You’ll see nature at its finest at these beautiful parks and recreational trails when you make your Destination Tampa Bay. Discover the many species of shorebirds, migrating birds, owls and raptors that call our area home, while exploring the various native plants, trees and tropical flowering plants that thrive here. Staying fit was never so enjoyable!
Upper Tampa Bay Park
Just east of Oldsmar is this 2,144-acre county park and preserve with a variety of land features including fresh water ponds, pine flatwoods, salt marshes,oyster bars, salt barrens, oak hammocks and mangrove forest. An environmental study center is open to the public. Hiking trails and a boardwalk offer views of the bay; facilities for picnicking and a canoe launch are available. Park entry is $2 per vehicle and $1 per person over eight.
Upper Tampa Bay Trail
A beautiful stretch of paved trail nearly 8-miles long starts just east of Oldsmar and heads north. For walkers, bicycles and skaters, the Upper Tampa Bay Trail is mostly shaded, meandering along canals and through wooded areas. For a number of miles, it follows the path of an old railroad track. Plenty of restrooms, water stops and picnic areas make this a very enjoyable ride.
2525 Philippe Pkwy.,
A part of Pinellas County Greenways and Trails Much of the 122-acre park is shaded by large oaks and other hardwood trees. The park offers picnicking, a view of Old Tampa Bay along 1 mile of shoreline, a boat launching facility, fishing, softball field, one mile measured path, shelter areas, restrooms and four playground areas and is a great Tampa Bay Destination. Philippe Park is the site of Count Odet Philippe’s grave (1785-1869) and a Tocobago Indian Mound. The mound and its surrounding areas were first excavated in 1880. After several more archeological observations and excavations numerous Indian relic were found extending from 1400 to 1700 A.D. Park closes at dusk.
Bayshore Linear Greenway Recreation Trail
Nature comes alive as you discover Destination Tampa Bay along this trail. This park-like multi-use trail connects Philippe Park with Cooper’s Bayou Park and with the Clearwater East–West Trail. This trail has a very park-like feel, with a lot of open greenspace on the left side of the trail, backed by areas of mangroves and salt marsh plants. Keep an eye out for purple martins; a number of residents in the houses on the west side of the street have put up martin houses in the more open areas on the east side of the trail. Also look in the shallows during low tide; although they’re a short distance off the trail, you often can see groups of small wading birds flying or feeding.
White ibises and, during the warmer months, cattle egrets, are common on the grass of the greenway, and you can see and hear songbirds along the length of the trail. You’ll soon move into an area where there are tall pines and a few big oaks on the left side of the trail, remnants of a small flatwoods that once grew here. Just past these trees, you’ll cross a small bridge where you can get a good look at a mangrove habitat on both sides of the canal that the bridge crosses. Trail surface: Paved. Marked in ¼ mile increments. The trail ends at Cooper’s Bayou Park, which is a City of Clearwater Park. It is located 1.25 miles south of the Safety Harbor Marina Park. The park has a Parcourse Fit Circuit consisting of a series of 15 exercises at 8 separate stations. Cooper’s Bayou Park closes at dusk. 727-562-4811
Ream Wilson Trail
The Ream Wilson Trail officially resides in Clearwater, but a great place to start is Philippe Park in Safety Harbor, which adds about 2 more miles of lovely scenery to the 5.5 mile trail. Stretching from here to the Long Recreation Center on Belcher Road, Ream Wilson is a wide paved multi-use trail that offers a bit of challenge with an overpass over McMullen Booth Road and some rolling landscape.
But you can’t beat the natural beauty of this winding path, starting with the oak canopy at Philippe Park, skirting beautiful Tampa Bay along Bayshore Boulevard, then traversing west through Kapok Park and Cliff Stephens Park. Be sure to stroll along the boardwalk at Kapok Park, one of Clearwater Audubon’s recommended locations for outstanding bird watching. Here you can find a large variety of birds depending on the season including limpkins, blue herons, egrets, red winged blackbirds, ospreys, ibis, anhinga, red shouldered hawks and even a couple of great horned owls.
On weekends, you’ll pass teams of disc golfers tossing Frisbees into steel nets on the disc golf course at Cliff Stephens Park and you might even catch a Philadelphia Phillies spring training game at the stadium along the trail.
The Pinellas Trail is a 34-mile-long paved trail open to bicyclists, joggers and walkers, and in-line skaters who make their Destination Tampa Bay. Extending from Tarpon Springs to downtown St. Petersburg, the Pinellas Trail runs the gamut from laid-back and quiet to congested urban sidewalk. For the nicest ride, hop on the segment from downtown Dunedin to Tarpon Springs, a leisurely 12 miles each way.
This portion offers a pleasant flat ride on a wide paved trail and lots of places trailside to stop for a rest or a bite to eat. Start at the old train depot on Main Street in downtown Dunedin (now the Dunedin Historical Society and Museum), and ride north to the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks where gift shops and Greek diners offer a pleasant stop. Lock up your bike and take a stroll, enjoy a Greek pastry and watch the sponge boats come in.
On the way back, stop at Wall Springs Park, one of the hidden gems in the Pinellas County park system. Located trailside in Palm Harbor, this 195-acre park is on the site of a historic spring used as a public spa and bathing area from the turn of the 20th century until the mid-1960s. The park includes boardwalks, nature trails, picnic areas, and a 35-foot observation tower where you can get an outstanding view of the surrounding pine forest, tidal marsh and a bird sanctuary in the Gulf. Don’t forget to bring a pair of binoculars to spot the many birds found here including woodpeckers, owls, wood storks, ospreys and eagles.