Paddle Florida

PADDLE FLORIDA
Over 85 Florida Paddling Destinations

PaddleFlorida
Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, kayak, canoe, FloridaPaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, kayak, canoe, Florida

You are here > Home > Central Florida > Paddle Weedon Island
Reported: Dec. 2011; latest update: April 2017

Weedon Island Preserve... Paddling near St. Petersburg

Weedon Island Preserve, near St. Petersburg and Largo, Florida, encompasses 3,190 acres on Tampa Bay. This is a premier paddling destination with paddling trails through mangrove, small lagoons, and bayous along Tampa Bay. The preserve also has nature trails for hiking, picnic facilities, and a Cultural and Natural History Center. (Detailed map and photos below.)



View Larger Map
Distance: South trail (most popular) - a 4 mile loop. North trail - under 2 miles one way.
Location: Pinellas County (St. Petersburg)
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Tidal: Yes
Launch points: South trail - in preserve, end of Weedon Drive NE, next to the pier. North trail - along southwest side of Gandy Causeway. (Note: launch area off San Martin Boulevard now closed.) (See map, left)
Kayak/Canoe Rentals: South trail - in preserve across from Cultural and Natural History Center. North trail - behind restaurant, southwest corner of causeway. (links, above right)
Nearby points of interest: St. Petersburg, Dali Museum, Fort DeSoto Park, St. Petersburg Pier

Paddling at Weedon Island Preserve
(tap or hover over photo for larger view)
South Paddling Trail (most popular)
The south trail is located entirely within the preserve and features some of the best mangrove tunnels this side of the Everglades. The trail is a four mile loop and well marked (markers #1 through #38). It's mostly shallow water, so we recommend paddling during mid to high tide.

We launched from next to the fishing pier at the end of Weedon Drive. Marker #1 is to the left about 100 yards. Beginning at marker #4, the mangrove tunnels begin. They are well trimmed and most are wide enough for easy paddling. There was only one short section where we had to take apart our kayak paddles. Between #10 and #11 is a picnic area with access to the walking trail. After #12, the trail becomes more open, but still sheltered by mangrove islands. Once past #34 (mile 3), the final mile skirts the outer edge of the preserve on open water to #38 (the last), then back to #1 and launch. We discovered many people avoid the more open portion of the trail by turning around and paddling back through the tunnels. No problem, plus the "backward" paddlers always gave us the right of way. Note: The mangrove tunnels are not natural. They originated as mosquito-control canals dug during the 1950's and 60's. While there are some indian shell mounds within the preserve, the many dirt mounds seen in the mangrove tunnels were left during the dig.
Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe
Small beach launch pier - limited parking (more parking at the Cultural and Natural History Center) Leaving beach launch. Floating platform also a launch option. The fishing pier. Marker #1 is to the left. View of observation tower
Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe
First trail marker Paddling on the bayou Lots of leaping mullett Into the mangrove (marker 4) Exiting to a small lagoon (marker 5)
Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe
A viewing platform off the boardwalk Back in the mangrove, narrow channel to pass other kayakers Mile 1 (marker 10) Between markers 10 and 11, picnic area and access to Boardwalk Some of the black knots are actually
little black crabs
Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe
Trail opens up
after this point
(marker 12)
Mile 2
(marker 19)
A short
mangrove tunnel
(marker 21)
Another view, glad for the trail markers! Mile 3, a short mangrove tunnel
(marker 34)
Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe
Back on open water, one mile back to launch Homes along bayou, across from preserve Returning
to launch
Sweetwater Kayaks
Rentals, private launch
(about 2/10 mile from the pier)
North Paddling Trail
The north trail is within Masters Bayou, a popular boat anchorage. Mostly open water, there is virtually no shade and little shelter from the wind. While we did not paddle this section, we provide photos of launch areas for informational purposes. Note: The launch area along San Martin Blvd. has been closed.
Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe
Along southwest side of Gandy Causeway Several spots to launch. Observe high tide line when parking. Beach along causeway. Preserve and energy plant in background Kayak, paddleboard rentals at the Getaway Restaurant The "East Launch" has seen better days - try anywhere else along the causeway
Weedon Island Preserve... the Boardwalks
Connected by a paved walkway, there are two long boardwalk loops that weave through the preserve; altogether, about 2 miles of (handicap-accessible) boardwalks and pavement. There are viewing platforms that overlook ponds along the paddling trail. In places, the boardwalk crosses mangrove tunnel. A 45' observation tower offers panoramic views of the preserve and Tampa Bay.
Views along Bay Boardwalk
Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe
At the Cultural and Natural History Center Along the boardwalk View at observation platform Paddlers on the paddling trail, from observation platform Shady picnic area off paddling trail and boardwalk
Views along Tower Boardwalk
Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, CanoePaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County - Kayak, Canoe
Onto the boardwalk Observation platform overlooking another part of paddling trail 45' observation Tower Boardwalk and view from the tower Looking west toward fishing pier and launch

Wildlife include egrets, herons, spoonbills, white ibis, manatee, dolphins, stingrays, and sharks. If you feel you're being watched, it's the thousands of small black crabs on the mangrove roots.

Paddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, kayak, canoe, FloridaPaddle Weedon Island, St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, kayak, canoe, Florida

History: Weedon Island has a long and colorful history, from early Native American cultures, to a movie studio, airport, and speakeasy. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, and became a State Preserve in 1980 (managed by Pinellas County). The Cultural and Natural History Center has videos and exhibits about the early residents of Weedon Island. An interesting exhibit is the 40-foot long dugout canoe excavated in 2011 - dating from between AD 690-1010, it's the longest ever found in Florida (probably one-half of a large catamaran).

More information on paddling at Weedon Island Preserve (opens in a new window):

- Pinellas County - Weedon Island Preserve

Top of Page

Paddling in Florida - Kayak, Canoe
Weedon Island Preserve

Outfitters/Rentals

Sweetwater Kayaks
Kayaks, paddleboards

Urban Kai
Kayaks, paddleboards


Saint Petersburg, Florida, weather forecast