A suburb of Tampa, Brandon provides a gateway to rural east Hillsborough County and its conservation areas along the Alafia River and Manatee River basins.
Created during the huge influx of residents that came along with two major air bases during World War II, Brandon is heavily populated and commercial. But roam a little east towards the Alafia River basin, and you’ll find public lands with pleasant hiking and biking trails.
Trails and Parks near Brandon
- Alafia River State Park - One of the few saving graces of former phosphate mines is that they provide awesome air for mountain bikers in Florida, and Alafia River State Park is one of the rare places where you can launch on a Florida downhill.
- Alderman’s Ford Park - An easy loop at Alderman’s Ford Park, the Nature Trail slips behind the nature center for a walk in under ancient trees along the river’s floodplain corridor
- Alderman’s Ford Preserve - Alderman's Ford Preserve offers a surprising treat for a Central Florida hike: whitewater, showcasing the Alafia River churning as it winds through a deeply eroded channel
- Apollo Beach Nature Preserve - With its natural waterfront on Tampa Bay, Apollo Beach Nature Preserve is a perfect place for birders, not beachgoers, a place to launch a kayak and scan the skies for osprey.
- E.G. Simmons Park - E.G. Simmons Park in Ruskin offers a campground along with its beaches and mazy mangrove-lined waterways for paddlers and anglers along Tampa Bay.
- Eureka Springs - Eureka Springs Park includes what remains of a tropical botanical garden established in 1938 around springs that fed a lush floodplain forest along Six Mile Creek.
- Little Manatee River State Park - With sandy shores around every bend and a canopy of trees overhead, Little Manatee River State Park provides a place for a pretty paddling trip for families.
- Little Manatee River Trail - Scenery, rugged landscape, and botanical diversity are all important factors for a great Florida hike. You'll find that on the 6.5-mile Little Manatee River Hiking Trail, one of our long-time favorites.