DAVIS ISLANDS — The beaches and parks of this waterfront community just south of downtown Tampa were crowded with people out to enjoy the beautiful weather Saturday afternoon.
Sunbathers stretched on towels on the small beach, listening to the calls of gulls flying overhead and water slapping the sides of sailboats in the marina’s basin.
Dozens of pet owners were at the newly-refurbished dog beach, watching as their pups made mad dashes in and out of the water.
And a group of about 20 friends spread out in the park, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a game of “beer ball” — which they describe as whiffle ball with drinking cups as gloves and a keg for third base.
“It’s gorgeous,” said player Kadie Scofield about the weather. “It’s a perfect day for beer ball.”
Spring doesn’t begin officially until Thursday, but Saturday’s weather was a nice preview. There was hardly a cloud in the sky and Tampa’s temperatures reached a pleasant 75 degrees.
Claire Brueck was among those taking advantage of it on Davis Islands. She came from St. Petersburg to enjoy the day on one of the area’s smaller, less-crowded beaches.
She and a friend, Valerie Pendino, brought their dogs to splash around for the day at the dog beach.
“It’s a beautiful day, and it’s our happy place,” Pendino said. “I’m actually surprised there’s not more people out here.”
Off the beach — and away from the beer ball field — other people were walking dogs, riding bikes or picnicking in the shade. There wasn’t a parking spot to be found in a lot near the boat ramp.
“It’s perfect,” said Lezeth Alfaro, who was at the beach with her 10-month-old lab-chow puppy, Meeko. “I want it to stay just like this.”
The sunny weather is expected to continue today, with a high temperature of 81 degrees in Tampa. There’s a chance of rain tonight before thunderstorms roll in Monday.