Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Fred H. Howard Park, 3/18/2017

Located about 45 minutes from where we are staying in Lutz, the Fred H. Howard Park is in Tarpon Springs, FL, along the Gulf coast. 

This is an 115-acre county park dedicated in 1966 and visited annually by more than 2M visitors. Its namesake, Fred H. Howard, was a former mayor of Tarpon Springs (1945), a county commissioner, and service as Vice Chairman of the Pinellas County Park Board for more than 30 years. A one-mile causeway leads to the beautiful Sunset Beach. A white sandy beach on the Gulf of Mexico, it is a very popular spot for sunbathing and swimming. Leashed dogs are permitted everywhere in the park except the beach. 

There is a $5/daily parking fee payable at electronic kiosks found throughout the park. Our first stop was the causeway where dogs are permitted. 

The causeway is used for sunbathingfishing and exercisingSadie had fun swimming, too. 

Waterfowl can be seen along the Causeway. Here is a great blue heron and a flock of marbled godwits we saw as we walked west along the causeway towards the island.

There are lots of water craft that can be rented near the beach. We enjoyed seeing folks having fun on paddle boats, paddle boards, and kayaks

Sunset Beach was filled with families and groups of friends enjoying the beautiful weather. 

Returning to the mainland, we did some hiking along the nature trails of the park. There are more gorgeous views of the Gulf from here.

This is one of the two playgrounds in the park. John's inner child came out to play as he climbed to the top of this very cool cable network. 

We crossed the street to follow another trail through the slash pines. Eventually we came to this kayak/canoe launch at the start of the kayak trail that that wanders through mangrove lined waters out to the Gulf of Mexico and to Lake Avoca (also in Howard Park). 

There are nine picnic shelters (that can be reserved) and six restrooms found throughout the park. Some, like this one, has great views of the water. 

You just never know what you might see when wondering around a park. We came upon this 1964 Avanti (made by Studebaker). At the time, it was even more expensive than a Corvette and considered a very classy vehicle!

This county park has a little of everything for everyone. There's even a ball field where we saw a couple families enjoying an afternoon game. We had heard about the park  from the couple we are renting our lot from in Lutz. I am glad they gave us the tip, because we really had a lot of fun here. 

For additional information about Howard Park, check out the Pinellas County website here www.pinellascounty.org/park/06_howard.htm.

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