This expansive park is a stunning surprise in the middle of suburban Seminole. The long, canopied drive into the park reveals a paved biking and walking trail that goes for a good distance - perfect to get your body moving while your mind finds some quiet. But the treasure of this place is its boardwalk along sparkling Boca Ciega Bay and the 35-foot observation tower. From here, it’s possible to see fish jumping, dolphins playing and water birds searching for their dinner. If you can, come close to sunset for a beautiful show over the bay. The park is open 7 a.m. to sunset daily.
The world’s been a bit of a wild ride lately, but here’s a chance to choose your own adventure - this time, above a wilderness preserve in Oldsmar. This guided zip line tour with a 60-foot tower, 200-foot suspension bridge and multiple zip lines is sure to get your heart pumping. Extensive safety measures are in place, including thorough disinfecting of equipment and group spacing for COVID-era security. Reservations are needed - call or go online.
There may be no better place in St. Pete to bring a picnic and a good book than Northshore Park (though locals might argue that nearby Vinoy Park is a contender). If you’re feeling antsy, Northshore Park offers plenty of green space for dogs and their humans to run around or play catch, and a long, paved path along Tampa Bay is a popular spot for walkers, runners, bikers and rollerbladers. If you’re an early bird, sunrise here is worth getting up for. Bonus of any visit: You’ll get a glimpse of the brand-new St. Pete Pier, expected to open this summer.
Fort De Soto Park is a real gem in the county’s park system. Where else can you sun yourself on a beautiful beach, ride a bike along a path near sand dunes, go camping, and see a Spanish War-era fort, all in one place? And, if nature pursuits are top-of-mind, the park also offers kayak rentals through Topwater Kayak Outpost - paddlers can glide through a small estuary and see Florida birds, fish, turtles and other wildlife on a self-guided tour.
If you’ve always meant to see more of St. Pete’s amazing 600+ murals (and by “more,” we don’t mean a gone-in-a-blink view from your car at 30 m.p.h.), this is the perfect time to get your art fix along with some fresh air. Use your own bike. Or park your car in downtown St. Pete, then rent a bike from Coast Bike Share at multiple locations throughout the city. For the inside scoop on many of the murals, download the PixelStix app to use at each location.
St. Pete/Clearwater is lucky enough to have three preserves where you can experience pristine wildlands just a short jaunt from the city: Brooker Creek Preserve in Tarpon Springs, Weedon Island Preserve in north St. Pete, and Boyd Hill Nature Preserve in south St. Pete. All have extensive hiking trails or boardwalks plus water views, so you can truly feel like you’re getting away from it all. Weedon Island also has an impressive observation tower and offers paddleboard and kayak rentals through Sweetwater Kayaks (reservations welcome, especially on weekends).
Hankering for salty sea breezes and a fish on the line? Marinas throughout the area have begun to operate private fishing charters as well as party fishing boats once again (many are also offering boat rentals, sightseeing and sunset cruises, too). Hubbard’s Marina in Madeira Beach and Clearwater Beach Marina are among the best known, but there are other marinas dotted throughout the region. Check them out for a fishtastic day.