This 72-acre preserve was purchased in 2000 and 2001 through the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program with funding assistance provided by Florida Communities Trust. Red Bug Slough Preserve is a remnant piece of natural Florida nestled in the midst of suburban Sarasota.
While exploring the preserve’s network of trails, visitors may see diverse natural communities – including hammocks, pine flatwoods, a small basin swamp and Red Bug Slough itself. Visitors can also observe grey squirrels, marsh rabbits, river otters, an occasional alligator and an assortment of songbirds and wildflowers, such as, partridge pea and frostweed.
The preserve has several miles of hiking trails, a small playground, picnic shelters and a fishing dock.
The hiking trails are unpaved but accessible for most visitors.
Water, sunblock, a rain jacket, insect repellant and sturdy shoes are recommended for hiking.
Some trails may flood after heavy rainfall and several trails may be wet year-round where they cross creeks and ditches.
The preserve has limited parking and a walk-thru gate near the Beneva Road entrance and is accessible on foot or by bicycle at several other walk-thru entrances.
Leashed pets are permitted on trails and in public use areas.
For more information about Red Bug Slough Preserve, call 941-861-5000 and ask for Natural Resources.