Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Parrish, FL

  • Published 2022/09/17

Strategically located at the center of several major destinations in Florida, the community of Parrish has dramatically evolved from an agricultural locality to a modern and flourishing zone.

History reveals that Parrish’s area was previously called “The Oak Hill Plantation,” an estate for Sea Island cotton.

Its name comes from one of the first residents in the community, a man named Crawford Parrish.

Crawford eventually bought the land and turned it into a farm with abundant citrus and tobacco.

They also raised cattle and hogs in Parrish during that time.

In the past years, growth has become unstoppable, reaching a population of more than 50,000.

Parrish is home to big real estate projects, shopping malls, golf clubs, and town centers.

If you plan to spend your next vacation in this modern community with a rich history, here are the best things to do in Parrish, Florida:

Learn about Parrish’s Heritage at the Florida Railroad Museum

Locomotive at Florida Railroad Museum

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Established in 1982 to preserve the railroad history of Florida, the Florida Railroad Museum allows you to see the exhibits and ride on them.

Train rides are available on weekends only, with the rail running from Parrish to Willow.

Museum gift shop of Florida Railroad Museum

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Florida Railroad Museum shows how railroading thrived in Florida, especially from the 1940s to the 1950s.

While inside the museum, you can choose whether you want to ride in a train with open windows or an air-conditioned car.

Daytime view of Florida Railroad Museum

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Train ride options also vary depending on your choice of activity.

You can see Santa in the North Pole Express or enjoy arts and crafts in the Pumpkin Patch Express.

One of the locomotives of Florida Railroad Museum

Railfan99, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Have a Picnic at Fort Hamer Park

The beautiful sight of the Manatee River will greet you during a visit to Fort Hamer Park.

The seven-acre property is accessible via Fort Hamer Road.

You have a picnic along the river banks while enjoying time with your family.

Others prefer Fort Hamer Park for fishing and boating.

Catfish and redfish are among the varieties of catch at Fort Hamer Park.

Rowing facilities are also installed here for enthusiasts of the sport.

Other amenities include floating docks, restrooms, a pavilion, and a rowing training facility.

Train to Be an Equestrian at Tarawin Farm

Home to lush greenery and well-maintained stables, Tarawin Farm, provides training for both horses and their riders.

Trainer Tara Martinez offers basic riding techniques to professional training for shows and competitions.

Programs for kids and adults are crafted individually to meet the target of each learner.

Lessons also happen either privately or semi-privately.

Apart from training in horseback riding, Tarawin Farm also offers full boarding of horses and veterinary care for these animals.

The Tarawin Farm also hosts horse shows and competitions, which gather crowds in the Parrish community.

If you are into horseback riding, do not forget to visit Tarawim Farm for an unforgettable experience during your trip.

Try Wine Tasting at Bunker Hill Vineyard

Handcrafted wine is the most well-known offering at the local winery Bunker Hill Vineyard.

The owners of this vineyard started planting their vines more than 20 years ago and then produced their first wine bottle in 2009.

A year after, the Bunker Hill Vineyard opened to the public.

This winery’s more than 40 varieties come from the vineyard’s grapes.

Bunker Hill Vineyard also boasts that all its wines are unfiltered, meaning that all the grapes’ nutrients remain intact.

Despite being unfiltered, their wines still appear clear.

Bunker Hill Vineyard offers wine tasting along with a lecture about unfiltered wines.

You can taste up to six wines during the tasting and try their other products, like jellies and jams.

Marvel at the Beauty of Nature at the Rye Preserve

Trail at Rye Preserve

Gary Wonning /

Experience nature in Florida at the Rye Preserve, located along the Wilderness Trail in Parrish.

This nature preserve and wildlife sanctuary lets you experience varying ecosystems, including a river and oak hammocks.

The preserve is also situated on the Manatee River, which became the primary mode of transportation for people living in the Rye area in the 1880s.

The waters of Rye Preserve

Gary Wonning /

People built settlements and other structures along the river; however, a great fire destroyed them.

Besides appreciating nature’s beauty in this preserve, you can spot endangered species like the Indigo snake, the long but non-venomous snake with a blue and black color.

If you are more adventurous, horseback riding and kayaking activities are also available at the Rye Preserve.

Join a Golf Tournament at the Club at River Wilderness

The 18-hole, fully equipped golf club at The Club at River Wilderness has a scenic river and nature view that keeps players and visitors returning.

Located along Wilderness Boulevard, the golf course and country club also feature a clubhouse for events, a swimming pool, tennis courts, and a fitness center.

Tournaments also occur at the Club at River Wilderness, ranging from special event tournaments to championship leagues.

Sports camps in golf and other sports like tennis and swimming welcome kids and teens.

Aside from golf and sports, you can also enjoy live performances of bands during the night at The Club at River Wilderness.

Game and trivia nights also happen weekly for visitors and customers to enjoy.

Experience Horseback Riding at Wolfe’s Born to Ride LLC

Wolfe’s Born to Ride LLC is a must-try if you are up for a trail horseback ride.

Drive to Wauchula Road to try the trail rides offered at this horse service.

Owners Kathy and Robert started this as a part-time weekend venture, eventually turning it into a daily offering for the public.

You can choose trail ride destinations like Little Manatee River State Park, Deer Prairie Creek Preserve, and Alafia State Park.

You can enjoy the views and trails in these places while aboard beautiful and well-maintained horses, including the Cracker Horse, Percheron, and Mustang.

Wolfe’s Born to Ride also offers a mule and donkey ride.

Explore the Outdoors at the Common Grounds Adventure

Common Grounds Adventure along Rye Road is the perfect place to visit and explore for the adventurous type.

The main goal of this open and adventure space is to teach groups and individuals how to properly communicate and also solve problems encountered outdoors as a group.

The recreational area offers adventure activities, including the well-known recreational tree climbing.

Participants climb a tree using ropes up to the canopy installed on its branches in this activity.

This will test your core strength and stamina as you take on the ropes and climb the tree.

Aside from this extreme activity, Common Grounds Adventure also hosts team-building activities, including balancing on wires, rope swings, and high ropes.

Snap a Photo with the Duette School Historical Marker

Daytime view of Duette School Historical Marker

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Erected in 1997 along Keentown Road, the Duette School Historical Marker reminds visitors of Parrish during the early 1900s.

Inscribed here are two histories: one on the Duette School and the other on the folks of the Manatee River.

The engraving about the Duette School narrates the history of the five-room education institution in the 1930s.

It revealed that the school only had one teacher instructing as many as 80 students.

For the settlers near the Manatee River, the marker explained how places in Parrish got their names.

Mostly, these names came from people who lived in the community in the 1800s.

During your visit to Parrish, you can head to the Duette School Historical Marker and snap a photo for keeps.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Parrish is in the middle of many busy areas, thus making it a location with easy access to other must-visit destinations in Florida.

A few minutes of driving from Parrish will take you to exciting new adventures nearby.

Here are some recommended activities for your next trip to nearby areas in Parrish, Florida:

Take a Historic Tour at the Gamble Plantation Historic State Park

Daytime view of Gamble Plantation Historic State Park

Pelow Media /

Located in Ellenton, Florida, the Gamble Plantation Historic State Park highlights a mansion with an antebellum style.

The said structure was the home of Major Robert Gamble, who lived in Ellenton in the 1870s.

Gamble earned praise for his bravery in fighting and protecting a sugar mill during the Civil War.

Exterior of Gamble Plantation Historic State Park's mansion

William Silver /

The state park, located along Patten Avenue, is a 12-minute drive from Parrish.

Guided tours inside the mansion are offered for visitors from Thursday to Monday.

Interior of Gamble Plantation Historic State Park's mansion

Pelow Media /

Through the tour, you will learn the history of the Gamble Mansion and how it has undergone restoration over the years.

If you want to eat with your family and friends al fresco, picnic tables are available at the Gamble Plantation Historic State Park.

The expansive area of the park is also great for events like outdoor weddings and birthday parties.

The grounds of Gamble Plantation Historic State Park

Pelow Media /

Learn to Play Hockey at the Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex

The Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex is a great venue for public ice skating, figure skating, and even ice hockey.

Located in Ellenton, Florida, the ice skating rink is a modern, state-of-the-art facility where you can enjoy ice activities and sports.

If you are eager to learn ice hockey, the Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex offers hockey clinics every Wednesday.

You can learn basic skating skills, team concepts, and brawl techniques here.

Classes on ice skating and figure skating are also offered here.

Make sure to visit this skating rink, which is only 14 minutes from Parrish.

Interact with Various Animals at the Hunsader Farms

Around 17 minutes from Parrish, you will find Hunsander Farms, an area rich in fresh produce and animals that thrive in the area.

Established in 1967, the vegetable farm in Bradenton, Florida, initially grew just tomatoes.

The farm has since developed and expanded and now grows various vegetables and fruits like onion, garlic, apple, watermelon, and strawberries.

Hunsader Farms also grows flowers.

Zoo animals are among the most famous attractions on this farm.

Check out the petting zoo and playground if you’d like to see and interact with animals such as goats, sheep, pigs, deer, ducks, and kangaroos.

Though you can feed and pet most animals, some of them are for your eyes only: rabbits, peacocks, chickens, and iguanas.

Recharge and Refocus at Thavma Yoga Lakewood Ranch

If you are stressed out and tired from your trip, you can head to the nearby city of Bradenton and join yoga classes at the Thavma Yoga Lakewood Ranch.

Just 15 minutes from Parrish, this yoga studio offers the traditional Thavma Hot Yoga.

This kind of yoga not only calms the mind and releases stress but also burns calories for a healthier body.

Classes can range from group to private, depending on your package choice.

If you want to release those unwanted stress and regain energy, try doing a yoga class at the Thavma Yoga Lakewood Ranch.

Final Thoughts

The modern community of Parrish, Florida, has taken its development to a new level, especially in terms of tourism.

You can still see and feel the place’s rich history in many tourist attractions in the locality.

Plan your trip today and discover the best things to do in Parrish!

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