Boardwalk trail at Sawgrass Lake park in St. Petersburg, FL

While St. Petersburg is most well-known for its’ proximity to some of the highest rated beaches in the country, it is also home to many wonderful parks and preserves.

SawGrass Lake is a great escape during the hot, humid summer months as the trails here are short and considerably shady. A short stroll along the boardwalk is perfect for summertime visits, as the extreme temps often make anything much longer a miserable experience.

View of the boardwalk at Sawgrass Lake Park in St. Petersburg, Florida
Great shady boardwalk at Sawgrass Lake Park in St. Petersburg, Florida

A wildlife oasis

Alligator warning at Sawgrass Lake Park

Wildlife sightings, particularly alligators, are common during the winter months. Alligators prefer warm, not hot temperatures as this helps them maintain their ideal body temperature. This is why you are more likely to see them during Florida’s milder winter season. You can often see them basking in the sun during this time. However, you are not completely out of luck during your summer visit, as we have seen gators at various Bay area parks during the peak of the summer season (Boyd Hill Nature Preserve and Myakka River State Park in Sarasota).

Alligator sighting in Tampa Bay
Keep your eyes peeled for gators

Bobcats are also occasionally seen, although they are nocturnal animals, so a sighting would be extremely rare.

Sawgrass is also a great birdwatching destination! Sawgrass is part of the Great Florida Birding trail, a large network of over 500 Florida birding sites.

Birdwatching at Sawgrass Lake park

Regardless of whether or not you see wildlife, you will likely enjoy the leisurely mile long stroll along the park’s boardwalks. It always exciting to walk across the Florida cypress swamps. This park is home to one of the largest maple swamps on the Gulf Coast.

Swamp view at Sawgrass Lake Park in St. Petersburg, Florida

Do watch where you walk! Check out this huge spider web!

Spider web at Sawgrass Lake Park in St. Petersburg, Florida

The observation tower

Enjoying scenic views of the lake from the observation tower was definitely the highlight of our visit.

Observation tower at Sawgrass Lake Park in St. Petersburg, Florida
Pretty lake views at Sawgrass Lake Park in St. Petersburg, Florida

A shady summer oasis

Sawgrass is a quiet little park, far away from the city and beach crowds, a perfect choice for those who are seeking a relaxing alternative to the beach. In my opinion, planning a visit to Sawgrass Lake or any other preserve for that matter is a much better option than spending your day sweating at a hot, overcrowded, noisy beach. A shady park is definitely preferred during the hot summer months! Do visit as early as possible in the morning (before 9am), as it is much too hot, humid, and sunny to enjoy the park at any other time. Of course, it is best to save your visit for the milder winter season.

So grab your picnic lunch and take a relaxing morning walk along the trails at Sawgrass. Who knows what wildlife you may encounter on your visit! Enjoy the quiet setting away from the suburban strip malls and shops. Take a little time out to appreciate the little bit of nature left in the Tampa Bay area at beautiful Sawgrass Lake Park.

Location: Sawgrass Lake Park is located at: 7400 25th St N, St Petersburg, FL 33702. There is no parking or admission fee. Amenities include a small education center, a picnicking area, and restrooms.