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Florida Guide > State Parks

Skyway Fishing Pier State Park

One could be forgiven for asking where this is, and what is its significance. . . well this is the only State Park I know that is man-made and full of concrete. Still none the wiser? ? In that case I will attempt to explain.

We came across the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park purely by accident. It was a lovely sunny day in late February and we had decided to drive over to the Gulf Coast. After spending some time visiting the beach communities of Indian Shores and Treasure Island we then drove over to Saint Petersburg for a spot of lunch. As none of us had ever crossed Tampa Bay via the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which links Saint Petersburg with Bradenton, we thought it a good idea do so and then head back to Orlando via Interstate 75 North and then connect with Interstate 4 East.

The approach to the bridge is breathtaking as the stunning architecture of the high-rise section comes into view. The yellow painted steel supports radiating outwards from the two central pillars provide an awesome sight to the approaching motorist. It was only at this point that we started to look for a photo stop. We had already missed the chance to pull into a rest area and fishing pier at the north end of the bridge but fortunately a similar opportunity presented itself at the southern end.

We virtually doubled back on ourselves along a pier running parallel to the main road and reached a pay booth where we were very surprised to find ourselves entering the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park. At $3 for sightseeing (or around $11 if you wanted a fishing permit for the day) this represents very good value for money. Along the length of the pier, which must be around a mile and a half long, the views of the Skyway Bridge are superb but, as a bonus, there is also an abundance of wildlife to behold.

During our visit we saw cormorants and pelicans as well as a school of dolphins swimming by, just a matter of feet away. The anglers dotted along the pier at regular intervals were happy to share their ‘fishy’ tales with us as they waited for the snapper to bite.

In the center of the pier is a fishing tackle shop that also doubles as a coffee shop and it was here we discovered something quite fascinating. I am not going to spoil your visit by revealing all in this article, but suffice it to say that the present day north and south piers were once part of the old Skyway Bridge that collapsed as a result of a tragic shipping accident in 1980…. to find out more you will have to come and see for yourself.

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Page added on: 26 June 2007
Viewed 4113 times since 1 September 2008.

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