Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Take it Outside Planner: Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Gulf Islands National Seashore, red snapper season

EXPLORE MORE: JONATHAN DICKINSON STATE PARK

Next time you head to Florida's east coast, make sure you swing by Jonathan Dickinson State Park. Located just south of Stuart, this state park has pine flatwoods, mangroves and river swamps. Bring your canoe, kayak or paddleboard, or rent one there and explore the Loxahatchee, Florida's first federally designated Wild and Scenic River. For a more structured adventure, take one of the ranger-guided tours of the 1930s pioneer homestead of Trapper Nelson, the "Wildman of the Loxahatchee." The 25-passenger Loxahatchee Queen II offers a two-hour tour of the river. Nelson eventually opened up one of the area's first tourist attractions, "Trapper's Zoo and Jungle Gardens." Nelson died in 1968 from a gunshot wound. Officials ruled it a suicide, but speculation swirled. Many a Trapper Nelson story has been told around a campfire. You can camp in an organized camp or head into the backcountry, where some say the old trapper's ghost wanders on moonlit nights. If you go, don't forget your fishing pole. The Loxahatchee has freshwater species such as largemouth bass upriver and snook and snapper as you approach the picnic area and boat ramp. floridastateparks.org.

SWEET SPLENDOR: GULF ISLANDS NATIONAL SEASHORE

This summer marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and the U.S. Postal Service has issued a series of collector stamps to celebrate. But why not see the real thing? Head north to Gulf Islands National Seashore near Pensacola. The protected barrier islands, which stretch into Mississippi, have miles of deserted, undeveloped beaches as well as historic fortifications and nature trails. nps.gov.

WHEN TO CATCH: RED SNAPPER

Red snapper season in the state waters of the Gulf of Mexico opened for Saturdays and Sundays as of last week. That is great news for anglers in northwest Florida, but if you live here in Tampa Bay, you're out of luck. Red snapper are usually found far offshore in federal waters. The season opens to include weekdays May 28 through July 10. Then the season will goes to Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in September and October, also including Labor Day. All together, that's a 78-day season in gulf state waters. Red snapper season in federal waters, which begins 9 miles offshore, will run June 1 to 9. The federally permitted charter boat and headboat season for federal waters will run June 1 through July 16, closing July 17.

GREAT GIFT: ULTIMATE WATER SHOES

OluKai's new Eleu Trainers are the official footwear of the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association. Great for standup paddleboarding, sea kayaking or busting out a 3-mile run on the beach, these are not your average water shoes. $110. OluKai.com.

Take it Outside Planner: Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Gulf Islands National Seashore, red snapper season 05/11/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 11, 2016 10:54am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays set to activate Tommy Hunter from DL

    Blogs

    The Rays plan to activate RHP Tommy Hunter from the DL for Thursday's series finale against the Angels.

  2. Steven Souza Jr. snaps out of slump as Rays defeat Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — After Tuesday's shutout loss to the Angels, Steven Souza Jr. stood in front of his locker and talked about his need to contribute to the offense.

    Tampa Bay Rays catcher Jesus Sucre (45) hugs right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) in the dugout after his two run home run in the second inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.
  3. Tom Jones: Rays made right move sending Blake Snell to minors

    The Heater

    tom jones' two cents

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Blake Snell’s struggles on the mound were only one of the reasons the Rays sent him to the minors; some other red flags existed. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    Rookie RHP Ryne Stanek has had his early struggles, but Wednesday he showed his high-octane potential, working around a one-out walk to strike out the mighty Mike Trout (on a 98.4 mph fastball) and legendary Albert Pujols (98.7), both swinging.

  5. Rays journal: More bullpen changes as Diego Moreno heads to DL

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays bullpen has another new look.

    Rays reliever Diego Moreno, pitching Sunday against the Yankees, heads the DL with shoulder bursitis.