From beach camping on a tropical island to camping on rivers in dense forests, you might be surprised by these Florida state parks with camping in the state’s second largest metropolitan area. (5th in a series)
Visiting here, I found myself amazed that places like Anna Maria Island survive — a low-rise beach town with quaint cottages and a spectacular beach. Daytrippers will be happy to learn they can skip the weekend traffic and parking hassles with an affordable new ferry service from Bradenton.
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.
Safety Harbor has a rich history in its mineral springs and pioneering citrus industry. This homey outpost on Tampa Bay also has a colorful art scene and diverse eateries.
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.
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.
Frog Creek is a scenic kayak trail near Tampa Bay that begins in a shady Old Florida river and flows into open salt water and mangrove tunnels. “Paddles in Paradise” authors Ed and Deb Higgins share their story.
This public park is spread over 900 acres on five interconnected islands with seven miles of waterfront, including three miles of award-winning beaches .Nearly half of the 233 campsites in the campground are waterfront, allowing you to launch your kayak or canoe from your site.