Upper Tampa Bay Trail

Tampa definitely is an urban area. There is no doubt about that. But the Upper Tampa Bay Trail is actually a decent greenway that is available to residents and visitors alike.

Upper Tampa Bay Trail

This is part 1, the lower part of the Trail:


This is part 2, the upper part:



How to Get There

Being an urban trail, there are a lot of options for getting to the Upper Tampa Bay trail (both paid and free). Unfortunately, they still have not completed the entire trail so as of this writing it is basically two separate trails.

Upper Tampa Bay Trail Main Section

If you want to start at the southernmost point of the trail, make your way to the Memorial trailhead.Ehrlich road is another option if you want to enter in the middle of the trail. The main part of the trail ends at Peterson Road Park.

Upper Tampa Bay Trail North Extension

The northern extension can be picked up at Keystone park just north of Van Dyke Road, the Lutz Lake Fern Trailhead and ends at the Suncoast Trail.

Here is the list of trailheads courtesy the Hillsborough county web site:

Trailheads and Access south to north:

  •  Memorial Trailhead:  7499 Montague Street
    • Cold water and parking
    • Directions: Take Hillsborough Ave. west past the airport, Memorial Highway and Sheldon Road. Turn right on Montague Street.  Follow Montague to the trailhead a short distance on the right.
  • Channel Park Trailhead:  9201 W. Waters Avenue
    • Restrooms, parking, water and drink machines
    • Directions: Hillsborough Ave. West to Sheldon Road. Turn Right (north) onto Sheldon Road to Waters Ave. Turn left (west) onto Waters Ave. The trailhead is a very short distance on the right. 
  • Wilsky Boulevard Trailhead:   10314 Wilsky Blvd. 
    • Parking, cold water and restrooms
    • Directions: From Tampa, take Waters Ave west to Hanley Ave. Head north on Hanley Ave, Hanley becomes Wilsky Blvd at Linebaugh. Cross Linebaugh, the trailhead is on the left/west side of Wilsky Blvd., before the on ramp to the Veterans Expressway. 
  • Ehrlich Road 
    • Parking, water, map
    • Directions: From Tampa, take Ehrlich Road west toward Gunn Highway. The trail parking area is just east of Gunn Highway, south of Ehrlich, and adjacent to an old house.   It is not directly on the trail and could be easily missed. The trail is two houses to the west, just before the intersection, next to Bally Hoo Restaurant. The water cooler and map are just south of the parking along the trail. 
  • Peterson Park:  8203 Peterson Road and Rails Road
    • Parking, restrooms
    • Directions: From Tampa take Gunn Highway north. Peterson Road is a mile north of the Gunn Highway/Sheldon Rd intersection at Sickles High School. Turn right onto Peterson Road. The park and the northern terminus of the trail are located ½ mile on the left.
  • Lutz Lake Fern Trailhead:  7020 Lutz Lake Fern Road
    • Parking, restrooms
    • Directions:   On the south side of Lutz Lake Fern Road east of Gunn Highway and west of the Veterans Expressway.

What to Do at the Upper Tampa Bay Trail

The Upper Tampa Bay trail is definitely oriented to biking and walking. It is completely paved and well-maintained. The asphalt may be a bit too rough for rollerblades, but we did see people doing it!

courtney campbell causeway

Biking Campbell Causeway

The Courtney Campbell Causeway in Clearwater/Tampa is definitely one of the unique fun things to do in the area. 


Courtney Campell Causeway

How to Get to It Courtney Campbell Causeway

Courtney Campbell Causeway is one of the main arteries between Tampa and Clearwater. It is pretty close to the Tampa airport, and comes out near Safety Harbor on the Clearwater side. One simple place to park (paid) Ben T. Davis Beach Park -  map here.  A little further away is  a neighborhood park called Cypress Point Park , but will put you further away from the causeway. There is also free parking along most of the causeway, so if you don't mind starting in the middle, that is always a good option! Don't forget - this place can be VERY busy during the weekends. Crowds can be big, and parking can be tough.


courtney campbell parking options

Another option on the south side close to Clearwater is a paid beach lot. The sand is really nice there and it can be a bit quieter than anything on the Tampa side.

Things to Do at Courtney Campbell Causeway

Courtney Campbell Causeway is a great place to hang out when the weather is nice! Especially during the week, when you can avoid the biggest crowds. Biking is always a favorite here, along with walking. Because the path is so well maintained, roller blades or roller skates are also really good options. We mainly biked there because we wanted to cover a lot of ground. Most people use the causeway to hang out, have picnics, or chill with friends. On the Sunday we visited it seemed to be "battle of the car stereos" in may areas, and the volume in a couple cases was excruciating. If that's not your thing, definitely go during the week!

One thing to be aware of - the breeze off the bay can be very strong on many days. When we biked, the headwind was almost unbearable going from the Clearwater side over to Ben T. Davis beach. But we were rewarded with a tailwind that made our mountain bikes feel almost like electric bikes! So it can be a trade-off, but something to be aware of.

One of the nicest things we enjoyed was the sunsets - you can't beat watching the sun set over Clearwater. Almost anywhere along the causeway has a good view for a sunset!


The only public bathroom we found was at Ben T. Davis beach. It was small, but we never had to wait very long even when we went on the weekend. If your bladder is small, you may want to plan your trip so you can hit this area if you need to go! Or don't drink a lot of coffee or water before your visit!

ben t davis bathrooms



A lot of people were fishing close to the Campbell Causeway bridge, and also on the north side of the Causeway. Just east of the bridge is the causeway boat launch. As of this writing, parking is $5 and it is a pretty large boat launch. There also usually is porta potties if you really need to go!

Food Options

Not a lot of food options right on Campbell Causeway, but one notable fun place is Whiskey Joes - They can be super busy, but the view is amazing and this is probably the closet you can be to Tampa and feel like you are in the middle of nowhere at a beach! Since they are on the south side of the causeway, they also get that great sunset view.

Because this is really an urban area, once you leave the causeway in either direction you can find a ton of food options. But if you want to save money, pack a picnic and enjoy your food on the causeway!


beautiful sunsets in Florida!

Bay Bayou RV Resort - A Hidden Gem!

We spent the entire 2021 winter at Bay Bayou RV resort in Florida - one of the nicest resorts we found so far! They have 300 full size RV lots. Surrounded by water, there are easy access for Kayaks, canoes, or small fishing boats. You can walk out on the one of the two docks on site to catch a beautiful sunset or just relax. They have a heated pool to enjoy all year round as well as very clean bathrooms, showers and laundry facilities that are some of the amenities. Bay Bayou is conveniently located close to Tampa’s top attractions and the beautiful Gulf of Mexico beaches.

Bay Bayou RV Resort - A Hidden Gem!

How to Get to Bay Bayou RV Resort

One of the biggest advantages to Bay Bayou is the proximity to a major metropolitan area - it is in Hillsborough county (Tampa), but very close to the border of Pinellas county (Clearwater/St. Petersburg). If you're looking for camping in Clearwater, this gives you great access to pretty much any store or activity you would want, but also a quick 30 minute drive to gems like Honeymoon Island State Park or Caladesi Island State Park. And if you drive a little further, you can go to the main Clearwater beaches (we try to avoid, too crowded!) or Fort Desoto beach which is amazing!


One thing to note is do not rely on Google for your directions to Bay Bayou. We came down I-75 and Google routed us some strange way down Countryway Blvd - which is not big-rig friendly! A lot of trees, speed bumps and generally annoying. Your best bet is to stay on 580 to Double Branch Road. Two easy turns to the entrance of Bay Bayou!

Bay Bayou RV Resort Check-in

The check-in process couldn't be easier.  Pull into the parking lot and go inside to the desk. One thing to note here - Bay Bayou is gated and the front area isn't super large. With our 45 foot rig we felt a little tight when we pulled in (and unhooked our Jeep). But making loop around the bay bayou driveway turned out to be no big deal (click on image to enlarge)

bay bayou rv resort checkin

But Don't Do This!

The actual drive for us into the park was another story! You have the option of letting them guide you to your spot, and if you have a big rig it's worth it!  Our problem was they told us to take the first right after the gate. Christy was leading the way and she looked right and saw RV's blocking the road (new arrivals also).

So She made the decision to drive further down, which turned out to be a bad idea! We had to navigate through a turn that was next to impossible in our 2015 Entegra Cornerstone. If you have a smaller rig, it would not be an issue, but for us it was the most stressful part of the day!

The reason for this was the bad placement of a concrete sewer port right on the corner of a critical turn (click on the image below). Judging by the marks on it, we weren't the first to make this mistake! The good news is we had a lot of help from neighbors navigating this turn and made it safely to our spot.


The lesson learned is to really study the park map (and the mapped route to your destination every time. Ideally, unhook your toad and drive the route before you pull your rig through. Driving a 50,000 lb. motor home is stressful enough - why add to it?


Park Layout

We loved the layout at Bay Bayou - even though it is pretty much a standard grid layout, the large amount of big trees give it a VERY private feel from almost any campsite. And you have your choice of two distinct sections - The older side (about 3/4's of the park) has gravel lots with a small paved patio, more trees, and is somewhat cheaper. Or you can opt for the newest section which has full paved driveways, more big-rig friendly, and somewhat less trees and less established foliage.

We have stayed at both, and find each to have their charm. On the new side, our lot was huge (it was kind of in the corner by the fire pit and that helped) and we had a ton of room to stretch out. On the older side, we were more packed in, but the trees really kept us feeling less cramped and had a nice nature feel to it. We were also closer to the pool and other amenities, which was a bonus! We thought that the gravel would be a big downside, but that turned out to not be that big of deal.



The pool is heated and opened year-round. They hold water aerobics as long as it isn't freezing out! They don't have a separate hot tub, but a section of the pool does have jets for a hot tub-like experience.


hanging at the pool

Fishing and Docks

Being on the Bayou has its advantages - there are docks at the back of the property (one that allows fishing). They also have places to launch a kayak if that's your thing. The only downside is the back of the property faces highway 580 - which is a very busy 4-lane that get get noisy.


view from the dock

Laundry and Bathrooms

Large, clean and updated, the facilities are very nice! Since the property is pretty large, there is actually two laundromats on-site.

Mail Delivery

Sadly, mail delivery has now become a big deal at parks - many are charging fees for packages. For people like us that would be horrible! Luckily, Bay Bayou has free mail service, and is excellent. You get your own mailbox and they promptly sort the packages for your retrieval from the clubhouse. They feed our Amazon addiction very well!


We spent 5 months at Bay Bayou RV Resort, and didn't have a single issue here. They are gated with a key code, and have a roving security patrol at night. That was reassuring, but we never saw any activity that warranted the patrols, and that is a good sign! Even though the park is in an urban area, it is tucked into a pretty upper-middle class area of nice homes and shops. That definitely helps keep the riff-raff out of the park :-)

The Area Around Bay Bayou RV Resort

There is so much to do around this area. Check out our other articles for more details:

Honeymoon Island State Park

Caladesi Island State Park

Olsdmar Trail Hiking

What to do in Clearwater


The People

Since this was the season of Covid, we didn't hang out with people too much (we avoided Covid and are glad we did!). But the people we talked to were super friendly and they have a very welcoming Facebook group for seasonal travelers. 

The staff was super nice and helpful also. They worked hard to make sure we got a seasonal spot when we made a last-minute decision to stay for the winter due to Covid. The price was pretty high, but in-line with what you would expect for Florida during the snowbird season! If we were looking for a Tampa RV Resort, we would definitely come back here!


ducks at bay bayou one of the many ponds beautiful sunsets in Florida!