7 Amazing Outdoor Experiences in St. Pete/Clearwater
When you need some fresh air and time on the water, St. Pete/Clearwater fits the bill perfectly. Check out our list of 7 amazing outdoor adventures you won’t want to miss on your next trip.
St. Pete/Clearwater is an unrivaled destination for outdoor lovers. Not just because our soft, white sands and emerald-green waters make for perfect beach days all year round. But also because we have so much other stunning nature to explore, from mangrove preserves to bayous crisscrossed by ziplines. You can get out on the water in many different ways, sharing our bay and Gulf waters with dolphins, manatees, sea turtles and other marine life. Here are some of the best ways to get outside and enjoy nature in St. Pete/Clearwater.
Clear Kayak Tour of Shell Key Preserve
Natural Florida shines at Shell Key Preserve, a meandering wetland where turquoise water flows into mangrove tunnels, and egrets, herons and osprey soar over untouched beaches. It's possible you will see dolphins at play, or manatees gliding by. You can experience it best with Get Up and Go Kayaking’s clear kayak tour, where you’ll paddle through the preserve with unobstructed views both above and below.
This kayak tour is so special, it was named #2 on Tripadvisor’s list of “Top Overall Experiences” in the U.S. for 2022.
The tour starts with a trip through a mangrove canopy, where you might spot snook and sheepshead under your kayak. Continue to one of the preserve’s isolated beaches, a true slice of white sand paradise only reachable by boat. You’ll finish by paddling past a bird sanctuary, where sightings of roseate spoonbills and great blue herons are regular occurrences. The whole thing begins and ends at Billy’s Stone Crab restaurant, too, so you can indulge in a fresh seafood meal after the trip.
Speaking of adrenaline, nothing gets your heart pumping faster than racing down a zipline 60 feet over a bayou. Empower Adventures in Oldsmar offers a guided zipline tour that takes you across five ziplines, four obstacles, a 200-foot suspension bridge, and a climbing challenge dubbed the “Leap of Faith.” The entire elevated experience brings panoramic views of Mobbly Bayou and the wilderness beyond, which you’ll have between one and two hours to enjoy.
When the sun goes down, consider a novel kind of nightlife. Glow tours – where you explore local waters in a kayak or paddleboard equipped with LED lights – are easy to find throughout St. Pete/Clearwater. In St. Pete Beach, catch the glimmering, bright-pink Don CeSar at night as you float along with Wow Paddleboards. Shell Key is also magical at night, and Get Up and Go offers an after-hours version of its clear kayak tours. If you’d like a unique way to take in the St. Pete city skyline, try the St. Pete Pier Glow Tour, which offers leisurely trips in the downtown area just after sunset.
St. Pete has the ideal combination of geographic features to make it a world class kiteboarding destination. Its location on Tampa Bay means constant breezes blow through, and because the city sits on a peninsula, kiteboarders can catch wind in almost any direction. The most popular place for kiteboarding is under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which offers two launch sites, depending on the direction of the wind. Fort De Soto Park also has a couple of launch options. The sport can be challenging to learn, so take a lesson with Kiteboarding St. Petersburg or Elite Watersports to get your legs under you first.
Zooming over Tampa Bay is an exhilarating experience once reserved for those who could afford speedboats. But now pretty much anyone can feel like a boat racer with Endless Summer Watersports’ speedboat tours where you get to pilot your own mini speedboat. The 90-minute narrated tour takes you around Tampa Bay, near Fort De Soto Park and the iconic Sunshine Skyway Bridge. You might see dolphins and other marine life, all while feeling the thrill of the wind whipping through your hair as you careen across the water.
The fastest-growing water sport in Tampa Bay – and maybe all of America – is E-foiling, where a surfboard equipped with a hydrofoil allows you to essentially float over the water. The combination of speed and mobility means you can explore more of St. Pete’s waterways than you could on a kayak or paddleboard. Unless you’re a pro surfer or kiteboarder, though, it’s strongly recommended that you take a couple of lessons before trying an E-foil on your own. Elite Watersports offers beginner instruction that’ll have you E-foiling in no time.
Electric Paddleboard and Kayak Tours
Kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding are relaxing, low-stress ways to appreciate the natural beauty of St. Pete/Clearwater. But if you’d like to explore with a little more emphasis relaxation, take a tour with Native eSUP Adventures. They provide motorized hybrid kayaks and electric stand-up paddleboards, making the trip far less taxing but equally as rewarding. Check out their dolphin-watching electric paddleboard tour, where you’ll travel three miles through Shell Key Preserve looking for dolphins and manatees. Or take a tour at sunset and experience total calm as the colors change over Tampa Bay.