Sand Bay, Crews Lake, Boggy Bay, Salt Lake (Pinellas)
Rivers & Paddling Trails
Pithlachascotee River, Anclote River (Pinellas), Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail
Pasco County, known for its open spaces, citrus groves, and beautiful coast consists of 20 miles of shoreline with four miles of beaches along its barrier island. Inland is filled with wildlife preserves, protected state parks, and thriving cities. While the barrier islands have white sandy beaches lined with palm trees, the intercoastal shoreline is comprised mostly of seagrass and salt marshes with numerous bayous tucked away that creates an excellent spot to throw out a line.
New Port Richey’s riverfront landscape blends nature, beaches, and terrific shopping with restaurants, culture, and business. While overlooking the Pithlachascotee River and the Gulf of Mexico enjoy fresh-caught seafood, cultural festivals, and even a sunset cruise.
The islands of Anclote Key house the Anclote Key State Preserve whose beach dunes form a vibrant and productive coastal ecosystem. Shared with the neighboring Pinellas County, these secluded islands are a favorite gathering place for nesting birds and returning sea turtles. The seagrass grown around the islands is a flourishing location for manatees, bottlenose dolphins, and marine invertebrates. The forest on Anclote Key is composed of a variety of trees such as slash pine, sea grape, and cabbage palm.
With one of the few sandy beaches along the mainland, Anclote River Park sits at the mouth of the river its names after. While this park is on the smaller side, at 31 acres, it is a popular destination for locals. You can expect plenty to do with a fishing pier, swimming area, picnic pavilions, and a public boat ramp.
Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park stretches for four miles of pristine coastline on the Gulf of Mexico. Most of the park's 3,999 acres are wetlands consisting of mangrove islands and salt marshes. Hike through pine flatwoods and oak hammocks along several small tidal waterfalls, and the secluded 320 feet deep saltwater spring for which the park is known. While motorized vessels are allowed in the park, the best way to get around is by paddling up through the bayou.
The Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve covers the expansion of the coastline within Pasco County. The karst geology and spring-fed rivers are key influences on the ecosystems and the wildlife that depends on them, including sea turtles and manatees. Within the preserve are mangrove islands, salt marshes, sponge beds, and oyster reefs. Scattered throughout the Gulf surrounding Pasco County are numerous islands that are popular for observing wildlife.
Split between Lake Polk, Sumter, and Pasco counties, Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve is covered with wetlands, flatlands, and low ridges. With the headwaters for four major rivers: the Withlacoochee, the Ocklawaha, the Hillsborough, and the Peace, it is a hot spot for kayaking and paddling. Located within the boundary of Green Swamp Wilderness is a small county park Withlacoochee River Park. An easy way to get into nature quickly, this 610-acre county park has trails, boardwalks, an observation tower, campsites, and a canoe/kayak launch.
While the coast attracts water activity enthusiasts such as saltwater anglers, paddlers and even divers. Inland cyclists are typically found cruising along the Suncoast Trail, a 42-mile paved trail that runs parallel to the Suncoast Parkway while passing by rivers, wetlands, and wildlife crossings.
September 20, 2023 - 3:15pm
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The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.