Located across the bay from Tampa, on a peninsula with Clearwater and St. Petersburg, Largo is one of Pinellas County’s largest cities and had a population of more than 80,000 at the time of the last census.
Home to some of the state’s most beautiful beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, it was incorporated more than a century ago.
For much of its existence, it was an agricultural area, though due to development, that’s no longer the case.
It’s close to many of the state’s most popular historical, cultural, and natural tourist destinations, and below are 15 things you won’t want to miss.
1. Florida Botanical Gardens
Known as Largo’s ‘urban oasis,’ the Florida Botanical Gardens are managed by the government of Pinellas County and are free to visit.
Many visitors choose to stroll through the grounds at their own pace, and for the more value-minded travelers there are often educational and instructional programs offered too.
The garden grounds are comprised of nearly 30 acres and include children’s and interpretive trails and a variety of natural habitats.
The gardens are located on Ulmerton Road, and they’ve got a great website where you’ll find what’s on their calendar of events, pet rules and regulations and their hours of operation.
2. Heritage Village and Historic Museum
Also located in Largo’s Pinewood Cultural Park, Heritage Village and Historic Museum is comprised of more than 20 acres of preserved buildings from the mid-19th and early 20th centuries, when the land around the town was relatively undeveloped.
There are more than 30 surviving structures, including a church, railroad station, schools, and a few historic homes.
For history lovers and those with roots in Largo, it’s a must-see attraction, as there are few other sites of its kind in the state that offer such a thorough insight into the lives of those who resided in the area more than a century ago.
3. Saturday Morning Market
Located on 1st Street in nearby St Petersburg, the Saturday Morning Market is the perfect stop for those looking to rub elbows with the locals, enjoy some live entertainment, and check out an array of locally-made and grown products that you won’t find anywhere else.
The market is known for its tasty coffee and fresh baked goods, so consider heading out early and eating breakfast before you do your shopping.
There are always plenty of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables on hand, and a variety of prepared food items like cheese, honey, and salsa.
If you’re new to the area, ask the vendors what they’d suggest you see and do while in town.
4. East Bay Golf Club
For its sheer number of stunning courses, the state of Florida is in a class of its own and is a mecca for golfers from all over the country.
During the winter months, snowbirds descend on The Sunshine State from northern climes, and golf is one of their favorite past times.
Largo’s East Bay Golf Club is a popular public course that’s been around for more than 50 years and is affordable, scenic, and challenging.
Known for its abundant water-hazard holes, the course is tricky but appropriate for most skill levels, and features a new fleet of golf carts with GPS units.
5. The Dali Museum
Salvador Dali is an international art legend with a truly unique style that’s recognizable by its fluidity and surrealism.
Outside of Europe, the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg houses the most extensive collection of his works, which span the entirety of his career.
The museum is located near the waterfront on Southeast 5th Avenue and Bay Shore Drive.
Its one of a kind collection includes thousands of Dali’s works, only about a hundred of which are paintings.
The museum is centrally located, relatively inexpensive to visit, and a particularly popular destination when it’s oppressively hot and muggy or rainy and stormy outside.
6. John S. Taylor Park
Located just off 8th Avenue in Largo, John S. Taylor Park is full of shady areas that are the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon with a thermos full of lemonade and a good book.
The park features a large lake, and though it may seem alluring to swimmers and fishermen, it’s off limits due to the resident gators that may not take kindly to the intrusion.
There’s a multi-use trail that winds nearly two miles through the park’s 150 acres, and there are picnic tables and a disc golf course as well.
The park is open every day from sunrise to sunset and is free to visit.
7. Clearwater Marine Aquarium
Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, and home to a variety of freshwater lakes, rivers, and wetlands, it’s no wonder that Florida has so many aquariums.
Located on Windward Passage in nearby Clearwater, Clearwater Marine Aquarium isn’t just another ho-hum aquarium; it’s also an animal rehabilitation and education facility which is full of amazing exhibits and live animals that are fascinating for both adults and children.
Sharks, stingrays, and turtles are a few of the perennial favorites, and there are plenty of interactive areas that encourage kids to roll up their sleeves, get wet, and touch a few unique sea creatures too.
8. Sand Key Park
Part park, part beach, and part wildlife preserve, Sandy Key Beach is the perfect place to spend an afternoon enjoying the state’s fantastic scenery while soaking up the sun, sand, and surf.
The park’s amenities include public beach access, small cabanas, and bathrooms with showers that are perfect for washing away the salt and sand after a long day.
Though it’s not officially a wildlife preserve, the beach at Sand Key Park is an important nesting area for sea turtles that flock here to lay their eggs at certain times of the year.
Remember that if you’re lucky enough to witness this natural spectacle, it’s illegal to interact or interfere with the turtles.
9. Pinellas Trail
Named after a former county official, the Pinellas Trail stretches for nearly 40 miles between Tarpon Springs and St. Petersburg, and follows an old rail line – which is why it’s referred to as a rail trail.
You’ll find plenty of access points regardless of where you decide to pick up the trail, and it’s open to bikers, walkers, and in-line skaters.
For those who prefer active outdoor activities, it’s the perfect place to spend a day exploring. Out of state visitors can rent bikes in many of the towns through which the trail runs.
Trail access is free and includes a variety of coastal habitats.
10. Clearwater Beach
Clearwater Beach just north of Largo is one of many stunning beaches along the west-central Florida coast on The Gulf of Mexico.
Unlike the beaches on Florida’s eastern Atlantic side, the beaches of Clearwater, Largo, and St. Augustine face west, so they’re particularly known for their gorgeous sunsets.
Clearwater Beach has been named one of the state’s best beaches for its cleanliness, convenience, plentiful shopping and dining options, and stunning natural beauty.
Though there’s a cool nightlife scene in the area, it’s a far cry from the glitz of beaches like Miami Beach, making it an excellent family-friendly destination.
11. Ruth Eckerd Hall
Ruth Eckerd Hall is one of the west-central coast’s premier live entertainment and performing arts venues and hosts an impressive and eclectic mix of shows throughout the year.
The modern venue seats about 2,000 visitors and has state of the art light and sound systems, so that even the least expensive seats won’t leave you feeling like you’ve been short-changed.
Symphony orchestras, dramatic theater, dance recitals, contemporary music, and children’s performances are all on their calendar of events. Take a little time to check out their website to see what’s on the horizon for when you’ll be in town.
12. Florida Holocaust Museum
Though it may seem like a bit of a downer in a state known for its amazing beaches and crazy nightlife, the Florida Holocaust Museum is one of those poignant historical attractions that really shouldn’t be passed up.
In addition to a variety of exhibits – including photographs, historical records, and chilling personal accounts – the museum is home to one of the world’s most complete collections of art produced by Holocaust survivors.
Keep in mind that many of the items on display are shocking and emotional and may not be appropriate for children.
The museum is located on St. Augustine’s east coast near Tampa Bay.
13. Busch Gardens
For all-around family-friendly destinations that pack a big punch, Busch Gardens is in a league of its own.
Comprised of nearly 300 acres, it’s part history museum, part wild game preserve, and part amusement park; for many families visiting the area, it’s where they spend the majority of their time.
Visitors like the fact that in addition to plenty of fun, their children are exposed to educational opportunities that touch on history, the natural world, geography, and art.
Busch Gardens is 15 minutes northeast of Tampa; during peak times when school is out for the summer, it can get downright mobbed.
14. Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center
Manatees are one of Florida’s most iconic native animals; if you’ve never seen one up close, you ought to take advantage of Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center.
Often referred to as sea cows, manatees are blubbery, mild-mannered marine mammals that dine on seagrass and other aquatic vegetation. Sadly, they often get hit by boats because they’re slow moving and often swim just beneath the surface.
Visiting is always free, and you’re most likely to see the animals from November until April when they flock to the plant’s warm water discharge to shrug off the winter cold.
15. Glazer Children’s Museum
Unlike some states that are lacking in the children’s entertainment department, Florida has an amazing variety of kid-friendly options; the Glazer Children’s Museum in Tampa is one of the area’s best.
Consisting of tens of thousands of square feet of interactive exhibits, it’s a place where families can spend countless hours and is especially popular when it’s raining or oppressively hot and humid outside.
The museum’s attractions are engaging and educational, touching on the natural world, engineering, history, and the wonders of science. If you’d like to avoid peak time crowds, consider visiting as soon as they open in the morning, or on a weekday instead of a weekend.