If you visit the Tampa Bay area – or even if you are a local – you will probably experience an urge to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Kayaking is the perfect opportunity to get out and explore nature.
Why You Should Kayak
Some would argue that Tampa Bay is the best place in Florida– and perhaps even the world – for prime kayaking locations. The flourishing ecosystems provide an ideal local for bird watching, photography, relaxation, and enjoying the great outdoors.
If you’re an angler, you’ll marvel at the abundance of highly sought-after game fish found near the freshwater springs, barrier islands, passes, and bridges.
A kayaking trip has several perks over other types of boat outings. You can meander through no-motor zones that would otherwise be off limits. You don’t have to wait in line for hours at a boat ramp. The experiences can be a private excursion or a social event with others. And you aren’t tied to a schedule, at the mercy of a tour guide.
Best of all, you are within minutes of Florida’s most densely populated areas. If you find kayaking isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other entertainment opportunities!
Where You Should Kayak
If you are interested in a kayaking excursion, check out one of these top five Tampa Bay hot spots.
1. Fort Desoto Park
One of the largest parks in the Pinellas County Park System, For Desoto Park can be found along the southern tip of the county. It boasts nearly 1,200 acres and five interconnected islands.
If you are interested in tossing your line out, expect to reel in some Spotted Sea Trout or Redfish. Voted one of the best fishing areas in Tampa Bay, For Desoto Park is bound to produce plenty of bites. Check out the lush flats between the east end of the park and the SkywayBridge.
2. St. Joseph Sound
The St. Joseph Sound extends from the north edge of the Clearwater Harbor all the way to Anclote Key. As you kayak along, you’ll be separated from the Gulf by a narrow strip of beautiful beach. Known as Caladesi Island and Honeymoon Island, these spots are perfect for exploring.
Toss out your line and expect to bring in some Red Drum, Spotted Sea Trout or Snook. Snook are especially prevalent in the summer near the northeast edge of Honeymoon Island.
3. Weeki Wachee River
TheWeekiWacheeRivercan be found just north of Spring Hill. Meander down this spring-fed river through a jungle canopy and beautiful residential neighborhood.
Venture past Rogers Park and head towards the Gulf. You’ll find Mangrove Snapper, Sheepshead, and plenty of other saltwater game fish.
4. Clearwater Pass
Venture out on the Clearwater Pass, found south of Clearwater Beach. Check out the southeast side of Sand Key Bridge. You’ll find beautiful sand and grass flats between the channels.
Anglers can expect to find Trout, Redfish, Black Drum and Snook. No doubt you can spot Linesiders along the jetty (north of SandyKey Park).
Here’s a little secret. Launch on the east side of Gulf Boulevard. You’ll find a great spot across the street from the park.
5. Gandy Bridge Area
Last, but not least, you’ll want to venture out to the Gandy Bridge Area. This location boasts two hot-spots. The west (Tampa) side of Gandy Bridge is a beautiful spot to relax and fish. Likewise, the east (Pinellas County) side is ideal too.
Toss a line out and reel in Sheepshead in the fall or Snook in the summer. Cruising around the dock pilings will yield plenty of potential. While there are plenty of parking lots and launch spots along the Bridge, try going to the north side. The Friendship Trail parking area has a great launch spot.
Take a break from city life and venture out into one of Tampa Bays’ prime kayaking spots. Enjoy nature’s beauty that surrounds you while relaxing and reeling in a fish or two.
Guest author Drew Clement has been a Tampa resident for nearly 30 years. Over the past three decades, he has managed to unearth some of Tampa’s best kayaking spots. When he isn’t out in the Gulf, he is helping patients with various hair loss treatments at Haarklinikken Hair Restoration, 4238 W Kennedy Blvd. Suite 1, Tampa, FL 33609. 813-414-0100 http://hairklinik.com