COSTA STATE PARK
Cayo Costa State Park occupies most of an island which lies in a chain of barrier islands that shelter Charlotte Harbor and Pine Island Sound from the storms of the Gulf of Mexico. This park is accessible only by private boat or passenger ferry services.
Boca Grande, FL
Commemorates 16th-century Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto. Led first extensive exploration by Europeans of present southern United States (1539-1542). Visitor center, exhibits, audiovisual program, nature trail, living history program (December-April). Lowest visitation insummer. Location On Tampa Bay 5 miles west of Bradenton: 40 miles south of Tampa, off State Route 64.
SARASOTA BAY EXPLORERS
Mote Marine Aquarium
1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy
9 A.M. - 5 P.M. Tue. - Fri.
PEDRO ISLAND STATE RECREATION AREA
Don Pedro Island is part of an extensive chain of barrier islands extending along the Gulf Coast of Florida. Located in Charlotte County between Knight Island and Little Gasparilla Island, Don Pedro Island has approximately one mile of beach that has been acquired for use as a state recreation area.
Cape Haze, FL
KEY STATE PARK
The island of Egmont Key has unique natural and cultural histories which have made it a valuable resource since the time settlers first arrived in Florida. Named in honor of John Perceval, the second Earl of Egmont and member of the Irish House of Commons in 1763, Egmont Key has had Spanish conquistadors and nuclear submarines pass its shores as they entered Tampa Bay.
4905 34th Street South, #5000
STRAND STATE PRESERVE
The Big Cypress Swamp of southwest Florida is basically a flat, gently sloping limestone plain. During the rainy season (June through September), water flows slowly southward over this plain into the mangrove swamps bordering the Gulf of Mexico. Water also flows below ground through the porous underlying limestone. In places, limestone has dissolved, forming elongated sloughs or channels which have accumulated deep organic soils. These channels or sloughs have been colonized by cypress and other trees, creating swamp forests that stand out on the horizon in contrast to the open prairies and pinelands that occupy the sterile veneer of marl soil which is on top of the remaining limestone. The local term for these linear swamps is "strand."
Copeland, FL 33926
ISLAND STATE RECREATION AREA
Legend has it that Gasparilla Island was named for the infamous pirate, Jose Gaspar, who reportedly settled on the island in the 1700's with his band of men. According to legend, Gaspar and his men used the island as a hiding place between forays until the United States carried out a campaign to rid the waters of their presence. Whether true or not, the legend adds to the colorful history of the island.
Boca Grande, FL
INDIAN MOUND PARK
MANATEE STATE RECREATION AREA
Lake Manatee State Recreation Area is a perfect example of the quiet and relaxed atmosphere that some of Florida's natural areas have to offer. Extending along three miles of the south shore of Lake Manatee, these 556 acres were once used for farming, cattle grazing, making turpentine and timbering. Today, the 2,400 acre reservoir that makes up Lake Manatee supplies drinking water to Manatee and Sarasota Counties.
20007 S.R. 64
MANATEE RIVER STATE PARK
Little Manatee River State Recreation Area is located four miles south of Sun City, off U.S. 301 on Lightfoot Road.
Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities at Little Manatee River State Park including, camping, picnics, canoeing, freshwater fishing and hiking.
STATE PARK & WILDERNESS PRESERVE
Over 45 square miles of woodlands, wetlands and prairie invite you to explore by foot, bicycle, canoe or auto. The park is famous for its abundant wildlife and quiet, scenic beauty. Be sure to stop by the visitor center to watch the Myakka Movies and discover how the park is restoring one of our country's rarest communities--Florida dry prairie. Spend a day or camp overnight in the campgrounds or in one of the log cabins built by the men of the Civilian Conservation Corps. The Myakka "Wild and Scenic River" flows through the western portion of the park and its two lakes and floodplain marshes are a haven for wading birds and waterfowl. The scenic drive winds through shady hammocks, verdant marshes and along the Upper Myakka Lakeshore. Airboat tours, tram rides, and ranger-led walks provide insight into one of Florida's last remaining wildernesses.
State Road 72
SCHERER STATE RECREATION AREA
In 1955, Elsa Scherer Burrows bequeathed 462 acres of land to the state of Florida for use as a park. The land was donated in memory of her father, Oscar Scherer, an inventor who developed a process for dyeing leather for shoes in 1872.
After a year of preparation, Oscar Scherer State Recreation Area was opened to the public in 1956. In 1991, an additional 922 acres were purchased as part of the P2000 initiative. This increased the parks total acreage to 1384 acres.
U S 41 South