Experience social distancing with a walk, hike, bike ride, bird and animal watching, fishing or kayaking through the beautiful 365-acre Emerson Point Preserve. Located on the West end of Snead Island and the North Shore of the Manatee River. Through this Tropical Hammock, you will find hiking and Pioneer and restoration trails, kayak/canoeing trails and experience a wide variety of Coastal wildlife habitats along the way.
If you are homeschooling during this challenging time, this is the perfect place to bring the kids for some Outdoor Education for a project. Explore the Ancient Portavant Indian Mounds built by Florida Pioneers in the early 1800’s. They will give you a sense of what life was like prior to and during settlement in Manatee County. You will see interpretive signs that describe the life ways of ancient inhabitants as well as subsequent Florida pioneers.
The entire Preserve contains a variety of native ecosystems. Including beaches, lagoons, salt marshes, mangrove swamps, extensive underwater grass flats, tropical hardwood hammocks, coastal sands and upland wooded areas. Gumbo limbo trees, centuries-old live grandfather oaks, strangler figs, wild coffee, and mangrove trees are a few of the plants you will see along the trails.
Animals found in the Preserve include raccoon, fox, gopher tortoise, osprey, anhinga, wood stork, and roseate spoonbill, while the surrounding estuarine waters abound in sea life. The multi-lined trails and boardwalks are aligned so that the natural habitat and cultural resources will be protected.
After this Pandemic is over, pavilion rentals (equipped with covered picnic tables and outdoor grill stations) can be done through GT Bray Parks & Recreation Center.
Bring your pup along (leashed) for an intriguing day. Don’t forget to check out the Observation Tower and get a fabulous view of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. You will not want to miss this Tropical hammock paradise.
Vehicle access to the Sandy Beach area is currently closed, but the Park’s trails are open for your enjoyment!
Come out to Emerson Point Preserve for peaceful social distancing – 5801 17th St W Palmetto FL – Open Sunrise to Sunset
Photos courtesy of Ashley Smith