The cold weather has left Florida with many brown/dead plants. But the warm weather has returned and the outdoors called to me when I suggested to my sister Laura we spend the afternoon in a local park.
We decided on Philippe Park in Safety Harbor. It's the oldest park in the county that is situated on the northwest coast of Tampa Bay. It has a little bit of everything: beaches, extensive tree canopy, mangroves, historic landmarks, wildlife and stunning views of the bay.
View from south boardwalk across bay - Photo: Laura Knupke-Coe
View along beach - Photo: Laura Knupke-Coe
We learned that the park's namesake, Odette Philippe, had a plantation there. He also introduced grapefruit and cigars to the area. We also learned there were native Americans living there, the Tocobaggas. There is a large Indian mound at the park that has wonderful views.
What makes this park different is the beach accesses at the south end of the park. Where a car, sometimes two, can park and a short walk through the parted mangroves you find quiet beaches.
My sister noted so many people spend so much time trying to explore the world so few take the time to explore the cool areas around where they live. I agreed. Here in central Florida there are so many beautiful natural areas and this one was 15 minutes from my house. Good reminder that with very little money and with a little free time, you can have a really great afternoon.