The Jolly Trolley
Pinellas county is one of the largest counties in Florida, with a population of about 1 million without including our temporary guests (tourists). It is surrounded by water on 3 sides, a peninsula on a peninsula. According to PinellasCounty.org, Pinellas has 588 miles of coastline, including 35 miles of beautiful, sandy beaches. Running almost the entire length of the county is the Pinellas Trail, a biking and walking trail that once was our railroad.
There are many beautiful cities in Pinellas County, the largest being St. Petersburg. Clearwater, famous for its beaches, is also located here. Others include (but are not limited to) Gulfport, Safety Harbor, Largo, Seminole, Madeira Beach, Redington Beach, Treasure Island, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, and – you knew this was coming – Tarpon Springs.
If you want to explore northern Pinellas County and Clearwater Beach, you should consider riding the Jolly Trolley. The coastal route will take you through Clearwater, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, and Tarpon Springs. The Clearwater Beach route takes you to…Clearwater Beach. It often runs near the Pinellas Trail.
We recently took the trolley on back-to-back nights over the weekend. The first night, we went to downtown Dunedin for dinner and to walk around. The second night, we took the trolley to dinner in Palm Harbor and walked around. Below is a step-by-step breakdown of our evenings.
Getting on: Stop 14 on the Southbound route, located at the intersection of Court Street and Pinellas Avenue (runs supposedly on the 0:05; it was a little late)
Getting off: The driver let us off on Skinner at the Pinellas Trail (we think this is a regular bus stop because it doesn’t show up on the trolly map). Alternatively, you can get off at Stop 20 at Dunedin City Hall on the 0:30. If you’re unsure, just ask the driver.
We went to dinner at the Lucky Lobster Company, which is right on the trail. It was about a 5-minute walk from where we were dropped off.
Then, we had a night cap and listened to music at the Crown and Bull.
Going home: Stop 7 on the Northbound route, located in front of the Dunedin Methodist Church, which runs on the 0:57 (again, it was late).
Getting off: Stop 12 on the Northbound route, which is on Tarpon Avenue right after the turn off Pinellas Avenue, which drops off on the 0:27.
Lesson learned: Use the website to track the trolly. It seems to run behind. If you track it, you will know when to head to the stop.
Getting on: Stop 14 on the Southbound route, located at the intersection of Court St and Pinellas Ave (runs supposedly on the 0:05; it was a VERY late).
Getting off: Not sure which stop at which we actually got off, but it was near the front of Casa Ludovico, where we were going to dinner. Again, we think this was a regular bus stop – we just asked the driver.
We went to dinner at Casa Ludovico. We did call half an hour before to make sure they had space.
Then, we walked down the Pinellas Trail about 10 minutes to downtown Palm Harbor. There are a couple of blocks of cute restaurants and businesses to see. We had gelato there. We had to cross the street to get to the trail and to get to downtown, but there were well-lighted crosswalks right where we needed them.
Going home: Stop 10 on the Northbound route, located in front of what was formerly Peggy O’s which runs on the 0:12, but was about ten minutes late. We watched the tracker this time, so we didn’t wait very long.
Getting off: Stop 12 on the Northbound route, which is on Tarpon Ave right after the turn off Pinellas Ave, which drops off on 0:27. We considered staying on until Stop 13, which is at the end of the Sponge Docks, and walking home, but I was too tired!
Note: Due to Covid, the trolleys are limited to 15 people. We almost missed the cut on the second day at Stop 7. They were pretty empty on the way back both days.
You’re probably wondering how much it costs to take the Jolly Trolley. Because of Covid they are free right now. Here are the usual rates:
Cash Fare: $2.50 (for seniors and disabled: $1.10)
Unlimited daily pass: $5.00 (for seniors and disabled: $2.50)
Children 5 and under: FREE
If you want to avoid having a drink and driving, ride sharing, valet parking, and parking in general, we highly recommend the Jolly Trolley. It will certainly be a part of our routine going forward!