Many of us are looking for ways to remain active while also staying a safe distance away from others. That's why Sarah Phinney started a ‘Walking Club’ to highlight some hidden, and some not so hidden, trails and parks across Tampa Bay.
Lettuce Lake Park is one of the most popular parks in Hillsborough County, but it’s still constantly being discovered by first-timers. Don't let another weekend go by without visiting!
Where is it?
Lettuce Lake Park is located near the University of South Florida, just west of I-75. Put this address in your phone before you leave:
It costs $2 per vehicle to get into the park. Bring cash or change! Cards are not accepted.
What’s up with the name?
Lettuce Lake Park was named after the water lettuce in the area. It may be pretty, but it’s invasive. Officials say it looks like a little head of lettuce opening up on the water.
What is there to do?
Visitors will find a 1.3-mile paved loop, as well as more than a mile hiking trail. There is also a just under a mile boardwalk that you shouldn’t miss! It’s a great place to look for alligators.
“People really like to see them from that boardwalk, especially because it’s very safe,” said Rebecca Winch, Environmental Lands Management Technician with Hillsborough County Conservation and Environmental Lands Management.
You’ll be able to access the observation tower from the boardwalk. Climb it to get a great view of the water and do a little bird watching.
“This time of year is really big for birding so the observation tower and the boardwalk are two great ways to see lots of birds,” said Winch.
Right now, the boardwalk is one-way. You’ll see signs pointing you in the right direction to walk as soon as you get there.
“That’s just to keep people from maybe passing too closely to each other,” said Winch. “Masks are not required, but are recommended if you get too close to people.”
Bikes and dogs are not allowed on the boardwalk, but there are plenty of other places in the park for your pup.
Additionally, there are plenty of shelters and two playgrounds. Restrooms can be found in multiple locations.
Want to get out on the water?
Canoe and kayak rentals are available.
Lettuce Lake sits on a calm part of the Hillsborough River. You’ll probably see alligators while paddling! Just be sure to give them extra space as it is mating season. But, Winch says you likely won’t encounter any issues.
“They are just not aggressive animals,” she said. “They don’t want to be around us. I’ve never had trouble with a gator while paddling.”
If you’d like to rent, talk to the staff members at the park’s entry station.
It costs $25 to rent for up to four hours. Every additional hour costs $10.
When should I visit?
Lettuce Lake Park is open in the spring and summer from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. It’s open in the fall and winter from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Join Walking Club!
Post photos of your adventures, ask questions and learn about upcoming #WalkingClub stories in Sarah’s Walking Club group on Facebook!