Weedon Island Preserve Florida is in St. Petersburg, Pinellas County and is a 20-minute drive from Tampa or downtown Saint Petersburg.
Part of the traditional territories of Seminole, Tocobaga, Mascogo & Miccosukee nations.
The area is over 3,000 acres of natural habitat where you can hike, fish, paddle, picnic or learn about the culture and history.
Admission is free but donations are welcome.
Read about the full history of the area here.
Parking is free however there are limited spots close to the canoe/kayak launch. Approx 14 spots with 1 accessible parking spot.
If you aren’t lucky enough to get a parking spot close to the launch there is plenty of room to drop off your gear and then find parking back up the road or at the Weedon Island Cultural and Natural History Center. Be prepared to walk 1/4 a mile (800m) back to the launch.
Weedon Island Preserve entrance sign
The dock launch for paddlers only is located approx 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the preserve entrance at the end of Weedon Dr. NE.
There is plenty of room to drop off and unload at the roundabout at the end of Weedon Dr. NE.
The area by the launch has toilets, a pier for fishing or viewing wildlife and is equipt with a rinsing station for after your paddle.
Parking (left) close to the canoe & kayak launch
Bathrooms beside fishing pier and launch
Post paddle rinse station
Weedon Island Preserve Paddle Adventure Vlog
Check the tides. It’s best to go at mid to high tide.
You are mostly protected but the wind will play a small role when outside of the mangrove forest. It’s best to go when winds are under 15 mph (24 kph). Learn how to read the wind for paddle boarding.
Florida’s sun can be extremely hot and strong. Pack lots of water and sun protection.
Launching from the canoe/kayak docks head east to find the South Paddling Trail through the mangrove tunnels. The paddling trail is 4 miles (6.4km), takes approximately 3 hours and is labelled making it easy to follow. You don’t have to commit to the entire trail. There are areas in-between the mangroves to turn around.
- Go early to get a parking spot near the canoe/kayak launch and take in a full day of activities in the area.
- Don’t worry about alligators. This area is part of the bay and therefore filled with salty waters. Gators prefer freshwater rivers and lakes. That said, there is a chance an alligator could find its way into the preserve but it would be a rare occurance.
- Don’t have a kayak, canoe or paddle board? No problem. Rent from ECOmerson or book a tour.
- Pack a snack/lunch to enjoy along the way. There is a picnic spot you can pull off the water between markers 9 and 14. Check out the YouTube video to see what it’s like.
- Make a day of it.
- Go for a hike: Weedon Island Preserve has 4.7 miles of trails and boardwalks – 6 different trails. See the trail map here.
- Take a free class or visit the Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center.
- Don’t forget your PFD and other safety equipment
- This is a free, beautiful and accessible area close to Tampa and St. Pete’s.
- The mangrove tunnels are extensive and the longest I’ve ever seen.
- You won’t find any boaters here which is a big plus for paddling the gulf waters in Florida.