Lettuce Lake is a Hillsborough County Park in the metro Tampa area that has become a favorite of ours while staying about 3 miles away in Thonotosassa. We frequently shoot video reviews and write blog posts about state parks. But we think people need to check out county parks more often.
Lettuce Lake Conservation Park is very popular and after spending some time there we can see why.
From the county’s website:
“More than half of the park’s property lies in the natural floodplain of the Hillsborough River, consisting of a hardwood swamp forest. The remainder of the park consists of hardwood hammocks and pine flatwoods plant communities.
The park features wooded picnic areas and playgrounds. A 1.25-mile paved exercise trail and 3,500-foot boardwalk with an observation tower provides scenic views of the Hillsborough River.”
The boardwalk at Lettuce Lake is a great way to check out the flora and fauna of Florida. When you’re deep into the wetlands area along the boardwalk, it’s hard to believe Tampa is less than 15 miles away.
We recommend taking your time and strolling the boardwalk slowly. That way, you’re more likely to see the critters hiding in the water and mud of the wetlands. The boardwalk can be walked end-to-end, then you can loop back to one of the parking lots via a paved trail. Consider walking the boardwalk back instead to see the plants, trees and animals from a different viewpoint.
While on the boardwalk, don’t miss climbing the observation tower for a great look down upon the Hillsborough River. It’s not terribly high and the stairway isn’t difficult to climb. But from above, you have a perfect vantage point to see down into the river. That way, you can spot some of the larger alligators in the park that seem to hang out in the deeper water.
If you want a potentially closer look at the river (and the gators, so be careful!), the park rents kayaks and canoes.
While there is an extra charge for those rentals, the entrance fee to park is a remarkably low $2 per carload (up to eight people).
Besides the boardwalk, Lettuce Lake park offers plenty of things to do for all ages. This includes BBQ grills, hiking trails, picnic shelters, a playground and a small visitor’s center. There are restrooms located throughout the park and the picnic shelters can be reserved for a separate fee.
If you get a chance when you’re in the Tampa area, we recommend carving some time out for Lettuce Lake Conservation Park at 6920 E. Fletcher Avenue.