Water in motion: the Hillsborough rapids foam and froth over limestone boulders beneath grand cypress trees in Class II rapids. One of Florida’s oldest state parks, Hillsborough River State Park showcases this masterpiece of nature from an overlook and trail system built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Fees: $4-6 per vehicle
Open: 8 AM until sunset daily
Leashed pets welcome
Take Interstate 75 to Tampa exit 265 (Fowler Avenue). Head east to its junction with US 301. Turn north and drive 10.5 miles to the park entrance. Follow the one-way loop to your chosen parking area. Parking Area #2 provides easy access to a view of the rapids.
Opened in 1938, the park features CCC-era picnic pavilions, gazebos, and a cool swinging, swaying bridge connecting the busiest part of the park with trails through its jungle-like forests of ancient oaks and giant ferns. A big, shallow swimming pool – open seasonally – is always busy on the weekends.
Rental bicycles and surreys let you explore the one-way deeply shaded park road and off-road trails. Rent a canoe or bring your own. Launching below the rapids, you can paddle past turtles under tall palm trees into Florida’s past.
Explore the park
- Fort Foster State Historic Site- Part of Hillsborough River State Park, Fort Foster State Historic Site takes you back to the era of Florida's earliest pioneer settlers and their clashes with the native Seminoles.
- Hillsborough River Hiking Trails- One of Tampa's oldest parks, Hillsborough River State Park has a 5.8-mile trail system as its centerpiece, through old-growth forest and along river rapids.