Do you love nature? If so, be sure to check out the Boyd Hill Nature Preserve! The preserve is a 245-acre protected area located right here in Pinellas County (specifically, south St. Pete). It’s co-operated by the St. Pete Parks and Recreation Department, as well as a local bird-of-prey aviary, the Boyd Hill Environmental Center.
Love the outdoors? The Gulfport area has plenty to offer! Download your FREE Gulfport Vacation Guide to learn more!
Boyd Hill Nature Preserve Areas
WIthin the nature preserve, you’ll find a variety of different landscapes and activities.
- Lake Maggiore Island — Lake Maggiore Island, as the name implies, looks out over Lake Maggiore. The beautiful island features sprawling live oaks and an abundance of wildlife, such as anhingas (a large, black water bird), turtles, and alligators.
- Willow Marsh — This picturesque boardwalk passes over fields of lizard’s-tail, a variety of ferns, and with massive fronds of leather ferns sprawling above you. The preserve advises visitors to keep an eye on the trees in order to spot some of the area’s many lizards.
- Swamp Woodlands — This creek-side path and boardwalk are shaded by a variety of trees (bay, sugarberry, and red maple). But watch your step! Box turtles like to hide in the fallen leaves.
- Pine Flatlands — This area, the border between the scrub and broad-leafed forest, contains tall pines and large Southern oaks. Bring your binoculars and look for local bird species!
- Sand Scrub Trail — Did you know that many millenia ago (12,000 years, to be precise), Florida was almost twice its current size? According to the Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, the Sand Scrub Trail was once the center of a vast scrubland stretching as far as the eye can see. If you’re there in fall, you may even see the kaleidoscope of beautiful wildflowers sprouting in the fields.
- Pioneer Settlement — Ever wonder how the pioneers lived? Now, you can witness and even take part in the activities our 19th century ancestors performed. You’ll experience the Blacksmith Shop, the Saw Mill, the Sugar Cane Shed, and much more!
Other Fun Activities
The Boyd Hill Environmental Center also hosts an award-winning exhibit entitled “The Ripple Effect: Understanding Nature’s Connections” at the Lake Maggiore Environmental Education Center.
And as you’re walking the trails, you’ll see our birds-of-prey aviary. The aviary plays host to 19 permanently injured birds of prey, such as eagles, hawks, and owls. Stop by the aviary and get an up-close look at these magnificent creatures!
The Preserve also offers tram tours Tuesday – Friday, starting at 1 p.m.; Saturday at 11 p.m. and 1 p.m.; and Sunday at 1 p.m. The tours cost $2 (plus admission).
Daily admission for adults (17+) is $3, for children (3-16) is $1.50, and free for children 3 and younger.
Simply put, the Boyd Hill Natural Preserve is a great place to experience Florida’s beautiful landscapes and diverse wildlife. Be sure to stop by!
And after your day out in the Florida sunshine, return to your wonderful suite at the Historic Peninsula Inn. The Inn provides suites to fit every style of traveler, from the individual visiting Old Florida on a business trip, to the romantic weekend getaway, to the family of four touring Old Florida.
If you haven’t already, be sure to download your FREE Gulfport Vacation Guide! The guide is chock-full of insider information so you can make the most of your Gulfport vacation!