(Last Updated On: January 9, 2023)
Picnic pavillion at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park

Picnic pavillion at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park. Photo: No machine-readable author provided. Philipp Michel Reichold assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Four miles of beautiful Gulf coastline, expansive salt marshes, tidal creeks and lush mangroves may be found close to Port Richey, 40 miles north of Tampa. This beautiful area, inside Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park, offers visitors a chance to fish, bird watch, picnic, hike and paddle out into the Gulf of Mexico.

There are three separate entrances to this serene Florida state park: The main entrance (8737 US 19) features boardwalks, hiking trails, a picnic area and restrooms, concessions and a canoe launch; the Scenic Drive Trail Head (10333 Scenic Drive) features a short hiking trail, an information kiosk and a picnic area; and the Black Rail Trail Head (6641 State Road 52).

Activities

Spend a peaceful day paddling, hiking, fishing, picnicking, birdwatching and more inside Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park. Pack a picnic lunch and paddle over to nearby Durney Key where you can take a refreshing dip in the Gulf of Mexico.

Picnic areas with pavilions, tables, grills, restrooms and concessions are available to make your visit more comfortable. A nature boardwalk, viewing platforms and interpretive exhibits highlight native flora and fauna as well as some history of this area.

Here are some of the activities that you can do during your visit to Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park:

Boating at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park

Pick up a map and explore the expansive salt marsh under lush mangroves. Guests are encouraged to bring their own kayaks or canoes (or rent them inside the park at Salty Dog Kayak Rentals) and launch from anywhere along the shoreline inside this beautiful secluded area along the coast. A canoe launch is also available inside the main entrance.

The extensive Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail and the 5 mile paddling trail, the Pithlachascotee River Trail, may be accessed here.

Hiking at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park

Three separate trail heads, one at each of the entrances, may be accessed within Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park. These entrances and trail heads are located at 8737 US 19 (Main Entrance), 10333 Scenic Drive (Scenic Drive Trailhead), and 6641 State Road 52 (Black Rail Trailhead).

Here are a couple of the trails at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park:

  • Salt Springs Trail – This easy 0.9 mile trail winds through pine flatwoods, oak hammocks, scrub, marsh and mangroves and is an excellent trail for wildlife viewing.
  • Black Rail Trail – A moderate 0.7 mile trail through pines, red cedars and sabal palms and out to the salt marsh along the Gulf of Mexico. Prepare ahead by wearing the appropriate shoes – this trail tends to get very muddy.

Biking at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park

Bikes are allowed throughout the park and on all of the trails. Helmets are required for all riders under the age of 16.

Fishing at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park

Pack your angling gear and pick up a Florida fishing license and spend a relaxing day inside Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park. Guests may fish from their canoes or kayaks for a chance to catch trout, snapper, flounder, snook, redfish, tarpon, whiting and sheepshead.

Interpretive Displays at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park

Many interpretive exhibits are placed along the trails and in various locations throughout Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park. Each display features informative information about the park’s history, flora or fauna.

Here are a few interesting ones to look out for:

  • The Mullet Boat Kiosk – Learn more about the 25 foot mullet skiff that is located inside the main part of the park. Mullet fishing was popular here from the 1920s until the 1980s.
  • The Turpentine Kiosk – Look for this sign along the Salt Springs Trail and learn more about turpentining, including its purpose, methods and tools that were used during the late 1800s.
  • The Salt Works – This display, located near the Salt Spring, shows and tells about salt production here. Two more interpretive kiosks detail methods, history and the tools that were used during the mid to late 1800s.

Birding at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park

Don’t forget your binoculars, you may need them as you wander along the 4 miles of undisturbed coastline and past tidal creeks, salt marshes, pine flatwoods, and lush hammock. Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park is a bird lovers’ paradise and it offers prime viewing locations along the trails. Bird guides are mounted on each viewing platform.

Here are some of the many birds that you may see during your visit: Bald eagles, American Oystercatchers, Caspian Terns, Roseate Spoonbills, White Ibis, Great Blue Heron, Wood Storks, American Robin, Gray Kingbird, Sedge Wren, Seaside Sparrows, and Reddish Egret.

Nature and Wildlife at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park

Gopher tortoises, birds, gray foxes, Florida black bear, alligators, snakes, lizards, otters, dolphins and manatees are just some of the many wildlife creatures that live within Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park. Pay close attention and you may get a glimpse of the mangrove crab. This unique crab can walk straight ahead, straight back and sideways.

Pets at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park

Pets are allowed within Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park but must remain on a hand held leash no longer than 6 feet.

Camping at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park

Rustic Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park features a group camping area intended for youth groups but occasionally open for adult groups as well. This large campsite is close to park restrooms. For more information contact the ranger station at 727-816-1890.

Camping Near Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park

Nearby Anclote Key Preserve State Park, in Tarpon Springs, offers primitive camping sites near soft sandy beaches and clear greenish-blue water. These campsites, accessible only by boat, are located along the north end of Anclote Key, and are ideal for adventurous souls who desire to spend the night on the key.

Picnic tables, grills, a pavilion and a composting restroom are available on site but not fresh water. Visitors who plan to spend the night are encouraged to bring plenty of drinking water, food, and sunscreen along with their regular camping supplies.

Swim, snorkel, collect shells, fish, camp and explore the picturesque 1887 lighthouse during your visit to this island paradise.

Park Location

Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park
8737 US-19
Port Richey, FL 34668
Phone: 727.816.1890

Website

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park: