At first glance, the tiny town of Saint Leo may appear not to have much to offer in the area of entertainment for incoming university students. Don’t let its size fool you; Pasco County, especially San Antonio, Dade City, and Zephyrhills, have plenty of interesting places to visit and fun things to do.
Just a short walk from the Saint Leo campus lies the historic town of San Antonio. Here, students can find a couple of barber shops when they are in need of a trim, a quaint park that has setups for a game of basketball, baseball, and soccer, and a couple of tasty restaurants, including the popular Mexican gem Pancho’s Villa and the new unofficial student hangout The Local pub. Prior to entering San Ann, students will also pass a drive up coffee shop called A Cup of Organic and a tasty BBQ restaurant by the name of On Q. Continuing on SR 52, students will also come across a bicycle shop, campus swag store, and Al’s Pizza Shop.
Heading in the opposite direction on 52, after passing Pasco High School and taking a right onto Meridian Avenue, students will find themselves in the heart of Dade City. Taking a left on 301 leads to popular eateries Del Carmen, Mallie Kyla’s Café (which also doubles as American Eagle Antique Mall), and Francesco’s New York Style Pizzeria. Also of note is a handy little shop called the Book Shack, a cheaper alternative to Barnes and Noble. The avid reader can find and purchase novels, some textbooks, and other forms of literature of varying categories and genres or exchange their own books for store credit. If one prefers the screen to the page, then travel a short way down 301, away from the direction of Dade City, and there sits the nostalgia-inducing Joy-Lan Drive-In Theater.
Downtown Dade City is mostly for sightseeing and dining. The historic courthouse, the jewel of the city, is a major tourist attraction, along with multiple antique shops. Patrons can visit several quaint little shops, such as Lori Ann’s, Annetta’s Antique’s, and Another Man’s Treasure to name a few, and find various collectibles, curios, and oddities. When hunger strikes, there is also a diverse selection of eateries to choose from. Some restaurants include TJ’s Deli and Ice Cream, Café Kokopelli, Lunch on Limoges, a Matter of Taste, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, and the newest addition to Dade City, Truly Mediterranean Grill, which serves authentic Greek cuisine. After lunch, patrons can grab desert at Olga’s Bakery or enjoy a cup of joe at Perk’s Café.
Continuing on 301 away from downtown, leads to more familiar locations. The city is home to a couple of sit-down restaurants, such as IHOP, Bubba Q’s, and ABC Pizza, as well as several fast food stops, like Wendy’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s, KFC, Taco Bell, Subway, and Checkers. A Burger King has also recently been added. Students can stock their dorms with food and supplies from Publix, Winn Dixie, or Walmart, as well as other smaller recognizable chain stores.
Just up 301 sits the town of Zephyrhills, popular for its plentiful restaurants, shops, and entertainment. Zephyrhills has all of the same grocery stores, drug stores, and fast food restaurants that can be found in Dade City, but with a few new interesting stops thrown in. Chili’s, Ruby Tuesday, Panera Bread, Sonny’s BBQ, Pizza Hut, and Happy Cow Frozen Yogurt are only a few of the popular chain restaurants that dominate the small town; but Zephyrhills also has a number of privately owned eating establishments, including Terra, a gluten-free option, Dimaggio’s That’s Amore, Sunrise Eatery, and the recently added Coney Island, a small restaurant famous for their foot-long hot dogs. Zephyrhills and Dade City alike are also home to several Chinese, Mexican, and Pizza restaurants.
Zephyrhills is also a popular place to shop ‘til you drop. Shops include Walmart, GameStop, Bealls, Ross, T.J. Maxx, Hobby Lobby, and, if you’re low on funds, several thrift shops. If trying on clothes isn’t enough fun, then students can catch a flick at the Zephyrhills Cinema 10 (now serving icee’s), roll a few balls and topple some pins at Pin Chasers bowling alley, or, for the nature lovers, take a scenic walk or jog around Zephyrhills park.
Students don’t have to go all the way to Tampa to have a good time; between San Antonio, Dade City, and Zephyrhills, there are a number of fun local hot spots to choose from to spend some free time without spending too much cash.