TAMPA — Joanne Brownrigg and her family didn't intend to spend the day at Cypress Point Park.
She stumbled upon the little beach near the east end of the Howard Frankland Bridge after getting a passport for her grandson. Then Brownrigg, who lives in St. Petersburg, invited the rest of her family to join her there.
“I called them and said, 'Come on down,' ” she said, standing beneath one of the park's shaded picnic areas and holding her 4-month-old granddaughter. “It's pretty nice and quiet.”
Cypress Point was crowded on sunny Saturday afternoon, as families came to enjoy the beach, the playground and canoe launches. Two of the covered pavilions were reserved for a family reunion and a baby shower, and a group of friends occupied the beach volleyball court for a noon game. A food truck was parked in the busy parking lot, selling hot dogs and hamburgers to visitors.
The waterfront park is tucked behind corporate and medical offices off Cypress Street in the city's Westshore District, about one mile from busy Westshore Boulevard. It provides visitors a close-up view of Tampa Bay, the Howard Frankland Bridge and planes soaring down in to land at Tampa International Airport.
Tampa's parks and recreation department, which manages Cypress Point Park, describes it as a “relatively undiscovered treasure” on the city's website.
“It worked out,” Brownrigg said about the park. “And (the water) is not real deep right here, so it's good for little kids.”
The airplanes flying overhead were an extra perk for her 3-year-old grandson, who loves to watch them.
Amanda Parker, who was at the beach with her two children and some of her nieces and nephews, has been going there for years. After a few hours playing in the sand and surf, she led her group to showers outside the restrooms to rinse off before heading home in their car.
She likes that she doesn't have to drive across Tampa Bay into Pinellas County to enjoy the beach on a nice day.
“It's just so secluded,” Parker said of Cypress Point. “And nobody knows about it.”