Sun, Sea & Natural Beauty: 6 Irresistible Outdoor Adventures in St. Pete/Clearwater
Emerald-green waters and cool Gulf breezes. Sugar-white sand islands that appear and disappear with the tides. That wonderful, free feeling of seeing birds soar overhead. The gentle sound of water dripping from your paddle. All waiting for you in St. Pete/Clearwater. Come and hike our lush nature parks, paddle our pristine waterways and explore our beautiful gardens. You'll come away refreshed and care-free.
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Spending time in nature - whether that's on an island, at a beach, or on a visit to one of our gorgeous parks - is the perfect way to relax.
Explore Scenic Waterways
Ever kayak in the company of a cormorant? How about playful dolphins and gentle manatees? Paddling adventures in St. Pete/Clearwater often come with some wild entertainment along the way. Rent a kayak near the Dunedin Causeway to reach pristine Caladesi Island State Park, where you can explore lush mangrove tunnels, then beach your boat for an almost-deserted island experience. Visit gorgeous Fort De Soto Park with its stunning beach and two-mile paddling trail. Head to Weedon Island Preserve in north St. Pete to explore Riviera Bay and the South Paddling Trail with its mangrove canopy.
Discover Why Being on "Island Time" is the Best Time of All
You don't have to go far away to have that "tropical island" feel. In fact, we have some gorgeous islands just waiting for you to explore. Start with Honeymoon Island State Park, where you can search for shells along four miles of soft beaches or hike a three-mile trail through a virgin pine forest. From the park, take the ferry or rent a kayak to reach nearby Caladesi Island State Park, treasured for its uncrowded beaches and amazing birdwatching. Take a day-trip to beautiful Egmont Key, with its nearly deserted beaches. Or rent a boat to discover mysterious islands that appear and disappear with the tides.
Walk Shaded Trails and Listen to Birdsong
Looking for ways to find some zen? St. Pete/Clearwater has gorgeous parks and preserves that fit the bill. Find stunning boardwalks at Boca Ciega Millennium Park, Sawgrass Lake Park and Weedon Island Preserve. At Boyd Hill Nature Park, walk shaded trails, enjoy views of Lake Maggiore and visit a sanctuary for rehabilitated birds of prey. Looking for a waterfront picnic spot? Try St. Pete's North Shore Park or Vinoy Park, both with views of the new St. Pete Pier. If you'd like to spend time among the trees, explore little-known Brooker Creek Preserve in Tarpon Springs to enjoy its nature center, wildflower-decorated trails and stellar birdwatching (tip: arrive when the park opens to have the trails all to yourself).
Stroll in a Garden
Experience a Nature Lovers' Delight
If gorgeous blooms make your heart go all a-flutter, St. Pete/Clearwater has two beautiful botanical gardens for you to explore. Visit Florida Botanical Gardens to see 12 different themed areas, including a native plants garden, a wedding garden and a butterfly garden. It's the largest free botanical garden in Florida! St. Pete's small-but-very-special Sunken Gardens is more than 100 years old - and the canopy of enormous trees and exuberantly flowering plants inside the garden attest to its maturity. See flamingos and other tropical birds as you take a leisurely walk through the garden.
Camp at the Beach
Set Up Camp with a Sunset View
Fort De Soto Park is (yes, we'll say it) practically world-famous among camping aficionados. After all, who wouldn't want to to camp waterfront in Florida with great amenities (restrooms, showers, laundry, camp store) and access to one of the most stunning beaches in the country? Reserve early, friends! Several local parks and preserves, such as Anclote Key and Shell Key offer primitive beachfront camping, if you aren't someone who requires a lot of creature comforts.
Take a Tour or Explore on Your Own
It's a zoo out there: Alligators glide in still waters, ospreys soar overhead, dolphins play in the waves, and bright-pink birds (roseate spoonbills, not flamingos) wade in the shallows. Our wild areas are also home to white-tailed deer, gopher tortoises, armadillos and many more interesting creatures. The best way to see them? Go early or late, when it's cooler. Move slowly and quietly. Take a few moments to be completely still. Stay a safe distance. If you're a birdwatcher, explore some of the sites on the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. To see marine animals, take one of many dolphin or wildlife watching boat tours.
Explore Our Favorite Parks
Here are some of the top places in St. Pete/Clearwater to hit the trail, go paddling or just get some fresh air.