Hillsborough County State and Local Parks

Alderman's Ford Park Photo courtesy of theoutdoorlife.us

Explore winding rivers and endless shoreline – pioneer through forests and swamps, deep caverns and towering dunes – dive into shimmering emerald springs – and discover historical places that connect us to generations past. Florida’s 175 award-winning state parks hold the key to real, treasured memories – past, present and future.

Visit any one of the amazing state parks, where time stops – if just for a moment – to create memories that last a lifetime.

In addition to Florida’s State Parks, there are numerous Local Parks where you can enjoy, camping, fishing, swimming, biking, kayaking, horseback riding and experience prime examples of Florida’s unspoiled natural vegetation and diverse eco-systems right in your own back yard.
State Parks

Hillsborough River State Park
This diverse park offers a refuge from city life with its seven miles of nature trails and ample places to cool off in the water.

Except for occasional reenactments, the cannon and guns are now silent at Fort Foster. No longer do Seminole Indians have to fight to keep a foothold in Florida, and soldiers no longer guard a strategic river crossing. The reconstructed fort and its surroundings are now part of Hillsborough River State Park.

Besides a living history lesson, visitors can kayak or canoe class II river rapids, rare in Florida, hike seven miles of nature trails and swim in an ADA accessible swimming pool.

Take a walk along our Wetlands Trail which winds through multiple ecosystems, a typical feature found in Florida.

As you traverse the path, walk under towering cypress domes, through low-lying wetlands and past stretching fields of Mesic Flatwoods. The variation in topography and soil types makes this all possible.
Having all these ecosystems so close together provides a perfect habitat for a variety of flora and fauna. Predators such as hawks and bobcats peruse the area looking for their next meal. Enthusiastic birdwatchers will be delighted at the vast array of birds that can be seen flying about.

Most notably, there are dozens of rare plants that dot the landscape. One notable rare plant is the Blazing Starflower. This delicate, high-reaching plant blooms from the top-down, unlike other flowers that tend to bloom from the bottom up. The pink and purple petals love the sun and are a favorite for monarch butterflies and hummingbirds.  
15402 U.S. 301 North, Thonotosassa, FL 33592
Little Manatee River State Park
The Little Manatee River begins in a swampy area near Fort Lonesome and flows almost 40 miles before emptying into Tampa Bay.

The river has been designated an Outstanding Florida Water and is part of the Cockroach Bay Aquatic Preserve. Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the rare ecosystems found within the park, including sand pine and oak scrub and oxbow wetlands, which can be explored by hiking, canoeing, horseback riding or camping. 

The Little Manatee River flows for 4.5 miles through 11 unique natural communities within the park. The park boasts one of the premier hiking trails of Southwest Florida, a 6.5-mile stacked loop located in the wilderness area in the north half of the park. 

The Oxbow Nature Trail, accessible from the main picnic area in the south half of the park, makes a 1-mile loop along scrub ridges that skirt the main river and an oxbow wetland. In addition, over 15 miles of equestrian and multi-use trails meander through the southern half of the park. 

Picnic in one of the riverside pavilions or stay for the night in the full-facility campground. Little Manatee River State Park is one of the best-kept secrets of Hillsborough County with a little something for everyone.

Within the mass of foliage that makes up Little Manatee River State Park you will find some of the most peaceful camping opportunities within Florida. With sites for tents and RVs, there are a number of accommodations for your desired camping experience. Each site has a fire ring, picnic table, and a water and electrical pedestal.

This park is especially unique in that there are areas for equestrian camping as well. Enjoy trotting along over 15 miles of equestrian trails and then spend the night in one of the four equestrian campground sites in the park.
215 Lightfoot Rd., Wimauma, FL 33598
Alafia River State Park
Standing out from the relatively flat topography of Central Florida is Alafia River State Park, a reclaimed phosphate mine with some of the most radical elevation changes in the state. This makes it a hot spot for mountain bikers, who traverse the scenic and challenging International Mountain Bike Association trails.

Equestrians and hikers can explore 20 miles of hilly trails through forests and flatwoods, stopping to relax and admire one of the park's pristine lakes.

Canoeing and fishing opportunities are also available along the South Prong of the Alafia River with some lakes scattered throughout the park.

The park also offers picnic pavilions, a playground, a full-facility campground and a full-service bike shop.
14326 S CR 39, Lithia, FL 33547

Skyway Fishing Pier State Park
When the new Sunshine Skyway Bridge was built over Tampa Bay, connecting St. Petersburg with Sarasota, the old bridge was turned into the world's longest fishing pier.

Anglers love being able to park their cars or campers within a few feet of their favorite fishing spot. The bridge is lighted at night, so anglers can see to rig a line, bait the hook, and get a good look at their catch. The light also attracts many species of fish after sundown.

Common catches include snook, tarpon, grouper, black sea bass, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, cobia, sheepshead, red snapper, pompano and many more. Snacks, drinks, bait and fishing supplies are available for purchase.  Restroom facilities are available.
4905 34th Street South #5000, St. Petersburg, FL 33711 (Pinellas County)
Local Parks

Edward Medard Park
Among its main attractions is a 700-acre reservoir used for canoeing, boating, and fishing. Also included is a 3-mile trail that offers equestrians, hikers, and bird watchers a pleasant trip through pine flatwoods and hardwood hammocks. Please note, we do not provide horseback riding rentals. You must bring your own horse.
The park also has a disc golf course for those Frisbee enthusiasts who want to enhance their disc-throwing skills, while the beach volleyball court provides the players a scenic view of the sunset. Edward Medard Park also offers picnic shelters, a boardwalk, a playground for the kids, and an observation platform overlooking the reservoir.
6140 Edward Medard Pkwy, Plant City, FL 33567
Lettuce Lake Park
Lettuce Lake Conservation Park is one of Hillsborough County's most visited parks. More than half of the park’s property lies in the natural floodplain of the Hillsborough River, consisting of a hardwood swamp forest. The remainder of the park consists of hardwood hammocks and pine flatwoods plant communities.

The park features wooded picnic areas and playgrounds, a 1.25-mile paved exercise trail and 3,500-foot boardwalk with an observation tower provides scenic views of the Hillsborough River. Park ranger and volunteer-led nature education tours are available on weekends. Canoe and kayaks rentals provide up-close encounters with a variety of aquatic birds and wildlife.
6920 E Fletcher Ave., Tampa, FL 33637
Alderman’s Ford Park
The park's most popular attraction is a 1.9 mile paved loop that follows the north and south prongs of the Alafia River – one of the most popular canoe spots in the state. The loop, which is hiker, dog walker, and bicycle-friendly, links with a boardwalk and foot bridges, leading into shaded woods of gigantic cypress and oak trees.

Visit Alderman's Ford Conservation Park and enjoy a day of birdwatching, fishing or hiking the lush woods. The park also hosts four remote campsites for anyone seeking a real wilderness experience without going too far from home.
100 Alderman's Ford Park Dr., Plant City, FL, FL 33567
Lithia Springs Park
Well-known for its natural spring which flows year-round, cool, clean water into the Alafia River, the 160-acre site is also a popular camping spot.

 After setting up camp, hikers can explore the woodsy trails and its diverse plant communities, river cypress swamps, and hardwood hammocks. But it is the natural spring that serves as the park’s major attraction, which–courtesy of the water’s 72-degree temperature–provides an excellent swimming experience all year long. In addition to swimming, visitors can fish and play volleyball. There are also benches and picnic tables near the playground for the parents to rest and chat, while their kids can play at the park.
3932 Lithia Springs Rd., Lithia, FL 33547
To learn more about the Florida State Parks and Forests, Current Fees and Annual Passes, visit www.FloridaStateParks.org and www.FL-DOF.com