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An expanse of mud extends from a hiking trail into the bay at low tide. You can often see lots of crabs in the area.
Photo Credit: guyonthego

Upper Tampa Bay Park

8001 Double Branch Road, Tampa, FL 33635
Open 8:00am to 6:00pm
813-855-1765 3 hours
December 2009 All year
$0-9 Tampa Florida
Website Nature Local Parks
First review
Upper Tampa Bay Park is a regional park fronting Tampa Bay. The park is 2,144 acres, with about 600 acres of uplands on a peninsula and the remainder mangroves and wetlands. For an urban park, Upper Tampa Bay offers a large variety of recreational pursuits and is one of the last major natural areas left on Tampa Bay.

The park has an interesting recent history. A developer proposed to dredge and fill the wetlands for a housing development. In exchange for development permits, the company offered to donate the uplands area as a park. While the park idea was popular, the dredging proposal was not. A local county chose to acquire the entire property and opened it as a park in 1982.

Upper Tampa Bay’s best activities are a visitor center/museum and canoeing followed closely by walking trails. The museum, though small, does a great job explaining the natural history of the area and conservation efforts in the booming Tampa area. It also showcases a number of fish and animal displays including an indoor bee colony that has outside access. The park offers canoe rentals and has two marked canoe trails. Canoeing is a good way to explore the mangroves and to see wading birds and fish. Not to be missed are some short but informative nature trails. They pass through different environments in the park which vary depending on elevation and saltwater exposure.

This park can offer something for the whole family: recreation, good views, education and wildlife. It is a great choice as a place to spend a relaxing afternoon. If you visit in the summer be aware that mosquitoes enjoy the park’s amenities as well.
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