Dade City, FL

5 Things To Do In Historic Dade City

Grant Piper News

Dade City is the government seat of Pasco County located just 45 minutes north of downtown Tampa. It is one of the oldest cities in the region dating back to the mid 19th century. It is not a large town with a population of just over 7,000 people but it has a lot of charm and plenty of ways to spend a day.

Check out the Pioneer Museum

If you love history, especially Florida history, then you are going to want to stop in at the Pioneer Museum. It has an entire village for you to explore from old houses to general stores and barns. The museum displays life as it once was on the Florida frontier.

The museum also hosts seasonal and local events including a scarecrow festival and numerous Civil War reenactments. It is a great mix of fresh air, history, and kid friendly fun. For more information, including a schedule of their events, check out their website.

Go shopping downtown

Downtown Dade City is adorable. It features dozens of shops that are sure to delight every kind of customer. There is a dog store, a used book store, a shortbread maker, a homemade baker, a tea room and, plenty of antique shops mixed in throughout. It is a great place to find unique gifts or antiques that you can't find at a strip mall. With a stop for lunch, you can easily make a great day trip out of shopping in historic downtown.

While you're down there, be sure to check out the historic Pasco Courthouse. It is beautiful and dominates the central square.

Eat at Green Door

Speaking of catching lunch, don't forget to try out Green Door on 8th. This small restaurant boasts some of the best food in the area. They serve traditional American fare with a twist. Enjoy turkey avocado sandwiches, gumbo, smoked gouda, mac and cheese, and more. Every meal is phenomenal and the chefs take classic recipes and take them to a whole new level. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

They also serve wine and local craft beers that pair beautifully with their menu. It is the highest-rated restaurant in Dade City. And that is saying a lot. For such a small town, Dade City has some spectacular food.

Enjoy the river

The Withlacoochee River Park is located in Dade City and offers those with a knack for the outdoors plenty to do. It is the perfect place to take a short lunch picnic or embark on an all day hike. There are miles of walking trails ranging from short paved loops to hours long trails through the woods. Camping is also available along with playgrounds for the kids and a tall observation tower to climb. If hiking isn't your thing, you can still spend some time on the fishing dock that extends into the river without having to walk more than a hundred feet from the parking lot.

If you love hiking and want more the Green Swamp Preserve entrance is right next door to the river park. The Green Swamp offers many additional miles of classic Florida hiking and even intersects with the Florida Trail.

The Withlacoochee River Park is located at 12449 Withlacoochee Blvd, Dade City, FL 33525 and is open from sunup to sundown year-round.

Catch a movie at the drive-in

What is more historic than catching an old school drive-in movie? If you long for the days where you'd pull up on a warm summer evening to catch a pair of flicks from the comfort of your own car then you will want to check out Joy-Lan. This drive-in is just five minutes north of downtown Dade City right off US 301 and offers a mixture of new releases and old favorites.

Every Sunday morning, they host a swap meet which is a mixture of flea market and farmers market. It is a great way to spend some time outside, support local businesses and grab some curios or treats.

Next time you are in search of a day trip be sure to include Dade City on your potential list of destinations. You will not be disappointed.

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A freelance writer with a passion for current events, politics, and history. I've been into the news from an age when people thought it was weird to be into the news.

Tampa, FL
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