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St. Petersburg is a city for the outdoorsman whether it is a stroll through the shops downtown or putting a paddle in the water to kayak through the mangroves.
Fort DeSoto Park has it all. One of the most beautiful beaches stretches along this island and a ferry runs from the fort grounds out to Egmont Key. The remains of the historic Fort DeSoto are here as well. Though little remains beyond the bunkers, it is a great favorite with kids. Kayaking is available in Soldier's Hole as is a hiking trail. A smaller hiking trail built by the boyscouts also offers interactive educational posts. Bicycles are available for rental for the 6.8 mile recreation trail. Fort DeSoto also offers boat launching facilities, camping grounds and two fishing piers. The only road into Fort DeSoto is a toll road so take some change with you. The toll is currently fifty cents.
Weedon Island Nature Preserve features 6,600 feet of ADA accessible boardwalk, a 45 foot observation tower, over three miles of hiking trails, small picnic areas, a Natural History Center and kayaking opportunities through the mangroves. Sweetwater Kayaks provides shuttle service out to the preserve and maintains a small fleet on site for rental.
Downtown has its share of nature too. The Gizella Kopsick Arboretum down by the bay in Vinoy Park has over 500 palms and cycads representing 100 different varieties from around the world. The Sunken Gardens near downtown have quiet walkways meandering through the shade of palms, water gardens, and tropical beds. The butterfly house is always a hit with the kids as is Great Explorations, the children's museum which is right next door.
The Pinellas Trail is a 34 mile long trail ideal for bicyclists, joggers, skaters and other pedestrians. It stretches from Tarpon Springs in the north to St. Petersburg in the south. Converted from the old CTX railroad right of way, it runs straight through the middle of the peninsula and still has a lot of beautiful scenery. As a convenience for bicyclists, there is a special permit available for $2 to allow you to take your bicycle on the public bus system. This allows the casual bicyclist to take advantage of as much of the trail as they wish without having to turn around and make the trip back manually.
The Friendship TrailBridge is a 2.6 mile recreation trail popular with bicyclists, skaters, fishermen and walkers. It was formerly used as the traffic bearing bridge connecting Tampa and St. Petersburg. It parallels the modern Gandy Bridge.
Boyd Hill Nature Park features camping and 3 miles of trails through five unique ecosystems on the shores of Lake Maggiore in the south of St. Petersburg.
Fish in the shadow of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge on the Skyway Fishing Pier, the longest fishing pier in the world. This is also the absolute perfect place to take in a sunset over the waters of the Gulf with only a few small islands silhouetted against the horizon. The fishing pier is AFTER the toll booth so take $1 for toll to get in.
Recent legislation (2005) may allow "vegas-style" slots to be brought into Derby Lane, a large paramutuel greyhound racing track in northeast St. Petersburg. Derby Lane had already established a poker club but tournaments were suspended in January of 2006 pending litigation. Derby Lane works in conjunction with Greyhound Pets of America to provide homes for retired athletes.
If you are going to be by the Pier, you can rent a water bike, a sailboat, a remote controlled boat or an electric boat from the Electric Marina. The electric boats are supposed to be trouble free, seat up to 10 people and have amenities like a four speaker stereo system and fridge.
The Mangrove Golf Course is a par 72 championship public golf course on 180 acres in NorthEast St. Petersburg. The Renaissance Vinoy Golf Resort offers championship 18 hole course exclusively to its guests (as well as a private marina).
St. Petersburg is home to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays playing in Tropicana Field. This eight story rotunda underwent a seventeen month renovation in 1996/1997 that put it in a class with Houston's Astrodome and San Fransisco's Candlestick park with artificial turf and all-dirt base paths. The stadium is easily accessible from 275 and is close to downtown St. Petersburg. During the season, the Downtown Looper Trolley has special trolleys dedicated to the ball crowd.
Progress Energy Field is located downtown not far from the Pier and is the spring training field for the Devil Rays.