Ideas for Weekend Trips From Tampa, Florida

Ideas for Weekend Trips From Tampa, Florida
The sunny weather of Florida makes for perfect hiking, biking, boating or kayaking. Within a hundred miles of Tampa, Florida, twenty-one state parks offer opportunities for these activities as well as camping, RV camping, wildlife viewing, fishing, picnicking, horseback riding and educational opportunities. Spend your weekends exploring the wonders of Florida.

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park exhibits native wildlife--with the exception of Luc the hippopotamus. When the property changed hands in 1989, the new direction of the park required removing all non-native animals and plants. Luc received an honorary citizenship when the pleas of local schoolchildren fell on the sympathetic ears of then-governor Lawton Chiles. The native animals exhibited at the park include manatees, black bear, bobcats, key deer, alligators, gray fox, otters and cougars. The park permits up-close viewing of all the animals, including the manatees and fish through an underwater floating observatory. You can also take a pontoon boat ride or hike the elevated boardwalk.

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
4150 S. Suncoast Blvd.
Homosassa, Florida 34446
(352) 628-5343

Crystal River

Located in Citrus County, the City of Crystal River houses three state parks and an aquatic preserve. The main site of interest for outdoor lovers is the Crystal River Preserve State Park. The Crystal River Preserve State Park encompasses 30,000 acres with activities such as fishing, biking trails, canoeing, hiking trails, fishing and wildlife viewing. The park includes five trails with four considered Great Florida Birding Trails. The park preserves habitat for several species such as the manatee, blue crab, bald eagle, wading birds and mangroves. Hiking and biking is limited to a single 9-mile trail. The park does not have facilities for camping.

The second site of major interest to outdoor lovers in Crystal River is the 23,000-acre St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve. It covers open water areas from the Crystal River to the Homosassa River. The St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve offers a variety of activities including fishing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, snorkeling, nature study, bird watching, boating, and scalloping.

The Crystal River State Archaeological Site and Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park explores the history of the region including Native American burial mounds

Crystal River Preserve State Park
3266 North Sailboat Avenue
Crystal River, Florida 34428
(352) 563-0450

Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park
Crystal River State Archaeological Site
3400 N. Museum Pointe
Crystal River, FL 34428
(352) 795-3817

St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve
3900 Commonwealth Boulevard M.S. 235
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
(850) 245-2094

Myakka River State Park

Myakka River State Park offers 39 miles of hiking trails, canoeing or kayaking on the river and lakes, biking on roads, a horseback riding trail and picnic areas. The park is one of the oldest in the state. It offers a variety of camping options including group, primitive style and camping rentals

Myakka River State Park
13208 S.R. 72
Sarasota, Florida 34241
(941) 361-6511

Article Written By Amy L. Gouger

Amy L. Gouger holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from East Stroudsburg University. Previously a technical agent, she now serves as a ghostwriter and contributor to various online publications.

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