Just minutes from downtown Tampa, this Hillsborough River State Park Camping offers a refuge from city life with its seven miles of nature trails and ample places to cool off in the water.
Except for occasional reenactments, the cannon and guns are now silent at Fort Foster. No longer do Seminole Indians have to fight to keep a foothold in Florida, and soldiers no longer guard a strategic river crossing. The reconstructed fort and its surroundings are now part of Hillsborough River State Park.
Besides a living history lesson, visitors can kayak or canoe class II river rapids, rare in Florida, hike seven miles of nature trails and swim in an ADA accessible swimming pool.
Tucked away, only a short distance from the bustling city of Tampa, camping is a popular activity at Hillsborough River State Park.
We stayed here to attend the Florida RV Supershow and it was perfect. Less than a half hour to the fairgrounds. Peaceful campground with nice size sites. We were in site 51A (pull through) for 2 nights and site 42 for 2 nights. Both were level and shaded. Bathhouse was nice. We really enjoyed the trails.
Fantastic Campground not far from Tampa. This could be a good park to stay at if you want to do Busch Gardens which is just 16 miles away. The park offers over 13 miles of hiking in and near the park, 2.2 mile multi purpose trails, exercise stations and one of the few Florida state parks that have a 1/2 acre pool (which is ADA accessible). There is a separate fee for this but my husband did lap swimming everyday we were there and loved it. There is a poolside cafe and a store with camping items and souvenirs. The park even offers kayaking/canoeing and pool related rentals. The hillsborough River has great kayaking/canoeing and even some Class 2 rapids. It was fun to kayak downriver to the now abandoned Dead River County Park.
The 112 Campsites have 30/50 amp and water, most sites were large and shaded. Bathrooms are older but clean. You can tour the historic Fort Foster only the third Saturday of each month at 10am….(watch the video and you will see some additional info on this…wink wink) The trails are really good here but rain can flood them- I hiked thru calf deep water but I like overcoming obstacles - however- you might not think that is fun. Our video here on the Dyrt shares more hiking info. The stationary bridge was closed when we visited and a quick look at state park website indicates it is still being repaired. PS. there is a another video on our YouTube channel that highlights some additional hiking trails. Happy Camping- you can visit our website to get our Facebook/instagram and YouTube channel. www.travylcouple.com
Campsites were nice. Lots to do. Rapids to look at. Plenty of hiking and biking. Rental canoe staff were amazing. Tons of wildlife.
The campground here is very nice! The bathrooms are well kept and clean. The park itself is very nice, with some hikes and kayak rentals! You can kayak in the river, which is really neat to do. The campground is also not far from some big cities, such as Tampa and st pete, which is convenient.
I typically avoid tent camping here in the summer months– early summer the trails are heavy with mosquitoes and summer rains bring a large amount of flooding. Though in the fall winter and spring this park is AMAZING. We were very lucky on this trip to have snagged spot at the high part of the riverside loop. Sites 20 and 21 typically stay dry enough for tents. Sites along the river side of loops are prone to flooding some holding as much as 4-6 inches of water.
This trip was a short overnight to get rid of some pent up cabin fever. We loaded up a tent and the bikes, praying for dry weather. The mosquitoes were not bad, almost none, the the river was near flood stage and inches from overflowing its bank near the campground.
The 2.5 mile loop from main entrance is perfect for biking, be careful near the pool area that is VERY crowded in the summer as many locals visit and it will reach capacity early in the day. You can rent bikes and canoes at the concession area near the stand if you did not bring your own. The grounds are beautifully kept, campground hosts are helpful, bathrooms clean and playground areas are plentiful. There are very nice pavilions and one air conditioned building available for rent for special events. If you are visiting in the summer call to make sure the site you booked is dry.
We did see where one person got his travel trailer stuck on the mud trying to get into his site. There are very few tent campers in the summer so be prepared if you are tent camping to hear neighbors a/c running all night.
I get products to test from time to time- today I am testing the INNO INH540 Bike Rack On first impression upon receiving– this is a heavy duty rack! Shipping weight is nearly 50lbs. and came fully assembled. This bike rack will fit both 1.25 and 2 inch receivers. We first tried to mount on my Jeep Liberty but we need to get a receiver extension as our spare tire prevented installation. So we mounted on our Dodge 1500 truck. I had to have my husband help me slip it into the receiver(was a bit awkward for me to do on my own).
I was very pleased to find the unit came with a hitch lock that was keyed the same as the cable lock for the bikes. Rack came with 2 keys so we each have a key on our ring and can access without looking for it.
The bars are adjustable and the rotating upper and lower cradles are well designed. The support bars also fold down when not in use. Another nice feature is locking pivot at base that will allow you to tilt the rack out of the way of tailgate to enable access without removing the entire rack.
The rack will hold 4 bikes up to 35 lbs each or a total of 140 lbs. We have mountain bikes with less space on crossbars of frame so was a bit tight to get loaded. Loading was much easier once we did it a couple times and got used to where we needed to place the cradles. Street bikes load with no issues,(we borrowed the neighbors bikes to test and to show off our new INNO bike rack– they were jealous)!
Order yours today from https://www.innoracks.com/ You will not be disappointed!
The group camping site at Hillsborough River State Park is perfect for all scouting adventures. The group site can hold multiple troops at a time and is away from the regular tent and rv camping sites It typically is booked up on weekends 3-4 months in advance but during the weekdays is seldom used. Church groups and other not for profit organizations can book this space if the scouts have not - but they are given first opportunity according to park staff that I worked with.
There is plenty of wildlife in this part of the park, group camp is a short walk from rapids Trail and gift shop, canoe rentals and other concessions. Fishing along the river is hit or miss - and there are alligators so refrain from fishing with chicken or liver. There is a large fine for harassing a gator (or feeding them) and this is strictly monitored. If you get a gator on your fishing line you should call a ranger - do not just cut your line.
Bathrooms at the group site are something to be desired. They are are small, even tiny…and as old as the park. Just forget about the group camp shower… There are nicer facilities a short 10 min walk down the road near gift shop where you will also find a play ground.
Winter months are best- that is when mosquitoes are not too bad. June and July are nearly impossible to find relief from these insects.
I personally camped in a hammock and had a baby raccoon playing with my lines at night. YOU HAVE TO SECURE YOUR FOOD!
There are lots of picnic tables to have for seating and nice fire pits.
Ive been going to Hillsborough for years. It's a great place to go and relax by the pool or take a walk along the river. It's absolutely beautiful and I'm going to continue to return for many more years.
Peaceful, clean, natural environment
I’ve been camping here since I was a kid. And now that I’m nearly 40 I’ve even brought my kids here camping. One of my most favorite sites ever but that’s also because I’ve been coming for so long.
always have fun when i stay here. from weekend getaways to Halloween trip. i normally try and stay close to the new bathroom due to having young kids and it is bigger and easier to wash the kids. the biggest downside is they charge 4.00 for the pool per person.