Tampa’s Park System Is Ranked 1st in Florida, 34th in the Nation

The city of TAMPA is among the best city in the nation in developing and maintaining parks for its residents and guests. It is the best in the state of Florida, surpassing the more populated cities of Miami and Jacksonville.


In a ranking made by the nonprofit The Trust for Public Land (TPL), TAMPA ranked 34th among the 75 largest cities in the country. The cities were graded based on the following:

  • median park size
  • total acreage of parkland compared to city area
  • percent of residents within one-half mile of a park
  • amount of spending per resident
  • number of playgrounds per 10,000 residents
  • dog parks per 10,000 residents
  • basketball hoops per 10,000 residents
  • and recreation centers or senior centers per 10,000 residents

Tampa got a TPL ParkScore index of 56.5, scoring high in number of playgrounds, recreation or senior centers, dog parks and basketball hoops per 10,000 residents which makes  basketball shoes of high demand. TPL also cited the following parks for certain honors:

  • Oldest municipal park: Plant Park, established in 1905
  • Largest municipal park: Picnic Island Bayou, 389 acres
  • Most-visited municipal park: Bayshore Boulevard Linear Park

Here’s an excerpt of the TPL ranking, showing how Tampa ranks with Miami and Jacksonville, the top 5 and the last 5 and other popular cities:

1. Minneapolis, Minnesota 84.0
2. St. Paul, Minnesota 84.0
3. Washington, D.C. 81.0
4. San Francisco, California 77.5
5. New York City 76.5
12. Chicago, Illinois 70.0
34. TAMPA, Florida 56.5
35. Las Vegas, Nevada 56.0
40. Miami, Florida 50.0
51. Los Angeles, California 46.0
68. Jacksonville, Florida 38.5
70. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 36.0
72. Louisville, Kentucky 32.5
73. Indianapolis, Indiana 32.0
74. Charlotte, North Carolina 31.0
74. Fresno, California 31.0

One way to search parks and recreation facilities in Tampa is to use the city government’s TAMPA PARK FINDER.

  • You can search parks near your location
  • You can search by:
    . zip code or address. park name, whether in part or whole name. amenity, like canoe or kayak launch, boat ramp, natural trails, improved trails, with restrooms, dog beach, dog park, golf, grills, playground, pool, picnic shelters, skate park, tennis courts, and sand volleyball courts.
  • You can switch between the map view and the list view.

Most Popular Public Parks in Tampa, based on park goers’ positive reviews on TripAdvisor, Yelp and Google+ and on their inclusion in many review sites:

  • Al Lopez Park
  • Picnic Island Park
  • The Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
  • Bayshore Linear Park Trail
  • Lettuce Lake Regional Park
  • Ballast Point Park
  • Cypress Point Park
  • Flatwoods Wilderness Park
  • Tampa Water Works Park
  • Morris Bridge Park
  • Contachobee Fort Brooke Park
  • Courtney Campbell Trail
  • Copeland Park
  • West Park Dog Park
  • MacDill Park
  • Davis Islands Dog Park
  • MacFarlane Park
  • Desoto Park
  • Gadsden Park
  • Upper Tampa Bay Park
  • Copeland Park
  • Rowlett Park
  • Eureka Springs Park
  • Lowry Park

Ten Parks Along the Tampa Riverwalk:
1. Water Works Park
2. Riverfront Park
3. Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
4. Plant Park
5. MacDill Park
6. Tony Jannus Park
7. USF Park
8. Columbus Park
9. Convention Center Park
10. Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park

19 Parks Where You Can Access the Hillsborough River:
1. Hillsborough River State Park
2. Dead River Park
3. Sargeant Park
4. Morris Bridge Park
5. Trout Creek Park
6. Lettuce Lake Park
7. Rotary Park
8. Riverhills Park
9. Rowlett Park
10. Sulphur Springs Park
11. River Tower Park
12. Lowry Park
13. Epps Park
14. River Boulevard
15. Riverside Garden Park
16. Waterworks Park
17. Riverfront Park
18. Curtis Hixon/Riverwalk
19. Plant Park/University of Tampa