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Trip report: Nov. 2013

Terra Ceia... Tampa Bay's last undeveloped shoreline

Terra Ceia, including Terra Ceia Aquatic Preserve (25,000 acres) and Terra Ceia Preserve State Park (1,900 acres), is the last undeveloped shoreline along Tampa Bay. We paddled within Bishop Harbor and Hell's Half Acre, a small portion of the total paddling available. Frog Creek is another popular paddling destination, we'll visit on another trip. (Detailed map and photos below.)

Paddle Terra Ceia

Distance: varies
Location: Manatee County (Terra Ceia)
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Tidal: Yes
Launch points: Bishop Harbor, Frog Creek (See map)
Nearby points of interest: Tampa, Terra Ceia Preserve State Park, Madira Bickel Mound State Archaeological Site


Frog Creek Kayaking  (rentals)

Terra Ceia... Comments and Photos

Paddling is available throughout the area, including Bishop Harbor Blueway trail, Frog Creek and Terra Ceia Paddling Trail, and consists of submerged and wetland areas including oyster bars and seagrass, and open water, bays and creeks with diverse natural communities.

Paddling at Bishop Harbor

We paddled around Bishop Harbor and into Hells Half Acre on the 3-mile Bishop Harbor Blueway trail. Surrounded by mangrove and mostly shallow, the harbor is great for fishing, sightseeing, bird watching, and wildlife viewing.

Channel off the Harbor

We paddled on a channel off the harbor - narrow and twisting, leading to a lake.


Great for birdwatching! Wildlife include herons, egrets, cormorants and other birds, dolphins are seen, mullet, redfish, tarpon, snook and other fish. Several species of bats are also found at Terra Ceia, important for insect control.

About Terra Ceia Preserve State Park

Terra Ceia Preserve State Park consists of mangrove hammocks and forests, plus wetland communities. There are no restrooms or water available. Recreational activities include fishing and boating, and bird watching and nature study are popular. Archaeological evidence in the area dates to 8,000 BC and includes the Madira Bickel Mound State Archeological Site.


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