Take a Hike and Celebrate National Trails Day

This Saturday, June 4, is National Trails Day®. It’s a day of public events aimed at advocacy and trail service. It’s a  day when “thousands of hikers, bikers, rowers, horseback riders, trail clubs, federal and local agencies, land trusts, and businesses come together in partnership to advocate for, maintain, and clean up public lands and trails.” 

I fervently believe that getting out into our natural areas is one of the best ways to learn about ecosystems, wildlife, and native plants and that it’s especially important to expose children to the wonders of the outdoors. I consequently thought I’d compile a list of my favorite, family-friendly natural areas to hike or bike in our area. Here they are: 

Violet Cury Preserve
1802 Sinclair Hills Rd
Lutz, FL 33549

This 160-acre county-owned preserve is a great place to see several natural habitats: pine flatwoods; sandhills; marshes; and an oak hammock. With an easy hiking trail that’s only 2.25 miles long, this preserve can be an enjoyable adventure for families with children. Look for lizards, Horace’s Duskywings, puddling Pipevine Swallowtails, and more wildlife here. 

Sawgrass Lake Park Trail
7400 25th St. N.
St. Petersburg, FL 33702  

This 400-acre park incorporates one of the largest maple swamps along all of Florida’s Gulf Coast.  With a mile-long boardwalk, and a chance to see birds, turtles, butterflies, lizards, grasshoppers and more, this stroller-friendly site can keep even the most curious child engaged.

Flatwoods Conservation Park
14302 Morris Bridge Rd.
Thonotosassa, FL 33592

Described as a providing a “nature-filled getaway,” Flatwoods Conservation Park has a 7-mile paved loop road that is great for biking, roller-blading, and pushing strollers. Part of the 16,000-acre Lower Hillsborough Wilderness Preserve, this park is part of the Southwest Florida Water Management District and plays an important role in ensuring Tampa residents have clean water.

I know the weather forecast predicts bad weather, so it’s probably not going to be a great weekend to be outside. But, the next time we have good weather, why not visit one of these parks and let us know what you see? 

Reach out to us on Facebook, tag us on Instagram, or direct message us on Twitter. Let us know how your on-trail adventure helped inspire you to #NurtureNative.