Known as one of the Tampa Bay area’s ecological treasures, Upper Tampa Bay Park is a gem for nature enthusiasts, and John and I visited this 596 acre protected coastal habitat for a day of hiking and wildlife viewing.
The park provides abundant opportunities to spot all sorts of wildlife, from gopher tortoises to otters, to zebra swallowtail butterflies, to possible chance sightings of bald eagles or bobcats.
The Eagle, Bobcat, and Otter Trails take hikers through natural Florida forests and wetlands to Tampa Bay’s edge, where Red-Shouldered Hawks, Roseate Spoonbill, and Bald Eagles are sometimes seen.
The shoreline waters of Tampa Bay also attract many other species of wildlife as well. Osprey, Otters, Bottle Nose Dolphins, Manatees, Great Egrets, and more are often seen within this beautiful scenic park’s mangrove forests, salt marshes, and Pine Flatwoods.
The park entrance is a value at only $2.00 per car, but the park entrance is not the only great value this park offers. Canoe and Kayak rentals here are only $25.00 for a 4-hour rental, and that is undoubtedly the best value price for rentals we have seen on our journey through Florida so far.
If you have your own canoe or kayak, a launch ramp is provided, and a wash station is provided for your convenience.
This park is a great place for a picnic too. The pavilions are spacious and well equipped with barbecue grills and running water. Restroom facilities are also provided.
The park also has a nature center with exhibits about the environment and geology of the area as live animal displays. (DUE TO COVID19 THE NATURE CENTER WAS CLOSED AT THE TIME WE VISITED)
Upper Tampa Bay Conservation Park is located at 8001 Double Branch Rd in Tampa. Hours are 8 am to 6 pm
Pets are allowed
During the pandemic, John and I have been mostly sticking to enjoying outdoor adventures on our journey through Florida. We have been concentrating on finding fun and inexpensive places that are easy to social distance and are easy on the wallet as well.
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