From Florida to California: Two Waterside Towns to Visit in 2024

by Marika Flatt on March 26, 2024 in Travels,

Dunedin, Florida

The Fenway Hotel features an outdoor pool, along with lawn space for lawn games. Photo courtesy Fenway Hotel.

Brimming with musical motifs, the Fenway Hotel in Dunedin, Florida, is a grand hotel with modern touches and acts as a beacon for glitz in the community. It has a storied past, with many starts and stops (thrice into foreclosure) and even serving as a private academy school for many years. From its beginning a full century ago (1924) to just 10 years ago, when the neighbor behind the hotel (the Taoist Tai Chi Society) purchased the property, fully renovated its rooms and is now standing guard over the success of the historic property.

With live jazz music in the lobby, the Hi-Fi rooftop bar (on the third floor), and Hew Chophouse, the Fenway offers various activities that keep guests entertained during their stay. 

The HiFi rooftop bar offers scenic views of the ocean all hours of the day. Photo courtesy Fenway Hotel.

Hi-Fi rooftop bar really sings strong with a great view of St. Joseph’s Sound. At sunset each evening, there’s a special ceremony that you won’t want to miss. Enjoy a cocktail, glass of wine or craft beer in this idyllic coastal setting. 

Hew Chophouse, on the first floor of the hotel, is the place for seafood appetizers, hearty steaks (with a side of truffle fries!) and delicious pasta dishes. With unique house specialties such as their Fenway House Salad and Fenway Roasted Pork Belly, your dining experience will be elegant and fulfilling (pun intended).

Dunedin offers local state parks, bike trails, and marinas that allow for outdoor activities and adventures during your stay at the Fenway. The Pinellas Bike Trail is a 65-mile multi-use trail–running just a few blocks behind the hotel– for walking, jogging, skating and biking. Because the trail runs through Dunedin, it offers a blend of outdoor and local scenery of the area giving tourists a feel for the community. The Dunedin Marina has a boat ramp open to the public, but patrons must buy a daily or annual pass to use it. For those just looking for a stroll, Edgewater Park is located right at the Marina and features a playground and patio tables for family picnics and date nights.

San Francisco, California

Using nature as their compass, the 1 Hotel San Francisco intertwines modern and sustainable pieces throughout their resort. Photo courtesy 1 Hotel San Francisco.

Designed to complement San Francisco’s natural scenery and landscape, 1 Hotel San Francisco strives to provide a sustainable sanctuary. With interior designs and furnishings made with local reclaimed materials, clean energy and recycled wine-into-water bottles instead of plastics, 1 Hotel San Francisco creates a cozy enclave, with a view of the Bay Bridge.

From the greenery backdrop at check-in, to the green leafy panels in the hallways, this hotel is on brand with the theme of sustainability. I was blown away with the details: an adorable little rock that says “not now” that you can put on your outside panel, the interior design in my room of wood features, and the hourglass in the shower denoting the length of a proper shower so as to not use extra water.

Even the adorable circular key cards that say “welcome home” on the back had me gushing. But the “hero of the house” for me was the view of The SF-Oakland Bay Bridge from my guest room. I was also impressed with the house car that will take you anywhere within a 2-mile radius. 

Oh, 1 more thing! (Pun intended)… Something I’ve never seen before at a hotel that warmed my heart: there’s a wooden square in the room that says: “1 Less Thing: Overpack and want to give back? Simply leave a piece of clothing out with this block on top and our local charity partner will help get it in the hands of someone in need.” Amazing!

What a relaxing experience it was to dine for dinner at Terrene on the bottom floor. Open two years, the interior features real live plants hanging from wooden planks above. With a view of the bay, sounds of a DJ, (Thursday and Friday evenings and midday on Saturday), and great food, this is the place to be! Start with hummus, then move on to the salmon with black rice & puréed butternut squash. Pair it with a local Pilsner or chardonnay, followed by a quick elevator ride up to sweet dreams. 


For guests looking to enjoy bay views, Fog Harbor Fish House on the famous Pier 39 offers a variety of seafood appetizers and dishes, as well as their award winning clam chowder. Book a reservation during their happy hour from 3-5 p.m. and gaze at the ocean sunset while you dine.

Start with their crab cakes (perfect for two), followed by the scrumptious seared scallop and crab risotto– melts in your mouth. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any seafood dish here. A view of the bay made me feel like I was dining on a cruise ship. A crisp Jordan chardonnay was the ideal complement to the meal. 

Use that house car at 1 Hotel to drop you off for a breakfast fit for royalty at Garden Court inside The Palace Hotel.  You can even take one of the historic streetcars there. Garden Court holds court in the middle of the lobby of the gorgeous Palace Hotel, with beautiful glass chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and marble columns throughout.

With the elegance of 17th century European aristocratic architecture, the Palace Hotel truly follows through with its royal design and style. Photo courtesy Palace Hotel.

Enjoy their breakfast buffet with heaps of offerings or order à la carte, such as the San Francisco farmers market seasonal fruit and the garden avocado toast. A cappuccino is the cozy complement to the meal. This is a breakfast to remember! 

Taking the term “waterbar” literally, the seafood restaurant offers an aesthetic atmosphere to enhance your dining experience. Photo courtesy Waterbar.

Walk just a few blocks along the waterfront from 1 Hotel to have a hearty seafood lunch at Waterbar. With outstanding customer service and the most creamy clam chowder, you’ll find this spot ideal for a fish & chips lunch. Again, you can’t go wrong with a seafood selection (fill up before you return to Texas.) Top off lunch with the chocolate chip cookie; a sweet treat! 


Note: 1Hotel is part of Curator Hotel and Resort Collection


Cover photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

Marika Flatt, Outstanding Austin Communicator 2021, is the Travel Editor of Texas Lifestyle Magazine. She began her travel writing career in 2002, and can be seen as a contributor on TV shows across Texas, such as KVUE, Daytime (FOX), San Antonio Living, Good Morning Texas, and KXAN!  Marika spent five years as the voice of the “Weekend Trip Tip” on NPR’s Texas Standard pre-Covid. She is happiest near the water!