On the western edge of Tampa facing Oldsmar is a gem of a park named Upper Tampa Bay Park. Packed into this quiet peninsula on the northern part of the bay is a nature center, three trails, a good playground, water fountains, plenty of parking, and most importantly plenty of restrooms. There are many covered picnic tables and pavilions. You can also rent canoes there.
The trails are wide and come in a variety of surfaces. Some are dirt, some are shell fill, and some are grassy. There are also boardwalks. I first walked along the east side of the park where there was water access, but no swimming allowed. Along the path heading south it seemed much like an ordinary Florida coastal park but as if an artist had added just a few subtle highlights to give it a totally new look. Blackened palms from controlled burns stood out against the surrounding green and brown. Red runners reached across the white sand. One trunk had the most interesting burn design.
I hadn't yet seen any animals. This is because they were all hiding on the second trail. I saw a cardinal, a white butterfly, a yellow butterfly, and was unfortunately seen myself by a deer fly, but I got rid of it. This area was grassy.
I went back to my car and sat in one of the pavilions to write while small grey birds poked through the grass next to me and the breeze caressed my skin. I was impressed with how quiet it was. It's a great place to spend a Friday afternoon.
8001 Double Branch Road, Tampa, Florida
Written by Daniel Noe, WayOutLife.com
LOCAL TAMPA BAY