Welcome to Largo – your typical, obnoxiously sunny, suburban Florida community. This pleasant seaside town of 75,000 in the greater Tampa area isn't big on flashy pizzazz and hopping nightlife, mostly because people here are so much cooler than that. Largo is all about relaxing, playing golf, fishing, sailing or throwing back some fine Irish brews after a long day at work (and by ‘work’, we mean going to the beach). Setting up shop here will require more than a swimsuit and a dream, though, so sit back, top off your beer, and enjoy this guide to tracking down the perfect beach house, shack or mansion in Largo, Florida.
Downtown sits on Largo's northern border like a crown atop the city. It‘s full of an astounding number of Irish pubs – how much Guinness can one community consume, I ask you – sports bars, country clubs, and laid back lounges. Eagle Lake Park is located here and features a hiking trail winding around freshwater lakes and ponds, a dog park, a playground, and plenty of trees, birds, and other friends of nature concerned mostly with frolicking. The west end of downtown is mostly mobile homes and tiny houses, and the east end of downtown has more upscale apartment complexes and nicer rental homes.
The expansive area southeast of downtown is known as Ulmerton. This neighborhood is full of meandering creeks, spring fed lakes and ponds, as well as plenty of other things to distract you from work. There are movie theaters, ethnic eats, bakeries, pizza places, bowling alleys, an eclectic array of cafes, a gratuitous number of sports bars, and yet more Irish pubs. The Watering Trough, one of Largo’s few nightclubs, is located here for all your glow stick dance party needs, as well as numerous dance studios for everything from the fitness to ballroom varieties.
The Baskin neighborhood is directly southwest of downtown, sharing its northern border and all of its attractions with the downtown neighborhood. Business of the quaint and quirky kind is run here, with popular places like Lanore's Nifty 50's Cafe serving a population of mobile home dwellers who enjoy riding their beach cruisers around the neighborhood. Golfers can rejoice in the many golf clubs in the area (it is Florida, after all).
Farther southwest, the neighborhood of Ridgecrest has a high number of smaller rental houses and apartments, as well as mobile home parks. Before you get all judgmental, however, it must be said that Largo has a number of extremely nice, suburban-feeling mobile home parks. These are great, affordable options for people who don't want to share walls in apartments, and don't want to pay thousands of dollars a month for a house. And, did I mention that these mobile home parks are extremely nice? Maybe not so great during hurricane season, though. Ridgecrest Park is also located here, which features a beautiful lake and lots of outdoor flora and fauna, so you’ll have that going for you, at least.
South of Ridgecrest, Walsingham meanders in and out of the city limits along Walsingham Road. It’s a vast area that stretches from Lake Seminole all the way to the beach, so freshwater and saltwater lovers will be equally overjoyed! There’s also plenty of nightlife with a cluster of bars, pizzerias, diners, and lounges along Ulmerton Road towards the waterfront. On the west end of Walsingham, you’ll find mostly older and retired professionals living in nice rental houses, some of which come with waterfront and beach views. The east end of Walsingham gets to enjoy the fresh waters of the Walsingham Reservoir and Lake Seminole, along with their enormous parks and some ridiculously amazing fishing and bird watching, which you might be into if you’re over 65 or maybe have an affinity for Double Crested Cormorants. Housing on the east end is more affordable, with plenty of apartments and rental homes, as well as a couple of those sexy mobile home parks. Anona is another great neighborhood nearby with approximately the same amenities.
Located right by the water, this neighborhood of row homes, mobile homes, and waterfront mansions creates a very unique mix of people. From laborers to corporate executives, everyone here enjoys the peaceful, and walkable area on the west end of town. There are a few great eateries, especially for seafood lovers, and you can walk to the beach from just about anywhere in the neighborhood.
Frustratingly, public transportation is highly inconvenient in Largo as it is served primarily by regional buses with routes that are few and far-between. If riding the bus is a necessity, research homes that are located along convenient routes of HART (Hillsborough Area Regional Transit) or Manatee County Transit. Aside from driving your own vehicle, two other highly popular options are carpooling and bicycling, which hate the Earth less than driving. Don’t be an Earth-hater.
Beach weather is hot and humid most of the year, with a few cold and humid months. This humidity makes the hot days hotter and the cold days colder, and keeping your home the right temperature is going to be a huge drain on the electricity. Expect to pay around $200 a month for small and medium-sized homes, and upwards of $300 a month for larger homes. Also consider just living with your frizzy hair.
Due to the wonderful beaches, numerous golf courses, and easy going nature of Largo, many retirees choose to live here, mainly along the west end of town where homes are just a short walk away from the beach. So, if you are looking to retire here, be sure to check out the stunning nautical houses along the waterfront, as well as the peaceful retirement communities of mobile homes, condos, and villas just a minute from the beach.
All in all, Largo is a great spot for numerous purposes. It is not a great spot for making a name for yourself and your garage rock band, it’s bad for aspiring performance artists, and it’s downright abysmal for those with water phobias. Otherwise, though, Largo’s got you covered on nightlife, scenery, relaxation and plenty of humble abodes. So get out there and find your new beach paradise! Good luck, and happy sailing!