Tampa Bay is known for its beaches, but a new attraction in Pasco County offers the chance to spend a day by the water without visiting the shore.
The Mirada Lagoon is a human-made body of water that spans more than 15 acres, making it the largest in the United States. Located at the Mirada housing development in San Antonio, the lagoon features sandy shorelines, a swim-up bar, water slide, kids play area, kayak, paddleboard and cabana rentals and a floating obstacle course.
The lagoon first opened for residents at the end of May, but outside visitors can now purchase day passes on the MetroLagoons website.
Admission differs in price depending on the date and time, but day passes generally range between $20-$45 for adults and $15-$30 for children. Activities like kayaking and the obstacle course can be purchased as add-ons. There is also a VIP area called “Cabana Cove” for guests 21 and up.
Vaike O’Grady is the vice president of marketing and communications for Metro Development Group. Her company has opened three lagoons around the Tampa Bay area as featured amenities for their master-planned communities. The Epperson Lagoon in Wesley Chapel was the first of its kind in the country when it opened in 2018.
“After we saw what the success was, we realized we could do this again and again because there was so much demand for it,” O’Grady said.
Building the Mirada Lagoon came with additional challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic caused supply chain issues and labor shortages that led to delays.
The massive size of the project required special care. Metro had to haul in roughly 8,600 tons of sand. It took 45 days to fill the lagoon with about 33 million gallons of water.
Ultimately though, O’Grady said the meticulous preparations were worth it to be able to give residents and visitors a uniquely Florida experience. She believes the lagoons have helped boost home sales in their communities.
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“Forty percent of our buyers are from out of state,” she said. “Maybe they’re exploring living by the beach but then they realize that it’s so much more expensive. When they come here and they see they can have an inland lagoon lifestyle from prices as low as the high $200s, they’re blown away by the value.”