of our favorite places anywhere.

The gumbo dish is one of the best we ever had, including New Orleans.

The petit filet mignon with scallops is simply speechless! The plate was cleaned up so quickly, no pictures were taken, Sorry!

Southern Fresh

Born and raised in Nashville, I have an unrealistic high standard when it comes to fried chicken. Yet, Southen Fresh’s fried chicken made to the top of my list. The batter is crispy, the chicken is tender and juicy. Just the right amount of spiciness. All the other southern sides are equally impressive. Also, the best chicken noodle soup in the Tampa Bay area.

The list just goes on and one, in our next blog let’s talk about drinks.