January Things To Do Outdoors

2020 is behind us but social distancing guidelines are still in place. When the year flips anew we look forward to Gasparilla season – the parades, art festival, music festival and more. January’s premiere event in the Tampa Bay area – Gasparilla - has been postponed until April 2021. But there are still lots of fun outdoor areas to enjoy our beautiful Florida weather.

Have you visited these parks for a nature walk or kayak ride?

Note: Always call or check Web site for park hours, especially with changing COVID-19 guidelines.

Lettuce Lake Regional Park
6920 East Fletcher Avenue, Tampa
$2 per vehicle

Lettuce Lake Park is one of Hillsborough County's most visited parks. More than half of the park’s property lies in the natural floodplain of the Hillsborough River, consisting of a hardwood swamp forest. The remainder of the park consists of hardwood hammocks and pine flatwoods plant communities. There are miles of paved trails for hiking and wildlife viewing as well as wooded picnic areas, playgrounds, a 1.25-mile paved exercise trail and 3,500-foot boardwalk with an observation tower provides scenic views of the Hillsborough River. Canoe and kayaks rentals available. Pets and bicycles are not permitted on the boardwalk.

https://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/locations/lettuce-lake-conservation-park

Hillsborough River State Park
15402 U.S. 301 North, Thonotosassa
$6 per vehicle

Set out to explore seven miles of nature trails and wonderful wildlife viewing at this part just minutes from downtown Tampa. Fishing, biking, hiking, picnicking and water opportunities available. Canoe and kayak rentals not currently available (you are welcome to bring your own). Camping available; check Web site for availability.

https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/hillsborough-river-state-park

Weedon Island Preserve
1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg
Free admission

Weedon Island Preserve is a 3,190-acre natural area located on Tampa Bay. It is a well-known birding and fishing site. The history and cultural center focuses on history and education programs and exhibits. There are numerous boardwalks and trails. Canoe rentals are available. Call (727) 570-4844 to make arrangements before visits.

http://www.weedonislandpreserve.org/

Boyd Hill Nature Preserve
1101 Country Club Way, St. Petersburg

The Lake Maggiore Environmental Education Center is open with social distancing in place and masks required. Many of the nature trails start from the education center. Most trails are ADA accessible. There is also a playground and picnic facilities. Admission is $3 adults, $1.50 (3-16).

http://www.stpeteparksrec.org/boydhillpreserve/

Photo credit: Boyd Nature Preserve, Hillsborough River State Park

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