1. Rainbow Springs

    Dunnellon : 19158 SW 81st Place Road, Dunnellon, 34432

    Rainbow Springs State Park in Marion County is a two-hour drive north of the Tampa Bay area, but once there you might have trouble deciding whether you want to visit the man-made falls first or just plunge into the chilly 72-degree springs. After the immediate, mind-numbing shock, it can be wond …

  2. Lake Seminole Park

    Seminole : 10015 Park Blvd., Seminole, 33777

    Lake Seminole Park is a wildlife habitat and sanctuary containing a boat ramp, canoe trails, picnic pavilions, grills, a playground, a softball field, a volleyball court, a walking trail, and a lake. The park is open from 7:00 AM to dark.

  3. Boca Ciega Millennium Park

    Seminole : 12410 74th Ave. N, Seminole, 33772

    Boca Ciega Milennium Park contains fishing, canoeing, picnic pavilions, a playground, boardwalks, an observation tower, a nature and walking trail, an a dog park. The Pinellas County Millennium Time Capsule is buried at this park. The park is open from 7:00 AM to dark.

  4. Crews Lake Wilderness Park

    West Pasco : 16739 Crews Lake Drive, Shady Hills, 34610

    Opened in the 1990s, Crews Lake Park is 113 acres of wild area surrounded by oak and cypress trees in Pasco County. The park features a tent camping area, boardwalk, bike trails and observation tower. There are four picnic shelters with grills ($25 for four-hour blocks) and two pavillions with  …

  5. Largo Central Park Nature Preserve

    Largo : 150 Highland Ave., Largo, 33771

    Largo Central Park Nature Preserve is a nature center offering fishing, a kayaking/canoeing route, butterfly garden, observation tower, boardwalks, and walking/skating/biking trails. The preserve is home to wildlife such as otters, American alligators, marsh rabbit, red fox, wild turkey , bats, …

  6. Clam Bayou Nature Park

    Gulfport : Miriam Street, Gulfport, 33707

    Enjoy a stroll through nature and wildlife at this park in Gulfport. It's also home to ten acres of nature preserve, views of the Clam Bayou and Boca Ciega Bay, and a canoe and kayak launch.

  7. John Chesnut Sr. Park

    Editor's pick

    Palm Harbor : 2200 East Lake Road , Palm Harbor, 34685

    Adjacent to Lake Tarpon in northern Pinellas County, John Chesnut park is a launch site for several local fishing tournaments. Boats with combustion engines may use the lake, a fun place for water skiers and jet skiers. A canoe trail for craft with non-combustion engines leads to an interior lak …

  8. The Canoe Outpost

    Wimauma : 18001 US Highway 301 S, Wimauma, 33598

  9. Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve North

    Oldsmar : 423 Lafayette Blvd., Oldsmar, 34677

  10. Biscayne National Park

    Editor's pick

    Homestead : 9700 SW 328 St., Homestead, 33033

    Biscayne National Park lies a few miles south of Miami. On weekends, the park's two main keys, Boca Chita and Elliott, fill with pleasure boaters trying to escape the hustle and bustle of one of Florida's largest cities. The bay, while not deep, is exceptionally clear. On a sunny day, you can se …

  11. Oscar Scherer State Park

    Editor's pick

    Osprey : 1843 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, 34229

    This is one of the best places in the state to see the elusive Florida scrub jay. Hike 15 miles of trails through the pine flatwoods or rent a canoe or kayak and paddle South Creek, a tannic stream that flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Fish the creek or Lake Osprey, which is also open to swimming. …

  12. Myakka River State Park

    Editor's pick

    Sarasota : 13208 State Road 72, Sarasota, 34242

    It is one of Florida's oldest and largest state parks, and as a result, there is no shortage of things to do. The Myakka River, designated as a Florida Wild and Scenic River, flows through the heart of the 58-square-mile wilderness playground. Tour the lake on one of the world's largest airboats …

  13. Picnic Island Park

    Editor's pick

    MacDill Area : 7404 Picnic Island Blvd., Tampa, 33616

    The mack daddy of city of Tampa waterfront parks, Picnic Island has it all, if you don't mind driving past gypsum plants, gasoline silos and other gritty industrial buildings. In addition to a long swimming beach, the park has a boat ramp, fishing pier, canoe launch, dog beach, restrooms, childr …

  14. Cypress Point Park

    Westshore : 5620 West Cypress St., Tampa, 33607

    Cypress Point Park is no urban legend. Who knew you could fly a kite, launch a canoe and spike a volleyball on a dead-end flank of western Cypress Street?Unexpected pleasures lie beyond billowing mangroves exactly 1 mile from bustling West Shore Boulevard. Look up to blue herons and Jet Blue sh …

  15. War Veterans Memorial Park

    Editor's pick

    St. Petersburg : 9600 Bay Pines Blvd., St. Petersburg, 33708

    Adjacent to the Bay Pines VA Medical Center, this 122-acre park on Boca Ciega Bay was donated to the county as surplus federal property. A major feature is the lighted, six-lane boat ramp that can be used 24 hours a day. There are 112 parking spaces nearby and Boca Ciega Bay provides access to t …

  16. Fred Howard Park

    Editor's pick

    Tarpon Springs : 1700 Sunset Drive, Tarpon Springs, 34689

    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  …

  17. Honeymoon Island State Park

    Editor's pick

    Dunedin : 1 Causeway Blvd. (at the West end of Dunedin Causeway), Dunedin, 34698

    At Honeymoon Island State Park, you can swim, skimboard, bird watch, fish, snorkel, picnic or just catch some rays. Bring your pup, too, because there's a dog park on the south beach. Animals are also allowed on the marked trails and in the picnic area. Showers are available and the park´ …

  18. Fort De Soto Park

    Editor's pick

    South Pinellas beaches : 3500 Pinellas Bayway S, Tierra Verde, 33715

    The park comprises 1,136 acres of dry land on five interconnected islands. It is the largest of the county's parks and, while it has parking lots and snack shops, it also has large portions that are virtually undisturbed from the time indigenous people and Spanish explorers trod its shores. Its  …

  19. Caladesi Island State Park

    Editor's pick

    Dunedin : 1 Causeway Blvd. (at the West end of Dunedin Causeway), Dunedin, 34698

    Caladesi Island State Park contains one of the nation's best beaches. The 661-acre island is accessible only by boat or ferry. Caladesi has picnic tables and shelters near its sandy beach and a marina with electric and water hookups, as well as a snack bar and gift shop. Fishing is allowed, but  …

  20. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

    Editor's pick

    Spring Hill / West Hernando : 6131 Commercial Way, Weeki Wachee, 34606

    Florida's only spring-fed water park with live mermaids, white sandy beach, flume rides, beach volleyball, river rides, kiddie pool area and Buccaneer Bay.

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