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The Don CeSar, a pink castle, in Saint Petersburg, FL.

4 Hiking Areas Near Saint Petersburg, FL

August 12, 2021 | Travel Destinations

The most irresistible hiking destinations near Saint Petersburg all have one thing in common; beauty unique to Florida’s Gulf Coast. The region is teeming with wetlands and low-lying forest lands accessible through nature preserves, parks, and beaches. 

As a result, hikers of every experience level enjoy miles of scenic trails and a chance to observe first-hand Florida’s wildlife without having to wander far from the vibrant city life of Saint Petersburg. There’s even a selection of dog-friendly hiking destinations. Whether you want to hike alone or with your four-legged friend, here are a few hiking destinations to discover near Saint Petersburg that you’ll want to visit time and again any time of the year. 

Weedon Island Preserve 

Walking bridge at Weedon Island surrounded by trees.
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Weedon Island Preserve is a popular hiking destination near Saint Petersburg due to its unique and historical significance amongst Florida’s Gulf Coast nature preserves. Weedon Preserve’s history spans 2,000 years when indigenous peoples inhabited this small group of low-lying islands.

On Saturdays, the cultural and natural history center offers guided walking tours and other specialty hikes through the 3,700-acre park. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a short hike in nature, download the Weedon Island Preserve map for directions to the one-mile Boy Scout Loop that takes you through pine Flatwoods and narrow bands of forests. 

On a clear day, don’t miss a stop at the 45-foot observation tower. Located on the west boardwalk loop, the observation tower provides visitors with an excellent view of the preserve and Tampa Bay as well as the cities of Saint Petersburg and Tampa.

The Details

Address: Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center, 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33702

Trails:   Approximately 4.3 miles of nature trails and boardwalks that wind through tidal flats and mangrove forests. 

Dogs allowed: No

Hours: The preserve is open Thursday through Saturday from 9 AM until 4 PM, except Sundays when it opens at 11 AM and closes at 4 PM. The park is closed on Mondays and Wednesdays and all county holidays.

What to bring:  Hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, drinking water and snacks, binoculars, and closed-toe shoes.

Canoeing and Kayaking:  Yes

St. Pete Beach

Large pink and white building lined with palm trees on St. Pete beach
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Not all Florida hiking destinations are in nature preserves or protected wetland areas. With miles and miles of beautiful Gulf Coast beaches surrounding Saint Petersburg, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include a beach hike on our list.

St. Pete Beach is located 10-miles west of Downtown Saint Petersburg and won Trip Advisor’s No. 1 Beach in the U.S. in 2021. The beach is known for its laid-back, uncrowded vibe and soft white sand that doesn’t get hot, making it possible to walk this 4-mile point-to-point hike barefoot.

Serious hikers beware, though, with so many great spots to eat, drink and shop along the way, it might be hard to stay focused on walking. For instance, you won’t want to miss a photo op in front of the iconic 1928 Moorish-style Don Cesar Hotel you can see from any point on the 7-mile island.

If you’re traveling with little ones, the Sunset Beach Pavilion Park is nearby and a great venue to catch a gorgeous sunset while the kids play at the park’s playground. You’ll also find restrooms, picnic tables, and vending machines at this location.

The Details

Address: St. Pete Beach, 4700 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, FL 33706.

Trails:  4-mile end-to-end hike on award-winning, sugar-sand beach. 

Dogs allowed: No.

Hours: Open 24-hours a day year-round from 7 AM to sunset and closed the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

What to bring:  Hat, sunscreen, camera, wallet, and water in addition to sandals or hiking shoes.

Canoeing and Kayaking:  Yes, including sailboats and motorboats.

Boyd Hill Nature Preserve

Gravel road at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve.
Photo via

Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, ideally located in the heart of Saint Petersburg, is a 245-acre park containing five distinct ecosystems surrounding Lake Maggiore. This wilderness oasis is situated in one of Florida’s most densely populated areas and is a favorite outdoor destination for trail runners and day hikers alike.

You can expect to see a large variety of water birds during your hike, and you may even spot a variety of lizards, box turtles, and gopher turtles. Additionally, there are more than 90 different butterfly species that light up the willow marshes.

When planning to hike Boyd Nature Preserve trails, it’s well worth scheduling a one-hour tour with the Lake Maggiore Environmental Education Center to learn more about these fascinating ecosystems.

The Details

Address: Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, 1101 Country Club Way S, Saint Petersburg, FL 33705.

Trails:   Approximately 5.3 miles of trails and boardwalks that wind through many ecosystems.

Dogs allowed: No.

Hours: The park is closed on Mondays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day and is open every other day of the year from 9 AM – 6 PM except on Saturdays when it opens at 7 AM. 

What to bring:  Hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, drinking water and snacks, binoculars, and your closed-toe shoes.

Canoeing and Kayaking:  Yes.

Brooker Creek Preserve

Located north of Saint Petersburg, Brooker Creek Preserve is an 8,500-acre nature preserve featuring 6,000 square feet of indoor exhibits offering something for everyone. 

Hiking loops range from just under one mile up to four miles and include paved and dirt surfaces and elevated boardwalks over wetland areas. Visitors are encouraged to download the Brooker Creek Preserve hiking trails map before visiting to determine which hike is most appropriate for their group. 

Upland trails meander through oak groves and pine flat woods, where you might catch a glimpse of turkeys, deer, and gopher tortoises. Long sections of the boardwalk offer a shaded hike through forested wetlands and a chance to see various wildlife such as birds, mosquitofish, and turtles. 

On weekends the Brooker Creek Environmental Center offers free nature hikes, and if you love horses, there is a scenic six-mile horseback trail to enjoy. Keep in mind sections of trails are swampy, so be sure to bring an extra pair of shoes for after your hike.

The Details

Address: Brooker Creek Preserve 3940 Keystone Rd., Tarpon Springs, FL 34688.

Trails:  Almost 5 miles of hiking trails that wind through a combination of forested wetlands, oak hammocks, pine Flatwoods, and cypress domes in swamps.

Dogs allowed: No.

Hours: The park is closed on Mondays and Wednesdays and all Pinellas County holidays and is open every other day of the year from 9 AM – 4 PM except Sundays when it opens at 11 AM and closes at 4 PM. 

What to bring:  Hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, drinking water and snacks, binoculars, and closed-toe shoes.

Canoeing and Kayaking:  Yes.

Dog-Friendly Hiking Destinations In Saint Petersburg

If you prefer to hike with your pooch or have an energetic dog that can happily walk for miles by your side, there are a few dog-friendly parks and trails throughout St. Petersburg: 

Vinoy Park: Located on Saint Pete’s waterfront, the park requires all dogs to be leashed and is open 30-minutes before sunrise until 11 PM. There are several miles of trails in addition to a dog park for smaller breeds.

Pioneer Park: This historical park is located on the Saint Pete’s waterfront and can be accessed from Vinoy Park. All dogs are welcome as long as they are on a leash. 

North Straub Park: This beautiful park is next door to Saint Pete’s Museum of Fine Art and Antiquities on the waterfront. While dog friendly, this is a small park with a stage for outdoor concerts and plays. Dogs are allowed on leash, and the adjacent South Straub Park offers meandering trails to exercise your pup before performances. 

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