This is Segment 9, Region D. Looking for variety of animal life, scenic beaches, fascinating attractions and historic sites? How about mangrove creeks and scenic rivers that offer a surprising slice of natural Florida? It's all here.
You can explore paddling opportunities along Tampa Bay by utilizing the Hillsborough Blueways guide. The guide highlights trails for canoes and kayaks on the rivers, creeks, bays and estuaries throughout Hillsborough County.
Paddle Manatee, the first comprehensive paddling trail network in Florida, is a 45-page guide to more than 75 miles of paddling trails throughout Manatee County. Rivers, tidal creeks and bays are all included.
For freshwater rivers, the Alafia provides the paddler with an occasional shoals to get the heart pounding. There are also the wild Upper Manatee and Little Manatee rivers with their manatees, otters, alligators and other wildlife.
The circumnavigational trail part of this segment starts at Fort De Soto Park, crosses the mouth of Tampa Bay and countinues south along the Manatee coastline before ending at Lido Beach.
Crossing Tampa Bay is for experienced paddlers only in calm weather. Strong currents, large ships and waves are factors in the long open water passage. The shortest distance is Fort De Soto to Egmont Key (2 miles), paddle the length of Egmont (2 miles), Passage Key (2 miles) and then to Anna Maria Island (1 mile). In less than optimum weather, we recommend waiting it out or shuttling your boat to Anna Maria.
After arriving at Anna Maria Island, you have two route options, either the Gulf side or Intercoastal Waterway through Anna Maria Sound and Sarasota Bay. Facilities can be found on both routes.
The final coastal stop on this segment is Lido Key, famous for its sun-kissed beaches and southwest Florida lifestyle. After the 15 mile paddle from Bradenton Beach be sure to visit St. Armands Circle for some well deserved upscale dining. Bring a clean shirt!
30 miles of circumnavigational trail
2 county blueways systems
3 state-designated river trails
- Crossing Tampa Bay can be hazardous and is recommended for experienced paddlers only
- As with most South Florida segments, boat traffic can be heavy, especially on weekends
Primary Campsites & Distances Between on Circumnavigational Trail
- Fort De Soto Park to Bradenton Beach, 15 miles
- Bradenton Beach to Lido Beach, 15 miles
- Hillsborough Blueways (network of trails throughout Hillsborough County)
- Paddle Manatee (75 mile paddle trail system throughout Manatee County)
- Alafia River (10 miles)
- Little Manatee River (12 miles)
- Upper Manatee River (10 miles)
- Police, Fire and Medical Emergencies: 911
- Pinellas County Sheriff: 727-582-6200
- Manatee County Sheriff: 941-747-3011
- Sarasota County Sheriff: 941-861-5800
- Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission Hotline: 1-888-404-3922
External Site Links