Florida Scenic Highway: Courtney Campbell, Connecting Tampa and Clearwater
Length: 9.5 miles
How to get around: Car or bicycle.
Best time to visit: Late winter or early spring, when air temperatures are cool enough for biking or walking along the Courtney Campbell Trail and the water is warm enough to sit a spell at Ben T. Davis Beach, both of which run parallel to the highway.
Fun fact: The Courtney Campbell Bridge is named for the late Courtney W. Campbell, a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1950s.
For more info: Visit courtneycampbell.org.
Bill Jonson will always remember his first trip across the Courtney Campbell Causeway.
“When I came down here for a job interview in ‘84 and landed at the airport, I headed west on the Courtney Campbell and I said, ‘Wow. This is neat,’” he said.
Today, Jonson drives across the Courtney Campbell Bridge regularly as a City of Clearwater councilman and the founder and president of Citizens for a Scenic Florida. But more than three decades after Jonson’s first visit, the view never gets old.
From herons and plovers circling above to dolphins, manatees and mullets congregating in the mangroves below, the road offers a visual feast for drivers, bikers and folks fishing off the bridge.
“The water clarity in Tampa Bay is usually primo in early March,” said Maya Burke, senior environmental planner with the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council. “The bay just sparkles. It’s a nice shade of aqua blue.”
The only thing that could enhance that view is a great meal. Try Oystercatchers Restaurant, a classy-yet-casual spot inside Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay that offers spectacular vistas of Tampa Bay and one of the best brunches in town.