Kayaking around the Sunshine State can take you to some incredible sights, from getting you up close and personal to the beloved, squishy Florida manatee, to seeing some beautiful natural wonders. Not far from Tampa is just such a place with winding trails both on land and in the sea for you to walk or paddle. Weedon Island Preserve's kayaking trails, in particular, will make you feel like you're gliding through a watery green portal as you paddle through tunnels of magical mangroves.
With over 3,190 acres of land to explore, there is so much nature to see at Weedon Island. The South Paddling Trail is a perfect place to start, but you’ll want to make sure you set aside ample time to complete it.
Totaling about 4 miles in length, it generally takes about 3 hours to complete the whole circuit depending on how fast you paddle. There are also mile markers along the path to help adventurers keep themselves on track.
It doesn’t hurt to call ahead and check on the tide levels before you venture out, either. The South Paddling Trail is best experienced during mid to high tide. Paddlers are also welcome to fish, but make sure you clean up any trash you may make to keep these stunning waterways clear.
You’ll find three different species of mangroves through the winding tunnels. Along the shore, the red mangroves, also known as walking trees, show off their exposed roots that make them look as if they're walking on water.
Besides being a gorgeous place to explore, Weedon Island has some amazing historic secrets. You can find Native American mounds and relic dune ridges at the higher elevations. There was even an ancient dug-out canoe that was found almost entirely intact.
Whether you're there to explore by water or boardwalk, you can take in all the natural wonders Weedon Island has to offer.
Weedon Island Preserve
Address: 1800 Weedon Dr. NE, St. Petersburg, FL
Why You Need To Go: Weedon Island Preserve has so many beautiful trails to explore, but the mangrove tunnels are something special!
We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.