Just a quick reminder regarding the recreational areas at the rest area on the Sunshine Skyway’s north end:
The recreational areas on the Sunshine Skyway’s north rest area are only open during daylight hours. Just recently the Florida DOT installed access gates on the access roads that lead into the recreational areas which are locked during the evening hours. Additionally, signage is posted letting users know of the hours of operation.
However, the rest area itself as well as access to the northern fishing pier is still open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with nighttime security provided at the rest area for peace of mind. Presently the rest area on the Sunshine Skyway’s northern end is getting a new building and it should be completed soon. Once the Sunshine Skyway north rest area is finished and done work will begin on replacing the rest area building on the south (Manatee County) end of the Sunshine Skyway. The rest area replacement is part of a Florida DOT project to replace the rest area buildings on either end of the Sunshine Skyway, which were built in the early 1990’s when the Sunshine Skyway was brought up to interstate highway standards shortly after the cable stayed Sunshine Skyway opened in 1987.
Also at the Sunshine Skyway’s north rest area are two monuments, one to the 35 people that perished on that fateful morning of 9 May 1980 when a freighter, the Summit Venture, collided with the Sunshine Skyway’s southbound span causing the span to fall 150 feet into the churning waters of Tampa Bay. The other monument is a memorial to the US Coast Guard Cutter Blackthorn, which sank in Tampa Bay after colliding with a tanker, the Capricorn. These monuments are still open even though construction is taking place at the Sunshine Skyway’s north rest area and are well worth a visit.