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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 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Tierra Verde (TV) is originally made up of 15 islands strung together with the largest being Cabbage Key.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 to access to all of Pinellas County. You can literally get off your boat and be in downtown St. Pete in under 15 minutes!
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 in nature at Tampa Bay Watch, here is a list of some of the best things to do in Tierra Verde!
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.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.
Late spring or summertime is the 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.
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 vessels, and the ferry from Fort De Soto and Pass-a-Grille Beach comes here for day trips.
Important to note, this is a remote island and there are no facilities or restrooms on it.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 lunch.
Tierra Verde Hotels
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.
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
Isla Key and Isla Del Sol are 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.
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, a gorgeous pool and spa, and multiple dining options.
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