About a quarter of a mile north of Economy Tackle is Phillippi Estate Park. An wide expanse of green grass, picnic spots, shady trees, walking paths, and three docks where you can cast a rod, or just sit and enjoy the view.
A sign in the parking lot marks the way. Follow the long sidewalk straight across the park to the dock. Tucked next to it is a narrow shell/sand beach where kayaks can launch. The water is shallow and calm and makes for an easy place to hop in and out.
If you decide on an easy, flat-water paddle, turn right (east) out of the launch. Go under the bridge and follow the creek as far as you like. It’s quiet and calm. You’ll see lots of birds, and beautiful homes and sometimes manatees when the tide is in.
Pinecraft Park is about 3 miles up the creek. Another nice spot for a launch. Many paddlers go between the two parks using the other for a resting / picnic spot. Round trip is about 6 miles.
If you’re up for a bigger water, head left (west) out of the launch. Shortly you’ll find yourself on the Intracoastal waterway. Go right (north) and you’ll enter Roberts Bay. Near the north end of the bay is the Roberts Bay Bird Colony. In 2008 a breakwater was built to protect nesting bird colonies on the mangrove islands there. As always, paddle with respect for wildlife. Remember to keep your distance so you do not cause stress to parents or their young.
In the middle of the bay are the Edwards Islands. Pull up on the south side of the big island for a really cool picnic spot. Beware: rocks and oyster beds cover the shore here. Wear shoes.
Phillippi Estate Park is located at 5500 S. Tamiami Trail / US41 in Sarasota. It is 2 miles south of Bee Ridge Road and about 1 mile north of Stickney Point Road. The park is on the west side of US41 at the traffic light where Constitution Blvd. ends.
Take the first left back to a shaded parking lot and you’ll find pavilions and restrooms. The launch is across the park to the north.
- Be careful of your Mirage Drive if you have a Hobie pedal kayak. Watch the depth of water before dropping it in and be mindful throughout your paddle of oyster beds and shallow areas.
- For all paddlers, mind the oyster beds near the launch site. When loading and unloading they can scratch your boat, and/or cut your hands and feet.
- If paddling the creek, check the tide. When the tide is out you can run into extremely shallow water, and in some spots you could have trouble getting through.
Enjoy your paddling adventures! See you on the water!