Fort De Soto Park

Spend a day at this gorgeous, 1,136-acre haven for athletes, fishermen, boaters, and dog-, beach- and nature-lovers. Paved bike and skate trails criss-cross the park, the picnic areas are always popular with barbecuers, and you can rent bikes, kayaks and canoes. Paddle among the mangroves, where you'll see wildlife and many fine examples of the Florida state bird — the mosquito. And for man's best friend, the park offers two huge, fenced dog-runs, one for big dogs and one for little dogs, complete with poop lifters and even a dog beach where the mutts can swim. Miles of fine sand "people beaches," too, regularly ranked among the nation's most spectacular. Fishermen swarm the pier and hang in its decent concession stand, downing colas and snarfing good fried shrimp.

Fort De Soto Park, 3500 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde, 727-582-2267.

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