Florida Nature

Visit Natural Florida – Weedon Island Preserve

Tucked away on the shores of Old Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg, is over 3,000 acres of pine Flatwoods and maritime hammocks just waiting to be explored. Wadding water birds, fox, armadillos, and gopher tortoises are just a few of the many species of wildlife that can be viewed and enjoyed while walking and hiking the many miles of boardwalk, paved trails, and natural trail loops at Weedon Island Preserve.

Another popular way to view the wildlife at Weedon Island Preserve is by water on the 4-mile loop paddling trail through the thick coastal hammock. Kayak, canoe, and paddleboard rentals are available on-site, or bring your own and take advantage of the launch site and wash station.

We started our adventure at Weedon Island by having a picnic lunch at one of the many scenic picnic areas provided within the preserve, and after lunch, we hit the boardwalk trails. There are miles and miles of intertwining trails here, and easy to get turned around, so it is best to grab a trail map before you get started.

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Our hike included a climb to the top of the 45-foot observation tower, where we got a birds-eye view of the preserve, Old Tampa Bay, and the Downtown Tampa Skyline in the distance.

For those who enjoy fishing, there is a 200-foot fishing pier (state regulations apply), and restroom facilities are provided at the pier.

The trails are for walkers and hikers only, bicycles are not permitted on the trails, and bike racks are provided at trail entrances.

Weedon Island Preserve has a long, rich history, and long before it was a preserve, it was home to prehistoric people, Native Americans, an airport, a movie studio, a speakeasy, and even a private residence. To understand and appreciate the importance of this land’s ecosystem, which is now the Weedon Island preserve, one should visit the Cultural and Natural History Center on the preserve grounds, where you will learn about the landscape and how our decisions affect the natural world around us.

We had a great day exploring and viewing the flora & fauna and the wildlife, and we walked miles of boardwalk. It was a great way to spend a day and take in the great Florida December weather. I highly recommend Weedon Island Preserve for the outdoor enthusiast for it’s easy to walk trails, it’s abundance of wildlife, and the peacefulness of the landscape.

Weedon Island Preserve is open daily from 7 am to approximately 15 minutes before sunset. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. I strongly recommend you bring a camera, sunscreen and lots and lots of bug repellent. Pets are not allowed within the preserve.

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