A Tampa Bay Local Hidden Treasure- Rye Preserve
Tampa Bay is known for its beautiful beaches on the gulf, but if you are a local like me, you might be looking for something off the beaten path to explore. If you are visiting on vacation and looking for something fun to explore in Tampa Bay, I have just the spot for you. Our family is almost always down for an adventure; we often hit up parks for nature walks. Rye Preserve is by far one of our favorite spots.
Rye Preserve is tucked away just a few minutes off of i75 in Bradenton off State Road 64. It might not look like much pulling up; there's a small parking lot with a mediocre playground, a set of restrooms, and a covered area you can rent. Facing opposite from the playground, you'll find a trail that leads to a kayak launch and something labeled the 'Red Trail.'
Take the Red Trail down a little bit. It's not too far. Both my one and three years old can make the trek. (Now they insist on being carried on the way back). You'll come to a little opening in the trail that is the Florida equivalent to a cliff. At the bottom of this, you'll spy a crystal clear stream. Make your way down and EXPLORE. You can set up in one spot and enjoy, or if you're the adventurous type, you can walk around and explore.
WHAT ABOUT GATORS. So YES I've seen gators at Rye Preserve in areas where you can kayak before however; I've never seen them in this area the stream is very shallow (a few inches deep), and it's crystal clear. Gators usually hang out in more murky waters. I feel okay playing with my kids here; however, use your best judgment when it comes to exploring with your family. Take extra caution during the mating season.
A Couple Tips:
Bring BUG Spray! You will get eaten alive from mosquitos. We really love the Little Stings bug spray. After trying more than five different all-natural brands, this one is the winner.
Bring a small bag with some snacks and water. Stay hydrated. Even though the water will cool you down, it's easy to get dehydrated in the Florida heat.
Set the expectation with yourself that your kids WILL GET DIRTY.
Leave a clean change of clothes in the car. We used to bring our entire bag with us with towels and clothes. It always works better when we can change/dry off once we get back to the car.
Unplug and HAVE FUN! Put that phone on airplane mode and just ground yourself. You'll feel so refreshed after.
Rye Preserve is open daily, sunrise to sunset.
905 Rye Wilderness Trail, Parrish, FL 34219
You can read more about Rye Preserve on MyMantaee.org
Follow along with all our adventures on Instagram @wearingmomjeans