5 Hidden Gems Near Tampa, Florida

Tampa - Florida - Hidden Gem - Park - Nature
Tampa - Florida - Hidden Gem - Park - Nature

Tampa, Florida locals are sure to have a list of some of the best attractions near the city including spots like Fort De Soto County Park, Honeymoon Island, and Hillsborough River State Parks. These parks would be notable in any city in the world, but the Tampa area also has a great many hidden gems with more than 61,000 acres of naturally preserved land in the area. So, let’s unpack 5 Hidden Gems Near Tampa, Florida. 

#1 Colt Creek State Park 

Located off State Rd in Lakeland, Florida, 34 miles outside of Tampa, Colt Creek State Park is part of the Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve. This preserve includes five properties purchased to protect the Green Swamp. The swamp also forms the headwaters of the Hillsborough, Withlacoochee, Ocklawaha, and Peace Rivers.   

This beautiful and serene land features open pastureland. Here birding and butterfly-watching opportunities abound, as well as pine flatwoods, cypress swamps, and freshwater ponds. The park is open from 8 AM to sundown daily. The cost to get in is just $4 per car and $2 per pedestrian. 

#2 Purity Springs Park 

Purity Springs Park is a “pocket park” located on N. River Shore Drive. It’s a postage stamp park and is also a perfect place to kick back and read a good book or spread a blanket for a picnic.  

This park stands alone in comparison to other parks. This is due to the actual bubbling spring being completely accessible to the public. The circular spring is lined with limestone rock and flows to a small creek and under the road to the Hillsborough River. It’s open from 7 AM – 7 PM daily. 

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Tampa - Florida - Hidden Gem - Park - Nature

#3 Moccasin Lake Nature Park 

Located off Park Trail Lane in Clearwater, Moccasin Lake Nature Park boasts 51 acres of quiet wilderness tucked into a residential neighborhood. This urban nature preserve has a butterfly garden, a turtle pond, and 1-1/4 miles of wooded trails and boardwalks.

There is also an interpretive educational center featuring educational displays and some live critters. The park is open to the public from 10 AM to 5 PM Thursdays through Saturdays and on Sundays from noon to 4 PM. 

#4 Werner-Boyce Salt Springs Park 

Located on US Highway 19 North about 40 miles from Tampa in Port Richey, Werner-Boyce Salt Springs Park is mostly march and/or submerged land, including the 320-foot-deep Salt Spring itself. As there are not yet any hiking trails at this park, it’s best experienced via boat. 

The Salt Springs Run is great for paddling a 3-mile round-trip scenic passage through serene marshes and mangroves. The cost to get in the park is just $3 per vehicle, $2 for hiker/cyclist. 

#5 Eureka Springs Regional Park 

Located off Eureka Springs Rd, Eureka Springs Regional Park is Hillsborough County’s only botanical park. The park was gifted to the county by Albert Greenberg, who created the state’s first tropical fish farm there in the late 1930s.  

Sadly, at just 31 acres, Eureka Springs is the county’s smallest park and least visited. That said, it is still a great park for a Sunday stroll. The entrance Fee is $2 per vehicle with up to 8 people per vehicle permitted. 

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