West Central Florida Map
West Central Florida Windsurfing Sites
Click on a pointer for more information about that particular launch.
- Red pointers indicate inland launches
- Green pointers indicate beach/ocean launches
From our old site. These will be moved to appropriate pages over time:
- Tierra Verde/ Ft. Desoto Pk. Exit 5 (FL-682, Pinellas Bwy) off I-275 to the west towards St. Pete Beach. Go through .50 toll and make left at second stop light on FL-679, towards Ft. Desoto Park. On the left of the causeway to Tierra Verde (before 1st drawbridge) is shallow and great for novice to slalom sailing. Works best on E and S but will work for anything in a big blow or light air. Its shallow (check the tides) and weedy in the summer. Ft. Desoto Park has more challenging conditions as it is on the pass out of Tampa Bay (i.e. currents and chop). Tom Mabrey's notes: "Can be very shallow at low tide or sand bar where you park can be flooded at extreme high tide (normally during big storms, park on grass if this is the case.) Water stays flatter than Skyway or North Shore. Good on Easterly or East/ South Easterly. Can be nice if you are looking for a less exposed area on a strong Northerly. Also you can sail on other side on other side on westerly. Bring your booties. Lots of stuff to cut feet on. No parking fees."
- Dunedin Causeway. West on Curlew Creek Rd (Fl 586) from US 19. From I-275 take Hillsborough Ave. west (Fl 580, Fl 584 after you pass Oldsmar). In two miles turn left on 586. Alternatively, or from the south on 275 take Courtney Campbell Causeway to US 19 N. Left on 586. Because of the lack of windshadows and exposure, the causeway works from just about any direction.
- Fred Howard Park. US 19 North of Crystal Beach and west of Tarpon Springs. Take Klosterman Rd west and follow signs after crossing Alt. 19. Since the writer is of Greek descent, he can highly recommend having dinner in Tarpon Springs after your session. Works well from any direction except possibly direct east.
- The following St. Pete spots are courtesy of Tom Mabrey:
- The Sunshine Skyway bridge north approach. Just take 275 south from St. Pete. Go through the $1.00 toll, exit at the first rest stop, about 2 miles after toll, go left underneath 275 and follow access road around to the beach area. I would recommend stopping on the right side before you get to the big sandy area. The grass is a great rigging area. Easterlies blow early and end early this time of year. Get out about 7:00 am and you will probably be out of wind by 11:00/12:00. The skyway is great bump and jump. I would definately suggest booties. Bare feet can get cut up pretty good out there. No parking fees."
- North Shore Park. Near the Pier in picturesque downtown St. Pete. Good grass launch, no parking meters. Sand bar/grass flat about 300 yds off shore. Best on a strong North East. Get out early again, go home early. Great spot if you are near downtown. Bump and Jump."
- Tierra Verde Causeway. See above for combined notes.
- Fort Desoto Park. East beach. Go to Tierra Verde Causeway. Go over Draw bridge and straight ahead. Follow signs out to Ft. Desoto St. Park. (.35 cent toll access.) At T in road go left to first parking area on right (just past ranger station.) It is quite a walk to water past the kids play ground. Fresh water, nice bathrooms, great on South/South easterly and South, and West. Bump and Jump. Strong currents off shore, but nothing too serious if you are comfortable with water starting or very proficient with the long board. Bring your rollerblades, bike, running shoes if it doesn't blow. There is a real nice trail for recreational use. No fees."
- Like Waves? on the Gulf coast? (I know, an oxymoron) Passegrille Beach, Upham Beach, or behind any of the hotels on St. Pete Beach work best on N, NW, W, SW. The waves ain't real pretty but it is fun. All the beach's charge .25 per 25minutes! Big bucks on a long northerly but worth it. The windsurfers are at the north end of Passegrille (where public parking starts for the beach.) The surfers are at Upham and it can be real nice for sailing but you have to deal with the agro. scene. "It's our turf, waaaaaah!" You know. On the north side of Upham is Sunset Pass. Launch on the extreme southern end of Sunset Beach and sail the pass. It can be real nice. Also further north toward John's Pass is the public parking north of the draw bridge. Sailing there on a higher tide can be nice as well if you are staying on the northern Pinellas beaches. For accurate directions to Passegrille, Upham, Sunset, or John's Pass ask a local liquor store clerk, bait store clerk, cop, hotel front desk person... whom ever. Most folks down here know those beaches pretty well and should be able to get you good directions. Ed.Note: Passegrille is at the extreme southend of St. Pete Beach. Go south along the beach till you can't go anymore. A couple of the bar/restaurants (I forget the names, it's been awhile) make wonderful spots to have a post-sesh brew, grouper sandwich and watch the sunset- especially with your sweetie.
- My favorite for North, North West, and South West is Ft. Desoto Park NORTH BEACH. Remember the directions above? Well when you get to the T in the road go right. Follow the road till it don't go no mo'. Turn into the last parking lot on the left. Make a right. Drive to the very northern end of the lot. Great big rigging areas, fresh water, rest rooms. Rig and walk out to beach (over the river and through the woods...really..., then walk across little bay (very shallow) to sand bar and sail on the gulf side of the sand bar. Great sailing on a North or North West. South West can be nice. West is on shore and can be very challenging. Negatives: Long, Long walk with equipment over the grass and then across to sand bar. Bummer when you need to rig something else also. Positives: Worth it! No crowd or very little crowd, great sailing, super facility. No fees. Great picnicking!"