Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park

kayakers in the salt spring

These salt springs are located only an hour north of St. Pete and Tampa, or two hours west of Orlando. Take a day trip and explore the mangrove labyrinths. Due to nearby urban development, this state park is essential to the coast's protection. Although you can't swim in the state park boundaries, there's a beach a few miles north where you can jump in.

What to bring:

  • kayak
  • binoculars (try to spot one of the bald eagles!)
  • reef-safe sunscreen & hat (of course)
  • snacks (concession stand is not always open)

                   mangrove

Why Werner-Boyce?

While hiking through the park, it's very likely you'll encounter gopher tortoises. And when you're paddling, keep an eye out for dolphins. Many come here for the scenery, but this state park is extremely unique because of its land history. During the Civil War, confederates used these salt springs as one of their last hold-outs against the Union. Continuing with the war theme, in World War II American planes resided in this area before flying overseas; the large pools between the mangroves are the result of bomb craters! Additionally, lithic artifacts found at the park place the Tocobaga tribe here before being forced out of Florida. 

Whether you're visiting for nature or the history, this is a park you won't want to miss. Plus, new trails are frequently added so you might have to come for a return visit!