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 Fishing Spots in Tampa, FL

If you think that Tampa Bay, Florida, is a hotspot for fishing based on being surrounded by water, you would be right. Whether you’re looking for fish of the freshwater or saltwater variety, they can be found in the Tampa Bay area. Here are the best fishing spots in Tampa, Florida.

Bean Point

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Image via Flickr by Barbara Eckstein | CC 2.0

Extending north of Bean Point, you’ll find a long shallow bar that holds plentiful snook in the summertime as well as tarpon and permit. If you head into the deeper water off of Bean Point, you’ll find excellent fishing for many different species, including tarpon, pompano, ladyfish, and Spanish mackerel. Target breaking fish on the surface or troll through the area while bobbing jigs along the bottom. The inside of the point and the Anna Maria Sound will hold redfish, speckled trout, and snook.

If you don’t have a boat, worry not, as two fishing piers are found on Anna Maria Island near Bean Point. These piers rank among the best in the area, with Spanish mackerel runs almost mythical. You can target bottom fish like snapper and sheepshead in the cooler months. If you are looking for huge snook, they can also be found under these piers.

The Bulkhead

A fabled hotspot located in South Tampa Bay, Florida, the Bulkhead is a shallow sandbar that stretches between the mouth of the Manatee River and Anna Maria Sound. The Bulkhead is an excellent fishery for nearly every species found in the Tampa Bay Area.  Thanks to clean saltwater flowing in from the Gulf of Mexico and a nice mixture of grass and sand, you can even load up on bait here.

Head to the edges of drop offs and deeper grass flats to find game fish, such as mackerel, speckled trout, jacks, pompano, cobia, ladyfish, and bluefish. Slowly drift these places with jigs or live bait. Redfish and snook can be found to the east in the shallow flats, especially during a low incoming tide.

Emerson Point

Emerson Point point lies between the mouth of Terra Ceia Bay and the mouth of the Manatee River and features a superb place to wade or launch your kayak or canoe. For the best fishing, focus your attention off the point into Tampa Bay to the east and north, and you’ll find shallow grass with potholes sprinkled throughout holding jacks, redfish, speckled trout, and snook. Use soft plastic baits and weedless spoons in the shallow water for best results. Topwater plugs may also be productive.

Another technique that works is to chum with live bait along the potholes or deeper water with a mangrove shoreline, primarily in the summer months. A short time chumming will let you know if there are fish there.

Manatee River

Excellent fishing can be found on the Manatee River from the dam at Lake Manatee all the way down to the mouth of the bay at Snead Island. Vast shallow flats will produce snook and redfish. Artificial structures like bridges and docks create good fishing for most Tampa Bay fish species. You can find lots of snook, even trophy-sized ones on occasion. Other fish found here include drum, flounder, trout, jacks, snapper, and redfish.

Live shrimp on a jig head will work wonders here, and shallow diving plugs can also get good results. For winter fishing, hit the length between the I75 bridge and Fort Hamer to catch jack crevalle and snook, heading for warmer waters.

Terra Ceia Bay

Terra Ceia Bay is a small estuary that provides good fishing opportunities, especially for those with boats, although the SR 19 bridge offers some access for waders and kayakers. Focus on the north and west parts of the bay with sprawling shallow flats with small islands and mangrove shorelines peppered throughout the bay. If you prefer artificial lures, hit the shallow, grassy bottoms with soft plastic lures on weedless swimbait hooks or weedless spoons. Topwater plugs can work as well, particularly at high tide.

Live shrimp hanging from a popping cork in the deeper grass flats or chumming with live bait will work well. Speckled trout hang out in the grass in the 4-foot to 6-foot range, while redfish and snook tend to gravitate towards the potholes, bars, and mangrove shorelines.

Fort Desoto State Park

A large area that encompasses almost every possible fishing environment, Fort Desoto Park, is one of the most distinctive fishing areas in the whole state. Redfish and snook are found aplenty in the large backwater areas, most of which do not allow gas motors, so the pressure and disturbances are far less. Use your favorite shallow baits and lures here.

Two accessible piers are also available here. The pier on the gulf side has open water with stronger currents to fish this with heavy tackle for king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, and even sharks. The pier on the bayside is a lovely sheltered spot good for families to try their luck at trout, redfish, and snook. Tarpon can be found along the big shallow bar just off the park in the summer.

Egmont Key

Smack dab in the center of the mouth of Tampa Bay, Florida, sits Egmont Key. You can find good tarpon fishing to the west of the key in the flats in the summer. Meanwhile, the deeper drop-offs and edges house Spanish and king mackerel and grouper and snapper. An artificial reef is in about 10 feet of water near the drop-off into the main channel, east of Egmont key. You will primarily find mangrove snapper within this structure. You can find other fish here seasonally, including sheepshead and grouper in the winter and Spanish mackerel in the fall and spring.The MAXIM Hair Restoration team in Florida hopes that our list of best fishing spots in Tamp, Florida gets you started on your way to reeling them in. If you think we missed one, give us a call at 802-370-3227 or fill out our convenient online contact us form. We’d love an excuse to get back out on the water.