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 Upper Tampa Bay Park in Hillsborough County with your family this weekend. It's a place often being discovered for the first time by many people who have lived in the area for years. Don't let another day go by without seeing it!
Where is it?
Upper Tampa Bay Conservation Park is located between Town ’N Country and Oldsmar. The address is:
After stopping at the pay station, continue driving down the winding road until you reach the Nature Center, which is currently closed because of the pandemic. That’s the best place to start to see everything the park has to offer.
The almost 600 acre park has three short trails.
The Bobcat Trail is behind the nature center. Part of the trail features a short boardwalk along the water. Ethan Hobbs, Senior Ranger at Upper Tampa Bay Park, says it’s a popular spot for fishing.
The Otter Trail, the longest at the park, is nearly a mile. It can get a little a muddy following rain.
Hobbs says the most popular trail is the Eagle Trail.
“It’s the one that will take you to the bay side and you’ll get that view of Old Tampa Bay,” Hobbs said.
Hobbs says visitors could see armadillos, a wide variety of birds, rabbits, raccoons, and, if you’re lucky, bobcats, otters and eagles.
By the way, sometimes the Upper Tampa Bay Park is confused with Upper Tampa Bay Trail, which is a popular spot for bikers. There is a trail head three miles away from the park. Hobbs says rangers will point you in the right direction if you end up at the park looking for the trail!
What else is there to do?
Canoe and kayak rentals are popular at the park. Rentals are available on site for $25 for up to four hours. There is a $10 fee for every additional hour.
Hobbs says it’s a great spot for beginners because the water is calm and shallow. Plus, you never know what you may find!
“People like to come out here because they get a chance to see manatees and dolphins,” he said.
When should I visit?
Upper Tampa Bay Park is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. There is a two-dollar per vehicle fee to get in.
Join Walking Club!
Post photos of your adventures, ask questions and learn about upcoming #WalkingClub stories in Sarah’s Walking Club group on Facebook!