On a family road trip down and around Florida, we discovered an awesome campground at Hillsborough River State Park, totally by accident!
We drove over on a whim, hoping to get a spot on the weekend, but since same day reservations were not taken, except in person we took a chance and it worked out well for us. We pulled in, set-up and admired the campground facilities and amenities while trying to plan what exactly we would do during our stay.
The Ranger Station provided a brief explanation of their campground programs, which included tram rides each Friday night as well as a group campfire by the River. The park also boasts a large swimming pool , something not often found in state parks, and this one just happened to be one of the largest pools in the entire state.
On our bucket list was the River Rapids Trail, which we heard was a great hike for families. We grabbed a brochure from the trail entrance point and started walking. Along the way there were 22 interesting way points, where plants were marked and information was offered about each. The kids took turns pointing them out, reading the descriptions and it was great for them to learn a few things about the plants in their native environment. (That’s called
The twins insisted on being the leaders on the trail, which I didn’t have a problem with until Tiana ran into this huge tree- and started screaming because there was a big snake inside it!!!! After that, I kept her close by. Twon, had his own wildlife encounters, when we stopped for a few pictures along the river bank and he spotted one of the biggest alligators I think I’ve ever seen! At first we were in denial- like No! That’s just a prop to scare the people on kayaks- then when he rolled his eye in our direction…. I was ready to go! Antwon insisted on finishing the trail, but my heart was racing! We were in the middle of the woods, by the river and the wild life was too close and too real for my liking!
We finished the trail and headed back to our car, then drove to the camper for lunch. The kids played outside, had some fun in the dirt and the hammock and then we started making dinner.
I would definitely recommend Hillsborough Campground to other families looking for an awesome State Park in West Central Florida. They have a lot to offer for outdoor enthusiasts and tons to keep families occupied. Golf Carts, Kayaks, Canoes, Bikes, and other fun toys are all available to rent on site. Although the pricing is a bit high, if this is your vacation for the year or maybe just the season, it’s well worth spending a few dollars to see and do it all!
Safe Travels & Many Adventures-