|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|
27. WAR VETERANS MEMORIAL PARK Coordinates
War Veterans' Park is owned and operated by Pinellas County and consists of 122 acres located on Boca Ciega Bay with access to the Gulf of Mexico. This park is close to Cross Bayou, Long Bayou and Joe’s Creek to the north. After you launch, keep an eye out for dolphins and manatees which have a tendency to frequent this area. Paddle towards the north from the launch point and pass by the motorized boat ramp. Be aware of channel markers as motorized boat traffic can be heavy in the area, especially on the weekends. Once you cross under the bridge (Bay Pines Boulevard), you will enter Long Bayou. If you paddle to the northwest, you will come upon a KOA Kampground (727-392-2233) with access to the water. Be aware of numerous oyster beds in this area, especially at low tide. If you want to stay overnight, reservations are recommended. To the northeast is the Cross Bayou canal. This area has a number of spoil islands and vegetation communities, and offers excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing, including dolphins, manatees, egrets and various species of shorebirds. Continue to paddle through the canal and you will come to the entry for Joe’s Creek Management Area. This Pinellas County property is host to a variety of species of animals including birds and fish. There is a landing site roughly one-half mile from the entrance to the creek if you choose to stop and rest. This area can be tidally influenced. From this launch site, it is also possible to circumnavigate Treasure Island. Paddle south/southwest from the launch point (be aware of boat traffic) and enter the Gulf of Mexico through John’s Pass. Use caution as the current in the pass can be very strong and boat traffic can be very heavy. Once in the Gulf, paddle south along the coastline and view the many hotels and condominiums from the water. Keep an eye out for dolphin fishing for dinner off of the beach. Re-enter Boca Ciega Bay through Blind Pass at the southern tip of Treasure Island; this pass separates Treasure Island from St. Pete Beach. This area also can have very strong currents so use caution. Return to the launch point by navigating around the dredged canals, heading to the north/northwest. Overnight parking in War Veterans Park is available at the boat ramp only. The launching area is a sandy beach next to Shelter #5. Park Telephone: (727) 549-6165.
28. JUNGLE PRADA PARK Coordinates
Jungle Prada Park is a small, passive community park owned and operated by the City of St. Petersburg. Jungle Prada has a lengthy history in the City. This park, and the building north, was the site of a commercial complex, complete with a pool, tennis courts and St. Petersburg’s first nightclub. It was at this club that Al Capone would visit, Babe Ruth was married and Duke Ellington would entertain. Today, the building houses Saffron’s restaurant, complete with an Al Capone dining room and a safe the restaurant claims to have belonged to Al Capone and that has never been opened. This park features boat ramp access and a gravel/rock launching site located on the left side of the large parking lot. Direct access is offered to the Intracoastal Waterway with excellent wildlife viewing opportunities in the area. Paddle northwest from the launch site and in just over one mile, you will come to a bird rookery with many pelicans, please observe from a distance. Continue to the northwest to reach Pinellas County’s War Veterans Park. North of this park is the entrance to Long Bayou and the Cross Bayou Canal. Dolphins and hawks can also be seen in the area. It is important to be aware of oyster bars, especially when the tide is low. There is a restaurant located north of Jungle Prada Park and overnight parking is available.
City of St. Petersburg Parks and Recreation Department: (727) 893-7335.
29. DOWNTOWN GULFPORT Coordinates
The City of Gulfport maintains a small beach park in its downtown. There is plenty of free parking along the streets of this quaint, Old-Florida style community. This beach area offers direct access to the Intracoastal Waterway and numerous opportunities for wildlife viewing. Pelicans, shorebirds, manta rays and dolphins have all been seen in this area. This beach park offers many amenities, along with nearby restaurants and a convenience store, all within walking distance. The nearby Clam Bayou Nature Park offers even more potential for wildlife sightings. To reach the nature park, paddle east along the shoreline and you will find the bayou before the shoreline turns to the south. Next to the park is the Gulfport Municipal Marina, with such amenities as restrooms and a bait shop.
City of Gulfport Parks Department: (727) 893-1067.
30. CLAM BAYOU NATURE PARK Coordinates
Clam Bayou is an estuary where freshwater flows into the salty water of the bay. Here, you can view hermit crabs, ducks, pelicans, nesting egrets, mangrove crabs, manatees, dolphins and a wide variety of fish. Alligators and gopher tortoises have also been spotted in this area. Be aware of oyster beds, especially at low tide. This Park is maintained by both the City of Gulfport and the City of St. Petersburg, with launching areas on both Miriam St. S. in Gulfport, and across the water on 34th Ave. S. in St. Petersburg. Both launches offer crushed shell surfaces. These launches also offer access to Indian Key, part of the Pinellas National Wildlife Refuge, where you can paddle through the mangroves and observe the mangrove crabs and numerous varieties of shorebirds. When launching, follow the shoreline to the south and under one of the Pinellas Bayway bridges. Southeast of these bridges you will see an island covered in mangroves; this is Indian Key. Be aware of motorized boat traffic in the area, especially on the weekends. Clam Bayou Nature Park Telephone: (727) 893-1067 or 893-7326.
31. MAXIMO PARK Coordinates
Maximo Park, owned and operated by the City of St. Petersburg, was built on an ancient Indian Mound, still visible in the southern end of the park. This park offers both a sandy beach for launching and a boat ramp that accesses Frenchman’s Creek. There can be heavy motorized boat traffic from this site, especially on the weekends. From this park, it is an easy paddle south to Indian Key, part of the Pinellas National Wildlife Refuge (PNWR), where you can view numerous shorebirds and mangrove crabs. The area surrounding the refuge contains large quantities of seagrasses, contributing to the high numbers of fish, dolphins and manatees in the area. Frenchman’s Creek is also known to have large numbers of manatees, especially in the winter months. Tarpon Key is the next large island south of Indian Key and, as part of the PNWR, offers paddlers additional wildlife viewing opportunities.
City of St. Petersburg Parks and Recreation Department: (727) 893-7335.