Things To Do In The Area

While most of your days on vacation will probably be spent taking in the sun on the beach while building sand castles, Florida's West Coast offers some great things to do when you need a break for the sea and sand! Check out some of the national parks, historical markers, and more you should see while in the area!

Things to Do:     State & Local Parks          Off The Beach   


Visit State & Local Parks

Florida's State Parks offer a little different spin than many forest-filled parks with campgrounds! From wildlife preserves to interesting beaches, you have unique options for Parks in Florida!

Honeymoon Island State Park is just a short drive from Tampa and is considered one of Florida's best-loved state parks with more than four miles of beach to explore alon with a three-mile trail through the pine forests. You will find eagles, osprey, and great horned owls along with gopher tortoises, racoons, and armadillos!

Possible activities at Honeymood Island State Park include swimming, fishing, shelling, hiking, bicycling, and this park is the ferry terminal to another great state park, Caladesi Island!
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Fort De Soto Park is another park option that still includes an amazing beach option while also giving you nature options. Fort De Soto is Pinellas County's largest park with 5 interconnected islands (keys) spanning 1,136 acres! There is an amazing complexity of ecology on display at Fort De Soto, which is home to beach plants, mangroves, wetlands, palm hammocks, and scores of native plants.

Amenities at Fort De Soto Park include a self-guided fort tour, boat launching facility, camping areas, playgrounds, trails, concessions, swim centers, fishing piers, and ferry service to Egmont Key and Shell Key.
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If you like secluded, pristine beaches with amazing shelling opportunities next to an amazing wildlife refuge, you need to plan a visit to Egmont Key State Park. This state park is only accessible by private boat, but it boasts a unique natural and cultural history as the mouth of Tampa Bay. Discover some of Tampa Bay's decorated history as you tour the historic sites and trails or enjoy relaxation with swimming, fishing, wildlife viewing, and picnicking.

Egmont Key State Park will be worth the memories and secluded relaxation, but it will take some planning! There are no stores or drinking water available on the island, so be sure to plan accordingly for your nature visit!
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Off The Beach

There is so much to do off the beach, especially in the Tampa Bay Area. Besides day trips into Tampa, where you can explore historical museums and city centers, there are off the beach options within a shorter distance to the beach.

The Florida Botanical Gardens consists of 100 acres of gardens, which is also free to visit. See native Florida plants, butterfly gardens, and exotic tropicals and check out the children's educational trail. Enjoy a picnic in the gardens and explore the nature center to get a quick break inside!
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Okay, this one is actually still on the Beach, but it is around dusk and you don't need a bathing suit for this one. Sunsets at Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach operate 364 days a year two hours before to two hours after sunset, weather permitting. This nightly celebration features artists, crafters, street performers, and an amazing sunset right on the Pier and surrounding areas. You can even catch a movie right off of the beach on certain nights!
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The Manatee Viewing Center is a federally-designated manatee sanctuary open during business hours for free between November and mid-April. This viewing area is at the Big Bend Power Station's discharge canal, which warms the water. When Tampa Bay reaches 68 degrees or colder, the manatees seek warmer refuge thus the Manatee Viewing Center was born!
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