Cockroach Bay Preserve State Park is a series of islands in the south eastern region of Tampa Bay. The islands are located in the mouth of the Little Manatee River and extend southward along the shore of Tampa Bay.
The islands are only accessible by water using private watercraft. There are two canoe/kayak paddling trails that are maintained by the Florida Coastal Office, that meander through the Aquatic Preserve that surround the Islands.
The islands total acreage is 617, of that, about 500 acres are mangrove swamp. It is a fisherman or bird watcher’s paradise. The islands do not have any facilities on them so you will need to plan your trip accordingly and remember to “pack it in, then pack it out.”
Horseshoe crabs were once so abundant along the shores of Florida’s west coast that early Spanish explorers called them cockroaches, believing them to be seagoing cousins of the insects. Many people believe that is how Cockroach Bay received its unlikely name.
The nearest public boat ramp is located west of Highway 41 at the end of Cockroach Bay Road, 4 miles north of the Manatee County line.