Fort DeSoto Park is comprised of over 1,100 acres (445.15 hectares) and five interconnecting islands. The park was used as a military post until 1922 and you will see the original gunnery, plus the reconstructed buildings of the era, including historical photographs and memorabilia when touring the fort. Enjoy miles of white sandy beach, fishing piers, hiking trails, canoeing, picnic areas and camping facilities. There are restaurants, snack bars and public restrooms for your convenience.
As one of the earliest parks in the South Tampa area, Ballast Point Park has been providing outdoor fun for countless Floridians since its construction in 1894. Besides offering splendid views of downtown Tampa, Ballast features a water area, playground and covered picnic area. Families head here in droves during the summer months for some good old fashioned outdoor recreation.
Cruise the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico while enjoying complimentary beverages on-board a comfortable double-decker catamaran. Snacks and cocktails are available for purchase from the full bar. Take a sightseeing tour of the beautiful white sand beaches of Honeymoon and Caladesi Island or book a tour dedicated to dolphin sighting. Relax and with a sunset cruise or celebrate on the adults only Saturday Night Party Cruise. Celebrate a birthday, anniversary, or graduation party or have a family reunion cruise with food, beverages, and music with a private charter. Whatever your pleasure, Tropics Boat Tours is available.
Kayaking is one of the best ways to see the Florida landscape up close. At Kayak Nature Adventures, rent a single, double kayak or stand up paddleboard for a half or full day and leisurely explore the waterways. Bring a picnic lunch and stop at Clam Bayou Nature Preserve for a break. Find a perfect location and go snorkeling. Kayak Nature Adventures also offers a two-hour guided tour through the preserve during which you can learn about the area and its inhabitants. The tour is perfect for children, nature lovers, and photographers looking for the perfect picture of Florida's diverse environment. Hours of departure and locations for launching vary. Call for reservations. -Vickie Ferguson
If you're looking to get away from the standard vacation spots of Florida, be sure to check out Canoe Escape. Once there you can experience an exciting outdoor adventure or explore the quiet scenery of the Hillsborough River, all from the safety of your kayak or canoe. As you drift downstream you might glimpse a wandering deer, a wild hog, or even a sunbathing aligator. Leisurely independent tours can be booked, as well as guided tours, where an experienced staff member will show you the ins and outs of the swamp reserve. So whether you're going it alone or having a family outing you'll be sure to have an experience you'll never forget. Various trips are offered so check out the website for details.
The John B. Sargeant Park encircles the confluence of Flint Creek and Hillsborough River. This 23-acre (9.3-hecatre) woodland is replete with green and golden vegetation, a swampy terrain, and trails, boardwalks and bridges veiled by thick foliage. Some of their pathways connect to famous parks in the neighborhood. Visitors can also canoe, paddle or kayak along the river, which again leads to surrounding gardens. Other activities include hiking, fishing and spotting birds like the egret and ibis. This park also offers extensive picnic areas for relaxation.
Cypress Point Park is a beautiful park located right on the beach in Westshore. The park features several trails that are great for biking, running or simply strolling as well as its own small beach. Cypress Point also features several picnic areas complete with grills. The park is a favorite among locals who take often take advantage of all it has to offer.
This serene patch of green, jutting out from the mainland into the waters, offers a refreshing escape from the bustle of the city. From canoeing and kayaking to fishing and hiking, the park has excellent recreation opportunities for outdoor as well as nature enthusiasts. Flanked on three sides by the Mobbly Bay, Upper Tampa Bay Regional Park boasts of a spectacular setting for picnics.
Overlooking the Tampa Bay, the beautifully landscaped open space, the Philippe Park has much to offer for all. The highlight of the park is a National Historic Landmark, the Tocobaga Indian Mound. After exploring the historic site, take a stroll on the scenic shore or enjoy a family picnic in the park. The picturesque facility also has a fishing pier and a boat ramp, making it a perfect spot for relaxation. Other amenities here include playgrounds, softball fields, picnic shelters and restrooms.
A neighborhood recreational space in Oldsmar, the Bicentennial Park offers a variety of sporting activities to the locals. Featuring tennis and basketball courts, along with a playground, fitness area, walking trails and shelters, indulge in outdoor activities here. The pet-friendly park has a special dog area as well.