Eagle Lake Park

Eagle Lake Park is managed by the Pinellas County Parks and Recreation Department. It is a relaxing little park that is perfect for just about any physical activity from walking to biking. It boasts a plethora of paved trails, boardwalks, and one off-road shell path. Biking is not permitted on the boardwalks. There is a dog park, restrooms, picnic shelters, ample parking areas, and bike racks near points of interest. Eagle Lake Park is very well-maintained and located in a nice, quiet residential area near the Largo-Clearwater border. There are several ponds with observation decks and opportunities for wildlife viewing. There is no swimming or boating permitted here.

img_6838This is an excellent park for those of you who are just starting to introduce your littles to nature walks and hiking! The trails are easy to walk and most sections are shaded. You can easily take a stroller on the paved trails, so even if your child can not walk yet this is a nice place to explore! The playground has a Citrus Grove theme and is divided into two sections. It is partially shaded by live oaks. One section is for 2-5 year old children, the other section is for 5-12 year old children. There are swings, slides, monkey bars, a climbing ladder, and a bouncy bridge. There are non-air conditioned restrooms at multiple locations throughout the park, but even the restrooms next to the play ground do not have changing tables. There is a water fountain next to the playground and near most of the parking lots. There is not a welcome or nature center here and there are no air conditioned buildings.

We spent at lot of time at this park when the children were younger. It had a little bit of everything that we needed! Parks like this are perfect for learning to ride a bike since you won’t need to worry about cars. If you are interested in wildlife, you are almost guaranteed to spot more than a few turtles from any of the observation decks by the ponds. Many people like to visit these spots to feed the turtles bread, but even if you don’t bring any they will still flock to the deck if you stand there for a few minutes, looking up at you hopefully. Most of the turtles will be common yellow-bellied sliders, but you will occasionally catch a glimpse of my personal favorite, the Florida soft shell! You can tell this species apart by it’s long neck, tube-like nose, and flabby-looking webbed feet.

 

There are a lot of beautiful flowers to see here depending on the time of year. You can find deep purple flowers, bright orange, yellow, and red. I never got into botany, so I am no expert, but I enjoy looking at the delicate petals as much as the next person does! My favorite are the fragrant water lilies that speckle the water in the wetland near the front of the park. If you are quiet, you might also find some young bunnies – the one in the picture on the leftimg_6857 stuck around just long enough for me to snap a quick photo! We have also seen black racers, egrets, herons, ducks, and fish. One thing that I do not see often is mosquitoes! I’ve never been one who gets eaten alive by these little suckers, but I rarely hear them buzzing around my ears here. I would still pack bug spray just as a precaution, but it doesn’t seem to be a necessity!

I actually just finished taking a hike in this park solo, roughly 2.5 miles.  It’s nice to occasionally get out for some exercise alone and just soak it all in! As much as I love taking the children out, I also feel like I rarely get to truly relax on the trail. With the children in toe, I am the teacher and the protector. I have to make sure they are safe, always looking ahead on the trail to make sure there is nothing dangerous, always on the look-out for poison ivy and fire ants, and always ready to answer the millions of questions that inevitably arise.

I absolutely love teaching them and am so happy that they are so curious! Sometimes, however, you have to just get out and explore by yourself. There is something calming about walking at your own pace, stopping to look at whatever you want, and getting lost in your own thoughts. I am so thankful that I am able to experience these moments. I wasn’t originally going to include this park, but after today’s walk I really wanted to put it to the list as this could be the “gateway park” that gets you out and inspires you to venture out on deeper wilderness excursions!

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start exploring! Let me know how you feel about this park and any facts or tips you think I’ve missed! I look forward to hearing from you!

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