Enjoy the great outdoors at this huge city park with wildlife, nature trails, a play area and canoeing on the water.
The scenic Lettuce Lake Park is 240 acres (97 hectares) of wetlands, forested areas and open spaces. It offers a host of recreational activities for all the family, including cycling and jogging trails, wooded picnic areas and a children’s playground.
Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the extensive boardwalk system. Leading from the visitor’s center, it runs into the wetlands and passes oak, pine and cypress trees. Along the route, you may see alligators, snakes, egrets and many other types of wildlife. Make sure you bring a camera with you. Many of the animals are camouflaged by the dense undergrowth, but keen eyes and patience will be rewarded with some fantastic photographs.
Meander along the boardwalk to reach a lookout tower. Climb up the stairs of its three levels for an elevated view of the lake and surrounding area. Take a separate nature trail or jog and cycle along the 1.25-mile (2-kilometer) paved path.
Lettuce Lake is so called because of the swamp lettuce plants that grow in vast quantities here. It’s not actually a lake. The shallow body of water is connected to the Hillsborough River at one end.
Enjoy a picnic by the water’s edge in one of the waterside shelters available for rent. For prices and details, visit Hillsborough County’s official website.
Many visitors come here to get on the water. Rent a single or double kayak or a canoe for a period of up to four hours.
To learn more about the flora and fauna around the lake, go to the visitor’s center to view its exhibits. On the weekends, there are free nature walks with park rangers. They meet every Saturday and Sunday at 8:30 a.m.
Lettuce Lake Park is open every day. Opening hours are seasonal, so check the park’s website before visiting.