Best picnic spots in Tampa Bay

Top picnic spots in Tampa Bay

Beautiful weather, waterfront views, amazing sunsets and spectacular parks: sounds like a perfect recipe for a picnic! There are so many amazing spots in Tampa Bay for a picnic, we had a hard time narrowing it down. But we’re sure once you narrow down the location – the Bay, the Hillsborough River, the Gulf – and grab a blanket and picnic basket, you’ll enjoy a leisurely outdoor meal at these epic Tampa Bay picnic spots. Find a spot in the shade and enjoy a feast.

Picnic on the beach

Fred Howard Park

1700 Sunset Drive, Tarpon Springs

This is one of our favorite spots in Tampa Bay to enjoy a picnic and the sunset! Stop in Tarpon Springs on your way to fill up your picnic basket with delicious Greek food. Drive to the end of the causeway and lay down your blanket for your little slice of paradise in the sand. If you bring kids with you, hit the playgrounds on your way in. You can also bring your kayak, paddleboard or fishing pole. There are several covered pavilions in the park (most have grills but don’t have a waterfront view). We prefer the sand down by the water and it’s easy to put your blanket under one of the palm trees for some shade. The sunset is amazing here. FYI: there is a $5 daily fee for parking.

Curtis Hixon Park

600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa

The Tampa Riverwalk was named one of the best riverwalks in the United States and the amazing parks are one of the reason. Curtis Hixon Park is one of our favorites. Grab a spot under one of the trees near the playground for a picnic or just relax with a book. There’s also a splash pad so don't forget bathing suits for the kids. If you bring your pup, there is a fenced dog park as well. If you want to pickup food on your way, there are several restaurants close to the park including The Hungry Greek, Butter’s Burgers and Urban Cantina.

Picnic at the park

Julian B Lane Waterfront Park

1001 North Blvd, Tampa

This is a stunning, relatively new 25-acre park on the west shore of the Hillsborough River by the University of Tampa. This park has several picnic pavilions as well as benches along the river and a “front porch” with tables shaded by large live oaks that make a great picnic spots. The park also houses the boathouse (rents kayaks and paddleboards), a lawn with ampitheater, playgrounds, splash pad, separate large and small dog parks and sports courts. It’s a great spot for a picnic with views of the river and downtown. And lots to keep you busy the rest of the day.

Picnic pavilion

Picnic Island Park

7409 Picnic Island Blvd, Tampa

The name says it all. This gem is hidden down by MacDill Air Force Base. This small park offers several pavilions with tables and grills as well as a disc golf course, sand volleyball court, canoe/kayak launch, boat ramp and pier for fishing, fitness trail, playground and a small sand beach. There’s also a separate, gated dog beach just south of the fishing pier.

Philippe Park

2525 Philippe Pkwy, Safety Harbor

Sweeping views of Old Tampa Bay and plenty of shade from majestic oak trees make this park a great spot for a picnic. There is lots of grassy space under the trees with beautiful water views. There also nearby picnic shelters with grills if sitting on the ground isn’t your thing. There are also two playgrounds, a boat ramp and fishing area.

Picnic at the park

Rivercrest Park

4802 North Blvd, Seminole Heights

Located along the Hillsborough River in historic Seminole Heights, this is a neighborhood gem. The park has lots of mature trees to find a spot in the shade (including some benches) as there is just one small sheltered picnic pavilion. The park has a wide concrete walking trail as well as a fishing dock, a canoe launch, a playground and fitness stations.

Lettuce Lake Park

6920 E Fletcher Ave, Tampa

This is a huge (240 acres) park located along the Hillsborough River with lots of room to spread out and find a quiet spot for a picnic. There are several picnic shelters with tables as well as abundant green space and shady trees. Nature lovers can enjoy the 3500-foot wooden boardwalk with lush mangrove forests and an observation tower for a birds-eye view of the water surrounding areas. There are also great walking and biking trails, playgrounds and canoe/kayak rentals. FYI: there’s a $2 entrance fee.

Waterfront picnic

Vinoy Park

Bayshore Drive NE & 5th Ave NE, St. Pete

This is the park for those looking for sensational water views. Located on the downtown waterfront in St. Pete, Vinoy Park has lots of beautifully manicured open green spaces with lots of trees providing shade. There are also benches scattered throughout the park. There is a concrete path through the park for walking, biking or jogging. Our favorite thing is to bring a picnic and sit on the seawall and look for dolphins. If you stay until sunset, the St. Pete skyline and Tampa Bay will light up with breathtaking colors as the sun disappears. BONUS: Nearby is another downtown gem: North Straub Park. With two spectacular Banyan trees, North Straub Park offers a shady, grassy spot with bay views perfect for spreading out your picnic blanket. The Bayside Rec Trail passes through the park and offers a trail for biking or walking along the waterfront.

Honeymoon Island State Park

1 Causeway Blvd, Dunedin

The name says it all if you are looking for a romantic picnic spot. Honeymoon Island State Park is on a barrier island off the Dunedin Causeway right on the Gulf of Mexico. This park features four miles of pristine white sand beaches as well as nature trails through tidal flats, pine forests and mangroves. There’s even a 2.5-mile Osprey trail ideal for bird watching. The sand is a great spot to throw down a picnic blanket. And you can even pickup wine and food including burgers, sandwiches and ice cream, at the café. FYI: Alcohol is only permitted in the vicinity of the cafes. Parking is $8.

Edgewater Park

51 Main Street, Dunedin

This is one of our favorite small parks and is located on the water in Dunedin. The 4-acre park has beautiful views of the marina and multiple picnic tables in the shade making it a great spot for a picnic. The park also has a cute gazebo for pictures, two playgrounds and it’s just a short walk to the Dunedin Pier. It’s easy to grab takeout from one of Dunedin’s local restaurants (Café Alfresco, Olde Bay Café, etc.) to bring to the park as well.

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