Picture this: it's springtime in St Petersburg, Florida. The shorebirds and gulls of Florida's Gulf Coast sing their sweet tune, awakening you to the bright, blue sky and the crystal clear waters that meet it at the horizon. It's sunny and 75 degrees, and the sound of the waves lapping against the powdered sugar sand beckons you outside; but what should you do? If it's spring time in 2020, a paddle board adventure might be the perfect experience for you.
Whether booking a tour or renting some boards for your own excursion, a paddle board trip is a great way to experience the beauty and richness of Florida's Gulf Coast. If you're not sure where to go, then look no further, because we have compiled a list of the 4 best paddle boarding spots in the Madeira Beach/ Treasure Island area-just don't forget to pack your sunscreen!
1. Eleanor Island
Located right off the shores of Madeira Beach, Eleanor Island is an alluring mangrove island the serves as a nature preserve and bird sanctuary. While human contact with the actual island is forbidden, the shallows around the island are a great place to stop, take a break and observe the numerous species of birds that call Florida home. Additionally, for those that have a hankering for the supernatural, Eleanor Island is said to be haunted. As the story goes, some local fisherman dug up some human remains there is the mid-19th century. They continued to dig to find hidden treasures, thinking that the island could possibly be an old Indian burial mound, however broken pottery shards and bones were all they were able to uncover. Presently, some locals say that they have seen mysterious green lights around the area where the bones were found. Haunter or not, this spot is a definite must-see location on your paddle board excursion.
2. Little Bird Key
Another dazzling location for nature lovers, Little Bird Key is a small island north of John's Pass that houses numerous species of birds, including Brown Pelicans, Black Crowned Night Herons and Roseate Spoonbills. This is another bird sanctuary that won't disappoint. Park your SUP or kayak in the shallow grass flats and observe the lush mangroves of this bird foraging habitat. Who knows? You might even encounter a dolphin or two!
3. John's Pass Sandbar
The John's Pass Sandbar is a personal favorite. Prior to the current social restrictions implemented by the CDC to prevent the spread of the Covid 19 coronavirus, it was a great place to relax and mingle with family and friends and other friendly beachgoers. With the restrictions in place, it's still a great spot as long as there are few people around and you're maintaining the required 6 foot distance from others. If the appropriate social distancing measures are being adhered to and you're able to camp out for a bit, don't forget to pack a cooler! As always, safety first! So be wise and use your best judgement.
4. Archie's Island
Located in Boca Ciega Bay, Archie's Island got its name from a local dog who absolutely adored it. About 12 years ago, Archie's family started taking him boating around the island, and every time he would excitedly jump off the boat and swim to the shore. Archie loved the island because he could run around freely, and his family erected a cement sign on the island giving it his name; ever since, the island has become known as Archie's Island. Unfortunately, Archie passed away in 2017 at the age of 13, but his family still enjoys visiting the island and considers it a memorial to their beloved four-legged friend. Archie's Island is dog friendly, and whether you have four legs or two, this spot is a great place to soak up the sun or play in the water like Archie.
Until next time...we'll see you on the water!