Waterfront Parks to Visit in Tampa Bay
If you’re looking to have some fun in Tampa while enjoying amazing views of the ocean, you can visit any one of these waterfront parks by boat.
Boating in the U.S. grew in popularity during the pandemic and is expected to grow even more between now and 2027.
That’s right, the world has caught on about how fun and relaxing boating is. At Wavve Boating, we know that better than anyone. We believe that no day has to be ordinary and that boating is an escape everyone should experience.
Water-front parks in Florida are perfect places to celebrate with family and gather with friends. Head out by boat, find a dock, and relax while enjoying the amenities at these various parks. Tampa Bay has several parks with unforgettable views of the water…they’re some of the best backdrops for creating memories with your closest friends and family.
Whether you’re a seasoned captain out of St. Petersburg, or a new boater in Tarpon, read on to find the best waterfront parks for friends, families, and your boat!
Safety Harbor Waterfront Park
This quaint downtown park is perfect for picnicking with your favorite people, so make sure to pack a generous lunch to take on the boat before you leave!
Safety Harbor waterfront park features picnic tables, shades, and a pier so you can walk out above the ocean to take in the incredible views. There are also trees, wildlife, and a look-out point if you feel up to climbing some stairs. You can also stroll down the picturesque wooden walkways and explore all the art and shops downtown Safety Harbor is known for.
If you plan to trailer your boat, we recommend getting out early. With so many restaurants and amenities, this is a popular afternoon boat ramp. If you’re an early riser…like an angler or someone with early-bird kids…do yourself a favor and get out before daybreak. This is one of the few areas on the west-coast of Florida where you can catch the sunrise over the water…that’s usually reserved for our east-coast friends in Daytona, West Palm, or Miami.
For those of use more interested in catching a sunset, we’ve got you covered. The west coast (of Florida) is arguably the “best coast” for a reason. Keep reading for our top picks.
Downtown St. Petersburg
Downtown St. Petersburg is a great place to hang out or show guests around after a scenic boat ride. Best of all, there are a couple of parks that include docking!
Coffee Pot Park
Coffee Pot Park is about as cute as it sounds. It offers views of Coffee Pot Bayou and walking or jogging lanes. For kids, there is also a playground so you can sit back and relax on a bench or blanket while the kids play together. After your time at the park, check out the nearby shops and restaurants.
This is a popular spot for kayaks and canoes. Because of its smaller size, it isn’t as popular with power-boaters (many prefer the larger Crisp Park Boat Ramp). We include it on our list as a bit of an underdog. The park may be small, but the homes along the waterway are impressive. Next time you’re out around Snell Isle take a cruise into Coffee Pot Bayou. It’s just north of the pier and a great boat ride near Downtown St. Pete.
Demens Landing Park
Another great park in Downtown St. Petersburg with a dock is Demens Landing Park. This park honors the founder of St. Petersburg, Peter Demens.
When it comes to location, this park really has it all. Located on the south side of the revitalized St. Pete Pier, this park has access to all of the pier’s events and is steps away from the bustle of Central Ave. You can even visit the nearby Saturday Morning Market or The Dalí, a museum dedicated to the famous painter Salvador Dalí.
When visiting this park, we recommend docking at the attached St. Petersburg Municipal Marina. There’s plenty of slips and overnight docking with all the amenities (power, water, showers, etc). There’s also a playground and a picnic shelter open to the public.
Curtis Hixon Park
This 8-acre, modern park not only allows you to take in wonderful Tampa views, but it is also sometimes the center of local activity.
This park features a large grass area that’s the perfect size for local family events, programs, and performances. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to take in a show the day you visit!
There is also a dog park for your four-legged friends and a pavilion building with restrooms and park offices. It was sustainably constructed and includes LED lighting and reclaimed water for irrigation.
Make sure to stop by and visit the two interactive fountains, the Louver and the Mist.
When you’re done, you can visit the nearby Tampa Museum of Art or the lovely Kiley Gardens. There are also plenty of activities for families of all ages, like the Glazer Children’s Museum.
Because it’s centrally located on the riverwalk, docking is pretty straightforward…but limited. You won’t miss the handful of slips in front of the park. Keep an eye out and yield to the water taxi…that wide open slip you see there on a Saturday afternoon is likely reserved for “Water Taxi Only”’. Don’t be afraid to follow the river north, there’s more slips at Julian B Lane Riverfront Park and the good news is that you’ll have some great riverwalk views in between.
Egmont Key State Park
For a truly idyllic getaway, Egmont State Park is the place to head to in your boat.
This secluded island sits at the mouth of Tampa Bay and is full of natural beauty and wonders as well as plenty of history. It once served as a camp during the Third Seminole War and was also occupied by the Union Navy during the Civil War.
Visit the old lighthouse that has been standing since 1858 or tour the historic sites and trails, including Fort Dade.
There is no shortage of nature and fun under the sun at this state park which is mostly a wildlife refuge. You can opt to go fishing, swimming, picnicking, or keep an eye out for any wildlife.
This island is truly secluded, as in there is no drinking water, food, or stores! So make sure when you visit to bring everything you will need for the day, including plenty of water and sunscreen.
For more tips on visiting Egmont Key, check out the Top Islands near Tampa.
Fort De Soto State Park
This state park offers an experience that you won’t soon forget. Fort De Soto is part park, part beach, and is the largest park within the Pinellas County Park System. It is 1,136 acres and spans five interconnected keys, or islands. A real boater’s paradise!
This park is truly unique in that it contains a complex ecology. There are many different ecosystems within its boundaries. This includes birdlife, marine life, wildlife, and plant life. This park is also great for bird watchers. There have been over 328 species of birds spotted over the last 60 years, with new species being added every year.
This beautiful white sand beach also serves as a refuge for loggerhead sea turtles. While you should never disturb wild animals, you might get lucky and see one from afar! You’ll love how relaxed you feel with your toes in the sand.
With so many activities to choose from, there will never be a dull moment here. Be sure to check out the Wavve Boating app to help you explore more, and boat like a local.
Other amenities include trails, playgrounds, a dog park, fishing piers, canoe trails, swimming pools, a concession stand, and a souvenir shop. There is also a free Quartermaster Museum where you can take a break and learn about some history in the area.
No matter what your group wants to do, there is something for everyone.
Caladesi State Park
A trip to Caladesi State Park is a must when you’re near Clearwater Beach! (Sunset Lover Alert!!)
When you visit this island park it is guaranteed to leave you in awe of its natural beauty. Take a walk on the pristine beaches and look for unique shells or take a kayak trip through the mangrove forest.
You can walk a trail through the island that leads to the historic Scharrer Homestead. You can also go fishing, hiking, and swimming.
While this island will feel like a getaway, you will still have access to certain important amenities. There are restrooms and a shower station to ensure your comfort.
You can also order food and drinks from Cafe Caladesi and Store which serves casual fare like burgers and sandwiches. You can also rent beach umbrellas, chairs, and kayaks from the store as well as souvenirs and trinkets.
Compared to other waterfront parks in the Clearwater area, like Honeymoon Island (next on the list), Caldesi is known for being more secluded towards the north end of the park. If the wind’s out of the east, anchoring should be calm on the northwest side of the island. If the water is more rough than you’re comfortable in, head east through Hurricane Pass and grab a protected spot on the eastside of Lone Oak Point. Be sure to have your Wavve Boating App open for the confidence you need navigating the water.
Honeymoon Island State Park
If you love white sand beaches, wildlife, and fantastic sunsets, this is the place for you. It serves as a quiet getaway but is still a short way away from bustling city life. Just off the coast of art-filled Dunedin, you’ll find one of Florida’s most iconic waterfront parks.
This park features four miles of beach and a three-mile trail through a pine forest. You’re bound to see some wildlife here, like eagles, owls, armadillos, tortoises, raccoons, and gophers.
Make sure to stop by the Rotary Centennial Nature Center. Here, you can learn about the park’s history, like how it got its interesting name. You can also learn about its natural resources. There is also a cafe with casual food to help fight hunger when it hits or rent beach accessories, like chairs and umbrellas.
Honeymoon Island State Park is great outdoor activities like bicycling, surfing, hiking, picnicking, fishing, and paddling. If you love to bring your dog(s) out on the boat with you, then Honeymoon Island is the perfect spot. There’s an entire section of beach for pups of all shapes and sizes.
Due to its size and popularity, there is more than one place to anchor your boat around Honeymoon Island. If you’re interested in more hustle and bustle, including the Pet Beach, head towards the south section of the island around Hurricane Pass. For those looking for a more relaxed “boaters only” paradise, you have to check out the north end of the island. Across the pass from Three Rooker Island, this section of Honeymoon Island is famous for its pristine white sand. On a windy day, use Wavve Boating to navigate to the leeward side of the island.
Next time you’re boating near New Port Richey, swing by the stilt houses and make a stop at Sims Park. This beautiful park is a wonderful spot for the whole family to enjoy after an afternoon of boating.
Enjoy a breezy riverfront walk or watch as your kids check out the playground. There’s also a splash pad zone for kids where they can beat the heat and play in streams and fountains of water.
There’s an amphitheater for bands and performances, so you might be lucky enough to catch a show. If you brought food, there are two grills in the park where you can grill up some delicious lunches under the shaded grass areas.
Conveniently located across the river from the Sims Park Boat Ramp, there are places to dock and launch kayaks from both sides of the river.
Visit Water-Front Parks In Tampa Today
Now you know the best parks in Tampa with a view of the water! Whichever water-front parks you and your loved ones visit, make it an extraordinary day on your boat.
If you’re visiting the Tampa Bay area, and want to explore these water-front parks, download Wavve Boating for routes and reviews for your next adventure (available on the Apple Store and Google Play ). Wavve Boating allows you to connect, share, and explore our beautiful waterways. Together, we’re leading the future of marine navigation…all from the comfort of our phones – pretty cool right?