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Walking Club: Exploring Withlacoochee River Park

Posted at 1:38 PM, Nov 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-13 09:29:23-05

Many of us are looking for ways to be active while also staying socially distanced from others. That is why Sarah Phinney started a ‘Walking Club’ to highlight some hidden, and some not so hidden, trails across the Tampa Bay area that are great places for you and your family to check out.

Hop in the car and visit Withlacoochee River Park this weekend. You'll find some much-needed peace and quiet on the miles of trails. And if you can't get enough, you can spend the night!

Where is it?

Withlacoochee River Park is located about an hour northeast of Tampa. Put this address in your phone before you head out: 12449 Withlacoochee Blvd. Dade City, FL 33525.

What is there to do?

Withlacoochee River Park spans about 400 acres and offers plenty to do for the whole family.

There is a paved 1.7-mile trail through the park that is good for first-timers, bike riders or those who want to bring a stroller. Use the first north parking lot if you’d like to try it out.

The nature trails are much longer. There is one nature trail that mimics part of the paved trail. You’ll find offshoots that will take you deeper into the woods.

“If you want to go off a trail, I would wear long pants,” said Sam Scarborough, Withlacoochee River Park Park Site Supervisor. “If you are not so adventurous, you can wear shorts and be comfortable.”

Visitors should make their way to the observation tower that overlooks the swamp and Withlacoochee Forest.

Kayaks and canoes can be launched into the Withlacoochee River. Fishing is also popular.

Check out a map here.

What if I want to spend the night?

There are several options for camping at Withlacoochee River Park.

There is primitive camping, which is about a half-mile hike from parking. There’s also semi-primitive camping that’s located closer to parking and visitors have access to showers.

RV camping is a draw as well. There are 15 sites at the park, along with an overflow area.

“It’s an excellent place for camping,” said Scarborough. “We have a lot of repeat campers.”

Cabins can be rented too. The buildings have air conditioning, electricity and fans.

You can find more information here.

When should I visit?

Withlacoochee River Park is open every day from dawn to dusk.

Want to know more? Join the Walking Club Facebook Group.

Let Sarah know if you visit this weekend. If have an idea for a trail that she should feature, you can find her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.