Top Seven Cool Outdoor Activities in Tampa, FL

With beautiful weather year-round and abundant waterways, Tampa Bay, Florida, is a great place to enjoy the outdoors. You can fish, bike, kayak, golf, or hang out on the beach, to name a few outdoor activities. Here are the top seven cool outdoor activities in Tampa, Florida.

ZooTampa

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Image via Flickr by Limping Frog Productions | CC 2.0

ZooTampa ranks among the most popular zoos in the entire region, welcoming over one million visitors a year. After modest beginnings, the zoo grew from 24 to 56 acres and now features natural animal habitats within a tropical garden environment. In addition to the well-done exhibits, ZooTampa also features up-close animal encounters, popular educational programs, fascinating seasonal events, and entertaining recreational conveniences. This all adds up to one of the country’s most family-friendly zoos. Located at 1101 W. Sligh Ave. in Tampa, Florida, you can enjoy ZooTampa from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.

Pier 60

Pier 60 sits in the heart of one of the best beaches in the U.S., Clearwater Beach, and offers many family-friendly activities. You can fish from the pier, head out to the numerous playground areas with the kiddos, play in the sugar-white soft sand, and soak up the gorgeous beach views. With lifeguards throughout, calm ocean waves, giant beach slides, and many other activities, everyone is sure to enjoy the water. Also, there’s a daily Clearwater Beach Sunset Festival from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., with street performers, local vendors, and crafters selling their wares with live music. You’ll find Pier 60 at 7 Causeway Blvd. in Clearwater.

Caladesi Island State Park

A short distance from Clearwater Beach, Florida, awaits an entirely different beach adventure. While Pier 60 is bound to be busy, this area can almost be a private beach, especially during the week. You can either drive to Honeymoon Island and take a ferry to Caladesi Island or walk north from Clearwater Beach, a long journey but easy enough to follow.

Caladesi Island State Park is an offshore island in Dunedin, Florida, open from 8 a.m. to sunset each day. There’s a $6 per boat docking fee to enjoy the untouched, natural delights of the island, such as the old-growth slash pines and massive oaks or the mangroves.

Fort De Soto

Natural beauty is the allure here, and you can enjoy it from the beach or kayaking on the water. Find yourself immersed in the beauty of nature with nothing but natural views in every direction. At the park, you will find one of the most diverse ecological systems with a wealth of plants, birds, animals, and sea life. Fort De Soto is the largest park in the Pinellas County Park System, comprised of five interconnected islands or keys for 1,136 acres of mangroves, beach plants, wetlands, and hardwoods.

Approximately 2.7 million people visit Fort De Soto in Florida each year, making it a popular destination in the Tampa, Florida, area. You can visit Fort De Soto at 3500 Pinellas Bayway S. in Tierra Verde from 7 a.m. to sunset. A $5 per vehicle fee for beach parking is waived if you arrive via bicycle or have a disabled parking permit.

Sunken Gardens

Found in nearby St. Petersburg, Florida, at 1825 4th St. N., Sunken Gardens is a botanical wonder smack dab in a busy city. The oldest living museum in St. Petersburg, this century-old garden houses some of the oldest tropical plants around. With more than 50,000 different flowers and tropical plants, wondrous demonstration gardens, and cascading waterfalls, you can unwind as you take it all in and walk along the winding paths.

Plan your day with a garden tour or participate in one of their horticultural programs. Guests are asked to respect the animals’ living space, stay on the paths at all times, and refrain from touching any of the structures or plants to keep Sunken Gardens natural and inviting to its native population. You can visit from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, with a fee of $15 per adult, $12 per senior age 62 and over, and $6 per child between two and 17 years of age. 

Bok Tower Gardens

Often touted as a must-see Florida attraction, Bok Tower Gardens is situated between Tampa and Orlando and sits among the hills of citrus trees. Featuring the 20-room Pinewood Estate Mediterranean-style mansion, 2.5-acre Hammock Hollow children’s garden, almost 50 acres of Olmsted gardens, the neo-gothic Singing Tower carillon, and the 205-foot art deco, these gardens have enchanted millions of visitors over the years.

Bok Tower Gardens are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., 365 days a year, opening at 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving and Christmas days. Admission is $16 for adults, $5 for children ages five to 12, and $5 for dogs, with free admission for children under five. Visit Bok Tower Gardens at 1151 Tower Blvd. in Lake Wales today for a tranquil, beautiful way to spend a day outdoors.

Ballast Point Park and Pier

Ballast Point Park and Pier are in South Tampa, Florida, in a tranquil community. Ships used to unload their ballast to enter the harbor here. It is home to shade trees, picnic tables, an extensive playground area, and a fabulous splash park for the young ones. One of the best qualities of the park is the fantastic views of Davis Islands and the downtown skyline. The park is also home to a long pier extending out into the bay with a bait shop nearby if you are interested in giving the fishing a go.

You can visit Ballast Point Park at 5300 Interbay Blvd. from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Shelters are available on a first-come, first-served basis, although the Gazebo at Ballast can be reserved for special occasions in advance.The MAXIM Hair Restoration team in Florida hopes you find time to enjoy one of these seven cool outdoor activities in and around Tampa, Florida. If we missed your favorite, reach out to us at (802) 370-3227 or our convenient online contact us form. We’d love to check out your favorite outdoor activities around Tampa, Florida, and add them to our list.

Best Walking Trails in Tampa, FL

You probably think of miles of beautiful shorelines, amusement parks, and water sports when you think of Florida. Many people don’t know that the state is filled with miles and miles of places for walking and hiking, especially here in Tampa, Florida, and the surrounding Bay Area. It only makes sense to get out and enjoy some fresh air and exercise with gorgeous year-round weather. According to the team at Tampa’s MAXIM Hair Restoration office, these are a few of the best walking trails in Tampa, Florida.

About Tampa, Florida

Image via Flickr by joiseyshowaa | CC 2.0

Image via Flickr by joiseyshowaa

Tampa, Florida, is located along Florida’s Gulf Coast on Tampa Bay. It’s the third-largest city in Florida, and while it has a significant presence as a business and cultural center, there’s also an abundance of things to do outside. The climate is pleasant year-round, which urges us out. One of our favorite things about Tampa is the excellent walking trails throughout the area. 

Lettuce Lake Conservation Park

Lettuce Lake Conservation Park is one of the most popular parks in Hillsborough County and is located on the floodplain of the Hillsborough River. With a 1.25-mile paved trail and a 3,500-foot boardwalk, you can take a decent walk at this nature site. Along the boardwalk, you’ll find an observation tower with views of the river. There are also picnic areas and playgrounds as well as kayaks and canoes available for rent so that you can do more than walk here. Lettuce Lake Conservation Park can be found at 6920 E. Fletcher Ave. in Tampa, Florida. 

Cypress Creek Nature Preserve

The Cypress Creek Nature Preserve is another great place to take a walk in Tampa. This 2,500-acre preserve is made up of wet prairies, marshes, cypress stands, swamps, and hardwood forested areas. The fence posts are painted red to indicate the direction of the trail that starts just south of the parking area. You’ll pass over a boardwalk with scenic views of pines, cypress trees, cabbage palms, and vibrant flower blooms. If you complete the entire walk, you’ll have walked 4.3 miles.

New Tampa Nature Park

You can enjoy a walk at New Tampa Nature Park from sunrise to sunset. This quiet park has on-street parking and a 1-mile walking trail that will connect you to Flatwoods Park. This trail is a great path to take with children since it’s usually not too busy and not too long.

Once you finish walking, you can also enjoy a rope play structure or the seated zip line. Keep in mind that this is a nature park, which means you’ll be spending time with the animals here, including wild hogs, turkeys, and even some snakes basking in the sun.

Tampa Riverwalk

One of the best places to walk in Tampa is the Tampa Riverwalk, a 2.6-mile riverwalk along the Hillsborough River and Garrison Channel. One of the most popular areas in the city, this trail is beautiful and enjoyable. While you’re walking, you’ll pass by restaurants, bars, and other attractions, including museums and parks. The Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park offers a spacious grassy area with an interactive children’s playground and a dog park.

McKay Bay Nature Trail

While serving as a national avian sanctuary as well as a multi-use path, the McKay Bay Nature Trail is a great place to get some exercise. A short 0.17-mile boardwalk trail will take you through mangroves and mudflats, where you’ll see various bird species, especially during the winter. There’s also a paved 1.25-mile trail that winds through the park and a half-mile nature trail to help you see more of this 38-acre nature preserve.

Upper Tampa Bay Trail

A welcome scenic escape from the hustle and bustle of city living, the Upper Tampa Bay Trail is perfect for those looking to explore nature, get some exercise in, and enjoy the fresh air. The original section of the trail will take you through Citrus Park and along the west bank of the Channel A Waterway.

The first mile from the Peterson Park trailhead will take you past livestock such as cattle and sheep. Other highlights are the suburban Ehrlich Road, the lovely Gunn Highway pedestrian bridge, and Rocky Creek. The Upper Tampa Bay Trail in Florida totals 16.5 miles, so you’ll never grow bored.  

Town’ N Country Nature Preserve

The Town’ N Country Nature Preserve is home to hardwood swamps, freshwater marshes, flat pinewoods, and hiking trails. You can walk through the entrance at 8304 Montague St. or use the Memorial Trailhead parking area for $2. You’ll catch sight of some local wildlife and plenty of lush vegetation. This quiet walk is excellent for a peaceful morning stroll and is a local favorite.

Rowlett Park Trail

Located along the Hillsborough River, the Rowlett Park Trail consists of two miles of asphalt trails through pine and oak hammocks. The area also has picnic tables, grills, playgrounds, and access to fishing and canoeing, which makes it a great walking trail to enjoy with the entire family. Fitness stations along the trail help ramp your exercise routine up a little. 

Benefits of Walking

Physical activity and exercise don’t need to be complicated. There are many benefits to taking a brisk walk around one of these Tampa, Florida trails. Benefits of walking include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Preventing or managing health conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
  • Improving cardiovascular health.
  • Increasing energy levels.
  • Reducing stress levels.
  • Improving balance and coordination.
  • Strengthening muscles and bones.

The more frequently you get out and walk, the more benefits you’ll reap. Walking is a great physical activity and living in the Tampa area allows us endless opportunities to get out and exercise. There you have it. We hope you enjoyed the MAXIM Hair Restoration in Florida team’s list of a few of the best walking trails in Tampa, Florida. If we missed your favorite, reach out to us at 802-370-3227 or via our convenient online form to let us know about it. We’d love to check out more walking trails in and around Tampa to add to our list.

Best Hiking Trails in Dallas, TX

We love getting out to enjoy nature, and what better way to soak in the sunshine and greenery than by hiking one of Dallas’s many trails in the great State of Texas. With a variety of paths ranging from dirt trails wending their way through natural preserves to urban pedestrian highways, Dallas, TX, has a trail for any age and level of expertise. Check out our list of the best hiking trails Dallas, Texas, has to offer. 

Cedar Ridge Preserve

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Image via Flickr by Sonnia Hill | CC 2.0

Cedar Ridge Preserve features multiple trails that interconnect and loop through a designated ecological sanctuary. Unlike traditional parks, a preserve seeks to protect and restore a natural area, making a hike through the preserve full of untouched ecological beauty. Cedar Ridge’s Cattail Pond Trail is a scenic 2.4-mile loop around the lake with more remote trails branching off from access points at different points along the trail. One of the trail’s highlights is an observation tower with views of Grand Prairie and Joe Pool Lake. 

The Cedar Brake Trail, also located within the preserve, offers a 2.7-mile loop with changing elevations that are considered easy to traverse. For a challenging and lengthy hike, try the outer loop trail at the preserve. The 5.4-mile trail features wooden steps and beautiful scenery in the tranquility of the natural environment surrounding you.

Dogwood Canyon Audobon Center

With three miles of trails ranging in difficulty, the Dogwood Canyon Audobon Center offers three distinct trail loops through oak and wild growth. The Canyon Floor trail offers an easy hike, perfect for a relaxing jog or moms with strollers. It also offers plenty of birdwatching and wildlife viewing opportunities. For a more challenging hike, try the Dogwood Trail, a moderate 1.1-mile trek across the canyon and beside the meandering creek. Take the West Loop Trail for the most difficult hike, which climbs 150 feet in elevation for extensive views of the canyon from above. 

The Dogwood Canyon Audobon Center also offers paid guided hikes for trail enthusiasts of all ages. Your naturalist guide will offer an interpretive walk based on your interest in groups of up to 25 people with room for additions. 

Oak Cliff Nature Preserve

Nestled in 121 acres of preservation land, Oak Cliff Nature Preserve features eight miles of trails. With gravel trails populated by vegetation and wildlife, this escape from the city gives hikers the chance to travel on several trail loops through lush green pathways carved in the middle of Dallas’s urban center. Maintained by the Texas Land Conservancy, Oak Cliff Nature Preserve offers a protective sanctuary to many species of wildlife you can often view from the trails. 

Trinity River Audobon Center

Purchase admission to access seven trails all under a mile at the Trinity River Audobon Center. Trails include a primitive forest and pond trek or a longer trail through the center’s wetlands. Bring your binoculars for spectacular birdwatching opportunities throughout the preserve. You can also enjoy the pollinator garden and nature center when you’re ready to take a break from the trail. 

Spring Creek Nature Area

With views of the creek and a winding trek through dense woods, the Spring Creek Nature Trail offers a 4.5-mile loop for hikers. The paved trail provides an easy surface for running, jogging, and pushing a stroller with park and picnic benches where you can stop and take a rest. 

Spring Creek also connects to other trails like Renner and Central. Although it’s located close to a major highway system, the trail offers a tranquil place to exercise and enjoy nature. An extension now continues the trail even further to the north to connect with The George Bush Freeway and Alma Drive. To access trail parking, head to the paved lot located at Central/Renner Road. 

L.B. Houston Nature Trail

A trek through L.B. Houston Park offers a more rustic walk considered easy enough for beginners with the length to please seasoned hikers. Located in parts of the Elm Fork and L. B. Houston Greenbelt, most of the 10-mile trail loops through the forest with the occasional section winding beside the Trinity River. The trail offers several loops if you choose to shorten your walk. Mountain bikers also use the trail so be prepared to enjoy watching them whir past as you share the road. 

Fish Creek Trail 

This paved trail offers 7.3 miles of hiking trail between the suburbs of Arlington and Grand Prairie. Unlike other suburban trials through neighborhoods and retail areas, this trek follows a more secluded path with areas of dense vegetation that make you feel more like you’re in a preserve. Fish Creek Trail also connects to recreational areas, schools, and parks. 

Trinity Skyline Trail

For an urban trail experience, the Trinity Skyline Trail runs through the Dallas floodway. Offering city views, the trail winds for over 10 miles beside the river, under and over city bridges. Walkers and joggers share the paved surface with bikers on this popular trail with views of downtown. You can join the trail at multiple points, but trailheads like East 8th Street, the Continental Avenue Bridge, and South Riverfront Boulevard offer paved parking lots. 

Trinity Strand Trail

Another track winding through the city, Trinity Strand Trail, is part of an ongoing restoration project to create a recreational space out of the original watercourse of the Trinity River. The first completed phase features 2. 5 miles of paved trail through the Dallas Design District. Another phase of the trail will open and continue through the Medical District. The urban trail passes by restaurants and shops in some areas while meandering through quiet pockets of nature in others. 

Huck Finn Trail

Located within the Prairie Creek Greenbelt, this trail offers an easy hike through greenery to several scenic areas, including a cascading waterfall. With quaint pedestrian bridges and a gravel and dirt track, this trip is a fun trek through nature for all ages. Located in neighboring Richardson, this neighborhood park features acres of preserved land once home to the oldest schoolhouse in the area. Huck Finn Trail offers a shaded walk all year with colorful changing leaves in the fall and vibrant wildflowers in the springtime. We just shared our favorite hiking trails in the Dallas, Texas, area. Did we miss one of your preferred green spaces? Contact us so we can update our list! We’d love to hear from you.