Come Explore one of the many beautiful landmarks Florida has to offer- The Hillsborough River State Park. Many state parks have a story to tell from an event that happened back in history. This park is no exception. Take a walk in the past and learn about its fascinating history. Explore replicas from the Second Seminole War and view a small piece of history from a very large- and breathtaking wilderness.
The Hillsborough River was named after Wills Hills in the late 1700s. He was lord Earl of Hillsborough and the British Colonial Secretary. Soon after Florida became a U.S. territory, conflict arose between migrating settlers and the Seminole tribes. The U.S. government proposed to transport the Seminoles due to the conflict thus creating the Second Seminole War. In 1835, Fort Alabama was constructed. The fort was built to protect the bridge that ran over the river. It was later abandoned and destroyed in a fire. Afterward, Fort Foster was built in 1836 and constructed on the very same site.
The Hillsborough River State Park was developed in 1936 during the Great Depression by the CCC, or Civilian Conservation Corps. In 1938, it was open to the public and became one of Florida’s first state parks. Since then, it has been favored from visitors alike. Numerous recreational activities allow for every day enjoyment and a peaceful, soothing atmosphere.
The river offers guests a wide variety of opportunities for fun and laughter. Canoeing and Kayaking is available for those who enjoy the water and are popular activities within the park. You may choose to bring your own or rent one from the park. Those who are interested in casting a line, may fish from the banks of the river itself and enjoy the delight in catching numerous types of freshwater fish such as catfish, bass, and bream.
Over 3,900 acres make up the Hillsborough River State Park. A variety of habitats are found within its peaceful retreat such as cypress swamp, hardwood hammock, pine flat woods and more. Be sure to bring your binoculars to view extraordinary plant and wildlife.
The Hillsborough River State park offers a replica of Fort Foster- from 1836 during the Second Seminole War. This piece of history is located on the park grounds adjacent to the Hillsborough River. Visitors may tour the fort on the weekends or if preferred, a reservation may be made.
Enjoy 7.3 miles of hiking trails. There are a total of four trails to choose from. Each one has its very own breathtaking views of nature in its rawest form. These trails are home to a vast amount of wildlife and plants. Explore everything nature has to offer while touring the wonderful views of the park’s beautiful landscape.
Enjoy a relaxing bike ride along the Wetlands Restoration Nature trail which offers a 1.6 mile long ride. The Park Loop may be enjoyed as well and offers riders a chance to experience 2.3 miles of trail. Bike riding is also available throughout the campgrounds.
Camping is available to those who wish to stay overnight. The campground has 112 sites which provide all the comforts of home within the great outdoors. Each site provides a fire ring, water, and picnic table. Each loop provides laundry facilities, restrooms, and hot showers. If preferred, primitive camping is also available. The Outpost provides shopping convenience and carries merchandise and basic food items.
For a more primitive camping experience, one must check into the ranger station. An adult who is eighteen years of age or older must accompany the group. The camp is located across the river and contains one fire ring. Backpackers must provide all necessities, such as four quarts of water per person and pack out any and all garbage.
The Interpretive Center contains both exhibits and artifacts that describe the Seminole war. These artifacts are unique and contain very important information about the war’s history. The center may be toured by visitors every day from the hours of 8am-5pm.
Need a bite to eat? The Hillsborough River State Park offers plenty of amenities such as The Spirit of The Woods Cafe. This quaint concession provides breakfast and lunch every day from 9am-5pm. Enjoy good food and simple hospitality during your visit.
For more information, you may contact the park for any questions you may have.
15402 U.S. 301 North
Thonotosassa, Florida 33592