Dunedin was so named from the original Gaelic for Edinburgh, as it was settled by Scottish folk homesick for the highlands of their countryside. And the Scottish heritage is still strong in this sunny seaside town, as yearly festivals celebrate bag piping and more at the Dunedin Highland Games.
Dunedin features a gorgeous location with a mixture of sporty outdoorsy activities. Enjoy a range of options, from soccer to swimming to biking on the 39 miles of pathway called the Pinellas Trail. If those features arent enough to send you high-tailing it to the East Coast, perhaps the world-class beaches will do the trick. Yeah, the weather can be a bit of a pill; welcome to Florida. And sure, there are some weirdos living right out in the open in this state, but Dunedin is a peaceful little retreat that should cost an arm and a leg but doesnt. Start researching those bagpipe lessons now.
Prepare For Weather
Dunedin is on the coast, where residents can enjoy sunshine, sandy beaches and, oh yeah, hurricane season. Yep, youre gonna have to prepare for that eventuality if you live anywhere near the beach in Florida (otherwise known as anywhere in Florida). Plus, summers tend to be rather wet, with thunderstorms traveling through and soaking everyone midday. Humidity is also a bummer, and so are mosquitoes, but DEET exists for a reason and so does air conditioning. Start buying stock in both (Can you buy stock in air conditioning? Find out.). Other than that, it’s a paradise, so pack your flip-flops; youre done shoveling snow and wearing sweaters.
You may have gathered from the beach-adjacent address that Dunedin inhabitants love outdoorsy activities and not just sunbathing and snorkeling either. This is where the Toronto Blue Jays have their spring training camp, and it’s filled with youth programs and sports leagues for soccer, basketball, football and more. Theres also an awesomely extensive 39-mile bike and pedestrian path called the Pinellas Trail. It cuts right through downtown Dunedin and was spearheaded by a local bike store called The Energy Conservatory Bike Shop. Folks are also pretty local-minded, eschewing commercial signage, chain stores and franchise restaurants in favor of mom and pops and the like. It makes for a charming and welcoming spot for visitors and year-round dwellers.
Cost of Living
Well, you had to know it would be more expensive than many Florida locations. But it’s still Florida, so it’s lower cost than many other coastal areas. In fact, it’s still less expensive than the nation’s average overall, but housing does drive the cost of living up just a smidge. Fortunately, the walkable neighborhoods, high vacancy rates, gorgeous landscape, well-educated residents and playful college students more than make up for Dunedins high housing costs. It is good to know, however, that most people are homeowners here, and renters are a bit rarer. There are plenty of both, ultimately, but expect a fair number of seasonal owners and well-entrenched families.
There aren’t neighborhoods so much as general areas of Dunedin. If you show up and ask for a house in the Hammock Park neighborhood, you may get a raised eyebrow in return, but they’ll generally know what you mean.
Dunedin Country Club/The Islands:Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island are located just off the western edge of Dunedin and they are beauties. This is where some of the best beaches (uhm, in the WORLD) are, and the price reflects that. Its an ideal place, with pedestrian-friendly shops and oodles of retirees.
Spanish Acres: This area, like most, is high in owners and low in renters, but there are single-family homes for rent as well as condos and townhomes to consider. The distinctive feature of Spanish Acres is that all the homes look the same, but its still lovely in a vague, inland way.
Wilshire Estates: This area has more single-family homes and larger apartments as well as some mobile homes. Lots of people opt for public transportation here, as its less walkable than the other neighborhoods.
Hammock Park: Once again on the water, this spot comes with a denser population filled with students, seasonal owners and cute shops. There are more renters here, so you can find a studio or one bedroom apartment if you need it. If you love the beach and tons of amenities, this is a great mid-range spot.
Lake Haven: Oddly higher priced for an inland spot, this area also has more rental options, many with greater square footage. Studios are popular in high-rise buildings, so you get a view of the ocean at least. It also boasts very high vacancy rates.
A search for apartments may be slightly more difficult here than opting for a single-family home, condo or row house, as seasonal owners are pretty common in these parts. But students arrive in droves, so there are plenty of options for all in this paradisaical East Coast beach community. Plan for rain, pack some bug repellant and enjoy all the amazing community features of Dunedin. Also, be sure to attend the Scottish-themed festivals, just in case you ever need some spare knowledge of the Highlander for trivia night.