PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Many of us are looking for ways to remain active while also staying a safe distance away from others. That's why Sarah Phinney started a ‘Walking Club’ to highlight some hidden, and some not so hidden, trails and parks across Tampa Bay.
Visit John Chesnut Sr. Park in Pinellas County this weekend. It’s a great place for those who are new to the outdoors or have lots of experience. You’re almost guaranteed to some of the wildlife that calls the park home!
Where is it?
John Chesnut Sr. Park can be found on the southeastern side of Lake Tarpon. The address is:
John Chesnut Sr. Park stretches more than 250 acres. Click here to see a map of the park.
You’ll find 13 shelters, eight restrooms (some are closed on weekdays), two playgrounds, a softball field, a dog park, along with miles of boardwalks and trails.
There’s also a boat ramp and an observation tower that provides great views of Lake Tarpon.
“If you look to the north, you’ll be able to see the picnic shelters at Anderson Park,” said Scott Coulter, Pinellas County Preserve Supervisor.
It’s very likely you’ll see wildlife on your walk. Deer are often spotted at the park. Coulter estimates 30 to 50 call it home.
“There’s a 99 percent chance that you’re gonna see at least the deer when you come visit,” he said. “Some of them are overly friendly so please refrain from feeding them because they will come up to you hungry.”
Coulter also asks visitors to refrain from feeding squirrels as well.
“We probably don’t have any squirrels that are in athletic shape here,” he said. “Yeah, they all eat well.”
Alligators are often spotted at the park, too.
Right now, two areas are blocked off for alligator nests, including a small section of one of the boardwalks between the dog park and boat ramp.
The nesting areas are expected to be blocked off until the first part of September.
“They’ve both been closed off to the public for both safety to the public as well as the alligator,” said Coulter.
John Chesnut Sr. Park is also a great place to go birding, so don't forget your binoculars and camera!
When should I visit?
The park is open seven days a week. It's closed on Christmas Day and the day after Thanksgiving.
It gets busy on the weekends but tends to be quieter on weekdays.
Join Walking Club!
Post photos of your adventures, ask questions and learn about upcoming Walking Club stories in Sarah’s Walking Club group on Facebook!