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Trekking the Suncoast This Fall – Amazing Outdoor Trails & Parks to Visit

| Angela Naff |

We have all waited for this time of year to approach, and it is nearly upon us – Fall. While we might not have a full turning of the leaves and massive changes in weather to cold levels, what we do experience is moderate days to get out and start trekking all the Suncoast has to offer. One of the amazing natural resources that we have ready access to from numerous communities up and down the Suncoast. We have compiled a great list of trails and natural spots to explore this fall.

John S. Taylor Park (1100 8th Avenue Southwest, Largo, Florida 33770) – John S. Taylor Park is 156.5 acres that connects to the Pinellas Trail and is tucked next to a 53-acre freshwater lake in Largo. The park provides a full disc golf course, a tree-lined shell trail, and a lake to take a boat out for fishing.

Nathan Benderson Park Loop (5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota, FL 34235) – Explore this 3.5-mile loop trail near Sarasota, Florida. Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 1 h 2 min to complete. This is a popular trail for road biking, running, and walking, but you can still enjoy some solitude during quieter times of the day. The trail is open year-round and is beautiful to visit anytime. Dogs are welcome but must be on a leash.

Legacy Trail (multiple entry points) – The Legacy Trail is a trail system connecting communities across Sarasota County and stretching into neighboring Charlotte County. The Legacy Trail offers rest stops, trailheads, and free parking; users will find rest station areas approximately every mile. Trailhead Locations ​The Legacy Trail offers several areas to stop, rest, learn about its history, or just enjoy the natural beauty surrounding the trail.

Trekking Legacy Trail
Photo Courtesy of Visit Sarasota

Little Manatee River State Park (215 Lightfoot Road, Wimauma, FL 33598) – an aquatic preserve that offers a twisting river, equestrian trails, campsites, picnicking, and fishing- is home to a premier hiking trail. Its rustic 6.5-mile stacked loop trail winds through the wilderness area encompassing the park’s northern half, showcasing its rare ecosystems that include riverine hammocks and floodplains, scrubby flatwoods, pine forests, and remnant sandhills as well as wildlife that includes red shoulder hawks, gopher tortoises, and white-tail deer.

Robinson Preserve (Robinson Preserve, 1704 99th St NW, Bradenton, FL 34209) – Robinson Preserve in Bradenton Fl, is a salt marsh now home to jumping mullets and hundreds of other species of fish and other marine life. This preserve is a 600+-acre coastal preserve located in northwestern Bradenton. The interior of the preserve features hiking paths, kayak and canoe waterways, bridges, picnic spots, mangrove forests, and a 53-foot-tall tower with a wide-open view of the Tampa Bay area.

Bradenton Natural Preserve
Photo Courtesy of Robison Preserve website

Seminole Wekiva Trail (Greenways and Natural Lands, 100 E. 1st Street, Sanford, FL 32711) – The nearly 14-mile Seminole Wekiva Trail is a paved recreational trail that has been designated as one of Seminole County’s Showcase Trails because of its length, beauty, and accommodation of many users. The section of the trail that runs west of the I-4 trail overpass to the County line at the Wekiva River is also a designated part of the Florida National Scenic Trail.

Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge Marsh Trail (Trailhead: 25.974144, -81.554085) – The refuge is part of the largest expanse of mangrove forest in North America. Approximately two-thirds of the refuge is mangrove forest, which dominates most tidal fringes and the numerous islands, or keys.

How many of these amazing parks, trails, or natural attractions have you already visited? Which are your favorites? If you have guests for holidays or family gatherings, make plans to have them share in one of these amazing trekking destinations up and down the Suncoast. Enjoy the time you can be outside before it is too hot once again, and be reminded of the amazing places we are privy to here on the Florida coast.

Happy trekking, Suncoast!

Feature Photo Courtesy of Deposit Photos

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