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Fred Howard Park

Editor's pick

Categories: Attraction, Park, Beach

Features: Beach/Waterfront, Canoe/kayak trails, City parks, Fishing allowed, Grills, Picnic shelters, Playground, Public restrooms, Showers

Parking: Lot

More in this neighborhood: Tarpon Springs

Fred Howard Park occupies 155 acres on the Gulf of Mexico in Tarpon Springs. A mile-long causeway links the main park area with a white, sandy beach popular with northern Pinellas and western Pasco residents. The beach reopened in December 2009 after two years of repairs to causeway bridges.

The causeway offers access to the gulf, fishing or just relaxing and sunbathing. There's also fishing in sections of the beach area. Visitors might see ospreys diving for dinner in the gulf, eagles, dolphins or the occasional manatee. The park is also home to endangered gopher tortoises, fox squirrels and many birds and butterflies. Habitats include long-leaf and slash pine flatwoods, sandhill, mangroves and sea grass beds.

Along with the beach and swimming area, amenities include a ball park, two playgrounds, nine picnic shelters (which can be reserved), restrooms, a boardwalk, butterfly garden, windsurfing area, beach showers and launch areas for canoes and kayaks, and wave runners. The canoe/kayak trail includes mangroves, gulf shoreline and a two-mile loop through Lake Avoca. However, check the tides as much of the trail is not accessible at low tide.

Most amenities are located on the "mainland" portion of the park but there are showers, restrooms and pay phones on the beach. Be aware that some restrooms in county parks are closed weekdays to cut costs. However, facilities near the most popular spots remain open. All restrooms are open on weekends. Check the park's website or phone. Pinellas County parks are opened from 7 a.m. until sunset, year-round.

The park was named in honor of Fred H. Howard, a former mayor and city commissioner of Tarpon Springs.

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Fred Howard Park - Tarpon Springs