Weedon Island Preserve: St. Pete's hidden nature getaway

Posted at 12:32 PM, Oct 24, 2018
and last updated 2020-02-04 11:24:01-05

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Located off the Gandy Bridge, you can find one of Tampa Bay's best hidden nature getaways.

Weedon Island Preserve is an expansive 3,190-acre natural area located in east St. Petersburg.

This picturesque outdoor park features miles of boardwalks and nature trails, 45-foot-tall observation tower and kayaking through mangrove tunnels.

Weedon Island's coastal system, comprised of aquatic and upland ecosystems, is home to numerous species of native plants and animals, an educational facility and a rich cultural history.

The 4-mile kayak trail meanders through mangroves and seagrass flats between islands of the preserve. It's best accessed at the canoe launch next to the fishing pier at the end of Weedon Drive NE. Restrooms and a canoe washing station are also located here.

No paddle? No problem! You can rent a kayak, stand up paddleboard or canoe from Sweetwater Kayaks and enjoy the natural side of Florida. Weekday and weekend rentals are available.

Cost Breakdown:

  • Single Kayak: $17 for 1 hour, $34 for 2 hours, $40 for 4 hours
  • Double Kayak: $25 for 1 hour, $50 for 2 hours, $56 for 4 hours
  • Stand Up Paddleboard (SUPs): $20 for 1 hour, $40 for 2 hours, $50 for 4 hours
  • Canoe: $30 for 1 hour, $60 for 2 hours, $60 for 4 hours
  • Click here for more rental information

The trail is best accessed during mid to high tides so be sure to check a tide chart before venturing on the paddling trail. Also, familiarize yourself with the suggested trail companions and trail rules before pushing off on your excursion.

Make sure to bring the following:

  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Drinking water and snacks
  • Binoculars and identification guides
  • Cell phone
  • Closed-toe shoes that can get wet
  • Personal Flotation Device (PFD)

Smoking and alcohol are not permitted. Click here for more information.

Weedon Island Preserve is located at 1859 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg.