Thanks in large part to its location along the Gulf of Mexico, Florida’s Tampa Bay area boasts a wealth of picturesque parks. Whether you’re into fishing, swimming, hiking, biking or sunbathing, there’s a Tampa Bay park perfectly suited for you.
Amid the impressive array of parks, one is particularly praiseworthy.
Accessible only by ferry, kayak or boat, Caladesi Island State Park, just outside Dunedin, is a secluded paradise. With its unspoiled sugar-white sand, Caladesi Island has one of the most immaculate beaches in Florida.
Photo: Florida Park Service
“On pristine Caladesi, quiet paths lead along the dunes, palms stand against the warm coastal breezes, and shore birds and sea turtles live without interference from people,” Visit Florida says. “Gopher tortoises burrow behind the dunes and water laps against beaches sprinkled with scallops and sand dollars.”
Caladesi Island State Park leads LawnStarter’s list of the 12 Prettiest Parks in Tampa Bay, but it had some stiff competition for the No. 1 spot. Check out which parks jockeyed for first place.
1. Caladesi Island State Park
Why we like it: White-sand beach; abundant wildlife; 3-mile nature trail; 3-mile kayak trail
2. Fred Howard Park
Photo: Island Paradise
Why we like it: 155 acres along Gulf of Mexico; 1-mile-long causeway; white-sand beach; eagle, osprey and dolphin sightings
3. Fort De Soto Park
Why we like it: 1,136 acres made up of five interconnected islands; 7 miles of waterfront, including nearly 3 miles of white-sand beach; almost 330 species of birds; two fishing piers
4. Egmont Key State Park
Why we like it: Remote island accessible only by ferry or boat; federally designated wildlife area; more than 150-year-old lighthouse; swimming; snorkeling; fishing; shelling
5. Anclote Key Preserve State Park
Why we like it: 403-acre park with more than 40 species of birds; accessible only by ferry or boat; nearly 130-year-old lighthouse; picnicking; overnight camping
6. Honeymoon Island State Park
Photo: Great Tampa Bay Homes
Why we like it: Nature trails; bird observatory areas; pine forest; swimming; fishing; snorkeling; shelling
7. Alafia River State Park
Why we like it: 6,260-acre park with unique topography; 17 miles of cycling trails; hardwood forests; rolling hills; 20 miles of hiking and horse trails; canoeing; fishing
8. Picnic Island Park
Why we like it: Beach for people and dogs; boat ramp; fishing pier; observation deck
9. Davis Islands Seaplane Basin Park
Why we like it: Boat ramps; canoe areas; picnicking; dog beach
10. Hillsborough River State Park
Photo: Erika Zambello
Why we like it: Fort Foster Historic Site; wildlife; fishing; canoeing and kayaking; hiking; cycling; swimming
11. Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
Photo: The Tampa River Walk
Why we like it: Skyline view; huge lawn; two fountains; dog run
12. Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park
Why we like it: 4 miles of Gulf of Mexico coastline; birdwatching; fox, tortoise and dolphin habitat; fishing; paddling
With a plethora of outdoor things to to and affordable campgrounds in the Tampa Bay area, the area is an outdoor aficionado’s dream. Leave the lawn care up to us by booking a Tampa lawn mowing service today!
Top photo: Florida Park Service