If you are looking for a good place to take a nature walk while in Tampa, stop off at Lettuce Lake Regional Park. The park is located on Lettuce Lake, named so for all of the vegetation that grows on top of the water. It’s a beautiful park that offers pavilions, restrooms, playgrounds, and trails. There is a 1.25-mile paved pedestrian trail, a 1.3-mile non-paved nature trail, and a long boardwalk that goes along the water.
There are so many things to do at this park! One of the most popular things to do at Lettuce Lake is to follow one of the trails and take a walk. You have three options to choose from – Boardwalk, Nature Trail, and Paved Path. Each one offers a unique experience through the park.
The boardwalk path will take you up to the Hillsborough River and to an observation tower. Oh, keep a lookout on things while walking on the boardwalk path, we saw some pretty like a five-foot alligator up close and personal! He was just hanging out right off the boardwalk and some turtles, bowfin fish, egret, and a roseate spoonbill.
Next is the Paved Path, this route is approximately a 1.25-mile loop around the park and most of this path is shaded with a nice hammock overhead. This is a great path for both hiking and biking! The only friendly resident animal that greeted us was an armadillo because this path was bustling with people! Which seems natural since this path was the most accessible one from the parking lots.
Last but certainly not the least, the Nature Trail. This is a more typical hiking trail, we didn’t see too many animals on this trail either. This trail is definitely the best if you want to get away from the crowd and truly enjoy nature.
If hiking isn’t your thing, don’t worry! This park also offers very reasonable canoe and kayak rentals. The rentals were $25 for 4 hours. You pay for the rental at the entrance and they give you a key to the kayak/canoe. Included in the rental price was the use of a life jacket, whistle, and paddle.
Overall, the lake and river are absolutely stunning with so many sites to see. If you are in the Tampa area and have a few hours to spare I would definitely recommend checking out Lettuce Lake Park.
Photo Credit: http://www.floridafamilynature.com