Finding things to do outdoors is something a lot of people are looking for these days. Being outdoors helps everyone get exercise, enjoy some sunshine and experience new activities. There are plenty of things to do outdoors in the Tampa Bay area near Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater. Here’s our list of 7 fun things to do outdoors in Tampa Bay. Note: some of these locations, while located outside, have indoor facilities and might require masks.
Visit Local Florida State Parks
There are 10 Florida State Parks in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties that are entirely outdoors. That’s a lot of places to be able to go and experience nature. Each one is slightly different, and several are only accessible by boat. Some parks have restrictions or limited facilities – be sure to check their websites in advance. And don’t forget your water, hat, sunscreen and bug spray!
Hillsborough River State Park (Thonotosassa)
Honeymoon Island (Dunedin)
Caladesi Island State Park (offshore of Dunedin)
Alafia River State Park (Lithia)
Anclote Key Preserve State Park (offshore of Tarpon Springs)
Skyway Fishing Pier State Park (St. Petersburg)
Egmont Key (offshore of St. Petersburg)
Cockroach Bay Preserve State Park (offshore of Ruskin)
Little Manatee River State Park (Wimauma)
Alafia River State Park (Lithia)
Looking to get outside for a walk and have access to drinks and food too? Visit the Tampa Riverwalk. The 2.4-mile paved trail along the Hillsborough River allows walkers, in-line skaters and bike riders to enjoy the view. You’ll see Armature Works, Water Works Park, The Straz Center, the Tampa Convention Center, the Tampa History Center and more. There’s also artwork and the Historical Monument Trail that will teach you about some of the people who helped build Tampa.
Ready to get out on the water? Take a tour with Get Up and Go Kayaking Tampa Bay. Their transparent kayaks allow you to view what’s going on underneath you in Tampa Bay. You’ll visit mangroves and Shell Key, an undeveloped island just south of St. Petersburg. You’ll also get to see a wide variety of creatures. The tour is about 3 miles roundtrip but, you don’t have to be a kayaking expert. Even kids are welcome!
Stretching almost 50 miles from Tarpon Springs to St. Petersburg, the Pinellas Trail is a former railroad line that’s been paved for recreational use. There are multiple places to pick the Trail up throughout the county. One of the most popular locations is through Dunedin, where restaurants and local breweries line the trail.
Viewing Murals in St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg has been making a cultural comeback for over 10 years. While there are plenty of indoor art museums, they also have an outdoor one – their street murals. These authorized pieces of art appear on sides of buildings, on electrical boxes, down alleyways and even on the street itself. There’s also a festival every Fall dedicated to the painting of these murals. Need a taste of what’s available before you go? Check out the online tour.
Visiting Sunken Gardens is like taking a trip back in time. You’d never realize that you were in the middle of downtown St. Petersburg if you hadn’t driven there. Filled with lots of flora and fauna, the gardens even have water fountains to help you relax. Built 100 years ago, Sunken Gardens was originally a private garden that was turned into a mid-20th century roadside attraction. The city of St. Petersburg acquired it 20 years ago to preserve its historic features for future generations. Sunken Gardens is a quick day trip from any of the surrounding counties and worth the trip.
Courtney Campbell Trail
Looking to get out and see wide views of Tampa Bay at the same time? Visit the Courtney Campbell Causeway Trail. Completed in 2013, the Courtney Campbell gives bikers, runners and walkers a great way to get from Clearwater to Tampa while being completely separated from traffic. The only place to grab something to eat or drink is on the Tampa side so, be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks if you plan on completing the 9.5-mile one-way trip.
What’s your favorite place to get outdoors in the Tampa Bay area?