|Beach Shower||Motor Boat Launch||Restaurant|
|Canoe/Kayak Launch||Parking||Wildlife Observation|
|Canoe/Kayak Rentals||Pay Phone||BBQ Grill|
|Concessions||Picnic Table||Water Fountain|
|Grocery||Point of Interest||Shelters|
|Marked Paddle Trails|
|Unmarked Paddle Trails|
|Florida Circumnavigational Salt Water Paddling Trail|
1. JOHN CHESTNUT PARK Coordinates
This Pinellas County Park covers approximately 255 acres and is located directly on Lake Tarpon. Raccoons, alligators, various waterfowl, hawks, vultures, tortoises/turtles, snakes, etc. reside in this park and provide interesting viewing for nature enthusiasts and families. This park is a popular launching site for several fishing tournaments each year, so motorized boat traffic can be heavy, especially on the weekends. Launching is available from the concrete boat ramp and parking is available during daylight hours only. The Tarpon Turtle Restaurant is accessible in the northwest corner of the lake and has water access via docks.
Park Telephone: (727) 669-1951.
2. A.L. ANDERSON PARK Coordinates
This 129-acre Pinellas County Park is characterized by hilly terrain, wooded areas, and beautiful vistas overlooking Salmon Bay and Lake Tarpon. With direct access to Lake Tarpon, paddlers have the opportunity to view a large variety of wildlife; fish, alligators, shorebirds, raccoons, snakes and turtles, to name a few. Launching is available at the motorized boat ramp or from a sandy area to the left of the boat ramp (look for a sign designating canoe and kayak launching). Motorized boat traffic can be heavy on the Lake, especially on the weekends. Parking is available during daylight hours only. Follow the shoreline to the north and you will arrive at the Tarpon Turtle restaurant, located in the northwest corner of Lake Tarpon. This restaurant has access via docks and is open seven days a week.
Park Telephone: (727) 943-4085.
3. CRAIG PARK Coordinates
This park is maintained by the City of Tarpon Springs and is located along Spring Bayou. While the park is surrounded mostly by a seawall, there is a boat ramp that can be utilized for canoe and kayak launching. Restrooms are available at the adjacent Recreation Center and there are lodging facilities within walking distance of the park. Spring Bayou is the site of the yearly Epiphany celebration in Tarpon Springs, a centerpiece of the Greek Orthodox religion. Leaving Spring Bayou and heading east, you will enter the Anclote River and find the Sponge Docks of Tarpon Springs. There are not any locations to “land” here, but from the water you can get an interesting perspective of the sponge industry. The Anclote River is home to a thriving commercial fishing and boating industry. Marinas line the northern side of the river while residential development is common on the southern side. Further upriver, beyond the U.S. Alt. 19 bridge, you will come to North Anclote Park on the northern side of the river. This makes a nice location to rest or have a picnic lunch. If you choose to continue upriver, you will come to a salt marsh environment, the largest of only a few in Pinellas County, which lines the banks of the river.
Park telephone: (727) 937-0838.
4. NORTH ANCLOTE PARK (No Facilities) Coordinates
Paddlers can use this City of Tarpon Springs Park as a landing site only. The park offers certain amenities, but they are located roughly one mile inland at the park’s main entrance. There is no vehicle access to the waterfront.
City of Tarpon Springs Parks Dept. (727) 942-5628.
5. FRED HOWARD PARK Coordinates
This Pinellas County Park consists of 155 acres and is located on the Gulf of Mexico. Howard Park's location provides access to the Gulf of Mexico by a mile long causeway where canoes and kayaks can launch. Ospreys, herons and eagles may be viewed by park visitors as they fish for food in the surrounding waters. Dolphins, sting rays and occasionally manatees are seen in the area. The park also offers 2.5 miles of marked canoe trails through the mangrove tunnels in the northern portion of the park. These marked trails are tidally influenced. There is also a spring cavern located just west of Howard Park, north of the causeway. Paddle north from Howard Park, following the coastline to the northeast past Piney Point and around Sponge Harbor Point and you will enter the Anclote River. Approximately one mile upriver, you will come to the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks, home to the local sponge industry. Paddling from Howard Park to the northwest will take you across an approximate 2.5 mile stretch of open water to Anclote Key. Be aware of weather conditions for the day as there is no where to stop and seek shelter if you happen to encounter a fast-moving storm.
Park Telephone: (727) 943-4081.
6. ANCLOTE KEY PRESERVE STATE PARK Coordinates
This Florida State Preserve is home to at least 43 species of birds, including the bald eagle and the American oystercatcher. This barrier island is an important location for bird-nesting and is accessible only by watercraft. Anclote Key is also the site of a restored, historic lighthouse, once used to guide boats into the Anclote River. The location of this preserve in the Gulf of Mexico allows for excellent fishing and shelling opportunities. Visitors must bring all necessary supplies to the park as amenities are limited. To reach this park, you are required to traverse a 2.5 mile stretch of open water. This area can be the site of rough water. Paddlers should be aware of the conditions and ensure that their watercraft is seaworthy enough to make the trip. Also, severe weather is common on summer afternoons in Pinellas County. Check local weather reports before heading out and prepare to be back to the mainland by early afternoon in the summer. The summer storms are fast-moving and can develop without much warning posing a particular risk when paddling such a great distance over open water. There is no charge for overnight stays in the primitive campground, but campers must first check-in by calling the park before arrival.
Park Telephone: (727) 469-5942
7. SUNSET BEACH PARK Coordinates
This City of Tarpon Springs Park offers direct access to the Gulf of Mexico via its causeway and beach areas. Overnight parking is allowed at the site, but the gates lock at sunset. Be advised to inform the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department (727-582-6200) if you intend to leave your vehicle in the park overnight. From this launch, paddlers can either remain along the coastline or venture out into more open water to reach Three Rooker Bar. If remaining along the coastline, travel south and witness the variety of homes lining the waterfront. Pinellas County’s Wall Springs Park is located along the shoreline roughly two miles south of the launch point. Wall Springs does not currently have any take-out points, but with a number of mangrove islands along its shoreline, there are excellent wildlife viewing opportunities in the area. Be aware of tide levels in this area as it is possible to become grounded here in an outgoing tide. If paddling out to Three Rooker, be aware of the large volume of motorized boat traffic that may be present in this area, especially on the weekends. Cross boating channels with caution. If leaving the coastline, be prepared to return to the mainland by early afternoon because of fast moving storms which may develop during the summer months.
City of Tarpon Springs Parks Dept.: (727) 942-5628.
8. THREE ROOKER BAR (No Facilities) Coordinates
Part of the Anclote Key Preserve State Park, this island is completely natural, without facilities and only accessible by watercraft. Three Rooker Bar is an example of how barrier islands change and shift over time with the currents. Once a small hook-shaped island, Three Rooker Bar became one long, curved land mass, but the island has recently split into two pieces at its center. Because this island has a large bird nesting colony, dogs are not allowed at any time and people are asked to observe wildlife from a distance. Wildlife viewing opportunities include dolphins, shore birds and pelicans. This island is accessible from a number of launch points, including the Dunedin Causeway and Howard Park. Be aware of potential rough water surrounding the island, especially on the Gulf side. Also, be aware of weather conditions as fast-moving storms can develop quickly during summer. Be prepared to return to the mainland by early afternoon in the summer months.
Park Telephone: (727) 469-5942.
9. LIVE OAK PARK Coordinates
This is a Pinellas County neighborhood park located on the Intracoastal Waterway, with easy access to the Gulf of Mexico. Kayak launching is available only in designated areas on the beach; look for signage. This facility is located within a short distance of many wildlife-viewing areas, including numerous spoil islands, a bird rookery where landing is not allowed, and expansive beds of seagrasses. There are also many homes lining the waterfront with various types of architecture. If you paddle north from this park, you will come to Pinellas County’s Wall Springs Park. Wall Springs does not currently have any take-out points, but with a number of mangrove islands along its shoreline, there are excellent wildlife viewing opportunities in the area. Be aware of tide levels in this area as it is possible to become grounded here in an outgoing tide. South of Live Oak Park is the Seaside Point Pier and the Crystal Beach public waterfront. Live Oak Park offers limited facilities. A post office is located within a short distance of the park (420 Crystal Beach Avenue) and there are several restaurants located along US Alternate 19, only a few blocks from the water. Pinellas County Parks Dept: (727) 464-3347.
10. POP STANSELL PARK Coordinates
Pop Stansell is a Pinellas County neighborhood park offering direct access to the Intracoastal Waterway. Launching at this park is available from the sandy beach. Many power boats use this area also, creating a potential parking and safety issue on weekends. Leaving the launch area, and heading west, paddlers will encircle a number of spoil islands, one of which is reserved for bird nesting - please observe from a distance. The water surrounding these islands is a great area to look for fish, such as mullet, which jump from the water, and other aquatic wildlife. The seagrasses in the area also provide important habitat and feeding areas for aquatic life, including the manatee and dolphin. The shores running both north and south of this launch point are lined with large homes of varying architectural backgrounds, offering views of local and imported styles.
Pinellas County Parks Department: (727) 464-3347.
11. HONEYMOON ISLAND STATE PARK Coordinates
Maintained by the State of Florida, this park boasts several nature trails and bird observation areas. A $1 fee is required if entering the park via kayak, $8 for a vehicle. This park features such wildlife as sea turtles, which come onshore to lay their eggs from May through October, and shorebirds, where species such as least terns and oystercatchers come to lay their eggs. Park managers may rope off some areas in an effort to protect the birds and their nests. Shelling can also be very good because of the island’s location in the currents of the Gulf. Parking is only available within the park during daylight hours. This island can be circumnavigated, but be aware of potential rough water on the Gulf side of the island and strong currents in the passes. The eastern side of the island is rich in seagrasses and mangroves, offering a great opportunity for wildlife viewing. Head north from the island and you will come to Three Rooker Bar, a totally natural and undeveloped barrier island only accessible by watercraft. Three Rooker is important for bird nesting and represents how barrier islands shift and change over time. Please observe wildlife from a distance.
Park Telephone: (727) 469-5942.