If you want to really get to know Tampa, take a bike ride or hike with your family on one of these great trails. You’ll get to see our native wildlife in their habitats, escape from the noise and distractions of the city, and exercise at the same time! Your family will love the time spent together, and you’ll be glad you explored Tampa’s great parks, paths and trails.
Myakka River State Park
Some of the best hiking trails in the state can be found at Myakka River State Park. Whether you want to bike or hike in Central Florida, make time to explore one of its best parks. Both paved roads and dirt road trails wind their way through the park. Parts of the park flood during wet weather, so if you want to bike off-road, your best bet is to visit during dry periods or in winter. Younger adventurers will love the the boardwalk near the main parking area. See who can spot the most birds! The pink bird you might see isn’t a flamingo — it’s one of Florida’s beautiful roseate spoonbills, which can sometimes be seen in conservation areas around Tampa.
Prices are $6 per vehicle (2-8 people) or $4 for a single-occupant vehicle. The park is open every day from 8 a.m. until sunset. Single and tandem bike rentals are also available. See the park website for pricing. Myakka River State Park is located at 13208 State Road 72, nine miles east of Sarasota.
Alderman’s Ford Park
For as little as $2 per person, you and your family can visit Alderman’s Ford Park, which is both kid- and bike-friendly. Bring your walking shoes, too, if you like to hike: winding paths shaded by hammock trees invite you to meander through the park and escape the Florida sun. Bring your camera, because you’re bound to see plenty of birds and animals near the many ponds and shallow waterways.
Alderman’s Ford Path is located at 100 Alderman’s Ford Park Drive, just off SR 39, in Lithia.
Fort De Soto Park Barrier-Free Trail
This is the perfect trail for families with very young children in strollers or family members with wheelchairs. Fort De Soto Park offers hikers three different trails, but the Barrier-Free trail accommodates your whole family without sacrificing the sense of being surrounded by nature. Just under half a mile long, the graded trail loop starts near the ranger station. Check out the park video to see the Barrier-Free hiking trail and the beauty of the historic park.
Fort De Soto is located at 3500 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde. The park entrance is at the north end of Madelaine Key, on the south side of the Pinellas Bayway.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a good time in Tampa with your family. Take a hike with your favorite people on one of Tampa’s great family-friendly trails! Bring a camera and document your hike or bike ride. See how many trees, birds and animals you can identify!