Hillsborough River State Park

Hillsborough River State Park
Hillsborough River State Park in Thonotosassa was opened to the public in 1938 as one of the original state parks developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). This 3000-acre park occupies land on both the north and south banks of the Hillsborough River. A CCC-built suspension bridge over the river connects the 2 areas. The section of the river that flows through the park contains several small rapids, including a class 2 rapid, as it flows over limestone outcroppings. River rapids are a rarity in Florida.

Fort Foster State Historic Site is located within the park. The original fort was built in December 1836 by Col. William S. Foster and his 430 men. Its purpose was to defend the Hillsborough River bridge crossing during the Second Seminole War and to resupply soldiers in the field. The fort that occupies the site today is a reproduction. Public access to the fort is restricted to Thursdays at 10:30a.m. when a ranger-led tour is conducted. Two times each year there is a living history reenactment. The Fort Foster Rendezvous takes place in January, and the Candlelight Experience at Fort Foster in December. There is also an interpretive center containing over 100 artifacts found at the historic site. The center is open daily from 8a.m. to 5p.m.

Camping and Outdoor Activities

The park contains 3 types of campgrounds: developed, primitive walk-in sites, and group primitive camping. There are no amenities at the walk-in sites. Campers must check in at the ranger station before occupying these sites. No pets are permitted. The group campground can be reserved by organized youth and adult groups. There are 4 campsites located in a shaded, wooded area. All sites have water, picnic tables, grills, a fire ring, and restrooms with cold showers. Pets are not allowed. Primitive campsites can be reserved by phoning (813)987-6771.

There are 112 campsites in the developed campground. Each site is equipped with water, a fire ring, and picnic table. Most have electric hookups. Bathhouses with toilet and shower facilities are located in each campground loop. Most of the sites accommodate either RVs or tents, but a few are RV only or tent only. Reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance on the ReserveAmerica website or by calling (800)326-3521.

Other outdoor activities available include paddling on the Hillsborough River, hiking on the park’s trails, bicycling, swimming, fishing, geocaching, and picnicking. Canoes and bicycles can be rented at the Pool Side Café. This concession also sells camping supplies and souvenirs as well as a fairly extensive menu of prepared food. A half-acre swimming pool is located adjacent to the café and requires an additional fee for access.

Hillsborough River State Park is located in eastern Hillsborough County at:
15402 US 301 N.
Thonotosassa, FL 33592

You Should Also Read:
The Civilian Conservation Corps in Fllorida

Related Articles
Editor's Picks Articles
Top Ten Articles
Previous Features
Site Map

Content copyright © 2023 by Georgiana Kurtz. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Georgiana Kurtz. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Georgiana Kurtz for details.