Moccasin Lake Nature Park Florida is a breathtaking destination for anyone looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Located in Clearwater, Florida, this park offers over 300 acres of nature trails, wildlife, and an abundance of recreational activities. You can explore wetlands, pine flatwoods, cypress domes, and other natural habitats as they journey through the park.
Moccasin Lake Nature Park protects a verdant area of native woodland and a stream for the public to enjoy!
It’s the perfect site to bring the kids for a peaceful nature adventure because it’s centered around a well-known nature center where raptors, such as rehabilitated bald eagles, hawks, vultures, and owls, are cared for.
The path system, which consists of a boardwalk, pavement, and shell rock, is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. Along the path, there are various benches.
Take Drew Rd west from McMullen Booth Rd in Clearwater or Drew Rd east from US 19. Turn north at Fair wood Avenue. Just after crossing the railroad tracks, turn left into Park Trail Lane, and continue down it until it comes to an end.
Explore the Trails of Moccasin Lake Nature Park
As an entrance to the bigger complex, the interpretive center is used. In order to begin the trail system counterclockwise, we moved passed the raptors.
A sign warns you of the surrounding ecosystem at the beginning of the trail system. Keep right at the Y in the loop, then descend to the butterfly garden by following the sign.
Interpretive data about the plants and butterflies are available at a kiosk. Yellow Sulphur and zebra longwing butterflies are drawn to native plants like fire bushes.
The “Energy Tower,” a natural energy complex with solar panels and a windmill, borders the garden. After leaving the butterfly garden, turn right and go to Moccasin Pond by following the instructions down the shell rock trail.
The path meanders through a hardwood hammock dotted with huge oaks and Southern magnolias before crossing a boardwalk over fern-lined Alligator Creek.
A tall bat home may be seen reflected in the murky waters of Moccasin Pond. This dammed stream filters water that drains from the neighboring metropolitan area using native plants like alligator flag, weirs, and rock.
The path-like track continues through an oak hammock. Just behind the trees on the park’s perimeter near Moccasin Lake, you can hear the hum of traffic along US 19.
- The Cypress Trail, a detour, leads to a blind on a bluff with a view of this five-acre lake. When US 19 was being built, it was man-made, but now nature has taken over.
- The nearby shoreline may be targeted by herons. A modest rain shelter marks the trail’s terminus. Stop at the Brigham Dock before entering the main loop.
- Alligators may be spotted meandering through the calm waters of this location. A mature oak hammock with several larger trees is where the loop goes on after that.
- A different shelter offers a spot to pause and rest. The loop out to the lake comes to a conclusion at a T crossing on the route. After a mile-long walk, turn right to head back to the environmental education complex.
- Take time to visit with the raptors and peek at the turtle pond that sits behind the old classroom building.
Embark on Exciting Outings at Moccasin Lake Nature Park
Eagle Lake Park
With their citrus plantations and packing business, the Taylor family contributed to the founding of Largo, then known as Citrus City, and left behind Eagle Lake Park in the center of Pinellas County.
One of the last substantial pine woods in the most densely populated county in Florida, as well as a lake where eagles have long nested, surrounded their homestead.
The family grove, one of the county’s newest parks and a favorite among dog lovers, hikers, cyclists, bird watchers, and families, was left as a legacy to the people of Pinellas.
Although the majority of the path network is paved, this is a true urban forest, so if paving allows people to venture into the woods while remaining in their familiar surroundings, then excellent for them!
The 3-mile journey we describe below is partially shared with cyclists and is completed by boardwalks and natural pathways.
Since there are so many ways to navigate the park’s paths, you can plan a circle trip that is anywhere from a quarter mile to five miles long without doing too much backtracking.
Brooker Creek Preserve
The Brooker Creek Preserve, Pinellas County’s largest nature reserve, safeguards a variety of rapidly disappearing habitats while highlighting their importance along more than 4 miles of trails.
The area is owned by the state of Florida as a portion of the Southwest Florida Water Management District, but Pinellas County is responsible for managing the preserve and operating the environmental center.
The marshes that are the source of Brooker Creek meander through the preserve and then softly drain into Lake Tarpon through the suburbs nearby.
The front gate is marked with the closing hour. Use insect repellant if you can!
The Wildlands Trail System is rather swampy in places, so you might want to keep a spare pair of dry shoes in the car for when you get back from your trip.
Open Thu-Sat 9-4 and Sun 11-4 (closed holidays), the Environmental Education Center showcases natural Florida habitats and their inhabitants, and how Florida has changed as more and more people have moved in. Kids will enjoy the hands-on activities.
Brooker Creek Preserve
Brooker Creek Preserve, which spans 9,800 acres near Pinellas County’s northern border, protects the last surviving wild lands.
As you approach the preserve by car, you’ll notice that construction has crept up to the floodplain’s margins along a slow-moving creek that empties into Lake Tarpon.
The Brooker Creek Preserve has a number of acreages and hiking paths, but its core is really formed by the trails of the Environmental Education Center.
First, go here. There is an accessible boardwalk and a series of loops that can be hiked in various ways at the environmental center complex.
Start by following the boardwalk into the center complex from the parking area close to the Environmental Education Center. After visiting the displays, the trail system’s official beginning is next to the covered picnic pavilion with facilities.
Pay great attention to the closing time that is indicated. We’ve trekked here twice, and both times we had to end our hikes early due to poor trail conditions that prevented us from leaving the preserve before it closed.
At the very least, the Education Center Loop is essential. It is a 0.7-mile loop with excellent views of the creek and the adjacent wetlands as well as highly intelligent and imaginative informative panels.
Moccasin Lake Nature Park offers so many fascinating adventures for all ages and interests.
From the educational wildlife exhibits to the tranquil hiking and biking trails, there are plenty of activities to enjoy during your visit.
The park is also conveniently located near some of Florida’s top attractions, making it an ideal spot for a day trip or weekend getaway.
So grab your family, get outside, and experience the natural wonders of Moccasin Lake Nature Park!