Go BIG or Go Home
What Happens When A Small-Town Family Visits The "World's Largest"... Whatever!

Bayshore Boulevard: World’s Longest Continuous Sidewalk

NOTE: We don’t limit our Go BIG adventures to just the world’s “largest.” We also have room in our hearts for the world’s longest and tallest! Cause they’re big too, in their own special, linear way.

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

My parents and brother’s family lives in the Tampa Bay area, so we visit regularly. Generally, there is an understood Florida embargo in place for us between the months of April and October, when the average temperature there hovers around 170 degrees. At least, that’s what it feels like to us.  We are heat wimps. We wilt and grow increasingly cranky with the humidity levels.

World's Longest Sidewalk

Drama Girl, still not over “The Sunscreen Incident.”

However, our February ’10 trip was cancelled due to a huge snowstorm in NY, so we rescheduled for late April to coincide with a school holiday.  So the four of us, along with my parents, decided to take a stroll along Bayshore Boulevard, the world’s longest continuous sidewalk, on a hot, sunny day.

WHY did you go there, exactly?

This wasn’t my first time on Bayshore, but it was for the kids.  I lived in Tampa during my high school years, and have been back many times.  I’ve driven along the boulevard many more times than I’ve actually walked it, however, so it was time to experience it on foot.

We almost didn’t get there, actually.  The Girl, who I had slathered liberally with sunscreen prior to leaving the house, had accidentally rubbed some into her eye.  A 30-minute drive filled with wailing and crying set our nerves on end, even before we stepped out into the unforgiving heat. But it was also exactly the excuse we needed to cut short our “Walk on the Surface on the Sun.”

Okay, what was so cool about it?

Fake Pose

I told him "Go pose. Pretend you're pointing at something interesting. Make it look natural."

First, there was a breeze, which was met by our complete gratitude. Our amble was laborious, due mainly to the sweating, and because Matt had to carry the aforementioned 37 lbs. of sniffling drama most of the way.

We strolled along, keeping to the right, as is the unspoken rule. I learned this after nearly being run over by a bicyclist. She rang her happy little bell, which obviously wasn’t intimidating enough for this New Yorker, so I remained unaware on the left until near collision. At regular intervals, semicircular benches protrude over the water from the cement wall, where my withering son sat to sip his drink.

We enjoyed the views of the water, the outdoor art installations, and the architecture. Some of Tampa’s most prestigious homes, many on the National Historic Register, line the street. There is plenty to see, especially when you’re not whining about how hot it is (ahem…cough). Military planes fly low on their descent to the MacDill Air Force base, which sits at one end of the boulevard. Pelicans and other sea birds swoop down for their lunch. Although we didn’t see any, my sister-in-law regularly sites hammerhead sharks, and the occasional dolphin or manatee, swimming in the bay.

It helped that we had some insider scoop from my brother and his wife, who lived in South Tampa for many years. They steered us to the free, shady public parking at the Bayshore Patriots Corner lot on the corner of Bayshore Boulevard and Bay to Bay Boulevard. Parking is also available at Ballast Point Park and Fred Ball Park.

 
 
 

 

Public Art

Look kids! Art!

A little background info about the place:

 

Built in the early 1900’s, Bayshore Boulevard is deemed the world’s longest continuous sidewalk because its 4.5 mile stretch of concrete is not interrupted by cross streets. This 10 foot- wide sidewalk starts at the Columbus Statue Park at Platt Street on the north end, and ends at Gandy Boulevard. It’s an official greenway trail, with amenities like benches, a water fountain, bicycle parking, a city marina and fitness stations. There is also a three mile on-road bike lane along the north-bound lane, between Rome Avenue and Gandy Boulevard. Fifteen cast bronze trail markers are embedded in the sidewalk, denoting each half mile and kilometer southward along the trail.

View From Parking

Parking is across the street. But I really took this pic because I loved the yellow flowers on this plant.

Bayshore Boulevard is also the site of Tampa’s annual Gasparilla parade, a “colorful” (read: drunken revelry) celebration of a legendary pirate invasion.

How it rated on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = snoozefest, 10 = add to your bucket list):
 
 
 

 

 

This is a 4 in my book. Don’t make a trip to Tampa just to walk along Bayshore Boulevard (I’m thinking you probably won’t, but just in case). It is free, picturesque, and great if you’re a runner in need of a good trail.  However, unless you’re part amphibian, skip the venture on any day the humidity levels are 95 percent or higher. Which pretty much just leaves January 10th. Maybe the 11th as well.

Hey you! Go BIG!:

Bayshore Boulevard, Between Platt Street and Gandy Boulevard
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

Tampa Bay & Company (tourism information)

Hot Day Long Walk

Not a cloud in the sky. Not. One. Single. Cloud.

Tampa Things To Do on raveable

6 comments

  1. Mike said,
    July 23, 2010 @ 10:45 am

    I notice that you mentioned your parents and your brother’s family live in the Tampa Bay Area, yet only the four of you and the parents walked the “surface of the sun walk”. Your brother sure sounds like a bright individual opting against the 170 degree adventure. The pictures look beautiful. Maybe a walk down this path in the Tampa “winter” would rank higher on your scale.

  2. Traci said,
    July 23, 2010 @ 10:50 am

    Has everyone met my brother Mike?

  3. Leigh said,
    July 23, 2010 @ 1:44 pm

    I think it deserves more than a 4! You New Yorkers can’t bear the heat, we can hardly manage, but it is a beautiful walk, bike, stroll, run most of the year. Stingrays are regularly sited as well and the houses along the trip are gorgeous!

  4. Lisa said,
    July 23, 2010 @ 10:24 pm

    The pics are great. Maybe bikes might be the way to go next time. Having all the fish, houses, etc. to look at too sounds nice. I think anything to deflect the fact that you are exercising in excruciating heat sounds good to me.
    :) Lisa

  5. Gunnar said,
    July 28, 2010 @ 9:02 am

    Howdy… Nice blog you have here. Looking forward to your future posts.

  6. Jayne said,
    September 21, 2012 @ 5:06 am

    I try and ride my tricycle most days,but I also try to ride just as the sun is coming up. Living just a couple blocks off the Bayshore makes it quite easy. I have MS so most of the time I pack down in Ice before heading out. I have a cute little basket on front for my “baby girl” (my dog) but she is too afraid to sit in the basket for more than 1 or 2 seconds. My husband and his friends run, I just ride my tricycle. He got it for me last year for my Birthday, as I fall off of bikes. LOL

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  1. March 8, 2013 @ 8:48 pm

    […] I  am doing weight/strength training and stretching. I noticed the other day while I ran on the longest continuous sidewalk in the US that my stamina and endurance was at a high level. I think the weight training is adding […]