Several years ago, while researching Exploring Florida’s Botanical Wonders, I stumbled across the newly opened Robinson Preserve in Palma Sola. Managed by Manatee County and directly across the road from Palma Sola Botanical Gardens, this preserve of mud flats and mangrove-lined shores has one of the best observation tower views in Florida, as well as […]
Tampa Bay is one of Florida's largest landforms, a large shallow bay with many urban communities along its shores, most notably Tampa and St. Petersburg.
Perched above Tampa Bay on crumbling bluffs, the Apollo Beach Nature Preserve wasn’t quite what I expected. Perhaps the name, with its Greek roots, or the recognition of how Jules Verne predicted Florida space travel, albeit it launched from the shores of Tampa Bay, wrapped an aura of romance around the idea of a nature […]
Explore coastal habitats on the Arrowhead Nature Trail at Fort De Soto Park, an interpretive walk where you’ll learn about salt-dependent plants along Mullet Key Bayou.
The 0.4 mile Barrier Free Trail at Fort De Soto Park has a graded path wide enough for two wheelchairs to pass and six touch-activated interpretive speakers along the path.
Once a zoo in St. Petersburg, Boyd Hill Park has 3 miles of trails looping through a mosaic of natural habitats and tropical landscapes along Lake Maggiore.
Bradenton, between Sarasota and St. Petersburg, on the south side of Tampa Bay, has trails that explore the mangrove-lined coast as well as wooded uplands to the east.
Clearwater Beach is at the northern end of heavily-populated Pinellas County, so although most of the trails are in urban parks, there are some wide open spaces as you get closer to the northern border of the county.
Commemorating the landing of Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto, De Soto National Memorial is a significant archaeological site where the Manatee River flows into Tampa Bay.
E.G. Simmons Park in Ruskin offers a campground along with its beaches and mazy mangrove-lined waterways for paddlers and anglers along Tampa Bay.
In Tampa Bay, Egmont Key, an island that was once a Civil War refugee camp, is now a bird rookery and historic site, with trails accessible only by boat.