12 Unique & Fun Things to Do in Tierra Verde FL

If you’ve been searching for things to do in Tierra Verde FL, look no further! Here are the best things to do, where to stay, and some interesting history on this beautiful island.

Tierra Verde Rentals & View of the Skyway Bridge
Tierra Verde FL

Tierra Verde FL – History of the Island

Tierra Verde (TV) is originally made up of 15 islands strung together with the largest being Cabbage Key. The Native American Indians were prominent on this land for centuries until the arrival of the Spanish explorers.

A large Indian burial mound from 1500 AD was located in Tierra Verde. It was excavated in 1961 by the state agencies. You can locate the site marker on the east side of Pinellas Bayway, just north of East Shore Drive.

Fun Fact: Juan Ponce De Leon spent considerable time in Tierra Verde area back in the 1500s. According to legend or fun fiction, a treasure was supposedly buried on the island.

In recent years, Tierra Verde has become one of the hottest real estate markets in the Tampa Bay area. Since the installation of the new bridge (eliminated the boat delay from the old drawbridge) it is easy access to all of Pinellas County. You can literally get off your boat and be in downtown St. Pete in under 15 minutes!

Tierra Verde single family fl homes- Picture of Home
Tierra Verde FL Real Estate Market

How Far is Tierra Verde From Nearby Cities?

Tierra Verde is just a short drive to most major cities in Tampa Bay and the surrounding areas.

Here is the distance from nearby cities to Tierra Verde FL:
Bradenton – 23 miles
Gulfport – 8 miles
Pass-a-Grille – 4 miles
Sarasota – 35 miles
St Pete Beach – 4 miles
St Petersburg Downtown – 10 miles
Tampa Airport (TPA) – 28 miles
Tampa Downtown – 30 miles

Best Things to Do in Tierra Verde FL

There are also many unique things to do in Tierra Verde. Whether you’re looking to spend the day in Fort De Soto or immerse yourself into the nature at Tampa Bay Watch, here is a list of some of the best things to do in Tierra Verde!

1. Fort De Soto Park

Tierra Verde FL - Visit to Fort De Soto North Beach with the perfect clear water and quiet peaceful beaches.
When in Tierra Verde Visit Fort De Soto Park (North Beach)

From the string of islands, Fort De Soto was built on Mullet Key under the direction of Robert E. Lee. It is now largely known for having some of best natural beaches, boating, fishing, and wildlife with over 1,100 acres to explore.

There are miles of paved trails, camping and picnic spots, fishing piers, ferry rides to Egmont and Shell Keys, and a dog area. Of course, you can’t leave without seeing the old fort and museum!

Equipment rentals are available in the park for kayaks or canoes, paddle boards and bikes.

Boating Information

Have a boat to bring to the park? Fort De Soto Park is a boater and fisherman’s paradise. With a 800-foot boat ramp and easy parking, it makes this park even more enjoyable to use. The boat launch site is located before entering the main gate.

Fort De Soto – County Park Hours & Fees:

  • Open 7 days a week from 8am to sunset
  • Flat rate of $5 dollars for all day parking
  • FREE to visit the park by foot or bicycle
  • Boater parking: Full day parking fee is $6 dollars with a trailer (no charge if not parking)
  • Ferry rides to Shell or Egmont Key is an additional charge.

Fort De Soto Campground Information

Address: 3500 Pinellas Bayway South, Tierra Verde, FL 33715
Information: (727) 582-2100; Email: parks@pinellascounty.org

Camping at Fort De Soto is truly the best way to experience all that this park has to offer. There are a total of 236 camp sites with facilities that also include access to electricity, washers & dryers, showers/restrooms, play areas, and a campsite store. There is a separate tent campers site that utilizes spots 1-85 (which tend to book up the fastest) away from RVs.

Traveling with pets? Fort De Soto is pet-friendly. They have a special campground section and a dog beach!

Tip: Fort De Soto Campground sites often book weeks to months in advance especially during peak season. Book in advance through the Pinellas County Park website.

2. The Island Grille & Raw Bar + Pool & Live Music

After a day outdoors, nothing is nice than a dip in the pool and place to dock your boat. The Island Grille & Raw Bar is a favorite for Tierra Verde locals and tourists alike for the fun vibes, live music, and of course good food. Boaters have easy access this restaurant with the FREE boat dock behind the restaurant.

3. Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge & State Park

Egmont Key is a small island located 1.5 miles south of Fort de Soto State Park.  This 280 acre, piece of paradise is only accessible by boat or Fort de Soto ferry. 

Check out the old brick trail that runs a mile long with historic buildings from over 100 years ago. You won’t want to miss the lighthouse, historic military structures, bird sanctuary, and gopher tortoises that often are seen nesting nearby.  Over one-third of the island is just dedicated to the bird sanctuary which has over 117 types to see.

In late spring or summertime is prime season for families to take their boats out to Egmont Key park. Kids and adults enjoy jumping off the boulders into the pristine blue-green water.

Egmont Key Photo - Tierra Verde FL
Swim in the stunning water off Egmont Key

4. Shell Key Preserve

Shell Key Preserve is located on 1,800+ acres of undeveloped land. The Preserve is a popular place for fishing and boating, as well as a bird sanctuary. Like Egmont Key, Shell Key is only accessible by water vessel, and the ferry from Fort De Soto and Pass-a-Grille Beach come here for day trips.

Important to note, this is a remote island and there are no facilities or restrooms on it.

Shell Key Tierra Verde FL
Bird Wildlife on Shell Key Preserve

5. Explore & Have Fun on a Wave Runner or Boat Rental

Looking for water sports fun? TV Boat Rentals has wave runner rentals and a variety of deck and center console boats available. This is a great way to see dolphins, St Pete Beach, or cruise over to the nearby city of Gulfport and park your boat at their docks for a relaxing waterfront lunch.

Better yet, pack a picnic from Phila Deli in Tierra Verde who serves delicious cheese-steak sandwiches onion rings, fries and other goodies!

Tierra Verde FL Boat Rentals at High and Dry
Water Sports Fun at TV Sports in Tierra Verde

6. Roof Top Bar with Water Views at Residence Inn

The Residence Inn is located on the water with gorgeous views of the island. It is conveniently located at Pier 32 Marina with Island Grill & Raw Bar next door. Come enjoy the rooftop, Vista at the Top for tapas and cocktails and see the area for miles!

The Residence Inn is also the only hotel in Tierra Verde. Check out our Tierra Verde hotel section for more information on this beautiful property.

Tierra Verde FL Roof Top Bar at Residence Inn
Vista at the Top at the Residence Inn Tierra Verde FL

7. Tampa Bay Watch

Tampa Bay Watch is a local not-for-profit that provides education, wildlife habitat restoration, and events related to marine life. They have a beautiful location on the water right before the toll roll entrance to Fort De Soto Park. This is a popular designation for weddings and related celebrations. Check out their events calendar on their website for full details.

8. Billy’s Stone Crab Upper Deck View

Billy’s Stone Crab Restaurant serve variety of food in Tierra Verde. They have a dock and are easily accessible by boat. Enjoy the upper deck bar for a drink with these amazing views.

Billy's Stone Crab Photo of Tierra Verde FL Water View Pinellas County
View from Billy’s Stone Crab Restaurant in Tierra Verde FL

9. Clear Bottom Kayaks Adventures

Looking for a super fun evening activity? Take a kayak adventure with underwater LED lights in your own clear bottom kayak that explores Shell Key Preserve wildlife. Enjoy taking in the stars, peaceful outdoors, and some surprising visits from local wildlife. This highly rated experience is one of the best things to do for kids and adults.

Get Up and Go Tours is located near Billy’s Stone Crab in Tierra Verde. Cost is $69 per person, and runs 1.5-2 hours long for ages 12 and up. Booking is available via their website.

Jimmy Fashner Photos of Kayaking at night in Tierra Verde
Photo provided by Get Up and Go Tours by Jimmy Fashner

10. Eat at Some of Best Restaurants in Tierra Verde FL

Tierra Verde has a couple of outstanding restaurants on the island. Sea Worthy Fish and Bar is one of the most highly rated for its for outstanding seafood and cuisine. Beyond seafood, they have a killer burger with truffle fries and a fantastic banana pudding for dessert!

Burger and Truffle Fries at Sea Worthy Fish and Bar
Burger and Truffle Fries at Sea Worthy Fish and Bar

If you don’t mind the sun, sit outside in the evening and enjoy the water views. This is currently one of our top favorite restaurants in Tierra Verde.

If you like French restaurants, Tierra Verde has one of the best in Florida called Alsace. The owners were born and raised in France. You won’t find a better set of knowledge and cooking techniques to create the best French dishes in Tampa Bay.

Looking to expand beyond Tierra Verde restaurants? The nearby town of Gulfport FL has some excellent restaurants within a short drive.

11. Bike the Pinellas Trail to Fort Desoto Bike Trail

One of the things I absolutely love about Pinellas County is the ability to bike or walk to about everything from the Pinellas Trail. If you haven’t experienced the Pinellas Trail yet, this is a super fun way to get to neighboring towns in Pinellas County without using a car. This amazing trail extends through downtown St Petersburg all the way north to Tarpon Springs.

Tierra Verde is no exception with wide paved trails for miles and miles on the Pinellas Bayway Trail. From the Pinellas Bayway intersection the trail extends 6.5 miles to the Fort De Soto Park entrance.

Pinellas Bayway Bike Trails located on the main road of Tierra Verde FL connects with the impressive Pinellas Trail that goes for miles.
Pinellas Bayway Bike Trails – view of Tierra Verde FL heading towards Fort Desoto Park.

Fort DeSoto Bike Trail has another 5+ miles of paved bike trails if you want to continue your journey. The east end of Fort De Soto Park offers what is probably the best view of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

Keep in mind, there is very little shade on these trails. You will want plan ahead with extra water, sunscreen, and know what to wear in Florida weather conditions.

If you are heading towards St Pete Beach and crossing the Tierra Verde Bridge, it is far more challenging than the old bridge for runners and bikers alike. But it definitely gets in a good cardio workout!

The Pinellas Trail plans to continue growing their regional connections by linking with other counties including the Florida Coast-to-Coast Connector Trail (C2C) spanning from Pinellas County through Orlando to the East Coast of Florida. This would be over 250 miles of bike trails!

12. Tierra Verde Community Park

Just past the Fire Station on Pinellas Bayway South is the Tierra Verde FL Community Park. There is plenty of shade, picnic benches, kids playground and a baseball diamond. This peaceful place is tucked away from the road and is a good spot to relax with the family and bring a lunch.

TV Community Park in Tierra Verde FL - perfect place for kids things to do
Tierra Verde FL Community Park

Tierra Verde Hotels

Residence Inn

The Residence Inn is an excellent choice for being the only hotel in Tierra Verde FL. See Booking.com for more information on this property or other hotels off the island.

Booking.com

Tierra Verde Rentals

Here are a couple of the highest rated Tierra Verde Rentals. See the official VRBO links for more information on the house and condo rentals.

Tierra Verde VRBO Rentals

Check out these best and affordable options:
VRBO 2 Bedroom 2 Bath Condo in Tierra Verde FL
VRBO 3 Bedroom 3 Bath House with Pool in Tierra Verde FL

Isla Key and Isla Del Sol is also located just off the island with tennis courts and a golf course headed towards St Pete Beach. Check out the amazing VRBO rentals in Isla Del Sol with these beautiful Boca Ciega Bay views.

Photo provided by VRBO Isla Del Sol Rental with link provided to property below
Isla Del Sol Rental from VRBO

Looking for a Tierra Verde FL Resort getaway? The closest resort to Tierra Verde is the Don CeSar in St. Pete Beach. It is just a short 4-mile drive away with pristine sugar sand beaches, outdoor fire pits, gorgeous pool and spa, and multiple dining options.

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Interesting Florida Travel Articles

There are so many things to see and do in the Tampa Bay area, and deciding can be a challenge! Check out my recent St Petersburg vs Tampa article for more fun activities in both cities.

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30 thoughts on “12 Unique & Fun Things to Do in Tierra Verde FL”

  1. Tierra Verde sounds so beautiful! I can’t believe how clear the water is at the beaches, and I love the white sand. I would also love to do a clear bottom kayak ride. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

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  2. Gorgeous! I had no idea Tampa Bay was so flipping pretty and so full of wildlife! I love the blue waters of Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge & State Park…and seeing the wildlife at Shell Key Preserve must have been fabulous.

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  3. We’re actually camping at Fort Desoto in a few weeks, can’t wait! Thanks for all of the other ideas of places to visit nearby, pinning this for our trip 🙂

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  4. I’ve lived in Tampa for a couple years and have heard of Tierra Verde but was not able to visit. This post showed me how much there is to do and will need to take out trip out there!

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  5. What a neat place! I must admit I never thought to visit before but you’ve really put it on the map for me. I’d love to go to Shell Key Preserve for the bird sanctuary. Love your photos, too! It looks like such a sunny bright place. Much more cheery than rainy London. haha! Thanks for the great article! I enjoyed reading it.

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  6. This is perfect timing to be reading this as my boyfriend and I just talked started planning a trip to Florida later this year around the Tampa area. Love the idea of the clear bottom boats, what a unique activity. And some of those beaches and islands and state parks looks so gorgeous

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  7. I am a sucker for islands and Tierra Verde has loads that appeal to me. Love those clear bottom boats and would love to do some sightseeing at night to see how different it is underwater.

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  8. I haven’t been to this part of Florida before but it looks like a nice place to stay. I’d love to check out the reserve and grab a cocktail at the rooftop bar.

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  9. Wow, I’ve been to Florida a number of times, but this is the first I’m hearing of Tierra Verde! It looks absolutely beautiful. I’d love to try one of those kayaking adventures, thanks for the inspo!

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  10. Oh, such a gorgeous place! I love this list… I’m planning a trip to Florida soon and this is perfect. Thank you for sharing this!

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  11. Tierra Verde is a gorgeous place! Not only the place is beautiful, but it has some exciting names too! I can’t decide which places look the best: Egmont Key or Shell Key Preserve.

    Reply
  12. Tierra Verde looks like so much fun! Staying at the Fred de Soto campground sounds interesting and I would absolutely love to rent a clear bottom kayak!!

    Reply

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