Spring in Florida, “Enjoy the Park, Rod & Ride”

by Misty Wells 

One of the best things about living in Florida is that there is so much to do year-round.  Spring is in the air, perfect temperatures and not that many biting insects- yet- it is perfect camping weather.  Did you know there are 175 state parks, 9 state trails and 3 national parks in the state of Florida? There are also 6 state parks where you can Boat Camp, with boat slips, restrooms, showers, water and electricity.  You can also find several places where boaters can anchor overnight and camp out; find a park right for you and the crew and go.

Another thing that Florida spring brings is tarpon season, the elusive Silver King is on the way.  Once the water hits a sustained 70 degrees and the “love bugs” show up, it’s time to get your rods ready.  There’s more than one place to go for epic tarpon fishing in Florida, let me name a few.  Boca Grande is known for the largest concentration of tarpon in the world, but the fishing in Tampa Bay for tarpon is just as good.   The entrance to Tampa Bay by the Sunshine Skyway and Egmont Pass has become a great tarpon location over the years and really produces; I have caught a few there.  Want to head a little south, Islamorada and Marathon in the Florida Keys is stellar; tarpon swarm the bridge connecting Bahia Honda Key with Summerland Key.  A place that may not be front of mind for tarpon but should be is St. Augustine, as spawning occurs between May – September, so get ready for the fight of a lifetime.  *Check FWC guidelines to ethically handle your tarpon, practice catch and release, and “keep ‘em wet” don’t take them out of the water.

Switching gears “let’s go biking” because Florida offers some of the most scenic bike trails, from a leisure waterside ride to something off the beaten path.  One of my favorites is the Pinellas Trail; it extends over 54 miles from St. Pete to Tarpon Springs and they are always adding more.  Want that “Old Florida” feel, check out the Withlacoochee State Trail with over 46 miles of paved rail-trail, you can pedal back in time.  Sanibel Island features 22 miles of paved trails, which include a ride through the “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, it is a bucket list ride.  You can be a serious rider or someone like me looking for trails that have some great local bars and restaurants along the way to break up the ride and grab a cold one.  Spring in Florida “Enjoy the Ride” and Let’s Take it Outside

Misty Wells Host of “Let’s Take It Outside” iHeart Radio show & Video series featured in Tampa Bay Times  www.tampabay.com/outdoors Outdoor Pro –Writer & Adventure Guide. Founder of “A Reel Future” a non-profit organization devoted to knowledge, conservation & the passion of fishing to foster kids Statewide. www.mistywells.com