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Best Parks in Tampa/St. Petersburg

, 9 Options Found

A hub for outdoor activities, this Tampa park offers visitors the opportunity to hike, fish, kayak, and more. The little ones can let loose on the playground structure and the picnic tables and barbecue's are perfect for a summer gathering. A nature center informs visitors on the local flora and fauna along with the extensive hiking trail information.

Visitors to Anclote Key Preserve State Park have access to 403 acres spanning four islands. The park features miles of sugar white sand bordered by the warm waters of the Gulf. Anclote is accessible by private boat or by the ferry service departing from the sponge docks in Tarpon Springs. Swimming, picnicking, grilling, and primitive camping are allowed at the park. Bird watchers will enjoy observing more than 40 bird species while hikers can make their way to a lighthouse built in 1887. There are two picnic pavilions and restroom facilities at the park. There are no food or drink concessions. Anclote Key Preserve State Park is open every day from 8a until sundown.

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.

Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park provides for a calm and serene space in a busy town. This recreation park is equipped with modern equipments like LED lighting, adjustable seating arrangement, NEOS 360 Ring featuring challenging games for kids and so forth. Also, the lighting and water supply for the park is done through reclaimed water, thereby conserving water and electricity. It also has playground, picnic area, a separate dog park and walking trail, thereby catering to the entire family. All in all, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is an ideal space to spend a lazy afternoon.

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.

Morris Bridge Park, located near the University of South Florida, provides 106 acres of native Florida landscaping along the Hillsborough River. The park is a thriving ecosystem of wetlands, forest, and swamp, giving hikers, bicyclists, joggers and nature lovers an intriguing respite for relaxation. The park provides a boat dock and ramp, canoe launch area, fishing docks, covered shelters and restroom facilities. Anglers have the option of fishing from a boardwalk or along primitive trails. Several trails meander throughout the park and take hikers past scenic cypress trees, picnic areas and pavilions. Morris Bridge Park is open 365 days a year from sunrise to sunset.

Alafia River State Park offers a full day of adventure all in one location, 354 days a year. The 6,260 acre park provides an environment for nature enthusiasts, bird watchers, campers, and hikers. For cyclists, the park has 17 miles of adventurous biking trails and for equestrians, another 20 miles of scenic trails. Alafia has full camping and shower facilities for RV's, primitive camping, and sites specifically designed for campers with horses and trailers. Visitors can fish, canoe, or kayak along the Alafia River, picnic lakeside or at the pavilion, play volleyball or horseshoes, or spend time at the children's playground. The park is equipped with restroom facilities and the pavilion is ADA accessible. - Vickie Ferguson

Enjoy picnicking, canoeing, fishing, trail hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding at Edward Medard Park and Reservoir. Open daily from 6am until sunset, the park provides the perfect place for a family outing or a relaxing respite. Edward Medard has tent, primitive, and RV camping sites, picnic shelters, grills, playground equipment, and plenty of trails for hiking and riding. A boardwalk and pier connect the park to an observation tower across the broad expanse of the reservoir. The park is equipped with ramps for easy access to the reservoir for boaters. - Vickie Ferguson

Owned and operated by the city's Leisure Services Department, this “botanical experience” of tropical splendor, orchids and bromeliads features streams and pools adorned with colorful pink flamingos. There are special activities for children and wildlife presentations for everyone. Horticultural displays occur seasonally. A Rainforest Information Center here has exhibits of some of the eerier critters, including snakes and other reptiles, spiders, and scorpions. In the Garden you'll also find a captivating butterfly aviary.

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