Fred Howard Park – Tarpon Springs Florida

Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs Florida is located along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico and the park’s beach is actually an island that is connected by a mile long causeway to mainland.

fred howard park, tarpon springs floridaThe park is 155 acres of tropical paradise that includes nine picnic shelters and six restroom facilities. If you are interested in reserving one of the shelters for a birthday party or other event, be sure to make your reservations early since our local parks are popular venues for such events. That is due to our year-round blue skies and sunshine. Everyone loves taking advantage of the excellent weather. Two playgrounds, a ball field and launch areas for your kayak are also available in this family orientated park.

The beach offers pure white sand and bathing in the sparkling waters of the gulf. There are shower and restroom facilities on the island as well as plenty of parking. Fishermen enjoy fishing off the south side of the island, where there are rocks. Please be sure not to disturb the sea oats as they are protected by law.fred howard park, tarpon springs florida

Back on the mainland, you can enjoy hiking through the park where you can observe many native animals and birds in their natural habitat. It is not unusual to see osprey, eagles, fox squirrels and tortoises in the park. Naturally, the shoreline is teaming with fish and many varieties can be found in the nurseries among the mangroves that are native to this section of Florida. Please remember that if you are going to be fishing from shore, you will need a Florida fishing license to be in compliance with the law. A license can be purchased at any driver’s license office or on-line. The Fred Howard Park  is open from 7 am to dusk and you want to remember to bring your camera! You will be glad you did. This is indeed a fantastic park for the entire family to enjoy.

A.L. Anderson Park On Lake Tarpon – Tarpon Springs Florida

A.L. Anderson Park in Tarpon Springs Florida is located on Lake Tarpon’s western shore and offers excellent boating access to this magnificent 3.906 square mile lake. Opened in the mid-1960’s, this 135 acre waterfront park offers the perfect destination for the active family. Here you can enjoy nature trails and boardwalks through the natural fauna. Your camera is a must since the views of Lake Tarpon are breathtaking. What better place to bring the family to grill and enjoy a picnic. There are playgrounds anderson park, tarpon springs flfor the very young and for the older children as well. The park does require reservations for the picnic shelters and you want to make those party reservations in advance since this is an extremely popular destination.

The public boat ramp opens at 5 am, so the early bird can launch and be out on the lake catching bass while others are still sipping their coffee. Naturally, the ramp stays open late as well, closing at 10 pm.

There is a great doggie park as well, so you can bring poochie to romp with friends in the enclosed area. anderson park, tarpon springs flOwners are required to supervise their pets and clean up after them as well. All dogs must be on a leash when outside of the enclosed doggie park area. The enclosed areas include water fountains and showers to cool your pets off during those hot summer months.

Anderson Park is accessible via US Hwy 19, just south of  Tarpon Avenue, on the east side of the road. The park is open 7 am to dusk, year round. It is a wonderful destination whether you are spending a few hours or the entire day. This is one of the numerous beautiful parks available to residents of northern Pinellas County, which includes the areas of Tarpon Springs, Palm Harbor and Dunedin Florida.

Hammock Park – Dunedin Florida’s Best Kept Secret

Hammock Park is indeed Dunedin Florida’s best kept secret! Located south of Michigan Blvd and east of Bayshore (Alt 19), this 90 acre nature preserve is Florida at it’s finest!

hammock park, dunedin floridaThis amazing coastal forest is one of the last remaining examples of how West Central Florida looked before the land development companies moved in. From tiny hummingbirds to the graceful osprey, from fox and raccoon to wild tangerine and orange trees, this park offers a real learning experience.Hammock Park, Dunedin Florida

You can enter the park on San Mateo Drive and park just beyond the Butterfly Garden that is the latest addition to Hammock Park. The Butterfly Garden is home to more than thirty-five species of butterflies!

Next to the Butterfly Garden and directly on San Mateo Drive is historic Andrews Memorial Chapel, which has it’s own interesting history and was built in 1888.

There are also areas to park your car and enter the park on Harvard Avenue and off McCarty Street. The Harris Woods Entrance off McCarty Street has limited parking. There is a foot trail entrance off Mira Vista Drive and San Mateo (the Sugarberry Entrance) as well but there is no place to park at this entrance.

No matter where you enter the park, Hammock Park is a real treat with well maintained trails that meander through the lush vegetation. This is just one more example of the beautiful parks and nature preserves in and around the Dunedin Florida area!

Caladesi Island State Park – Dunedin Florida

Caladesi Island State Park is a completely natural island off the coast of Dunedin Florida that comprises over 650 upland acres of land and more than 1800 acres of grass flats and mangroves. To get to Caladesi Island you must travel by boat. The Florida Park’s Department makes that possible by having a ferry connecting Honeymoon Island State Park to Caladesi Island State Park. The ferry runs hourly during the winter months and every half hour from mid-February to mid-September.

caladesi island state parkOnce you get to Caladesi Island State Park, you can enjoy over three miles of nature trails for hiking, over three miles of relatively empty beach for your bathing pleasure, restrooms and showers in the pavilions that are provided by the park service and some of the best shell collecting opportunities around! Caladesi Island State Park also offers shaded picnic and grilling areas, a children’s playground, a snack bar and gift shop. Naturally, there are also fantastic fishing areas and kayak paddling trails through the mangroves. Don’t have your own kayak? No problem, the park offers kayak rentals as well as chair and umbrella rentals. There is even a marina that offers electric and water hookups!

If you are interested in boat camping on Caladesi Island, you need to make reservations. It is possible to make reservations up to 11 months in advance and it is indeed a good idea to take advantage of these advance reservations to get the time slot that you are after! Everybody loves camping on this pristine island that offers the sounds of the waves breaking on shore to lull you to sleep. You can come with your own boat (up to 40 ft in length), tie up to your reserved dock slot and enjoy a night or several nights of memorable camping on Caladesi Island State Park! You can also bring your private boat over to the island and dock for the day to use the beach, café and facilities. To dock for the day (no overnight boat camping) the fee is $6 (up to 8 people can be on the boat). So there are several ways to enjoy this great park!

Honeymoon Island State Park – Dunedin Florida

Honeymoon Island State Park located just off-shore from Dunedin Florida, is indeed breathtaking year round!

honeymoon islandTo get to Honeymoon Island, one takes the Dunedin Causeway and travel’s west. The gate opens at 8 am daily, 365 days a year, and remains open until sundown.

Here you can not only enjoy beautiful sandy beaches, collect magnificent seashells and bath in the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico, but you can also bring your pet pup and romp in the doggie park! There is a specific doggie park complete with shower area for poochie!  Pets must remain on a 6 foot leash at all times while in the park. They have really thought of everything here.honeymoon island

If you would prefer taking the ferry over to Caladesi Island, the ferry launch is also within Honeymoon Island State Park.

No need to bring lunch since the park has a restaurant. There are also restrooms and showers at the pavilions. You can enjoy hiking the 2.5 mile trail through the Osprey nesting area of slash pines or walk over 4 miles of breathtakingly beautiful shoreline! There are picnic and grilling areas, kayak launching areas as well as a playground on the north end of the island. Kayaks, beach umbrellas and beach chairs are also available for rent at Cafe Honeymoon or at the Honeymoon Pavilion. You can call 727-736-2132 for more information.

honeymoon island state park

Be sure to check out the Nature Center to learn more about the island’s history, as well as about native plants and animals. If you decide to go fishing, remember that you do need a fishing license, even for shoreline fishing!

Honeymoon Island State Park is a wonderful place to enjoy our great seashore. Open every day of the year, it is my personal favorite place to go to the beach as well as to collect seashells to decorate the home and garden.

Brooker Creek Preserve In Tarpon Springs Florida

Brooker Creek Preserve in Tarpon Springs Florida covers approximately 8700 acres and is the largest natural area within Pinellas County. Established in 1992, Brooker Creek Preserve is located off of Keystone Road and consists mostly of forested wetlands. It is one of my favorite places to visit since your chances are excellent of running into wildlife here. With over four miles of hiking trails and well over nine miles of horse trails, this is a great place to connect with nature.

brooker creek preserveBrooker Creek Preserve Environmental Education Center offers educational classes, exhibits, workshops, presentations, public outreach activities and guided hikes through this vast natural setting. The physical Center is a three building complex with over 25,000 sq ft which includes indoor and outdoor classrooms, a 6,000 sq ft exhibit area and an auditorium that can handle two hundred visitors. The Center also offers the public assistance with such things as identification of local plants, landscaping with local plants and retention pond reclamation. There are educational programs for the entire family and also specifically for children of various age groups. Schools also take advantage of all that Brooker Creek Preserve’s Environmental Education Center has to offer by bringing children out on field trips from the local public and private schools.brooker creek

One of my personal favorite things that the Education Center does is offer various summer camps for the local children. What better way to become familiar with the habitat and have a great time doing it?

Looking for something to do on the weekend? Brooker Creek Preserve also offers guided tours on Saturdays. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult and pre-registration is required. The winter months are a wonderful time to take advantage of these tours and those weeks when the kids are off for the Holidays lend plenty of time to take advantage of this great opportunity to get to know more about Brooker Creek Preserve!