Our Guide to Exploring Tampa Bay Trails

Let’s go for a walk!

Or a bike ride. How about a birding adventure?Trails in Tampa

We at ICI Homes know exactly where to send you if you’re a new Tampa Bay-area resident. Florida’s central Gulf Coast is rich with recreational activities, most of which are convenient to three Tampa Bay-area communities where we build.

You’ll find ICI Homes in Asturia and Bexley, near the intersection of Pasco and Hillsborough counties north of downtown Tampa, and in FishHawk Ranch further south in Hillsborough. All three are master-planned communities where fitness trails and outdoor recreation abound.

But sometimes you need a change. And if you’re new to the central Gulf Coast, there’s no better way to explore it than on a trail. Reconnoitering from your car, truck or SUV just isn’t the same thing.

Following along as we hit the highlights of Tampa Bay’s top trails.

The big two

The Pinellas Trail and the Suncoast Trail are the longest and also the most comprehensive trail systems in the Tampa Bay area. Dotted with restrooms, weather shelters, picnic tables, watering stations and parking lots, both trails are also paved.

The Pinellas Trail runs for 47 miles in Pinellas County, west of Hillsborough County. Much of it follows an old railroad-track bed.

The Suncoast Trail runs for 42 miles through northern Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties. It parallels the Suncoast Parkway and its southern trailhead is located just south of Bexley and Asturia . The Suncoast Trail’s biggest chunk — 21.6 miles — is in Pasco County.

Children’s trail at the Florida Botanical Gardens

Kids have their own trekking place at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo, in Pinellas County. They’ll be entranced by herb and vegetables gardens, puzzles and butterflies. There’s even music instruments, wildlife, and outdoor furniture made just for them.

Older kids may enjoy the Shirley McPherson Native Plant Trail at Heritage Village, a 21-acre collection of historic Pinellas County buildings adjacent to the Florida Botanical Gardens. The Native Plant Trail offers a pleasant stroll through woodsy areas.

Two types of trails at Brooker Creek Preserve

Located in northern Pinellas County, near the city of Tarpon Springs, Brooker Creek Preserve’s 8,700 acres are a protected mix of pine forests, coastal scrubland, wetlands and the Brooker Creek watershed. It’s the largest natural preserve in Pinellas County.

The Friends Hiking Trail and the Wildlands Hiking Trail are among the nearly five miles of trails here. You’ll see wildlife (keep a respectful distance), and Florida at its pristine best.

If you own a horse and need a place to ride away from traffic and other urban distractions, try the nine combined miles on two equestrian trails. You must trailer in your steed and bring food water for you and your mount, but trotting along a peaceful natural preserve sounds like a great time!

A saltier sort of trail

At Weedon Island Preserve, a 3,190-acre tract along the western edge of Tampa Bay, visitors can tackle miles of boardwalks and trails among the bay’s marshes, mangrove islands, hammocks and flatlands. There’s even a 45-foot observation tower.

Just remember your sunscreen, water, hat and study shoes. And don’t miss the prehistoric dugout canoe displayed in the visitors-center lobby, discovered on-site in 2011.

Ready to live your Tampa lifestyle? Talk to ICI Homes here.