Hillsborough County

Rivers - Launch Sites - Trips


Hillsborough County

Alafia River
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Launch Site Address Type & Amenities Places Close By Gazetteer
See Directions Muddy river bank Rest rooms & water available

Alafia River, Bird Island, Bullfrog Creek, Dug Creek
Directions
There are many places to put-in and take-out along the river. Some of them for the head waters are:
1. Alderman Ford Park - From Rt60 East of Brandon, take Rt39 South, about 5 miles from Rt60 you will cross the Alafia River. The park is immediately to the right after you cross over the river.
2. Lithia Springs County Park - From Rt60 East of Brandon, take Rt39 South, about 6 miles from Rt60 you will come to Rt640 go West (right), follow Rt640 for about 3.5 miles, take a left onto Lithia Springs Dr (the park is at the end of the road).
3. Campground - From I75 take Boyette Dr (Exit 48) East, US301 North (left), Right on Balm Riverview Rd, left on Park, this turns into Mc Mullen Loop Rd (which leads you to the park).
4. Riverview Park - From I75 take Boyette Dr (Exit 48) East, US301 North (left), Right on Balm Riverview Rd, left on Park (which leads you to the park).
5. Gardinier Park - From Tampa, take US41 South to Riverview Dr (just North of Gibsonton). Go East on Riverview Dr (left from Tampa), the park is on the right right after you get on Riverview Dr.
Sights to See
This old Florida river is fairly scenic with a minimal wild life to be seen as you paddle. However, the limestone rapids (almost riplets) make this a fun river to paddle.
Suggested Trips
Suggest you launch from Lithia Park and take out at Riverview - an 11 mile downriver trip. There are about 6 or 7 small rapids to run. These are not dangerous rapids and can be run with a minimum of skill.


Hillsborough River
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Launch Site Address Type & Amenities Places Close By Gazetteer
See Directions Each of the launch sites is a park with river banks as launch sites. Toilets & water are at each park


Directions
There are many places to put-in and take-out along the river. Starting from the river head they are:
1. Hillsborough River State Park - 9 miles North of Fowler Av on US 301
2. Dead River Park - 7.5 miles North of Fowler Av on US 301
3. Sergeant Park - 3.5 miles North of Fowler Av on US 301
4. Morris Bridge Park - 5 miles East of I75 (exit 55, Fletcher Ave), on Morris Bridge Rd.
5. Trout Park - 1/2 mile East of I75 (Exit 55, Fletcher Ave), on Morris Bridge Rd.
6. Rotary Park - 0.2 miles East of I75 on Fowler Ave
7. River Hills Park - 1 mile East of 56th St. on River Hills Dr. in Temple Terrace
8. Temple Crest Park 9. Rowlett Park - From I275, take Busch Blvd E to N22nd St, right and look for the park.
Sights to See
One of the most beautiful rivers in this area. You can see egrets, herons, buzzards, alligators (mostly small ones), turtles and other wildlife. In some parts of the river, the trees shade the river from both sides, giving it a cathedral effect - making you feel like you are in God's country. This is a great scenic river!
Suggested Trips
The upper river, from Hillsborough River State Park to Sergeant Park, is often narrow and logs across the small stream may cause you to portage often. From Sergeant Park downriver there are occasional downed trees. However, you usually can maneuver around them. Long kayaks (over 17 ft) are difficult to maneuver around some of the logs & quick turns. Be careful of traveling the river after a heavy rainfall, the river gets swift and can be dangerous.


Little Manatee River
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Launch Site Address Type & Amenities Places Close By Gazetteer
Little Manatee River Sandy Beach No facilities


Directions
Coming from Tampa, go South on I-75 and take Exit 240, College Ave W (heading West), take a left on 24 th St. SE and follow it until it dead ends into the Little Manatee River launch site.
Sights to See
This is a typical small narrow and winding Florida river. There is some wildlife on the river, but nothing spectacular.
Suggested Trips
Head upriver to the Little Manatee State Park (about a 3 mile paddle). There is a great sandy/ muddy beach next to a park pavilion. The "official" Park canoe/ kayak launch site is a dock about 2.5 feet above the water level (in January) making for a difficult launch from that point.


Davis Island Yacht Club
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Launch Site Address Type & Amenities Places Close By Gazetteer
Boat ramp. There are no toilets or places to get water.

Downtown Tampa Hillsborough River
Directions
From Bayshore Blvd (Downtown Tampa), cross over to Davis Island. When Davis Blvd splits into a Y, take the road to the right (still called Davis Blvd). Davis Blvd turns into Severn as you head towards the end of the island. Immediately after you pass Peter O' Knight Airport (before you get to the Yacht Club) you will see a launch site to your left (concrete ramp) and to your right (sandy beach).
Sights to See
This is a great way to see the industrial waterways around Tampa and the downtown area. It is a totally different & very interesting perspective from the water.
Suggested Trips
Head up the Hillsborough River to see the sights of Tampa along the way.

Simmons Park
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Launch Site Address Type & Amenities Places Close By Gazetteer
Simmons County Park Launch from sandy beach Toilets & water are close by

Mangrove Islands Little Manatee River Cockroach Bay
Directions
Coming from Tampa, go South on I-75 and take Exit 240, College Ave W (heading West), take a right on Rt 41 and then a left on 19th Av N.W. This will lead you to Simmons Park. Upon entering the park, follow the road straight ahead until you come to the sandy beach next to the concrete boat ramp.
Sights to See
There are egrets, herons, buzzards and perhaps some dolphins to see.
Suggested Trips
If you go north from Simmons Park you will find many mangrove islands. If you go south you will pass the entrance to the Little Manatee River and Cockroach Bay.


Upper Tampa Bay Park

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Launch Site Address Type & Amenities Places Close By Gazetteer
Low dock. Toilets, water, soft drinks within 150 ft of dock
Double Branch Creek Mobbly Bay Phillippe Park
Pg 83, D1
Directions
In Pinellas County, going East on Tampa Road you will come to Race Track Road stop light. Get in the right lane. In 1/2 mile turn right on Double Branch Road. In about a mile turn right into the Upper Tampa Bay Park. Continue on for about a mile until you come to the park headquarters building. The canoe/ kayak launch site is to the left of the park headquarters building/ museum.
Sights to See
The Double Branch River runs in front of the Upper Tampa Bay Park. The river is surrounded by mangroves on both sides such that there are few places to take out or rest. There are also few trees providing shade. Wildlife include herons & egrets.
Suggested Trips
Before launching, check out the museum and the maps showing the Double Branch River and how it flows through the area. From the launch site you can either go up river toward Memorial Rd or down river toward Mobbly Bay (Upper Tampa Bay). 1. Up River - This is a trip of about 3 miles one way. It leads you past mangrove trees, under Memorial Rd and then past housing projects. 2. Down River - It is about 2 miles to Mobbley Bay (Upper Tampa Bay). From here you can either take a short paddle along the mangrove coast or you can paddle over to Phillippe Park in Safety Harbor (about 5 miles one way).


Last Update: 10/06/2006