Southeast,  Travel

A Guide To Largo’s George McGough Nature Park

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Lovingly known as “Turtle Park” for its abundant aquatic turtle population, discover why the George C. McGough Nature Park is a family favorite in Largo, Florida.

The George C McGough Nature Park is a 26-acre park just outside Indian Rocks Beach along the Intracoastal Waterway. The park is great for hiking, watching birds, and immersing yourself in nature.

Map of George C McGough Nature Park
George C McGough Nature Park

A boardwalk weaves through the salt marsh overlooking the Intercoastal Waterway, making it easy to spot wildlife.

The McGough Nature Park also has a Nature Center that houses live animal exhibits, including 22 rescued, non-releasable birds (owls, hawks & an eagle), and offers several environmental education programs.

Where is the George McGough Nature Park

Only minutes from Indian Rocks Beach, just outside the Intercoastal Water Way, is the George McGough Nature Park. The tranquil city park removes you from the bustle of the city to peaceful nature trails. One of many nature parks in Pinellas county, it makes a great day trip from Tampa Bay or Clearwater.

The George McGough Nature Park is one of our Top Things To Do In Indian Rocks Beach!

The following photos offer a visual guide to the preserve.

Upon arriving, guests will find a Nature Park map indicating all points of interest, including the hiking trails. I recommend snapping a photo of this map to refer back to later. It is one of the few hiking tips I do every time, and it always comes in handy when I come to a crossroads on a trail.

Map of George C McGough Nature Park
Map of George C McGough Nature Park

Guests will be captivated by the turtle pond adjacent to the sign. Dozens of resident turtles call this pond home as guests will enjoy seeing them bask in the sun. Park benches and picnic areas are available near the pond. With tons of turtles out sunbathing and swimming, it is one of the most popular spots in the park.

Turtle Pond
Turtle Pond

The George C. McGough Nature Center

Guests can follow the paved walkway to the Narrows Nature Center, which is FREE to all guests. Once inside, there are a variety of birds, amphibians, and reptiles to learn about. The rescued birds are now acting as ambassadors for their species, and visitors can learn about their injuries and why they play such an important part in our ecosystem.

McGough Nature Park Nature Center
George McGough Nature Park Nature Center

Bird Sanctuary

The Nature Center acts as a bird Sanctuary for over 22 birds of prey. These birds are permanently injured and can not be released back into the wild. From a bald eagle to small owls, these injured birds of prey are in enclosures around the Nature Center.

Live bird enclosures at the park
Live bird enclosures at the park

Their stories are sad, with many having permanent damage to their eyesight and wings from accidents. However, they act as ambassadors for their species in their new home at the nature park. If you are lucky, you may come at feeding time!

Enjoy The Trails

Nature trails are a great way to see the natural beauty of Florida. One trail is a comfortable, rubberized walking trail perfect for strollers. Majestic palms tower above, giving the appearance of a tropical jungle as ferns and brightly colored plants carpet the ground.

Nice rubberized nature trail in Largo Florida
Nice rubberized nature trail in Largo Florida

The boardwalk is a magical spot that leads to an overlook of the Intercoastal Waterway, where freshwater mixes with saltwater, forming brackish water. One of my favorite areas was walking through the Mesic Hammock, known as the shady oak hammock. A gorgeous closed canopy forest where the dominant plant species are broad-leaved evergreen trees.

Shady Oak Hammock
Shady Oak Hammock

Venture over mangroves in the saltwater warsh while trying to spot the different birds.

The Shell Trail
The Shell Trail

Hike on top of crushed shells along the shell trail to extend your nature walk.

Tip: The rubberized walking trail will take guests to the boardwalk.


Zip Line at McGough Nature Park
Zip Line at McGough Nature Park

There is a small playground inside the nature park. The kids will love the zip-line and swings. However, I noticed that they consistently ran back to play with dead palm branches. The playground area also has a small play structure and a slide.

Where Do I Park At The McGough Nature Park?

There is a FREE parking lot for visitors to the park. On busy days when the lot is full, guests can look for street parking on the nearby subdivision streets.

Visit George McGough Nature Park

You can visit the park located at 11901 146th St N, Largo, FL 33774, and you can find more information about the preserve, including events going on at various times throughout the year at Play Largo.

Looking for another great nature park to explore? Check out Indian Rocks Beach Nature Preserve!

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