Beaches, History and Beer: Where the East Coast of Scotland Meets the West Coast of Florida
With temperature differences of 32 degrees vs 19 degrees in peak summer, men in swim shorts vs men in woollen skirts, and a soft Floridian accent vs a strong Scottish one, you’d be forgiven for struggling to understand how Florida and Scotland can have much in common. But if you’re wanting to escape the cool Scottish weather this summer in favour of warmer climes with a feeling of being in a home away from home, then look no further than Dunedin, Florida.
Situated just off Florida’s Gulf Coast, this hidden gem was discovered initially in 1852, only seven years after Florida became a state but the quirky city didn’t earn its stamp until 30 years later. Two Scottish merchants – J.O. Douglas and James Somerville – arrived in the area in 1882 and officially named the Post Office, then the town itself, ‘Dunedin’ in honour of the Gaelic name for Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh. And the two destinations have quite a few resemblances…
Similar to Edinburgh’s position on the East Lothian Coast, Dunedin is situated on Florida’s West Coast, and like the Scottish capital, has some award-winning beaches of its own! Its waterfront position allows residents and visitors alike easy access to the standout beaches of Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island – both within reach via the Dunedin Causeway. One notable difference between the two: Florida’s year-round balmy temperatures vs Scotland’s highs of 19 degrees (limited to June and July), which make a day on the beach in February slightly more appealing!
This part of Florida is more than just beaches and sunshine. Dunedin has taken after its Scottish cousin in the ranks for history and culture too. Having generated the first radio signals in Pinellas County from the roof top of the iconic Fenway Hotel in 1925, been the originator of concentrated orange juice and has the only golf course in the world that can claim they are a Donald Ross creation and the former home to the PGA of America*, while not dating back quite as far as its Scottish counterpart, it certainly gives other US destinations a run for its money in history and culture. It even has its very own Highland Games!
The Florida city has also adopted Edinburgh’s love for beer. With Edinburgh founding the Edinburgh Society of Brewers in 1596, signifying that brewing beer was starting to become an organised trade, as opposed to domestic brewing, Dunedin founded Florida’s first craft beer brewery – Dunedin Brewery – in 1995. Now, 24 years on, you can find a further 40+ breweries along what is dubbed as the ‘Gulp Coast’, with 7 in Dunedin alone. Cheers to that!
It may be further afield than the beaches of Scotland, but this quirky community on Florida’s Gulf Coast has a lot to offer and the sunshine is guaranteed. Part of the area of St. Pete/Clearwater, which owns the Guinness World Record for the number of consecutive days of sunshine (768) and based just 45 minutes from Tampa Bay airport, this anti-Florida Florida town offers Scots the perfect balance of something old and something new!
For more information, visit: visitstpeteclearwater.com
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Visit St. Pete/Clearwater (VSPC) is the official destination marketing organisation of Pinellas County in Florida and covers 26 municipalities in the area. The region is located on the peninsula on Florida’s west coast, bordered by the Gulf of Mexico to the west and Tampa Bay to the east.
The area offers 35 miles of award-winning white-sandy beaches, exotic nature trails, culture and arts. It is home to independent restaurants, boutique shops and a unique craft beer trail running from Tarpon Springs to Treasure Island showcasing 39+ local breweries’ fresh artisanal beer. In 2019, Clearwater Beach was awarded the No. 1 spot in the USA in TripAdvisor’s Traveller’s Choice Awards while St. Pete Beach came in at No. 4. Clearwater Beach was also voted No. 6 in the world!
Boasting the largest collection of Dali artwork outside of Spain in the Dali Museum, the county has a significant art scene, with walking mural tours, regular exhibitions and the impressive Chihuly Collection of hand-blown glass sculptures.
The destination is renowned for sunshine and currently holds the Guinness World Record for the longest run of sunshine days, a massive 768.