Tampa, FL

Spring Is Here: 3 Places to Picnic in Tampa Bay Area

Malinda Fusco

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Spring is finally here, and with the warmer weather (not that it gets very cold here in Tampa) there's one family-friendly and COVID-safe outing that you can do today: picnics!

The Long Lost Art of Picnics

Who doesn't love a good picnic? Laying out the checkered cloth, pulling sandwiches from a whickered basket, perhaps some cheese and wine even. Well, now that spring has sprung, it's the perfect time for picnicking. Not only is picnicking a fun pastime that anyone can enjoy, but it is also an event that you can make COVID-safe too.

How to Make Picnics COVID-safe

If you're going to picnic in an area with other people, be considerate to yourself and others and wear a mask when not indulging in food and drink. Another way to make picnics COVID-safe is to keep the group small and stick with people that you already live with and make sure to set up your picnic at a safe distance from others at whatever location you end up choosing.

3 Awesome Places to Picnic in Tampa Bay

There are three places that come to mind when I think of the perfect picnic in the Tampa Bay area. Each location will give you a different experience, and I've been to all three myself, so let's go over the ins and outs of them.

Lettuce Lake Park

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Screenshot from the author from Lettuce Lake Park website

Entrance Fee: $2 per vehicle

Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Key features: nature preserve, kayak rentals, hiking trails, picnic tables available

With an entrance fee of only two dollars per vehicle, Lettuce Lake Park is an absolute steal. This nature preserve offers a few trails that you can walk, kayaks for rental, beautiful white gazebos, and plenty of picnic tables if setting up on the grass isn't your thing.

You can check out the Lettuce Lake Park website here for more information: https://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/locations/lettuce-lake-conservation-park

Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park

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Photo from Wikipedia

Entrance Fee: None, though you may need to pay for parking within the city

Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Key features: well-maintained public park, located downtown Tampa near entertainment, river view

Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is a public park with a waterfront view (who would have guessed). This park often hosts a number of activities throughout the year, but when it's not hosting an event, it's the perfect place to lay down a picnic blanket and enjoy a spring afternoon. The park is situated in downtown Tampa, located right next to a number of restaurants and attractions like local museums. It's located right next to the Hillsborough river.

Check out the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park's website for more information: https://www.tampa.gov/parks-and-recreation

Howard Park Beach

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Photo from USA Today

Entrance Fee: $5 for parking

Hours: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Key features: beach, kayak rentals available

What's better than a picnic on the beach? Howard Park Beach is the perfect spot to bring your picnic basket, though watch out for those seagulls! Other than the parking fee, there are no additional costs. Bring a blanket, an umbrella, and enjoy the sun and sand. After your meal, feel free to jump in the water or even rent out a kayak and burn off those calories.

For more information about Howard Park Beach, visit their website here: http://www.pinellascounty.org/park/06_howard.htm

So which will you choose?

Between the three picnic options, I honestly don't have a favorite. Each location offers unique sights and experiences to enjoy. It really depends on what I'm in the mood for at the time!

So whether you're looking for a quiet nature reserve, a park within the city, or a picnic on the beach, Tampa Bay provides the sights for you. All you need to do is provide the picnic fare. So what are you waiting for? Pack a basket and go enjoy spring in Tampa Bay with a picnic.

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