PINELLAS COUNTY PARKS! The qualities that make Pinellas County such a popular tourist destination are the same ones that help make this an ideal place in which to live. Ideal climate, extensive water views, awesome sunsets and colorful Florida landscapes are part of our natural environment. In addition to our postcard-perfect scenery, the quantity and variety of leisure choices is enough to keep our residents busy for a lifetime!

Parks are a priority in Pinellas County. You will notice how green it is the moment you arrive. In fact, there are so many parks throughout each neighborhood and within the boundaries of each city that it would be impractical to list them all. Instead we are including a list of public parks that offer special recreational features either because of their size, their proximity to water or some characteristic that sets them apart. They are all part of the Pinellas County Park System.

The Pinellas County Park Department maintains nearly four-thousand acres of the county's most beautiful examples of pristine Florida landscapes. Sunny beaches, tranquil lakes, and lush green expanses of native habitat combine with playgrounds, learning centers and picnic facilities to provide park visitors immeasurable opportunities for relaxation.

Anderson Park
This park serves the north county area and offers individual and group picnicking facilities, play equipment and a boat launching facility.

The 128-acre park, along Lake Tarpon, is characterized by hilly terrain, wooded areas, and beautiful vistas overlooking the lake and Salmon Bay. Picnic pads, elevated boardwalk and a nature trail 478 linear feet long have been developed among the cypress trees along the Salmon Bay shoreline.

Boca Ciega Park
The newest park to open is Boca Ciega Park, located on a 185-acre tract along Boca Ciega Bay on the western edge of mid Pinellas County.

Brooker Creek Preserve
The Brooker Creek Preserve is an almost 9,000-acre wilderness area located in the northeastern corner of Pinellas County near Tarpon Springs. Established for the preservation of the region's great diversity of natural communities and the protection of the Brooker Creek watershed, the preserve is home to white-tailed deer, wild turkey, bobcat, and rare plant species. Nearly ten miles of equestrian trails and hiking trails allow for public exploration of the preserve. An education center is planned for the site.

John Chesnut, Sr. Park
Located on the southeast corner of Lake Tarpon, the facilities at this park were designed to complement the rugged natural beauty of its 255 acres. They include 6,809 linear feet of nature trails, a canoe trail over 2,640 feet in length, a 30-foot-high observation tower, open play areas, picnic shelters, a ballfield and playground equipment. There is also a boat ramp providing access to the lake through a channel.

Ft. DeSoto Park
Ft. DeSoto Park is not only the largest park in the Pinellas County park system, but it was also voted "The Best Beach in America 2005." It has 900 acres consisting of five interconnected islands with over seven miles of waterfront including three miles of beach. A 235-site family camping area is one of the park's most popular amenities. The park also has the Tampa Bay Ferry, a county-contracted ferry service for the visitors and residents of our city and county.

Other park features include: an 800-foot-long boat launching facility with five floating docks; two fishing piers - one on Tampa Bay and the other on the Gulf; large group picnic shelters; and a four-mile paved loop recreation trail, a favorite with cyclists.

Rich in history, a battery of 12-inch mortars and two British cannons of 1890 vintage are located at the fort for which the park was named. Ft. DeSoto Park is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Howard Park
Located in north Pinellas on the Gulf of Mexico, this 155-acre park has a thousand-foot public beach. A mile-long causeway connects the swimming area with the mainland.

Lake Seminole Park
This Pinellas County park is located on the eastern shore of Lake Seminole and encompasses approximately 255 acres. In addition to picnicking facilities, the park has two ponds which are favorites of model sailboat enthusiasts. There is a large play area and a two-mile recreation trail. The park also has a boat ramp accessing Lake Seminole, a fresh-water lake popular for boating, fishing and water skiing.

Philippe Park
Philippe Park bears the name of Count Odet Philippe who introduced grapefruit groves to Florida. The 22-acre park is part of the original Philippe plantation and several citrus trees still remain on the property. An Indian mound listed in the National Register of Historic Landmarks is also located within the park, shaded by large oaks and other hardwood trees. It offers picnicking, a view of Old Tampa Bay, boat launching facility and play areas.

Fred E. Marquis Pinellas Trail
Throughout the length of bustling Pinellas County is a 15-foot wide, paved pathway called a "linear park"-- ever expanding to its eventual 47 miles. The Pinellas Trail was built along an abandoned railroad right-of-way and runs south from Tarpon Springs, near the Anclote River, and ends near 34th Street (U.S. 19) and Fairfield Avenue South (near 8th Avenue S) in St. Petersburg. Within minutes, anyone in the county can be on the trail -- roller-blading, biking, running or just getting away from it all to explore nature. Along the different parts of the trail you can be right downtown at the Dunedin Plaza, or in Clearwater, or at the Seminole City Hall complex...or you can enjoy deep glades of ancient live oaks, trailing Spanish moss, tidal streams with all varieties of land and water birds, even quiet waterways to wet a fishing line.

Sawgrass Lake Park
More than a mile of boardwalk meanders through the 360 acres of ecologically-sensitive wetlands of Sawgrass Lake Park. Here you can expect to see native flora and fauna in their natural state, including water birds, alligators, turtles and fish. The Pinellas County School Board and the Park Department work together to provide school groups with a unique learning experience by maintaining the park as an on-site classroom. It has been called one of the county's best-kept secrets.

Taylor Park
Located in Largo, Taylor Park consists of 132 acres including a 53-acre freshwater lake with excellent fishing. Small boats can be launched from a concrete boat ramp. Its facilities include group picnic shelters, playground equipment, a softball diamond and a large, open playing field. It is a popular access point to the Pinellas Trail.

Walsingham Park
Walsingham Park is a 350-acre park containing a 100-acre lake which divides the property from north to south. A boat launch facility for electric and self-powered boats and parking for 20 boat trailers has been developed at this new facility. There are also four picnic shelters with 160 parking spaces and plans for additional improvements.

War Veterans' Memorial Park
A favorite and convenient park for south county residents, this 122-acre park is adjacent to the Veterans Administration hospital complex and faces Boca Ciega Bay with access to the Gulf of Mexico. While the park itself closes at sundown, a lighted, public boat ramp allows boaters 24-hour usage. A 3.5-ton granite sundial was built especially for the park's Memorial Center and is surrounded by five plaques that commemorate the military branches of the U.S. There are several picnic pavilions, a playground area and an authentic Army tank, plus wide, paved winding roads ideal for bicycling.

Weedon Island Preserve
The Weedon Island preserve actually is a group of islands on the eastern shores of Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg. A four-mile canoe trail winds among the islands, through mangrove forests and secluded bayous to the open waters of Tampa Bay. The trail is excellent for bird watching and there is plenty of shallow water for wade fishing. The 627 acres leased from the state of Florida is enhanced by an additional 57 acres purchased by Pinellas county. Three wheelchair-accessible trails and a 50-foot observation tower were added in 1998.

A new education center will help acquaint visitors with the land's incredible history. A history that extends from being the former home of the Timucuan tribe to its 20th century use as a 1930s movie studio, an airport, and the former location of a real estate speculator's speakeasies.

State Parks in Pinellas



 

 

Anclote Key State Preserve
Three miles west and offshore of Tarpon Springs, Anclote Key is the northernmost barrier island off the Pinellas peninsula. It offers beach lovers, who need their own boat to get there, the beauty of undeveloped, less-traveled shoreline. There are a few tables and barbecue grills, but no running water or other amenities.

Caladesi Island State Park
West of Dunedin is 650-acre Caladesi Island which features a largely undisturbed beach on the Gulf of Mexico side and a dense mangrove shallow on the Bay side and was voted "The #3 Beach in America 2006.". The island is alternately covered with windswept dunes topped with sea grasses and pine, scrub palmetto and large, moss-draped oak trees. A concession store offers some snacks and supplies, while a ferry service from either Honeymoon Island from the north or the Clearwater docks from the south provides access for those without a boat.

Egmont Key
This three-mile island is located halfway between Anna Maria Island in Manatee County and St. Pete Beach in Pinellas and is accessible only by boat. Egmont Key offers some of Florida's best beaches and also claims a 136-year-old working lighthouse and the ruins of Fort Dade. The ferry to this spot can be caught from John's Pass Village in Madeira Beach. The park also has the Tampa Bay Ferry, a county-contracted ferry service for the visitors and residents of our city and county.

Honeymoon Island State Park
One of the few northern barrier islands accessible by car, Honeymoon Island features a popular beach and nature trail, plus facilities for fishing and picnicking. It is also the point of departure for one of the ferry shuttles to Caladesi Island.

Of Special Interest



 

 

Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary
The Gulf coast of Pinellas is abundant with birds not found in other climates -- such as the white egret, brown pelican and cormorant. One place to not only see these species up close but to contribute to their future is at the Seabird Sanctuary. This non-profit organization is dedicated to the "rescue, repair, recuperation and potential release" of rehabilitated, sick and injured wild birds and operates solely through public contributions. It is located right on the beach at Indian Shores.

 

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