Tampa Day Trip: Bok Tower Gardens

A little over an hour east from Tampa is Bok Tower Gardens. This garden sanctuary was a 5 year project, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. You may recognize his name, as he is the son of Olmsted Senior who designed the landscapes of the Biltmore Estate, landmarks in Washington D.C. and Central Park in New York City.

When visiting, I would recommend setting aside 2-5 hours depending on what you want to do while there. Although it’s one big garden, there are a variety of differently designed gardens on the property. Some are use a focal point of a reflecting pool, or a field; others are boardwalk trails, while others focus more on covering and shade for animals or a specific grouping of plants.

There’s also a kid’s garden, a cafe to eat, a gift shop, and an old estate on the property. The time you spend here just depends on how much you want to see. I’d still recommend at least an afternoon. If you’re very into plants or birds, I would recommend a full day.

On the website, there’s an itinerary that lists what to do for the number of hours you plan to spend there. It’s very helpful when making plans.

Something else to consider is the weather. I visited on a hot day over the summer so there weren’t as many people as there may be in other months of the year. There are some places with shade, but some of the trails are in the wide open, so just something to keep in mind as you plan your day.

If you’re would like to explore the area further, or are looking for a place to eat, I’d recommend checking out some of the places below.

– Legoland
– Tiger Creek Preserve
– Lake Kissimmee State Park
– Spook Hill
– Downtown Lakeland

– Concord Coffee
– Black and Brew Coffee

– The Joinery
– Craft & Kitchen
– Crunchy Crab
– Fish City Grill
– Red Door Lakeland
– Yard on Mass

Happy Travels!