The Hillsborough River State Park, opened in 1938, is one of Florida’s first state parks
One of the original eight Florida state parks, Hillsborough River State Park was developed by the Civilian Conservation Corp. Consisting of 3,950 acres along the Hillsborough River in northwest Hillsborough County, its proximity to the Tampa Bay area makes it a popular destination for anyone wanting to get back to what Florida used to be. The park’s seven miles of nature trails wander through hammocks of live oak, hickory, magnolia, and sabal palm trees.
The Hillsborough River is a great choice for canoeing and kayaking, and the section of the river inside the park includes several clusters of Class II rapids, one of the few rivers in Florida with rapids. Canoe, kayak, and bike rentals are available for purchase at the Poolside Cafe. The park offers both full facility and primitive camping, with reservations recommended.
The park is also home to a replica of Fort Foster, which was a fort built during the Second Seminole Indian War. Ranger guided tours are offered on the weekends and many artifacts from Florida’s pioneer history are on display.