Off The Beaten Path Picnic by the Gulf of Mexico
Sometimes John and I just like to wander around and discover places off the beaten path and when we do we sometimes find some hidden gems. Today we happened upon Alfred A Mckethan Pine Island Park in Spring Hill, (not to be confused with Pine Island near Fort Myers or Pine Key in the Florida Keys).
Pine Island Beach Park is a 3 acre park located on the Gulf Of Mexico off County Road 495 west of Weeki Wachee and to get to the park you have to drive the 2 1/2 mile causeway through 3 salt marshes. This scenic drive through this natural estuary gives you a great opportunity to see Florida’s beautiful native birds in action fishing for their next meal.
The park is definitely off the beaten path, located past a small community of stilt homes and at the end of the Island road. Using a GPS to find it is highly recommended, the address is 10840 Pine Island drive.
Alfred A McKethan Pine Island Park has a small beach with no strong waves and shallow water which would be ideal for families with small children looking for a day of fun in the Gulf waters. It is a small park that does not get over crowded like some of the more popular beaches, however, because it is a small park it is recommended to get there early if you want a grill or picnic table.
There is a really cool playground that is sure to please the little ones and also a volleyball court for family fun. Another cool feature is the observation deck over the clear water where you can see all sorts of fish swimming by or if you are lucky, you may even get the chance to see a manatee or sea turtle.
There is a pretty nifty concession area set up called Willy’s Tropical Breeze or if you prefer to bring your own picnic there are picnic facilities and grills.
This county park is a small picnic, fishing and swimming area and only has parking accommodations for about 100 cars. Daily parking fee is $5
If you want a day of swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, playing in the sand and picnicking in the park but you hate the crowds, then this is an ideal spot. The water is clear and calm and the park is a charming place to spend quality time with the family.