Friday, March 15, 2013

Florida's Best Kept Secret

I spent 4 years living in Tampa and have explored many Florida beaches. Almost every beach I went to had something unique about them like the waves, the water color, and the type/color of sand. However, the one thing that almost all of the Florida beaches have in common is that they become wicked crowed. The crowds are huge and during the winter months when the "Snow Birds" come down the beaches can be insanely packed.

It took a day of boredom for my roommate Liz and I to venture up north and check out Tarpon Springs. We both heard that Tarpon Springs was famous for its sea sponges and wanted to check it out. We did the typical tourist thing and went straight to the sea sponge dock. The docks were packed and I was sick of getting my foot rolled over by old people in electric wheelchairs. My roommate and I ask a local if there are any good and quiet beaches around and he told us of a quaint beach called Howard Beach in Fred Howard Park.

The park is pretty easy to find if you have a GPS and navigating your way through the large park shouldn't be a problem. When we first were driving through we thought the local guy was pulling our leg because we were driving through what appeared to be a forest. Out of nowhere the trees ended and a causeway surrounded by water appeared in front of us. The causeway is about a mile long and takes you to a small parking lot by the beach. Be warned, there is a $5 all day parking fee.

Causeway leading to the Howard beach
The beach is almost never crowded, but on the weekends the park is busy with people fishing, canoeing and picnicking. The beach itself is incredible clean, and the white sand is super soft. Large palm trees line the beach providing shade for those who want it.

I guarantee you won't go 5 minutes without seeing some of Floridas amazing wildlife. Every time I went I saw at least 5-10 dolphins swim by. There are several species of birds that call this beach home, so you might want to bring some binoculars for bird watching. Sea turtles and the occasional manatee can also be spotted near the beach. If sunbathing or bird watching is not your thing to do than you can get in the water and try your hand at catching scallops and sand dollars. Don't leave early when you come here because this is one of the best places on the Gulf Coast to watch the sunset. Bring your camera, leave your worries at home and relax at Howard Beach!!

More info about Howard Beach click here

Aerial shot of Howard Beach