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Tampa Bay Day Trip: Lettuce Lake Park

Opened in 1982, Lettuce Lake quickly became an important and diverse center for outdoor budget activities. Just $2 for a vehicle to get in, includes boardwalks over a hardwood swamp forest, wooded picnic areas, playground, a hiking trail, fitness course, and more.

My favorite thing in Lettuce Lake is the boardwalk. It skirts around Lettuce Lake and on the edge of the Hillsborough River. It is very green–trees, palmettos, palm fronds, algae–and looks like lettuce.

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Yup, this is the surface of Lettuce Lake. And it is not actually a lake, but rather a finger of water connected to the Hillsborough River.

Going along the walkway, it is easy to spot lots of wildlife and picturesque scenes. During my walk, I spotted birds, snakes, and even an alligator. Unfortunately, I didn’t snap a picture. Storm clouds were moving in quick when I spotted him and I didn’t want to get me and my son trapped in the rain. But we still had a wonderful time taking in the scenes.

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Here’s a couple more shots to show off the boardwalk and what you’ll see if you go to Lettuce Lake.

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There are other fun things to do at the park too. There are lots of charcoal grills to use, an open grassy area next to the playground to play games in, a nature center, a nice loop trail for Tampa Bay hikers, and a 1.25 mile fitness path for joggers and bikers.

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They also have the cheapest canoe rentals I’ve been able to find in all of Tampa–$25 for four hours. If you rent a canoe, you don’t have to pay the $2 to get into the park. And the canoe launch goes right into the Hillsborough River. There’s been sightings of a 13 foot gator in the area. Have your camera ready in case you come across him, or maybe just paddle really fast in the opposite direction. Whatever floats your boat.

There are free guided tours of the park on Saturday and Sunday at 8:30am. Meet inside the Visitor Center to participate.

Further Information

Location: Lettuce Lake Regional Park, 6920 East Fletcher Ave, Tampa, FL 33637

Hours: Spring and Summer, 8:00am-8:00pm │ Fall and Winter, 8:00am-6:00pm

Admission: $2 per vehicle

Website: http://hillsboroughcounty.org/Facilities/Facility/Details/7937

Phone: 813-987-6204

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