Honeymoon Island is an unusual combo: It’s accessible, with first-rate concessions, and yet it’s a big, natural beach where you can get away from people and see wildlife. And you have to love how it got its name.
St. Petersburg is full of Old Florida treasures, from a beautiful brick 1927 comfort station next to the new bayfront pier to the Sunken Gardens, a cherished roadside attraction complete with a flock of flamingoes. St. Pete has grown younger and livelier, but it retains much of its original charm.
Camping, kayaking, hiking, biking and a humongous swimming pool are the top features of this state park that straddles the Hillsborough River.
Egmont Key is romantic, remote and historic. Located in the mouth of Tampa Bay, accessible only by boat, it is home to an intriguing fort, gopher tortoises, beautiful beaches and more.
For paddle boarding, it would be hard to find a better destination than Tampa Bay. In addition to beaches and bays, you can paddle amid mangrove islands, in tannic rivers with alligators and, within a two hour drive, one of the most spectacular clear spring runs in Florida.
The Pinellas Trail is a long, well-marked paved bicycle trail that connects St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs along Florida’s Gulf coast.
Tarpon Springs is best known for its Greek sponge docks. But a boat trip to Anclote Key, one of Florida’s most remote state parks, is even better. Anclote Key is a perfect island beach, perhaps more tantalizing because it’s not easy to visit.
Colt Creek State Park is one of Florida’s newest parks, part of the massive Green Swamp Wilderness near Tampa, with RV and tent camping, backpacking, kayaking, fishing, hiking and off-road bicycling.
The beach is spectacular here — wide white sand, clear blue-green water. But the Old Florida charm of Pass-a-Grille, a community within St. Pete Beach, is what makes it stand out.
We’ve selected nine public campgrounds near Tampa Bay for their scenic beauty, low prices and prime opportunities for hiking, biking, kayaking and canoeing. We think you’ll like these choices.
Travel writer Vicki McCash Brennan has a passion for craft beer, museums and art galleries, and they all come together along St. Petersburg’s historic Central Avenue.
The Manatee River is wild, natural and serene in its eastern section. Just a half hour from downtown Bradenton, the Upper Manatee Paddling Trail is another world. Your trip can include a stop at a preserve where a pioneer cemetery marks the site of an early town.
The Gamble Mansion has white columns to rival Tara and was the site of a dramatic Civil War event. It’s the only antebellum mansion left in South Florida.
Emerson Point Preserve is an exceptional county park, off the beaten path on the southern end of Tampa Bay. There is excellent hiking and kayaking, and the real gem is the Portavant temple mound.
Just 45 minute from Tampa/St. Pete, the beautiful river, state park and region is a natural haven that can keep you busy exploring for days. There’s an outfitter to make trip-planning easy, plus it offers cabins and camping.
Tucked into a corner of Hillsborough County is a quiet, well-shaded campground that packs a lot of nature into a small 160-acre preserve along the Alafia River.