My camping equipment

My camping equipment
Campsite setup

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Florida State Parks, Hillsborough State Park

Located north of Plant City, FL and south of Zephyrhills, FL just off Hwy 301, Hillsborough State Park was part of CCC project during the 1930's. Many of the structures and trails build during those days have survived the years and enhance the parks history and beauty. Located on the banks of the Hillsborough River, whose headwaters originate from Crystal Springs, make this park a favorite for paddlers. 

The rapids on the Hillsborough River

The big bend on the Hillsborough River

Canoe and Kayak Concession at the park 

Kayak and Canoe Flume that paddlers can use to put there boats in the water.

The campsites at Hillsborough State Park are nestled in a natural forest which are spacious with campfire circles on each space. There are two loops with at least 90 spots giving campers an opportunity to schedule a site in the off season through Reserve America. During the winter season it is a good idea to make you reservations many months in advance as all our state parks fill up quickly as campers from up north flock to our state to enjoy the warmer climate. The park has a large swimming pool which was in the process of being renovated from Hurricane Irma when we were there in early March of 2018. The park is very popular in the summer months as many families from the surrounding area enjoy the spacious picnic grounds and cooling off in the waters of the parks pool.

Our campsite at Hillsborough State Park

We had campfires most nights as the weather was cool a night during our stay

We enjoyed lunch with our dear friend Diane from near Venice Beach, FL who came to stay over night with on our camp site. She slept comfortably in her car. Campers can invite guests to stay on their site free of charge if they bring a tent or have a comfortable car to sleep in. 

Hillsborough State Park has great hiking & biking trails that are interesting and unique. Hikers can journey the trail that follows the river near the concession area or hike on Wetlands Trail for miles enjoying nature and the many forms of wildlife that inhabit the park.

Barbara and our friend Diane on one of the trails paralleling the Hillsborough River

Biking on the Wetlands Trail that leads out to the Hillsborough River. 

Many of the parks trails have a special beauty that only nature can provide

Riverside trail paralleling the Hillsborough River

One of the interesting aspects of the park is the Fort Foster State Historic Site which is located across from the entrance to park on Hwy 301.  Tours of the Fort are offered during certain times during the week. It is wise to call ahead so that you can have a opportunity to enjoy the legacy of this special place. Florida has a history that goes back to the days when the state was being populated and land was occupied by the Seminole Indians. The artifacts from this period of time and the stories of the battles fought are quite compelling. Many of the staff members are volunteers who are well versed in the details from this time long ago. 

The following images are of Fort Foster and the surrounding grounds

Historic bridge near Fort Foster 

The Hillsborough River at Fort Foster

Paddlers who want an extended adventure on the waters of the Hillsborough River will enjoy launching from the facilities at John B. Sargeant Park located five miles south of the entrance of Hillsborough State Park on Hwy. 301. The park is home to the out fitter company Canoe Escape. If you do not have a kayak or canoe you can rent one from the friendly employees at Canoe Escape. There is an assortment of possible paddles either on your own or guided. The river meanders downstream from the park through some of best scenery that can be found on most rivers in Florida. 

The dock at Sargeant Park overlooking the beautiful Hillsborough River

Fisherman out looking for a catch

Canoeing & Kayak enthusiasts enjoying a paddle on the Hillsborough River

Barbara enjoying  the boardwalk at Sargeants Park on a cool winter day 

Canoe Escapes headquarters at Sargeants Park

During our stay at Hillsborough State Park Barbara and I discovered many new trails and paddling opportunities making our stay there memorable. I would like to end my post with a beautiful description of the forest, called the Prayer of The Woods. This beautiful prayer can be found on a sign near one of the trail heads in the park. I was inspired by the words that reflect the reverence that ones seeks when enjoying all things natural.


 Hillsborough River State Park