Part of my daily routine with my son is to get outside and bask in the lovely Florida weather, no matter the time of year. Winter in Florida may be my favorite season of all. A rainy cold front moves through, creating clear skies and cool breezes for a few days afterwards. And then it goes back to beautiful days in the mid to high seventies. There’s a reason why we have so many snowbirds here in the winter – there’s no place better, especially if you don’t care for snow.
The majority of the time we go to parks. My ultimate goal is to make it to all the playgrounds in central Pinellas county, where we live, and then expand our hunt for the best one from there. What I’ve found so far is that no park is the best all the time. Some provide great shade under tents, some are in nature parks, some have splash pads, and some are wonderful for cool, sunny days like we are having right now. Thus, my focus today is on the best winter weather playgrounds where I live, in the no-man’s land of unincorporated Pinellas county which could be Seminole, Largo, or Pinellas Park. These playgrounds are big on sun, with not much shade or tented coverings, so they are perfect for winter. Here are four of my sunny favorites, listed geographically from north to south central Pinellas:
Sunshine Limitless Playground at the Long Center
Located at 1501 N. Belcher Rd in Clearwater, this is my son, Henry’s, current favorite. It’s a bit of a drive from where we live, but it never disappoints. The nicely fenced in complex has accessible ramps for all kids to enjoy. Henry calls it, “the horn playground” because it has a musical instrument section with horns, drums, and chimes.
Eagle Lake Park
Located at 1800 Keene Rd in Largo, this park is part of the county’s system and includes a large playground for kids to run around. Henry loves the tractor-shaped climbing apparatus and swings. Other draws are the playground’s location next to a turtle pond (they love bread and lettuce!) and its extensive paved trails.
George C. McGough Nature Park
Located at 11901 146th St N in Largo, this park’s playground is not great following a storm (it tends to flood) or when it’s hot (black rubber ground material and no shade means it gets incredibly warm), but dry and cool winter days make this a perfect place to play. There are big animals to climb, tunnels to burrow through, and swings to fly on in this fenced playground. There are also paved, gravel/dirt, and boardwalk trails leading to the intracoastal, as well as a fun nature center with rescued birds and reptiles, and a turtle pond where you can feed the hundreds of turtles with food purchased from the center. The center and trails are a blast in all seasons, but the playground is really best in winter.
Seminole City Park
Located at 7464 Ridge Rd in Seminole right on the Pinellas Trail, this park has multiple climbing structures for kids of all ages. If you and your child like to feed ducks, geese, and other birds, then bring some old bread and feed the hoards of birds here (just know that you will be swarmed like something out of a Hitchcock film). We love how the playground equipment is all together, but still separate enough that each climbing apparatus feels like a new park.