“There’s a dolphin … right there!” The angler, looking to pick up a fish or two for the evening meal, had been moving from spot to spot around the park as I drove through, enchanted with my new discovery. I found her on an observation deck over a shallow lagoon, watching the surface break as a fin sliced past the mangroves.
Ruskin isn’t a place you’d think of for camping, or so I thought until I discovered E.G. Simmons Park. This was another foray off US 41, watching for those brown signs that signify that something natural is hiding around the bend. I’ve not known the eastern shore of Tampa Bay to be a place for hiking, but it’s a paddler’s delight. Clinging to slender mangrove-lined spits of land that jut out into the wide open of Tampa Bay, this particular county park has two campgrounds where you can launch a kayak right out of the back of your space, plus a beach with lifeguard and pleasant playground with a mini climbing wall. Paved trails link various sections of the park, and the winding road system is perfect for an outing on a bicycle with the tots.