Hillsborough River State Park, FL

Hillsborough River flooded campsite

Flooded campsite

We arrived at Hillsborough River State Park on March 22.

My opinion is that it’s a great place to RV, but it is too crowded for our style of camping.

It is ideal for day use by locals in the Tampa area, though.  There are dozens and dozens of picnic areas ranging from rustic (rock picnic tables built by the CCC) to large pavilions with fireplaces.  There is a huge pool built to accommodate over 200 swimmers, but it was closed for repairs while we were there.

There are also some nice trails, some of which were underwater during our visit.  There’s a cool suspension bridge on a trail over the river.  They also offer canoe rentals.

Flooded trail

Boardwalk where the trails flood

We enjoyed coffee and donuts at the campground management event.  They had a question and answer session, and I learned some fascinating new things.  I’m a Florida native, very familiar with alligators.  But I learned that alligators don’t eat for 6 months out of the year.  When cool weather comes and their body temperature drops, their appetite disappears.  They don’t eat again until the weather warms up and revs up their metabolism.  When it reaches a certain point, they resume eating.  That was the first time I had heard that.

modern and older picnic areas

No excuse not to picnic

The rainy weather from home apparently got here ahead of us.  Half of our campsite was unusable because  the former occupant had gotten stuck in the mud.  Management had covered the area with wood chips, but we weren’t going to take a chance on getting stuck, too.  So we parked way over, cutting our campsite in half.

Half a campsite

Half a campsite

Hillsborough River from trail

Hillsborough River from trail

We did get out and do a bit of hiking.  Most of the flooded areas had boardwalks, but we still ended up walking in mud for a short distance.  It was worth it, though.  The air plants on the older trees fascinate me.  The fantastically gnarled tree roots by the river, holes which are some critter’s home, the little atamasco lilies, palm “root balls” a foot above the ground… so many things to wonder at and appreciate.

Sunny and I taking a break after hiking

Sunny and I taking a break after hiking a trail

Sunny down for a nap

Sunny ~ "It's been a long day!"

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