Pinellas County Winter Walk Recap – 8 parks to visit

One of the benefits of living in Florida is that winter is one of the best times to be outside. This winter Pinellas County wanted to encourage people to get outside and explore some of the 21 county parks in Pinellas County by hosting the Winter Walk challenge. Keep reading to learn about 8 parks you should visit in Pinellas County.

Boardwalk trail at Sawgrass Lake Park

What is the Pinellas County Winter Walk?

The winter walk was a free challenge organized by Pinellas County. The goal was to visit the designated parks at least 8 times between December 1, 2021, to April 30, 2022. There were 8 parks included on the list and you could visit the same location multiple times as long as you completed a total of 8 walks at the designated parks on different days.

Cactus garden at Florida Botanical Gardens

What are the designated parks for the Pinellas County Winter Walk?

For the 2021-2022 Pinellas County Winter Walk 8 of the 21 Pinellas County Parks were featured and are listed below.

  • Boca Ciega Millenium Park – Seminole, FL
  • Brooker Creek Nature Preserve – Tarpon Springs, FL
  • Eagle Lake Park – Largo, FL
  • Florida Botanical Gardens – Largo, FL
  • John S. Taylor Park – Largo, FL
  • Lake Seminole Park – Seminole, FL
  • Sawgrass Lake Park – St. Petersburg, FL
  • Wall Springs Park – Palm Harbour, FL
Lake with lilly pads at Lake Seminole Park

One of the awesome things about the Pinellas County parks included is that they are all free to visit! I chose to visit each park to complete the challenge as opposed to completing multiple walks in the same park because I had only been to one of the parks prior to this challenge.

Boardwalk trail at Boca Ceiga Millenium Park

Boca Ciega Millenium Park

  • Address: 12410 74th Avenue N. Seminole, Florida
  • Hours: 7 AM to 8 PM
  • Amenities: Boardwalk trails, observation tower, playground, dog park, picnic area, fishing, canoe/kayak launch, and restrooms
  • Pets are not allowed on boardwalk trails
Observation tower at Boca Ceiga Millenium Park

There are multiple parking areas at this park, but the highlight for me was the boardwalk trail and 35-foot observation tower. You will want to park in parking lot 3 or 4 for the closest access to the boardwalk trails. The boardwalk is short, but there are additional trails and I ended up walking the boardwalk more than once for a 3-mile walk. There is limited shade throughout the trails.

View from the observation tower at Boca Ceiga Millenium Park

Brooker Creek Nature Preserve

  • Address: 3490 Keystone Road Tarpon Springs, Florida 34688
  • Preserve Hours: 7 AM to sunset
  • Environmental and Education Center Hours:
    • Thursday through Saturday: 9 Am to 4 PM
    • Sunday 11 AM to 4 PM
  • Amenities: Boardwalk and nature trails, education center, birding trail, wildflower garden, picnic area,  guided hikes, restrooms
    • Pets are not allowed
Welcome sign at Brooker Creek Preserve

Brooker Creek Nature Preserve is approximately 8,700 acres and has several trails to explore. There is one main parking lot and from there you can access the boardwalk trail to the Environmental and Education Center. Be sure to stop in and see the informational displays or pick up a souvenir in the gift shop.

They host a variety of events and guided nature hikes. Check the website here to see upcoming events. 

There are over 5-miles of hiking trails within the preserve and several of these are interconnecting. One thing to keep in mind is if there has been recent rain the trails are likely to be wet or muddy. You can check with the rangers in the education center for current conditions of the trails. The boardwalk area is mostly shaded, but once you get on the other trails there is a lot of sun.

Trees and palms at Brooker Creek Preserve

Brooker Creek Nature Preserve Trails

  • Ed Center Trail Loop: 0.7 miles
  • Wilderness Trail: 2 miles (one-way)
  • Flatwoods Trail Loop: 1.5 miles
  • Blackwater Cutoff Loop: 2.8 miles
  • Pine Needle Path Loop: 4 miles
  • Bird Path: 0.1 mile

The Wilderness Trail can be accessed to create the loop for Flatwoods Trail, Blackwater Cutoff, and the Pine Needle Path.

Brooker Creek Preserve trail sign

Eagle Lake Park

  • Address: 1800 Keene Road, Largo, Florida 33771
  • Hours: 7 AM to 7:30 PM
  • Amenities: Boardwalk trails, paved and unpaved nature trails, playground, picnic shelters, restrooms, fishing (catch and release in designated area only)
    • Pets are not allowed on boardwalk trails
Boardwalk at Eagle Lake Park

Eagle Lake Park is a 163-acre park located in Largo, Florida. When I visited, I walked along the perimeter of the park which was just under 2-miles. There was an additional section of the park that I didn’t walk which would’ve added an additional 0.5-1 mile. There are a few small lakes as well as several boardwalk trails throughout the park making it a peaceful place to walk. The park had minimal shade on the trails. 

Tree with moss at Eagle Lake Park

Florida Botanical Gardens

  • Address: Two entrances to the gardens
    • 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo, Florida 33774
    • 12211 Walsingham Road, Largo, Florida 33774
  • Hours: 7 AM to 5 PM
  • Amenities: Botanical gardens, paved trails, nature trail, restrooms
    • Pet friendly
Water fountain surrounded by poinsettias

The Florida Botanical Gardens is 182-acres and ADA accessible. There are paved paths throughout many different types of plants and flowers. Some of the different types of gardens include a herb garden, butterfly garden, native garden, tropical fruit garden and more.

Walking path at the Florida Botanical Gardens

In addition to the paved trails around the gardens there is a natural area trail which is an unpaved loop trail. The nature trail can be accessed next to the Walsingham Road parking area. Additionally, Heritage Village, featuring 33 historic attractions, is located right next to the Florida Botanical Gardens if you are looking for more to do in the area.

Nature sign at entrance of nature trail at Florida Botanical Gardens

If you are interested in visiting more botanical gardens in the area, check out this post.

John S. Taylor Park

  • Address: 1100 8th Ave. SW Largo, Florida 33770
  • Hours: 6:30 AM to 6 PM
  • Amenities: Nature trail, disc golf course, lake, fishing, picnic area, playground, boat ramp, restrooms
    • Pet friendly
John Taylor Park Entrance

John S. Taylor Park is 156-acres and includes a 53-acre lake which makes it a great spot if you enjoy fishing. There is a 1.8-mile multi-purpose nature trail that goes around the perimeter of the lake and is partially shaded. One thing to be prepared for is one side of the trail goes through the disc golf course so be sure to stay aware of your surroundings. There is minimal shade throughout the trail.

John Taylor Park trail surrounding by trees

Lake Seminole Park

  • Address: 10015 Park Blvd. N, Seminole, Florida 33777
  • Hours: 7 AM to 8 PM
  • Amenities: Paved and unpaved trails, fishing, playgrounds, picnic shelters, volleyball court, baseball field, boat ramp, restrooms
    • Pet friendly
My dog smiling on the paved trail at Lake Seminole Park

Lake Seminole Park is a 250-acre park and is a designated wildlife habitat and sanctuary and is an ideal park for nature lovers to visit. One of the biggest highlights of the park is a 2-mile paved multi-use loop trail which includes a 1-mile cut off so you can choose your distance. The trail follows the lake on one side and is partially shaded. There are additional side trails throughout the park in addition to the 2-mile loop.

Lake Seminole Park paved trail sign

Sawgrass Lake Park

  • Address: 7400 25th Street N. St. Peters burg, Florida 33702
  • Hours: 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Amenities: Boardwalks and nature trails, observation tower, restrooms, small picnic area
    • Pets are not allowed on the boardwalk trails
Lilly pads at Sawgrass Lake Park

This was the only park I had previously visited prior to the Pinellas County Winter Walk. Sawgrass Lake Park is approximately 400 acres. The highlight of this park is the three main interconnected trails.

  • Sawgrass Trail: Boardwalk trail leading to a observation tower overlooking the lake
  • Maple Trail: Boardwalk trail leading to the Hammock Trail
  • Hammock Trail: Nature trail, loops back to the Maple Trail
Boardwalk signs at Sawgrass Lake Park

The boardwalk trails are about 1-mile combined and the Hammock Trail is 0.5-mile. There are additional trails surrounding the perimeter of the park. I took this trail after completing the other three trails back to the parking lot to make a loop. The trails are partially shaded. Alligators or turtles can often be spotted from the observation tower and armadillos, rabbits, and squirrels are frequently seen along the Hammock Trail.

Wall Springs Park

  • Address: There are two entrances to the park
    • Main Address: 3725 Desoto Blvd. Palm Harbor, Florida 34683
    • Coastal Edition Address: 621 Wai Lane Road, Palm Harbor, Florida 34683
  • Hours: 7 AM to 7 PM
  • Amenities: Boardwalk trails, nature trails, fishing (saltwater license required), observation tower, butterfly garden, historical site, picnic shelters, playgrounds, restrooms
    • Pets are not allowed on boardwalk trails
Wall Spring Park head spring and bridge

Wall Springs Park – Main Entrance

This was another one of my favorite parks that I visited as part of the Pinellas County Winter Walk. Wall Springs Park is a 210-acre park and includes a new coastal addition. The natural spring has a rich history and was previously used as a spa. There are informational signs along the boardwalk trail around the spring to learn more while you visit. Currently, no swimming is allowed in the springs.

You can continue along the trails out to the 35-foot ADA accessible observation tower. There are also boardwalks that overlook the water which have beautiful views. Most of these trails are paved or are boardwalks which have minimal shade. The total distance of the trails in the main entrance is approximately 1.5-miles. Once you’ve completed the trails, I recommend accessing the Pinellas Trail at the main entrance and walking the 0.6-mile (one way) to the coastal entrance.

ADA accessible observation tower at Wall Spring Park

Wall Springs Coastal Entrance

If you don’t want to walk between the two sections of the park, there is additional parking at the coastal entrance. The highlight at the coastal entrance is a 1.3-mile nature trail that is partially shaded at the coastal entrance. There is also one picnic shelter and additional restrooms. By the time I walked back to my carat the main entrance I had completed approximately 4.5-miles.

Tree with many branches at Wall Spring Park Coastal Edition

My Pinellas County Winter Walk Rankings

I enjoyed visiting each of these parks, but below is my ranking from my favorite to least favorite park I visited while completing the Pinellas County Winter Walk.

  1. Brooker Creek Nature Preserve
  2. Wall Springs Park
  3. Florida Botanical Gardens
  4. Sawgrass Lake Park
  5. Boca Ciega Millenium Park
  6. Lake Seminole Park
  7. Eagle Lake Park
  8. John Taylor Park

This was a hard list to create because each park is unique, and they were all fun to visit. Brooker Creek was my top pick because it felt very remote and there were a lot of trails to explore.

Have you visited any of the Pinellas County Parks? Let me know your favorite in the comments below!

A selfie of my dog and I after walking at Eagle Lake Park

Looking for more parks to explore in the Tampa Bay area?

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