Do you want to have a truly dazzling experience during your next trip to Florida? If you answered yes, make sure that Weedon Island Preserve is on your list. This nature lover’s haven is the perfect place to explore wildlife in St. Petersburg. You can rent kayaks, spend hours on the nature trails, and discover more about the region’s history. Your family won’t want to miss the chance to take a day trip to this natural oasis!
History of Weedon Island Preserve
The history of this 3,190-acre nature preserve goes back thousands of years. The original inhabitants of the island were members of the Timucuan and Manasota tribes, ancestors of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Artifacts from these indigenous peoples have been found from as early as 5000 B.C. The Weedon Island Preserve also houses the Cultural and Natural History Center, which offers classes on the Preserve ecosystem and exhibits about Florida’s ancient people and cultures. Today, the Weedon Island Preserve is focused on the protection of the area’s natural and cultural resources.
Things to Do
It’s easy to spend a day admiring the sun-kissed landscapes and enchanting teal waters of Tampa Bay. There’s plenty of outdoor activities your whole family will love at Weedon Island Preserve!
More than half a dozen trails weave their way through the Preserve, so there’s a perfect way for everyone to experience the park. The Interpretive Trail is a local favorite, highlighting the importance of coastal ecosystems and increasing awareness of the species that live here. Weedon Island Preserve also rents out backpacks filled with suggested activities and field guides so that you can get the most out of your trip. It’s not unusual to see a green snake or Florida frogs from the elevated boardwalk, and the observation tower gives you a birds-eye view of Tampa Bay and Weedon Island.
Whether you’re an avid kayaker or just looking for a neat way to get closer to nature, kayaking at Weedon Island Preserve is a must-do activity. You can bring your own kayak/canoe or rent one from Sweetwater Kayaks. Float atop the calm Tampa Bay waters as stingrays swim underneath you and fish jump right in front of your eyes. Paddle through picturesque mangrove trees and watch black crabs skitter along the South Trail. With so much to discover, it’s definitely one of the best places to kayak in St. Petersburg! Local tip: The trails get crowded on the weekends, and while Tampa Bay has plenty of dog-friendly kayak launches, this is not a dog-friendly launch. Best kayaking times are Monday through Thursday if you want avoid crowds.
Adjacent to the kayak launch is Weedon’s fishing pier. The location is great for fishing year-round, and many anglers enjoy wading, flats, or bay boats. There are always new corners of Weedon Island to explore, so fishermen can get out there and find the catch of the day!
While the Preserve is dominated by wetland and aquatic ecosystems, there are also upland ecosystems in the park that make up the dry, flat lands. This gives visitors the unique opportunity to explore all types of wildlife during their trip. Stroll along the boardwalk or wade in the shallow waters for an up-close look at nature, or climb the 45-foot observation tower for a more comprehensive look at the landscape. Mangrove forests, dolphins, saltwater ponds, turtles, and birds ‒ Weedon Island Preserve has so much to see!
Stay at the Best B&B in Gulfport
Less than half an hour away from your outdoor adventure at Weedon Island Preserve is The Historic Peninsula Inn. Each of our rooms comes with a fresh, complimentary breakfast every morning, complete with baked omelets, pastries, and lots of coffee. When you reserve a stay in our Bombay Guest Room, you’ll have a restful night in a comfortable queen bed and a view of the courtyard from your window. Take advantage of the slower Gulf pace of life for a relaxing vacation you won’t forget.