Florida's Pinellas County Park System has some of the best parks in the nation and they offer a treasure trove of recreational opportunities. Fred H. Howard Park, named in honor of a former Tarpon Springs mayor, is one of its best kept secrets. The park is located in the northern part of the county and is situated on 155 acres fronting the Gulf of Mexico. Dedicated in 1966, it has gained popularity over the years, with almost two million visitors each year coming to enjoy the park's Gulf access, unparalleled beauty and spectacular sunsets.
Park is Inhabited by Endangered Flora and Fauna
Fred H. Howard Park is home to a score of endangered and/or threatened species — eagles, gopher tortoises and fox squirrels. The park also protects disappearing habitats for some of these species, including sea grass beds, salt wetlands, mangrove estuaries, long leaf and slash pine flatwoods and coastal scrub. But, despite the environmentally delicate surroundings, outdoor enthusiasts and sun seekers will find an array of facilities to enjoy.
The park features eight picnic shelters, seating from 48 to 96 people, that can be reserved either online or by calling 727-943-4081. Depending on the shelter, the cost is just over $25 to just under $55. An additional picnic shelter is available on a first-come, first-served basis, with no fee charged. Each shelter includes picnic tables and grills.
Children will enjoy the two playgrounds, while everyone can enjoy the ball field and walking and running trails. Six restrooms are conveniently located throughout the park — two at the beach and four near the picnic shelters (two of those are only open on weekends and holidays).
The Causeway and Beach Offer Coveted Gulf Access
A one-mile causeway links the mainland park to the nearly five-acre island where the beach is located. Most weekends will find the causeway crowded with outdoor enthusiasts taking advantage of the fishing, wind surfing, and launching area for canoes and kayaks.
The white sandy beach with its small dunes and swaying palms is a slice of paradise for sun seekers, and the salty turquoise blue water of the Gulf of Mexico lures swimmers year round. Lifeguards are on duty. Fishing is also allowed at the north and south ends of the beach. Beach facilities include showers and restrooms and special beach wheelchairs are available for the disabled. Ample parking is provided.
The causeway and beach are great places to watch for dolphins and the occasional manatee sighting. And, the sunsets are spectacular!
Park Information and Directions
Fred H. Howard Park
1700 Sunset Drive
Tarpon Springs, FL 34689
Website: Fred H. Howard Park
Fred H. Howard Park is open daily from 7:00 a.m. until sunset.
Shelters: Reserve Shelters Online
Brochure: Printable Parks Brochure
Park Map: Park Map with Amenity Locations
Directions: From U.S. Highway 19 northbound, turn left (west) on Klosterman Road to Carlton Road and turn right. At the stop sign, turn left onto Curlew Place. At the next stop sign, turn right onto Florida Avenue. Travel two miles to the red flashing light and turn left onto Sunset Drive. Sunset Drive will dead-end into the park.
From U.S. Highway 19 southbound, turn right (west) on Klosterman Road to Carlton Road and turn right. At the stop sign, turn left onto Curlew Place. At the next stop sign, turn right onto Florida Avenue. Travel two miles to the red flashing light and turn left onto Sunset Drive. Sunset Drive will dead-end into the park. | Location Map |