Emerson Point Preserve

5801 17th St. W, Palmetto, 34221
(941) 721-6885
hours vary by season

sunset

Emerson Point forms the western tip of Snead Island, where visitors will experience more than 4,500 years of history and will find a wealth of amazing birds and wildlife. Including a paved trail that runs along the road through the entire preserve, over 6 miles of trails and boardwalks can be explored; 9 trails wind through uplands, tropical hammocks of Gumbo Limbo and Live Oak trees, coastal berm, and mangrove estuary. From the entrance road or paved trail, check the freshwater wetlands for Mottled Duck, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Wood Stork and Roseate Spoonbill. At the first parking area lies the 1,200-year-old Portavant Temple Mound and shell midden complex. Wander the series of short trails here, looking and listening for songbirds. The longer, multi-use North and South Restoration Trails can also be accessed from here. Continue west to the next parking area, climb the hill to an observation tower with a vantage of the Manatee River, Terra Ceia Bay and Tampa Bay. Magnificent Frigatebird soar overhead as you take in the spectacular view. At the third parking area, quickly check the pond across the road for shorebirds and waders and then hop on the 1-mile Terra Ceia Trail, which has mangroves and three overlooks of Terra Ceia Bay. You can also launch a kayak here to paddle the Blueway Trail through the mangroves to Terra Ceia Bay. At the far west end of the preserve, another shell midden provides a good observation point, and the Beach Walk Trail leads through mangroves and hammock. The preserve supports a small number of Mangrove Cuckoos.

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