See alligators and other wildlife from the safety of your canoe on the Hillsborough River

For 30 years, Canoe Escape has offered customers one of the most uniquely Florida experiences around. They operate canoe and kayak tours on the Hillsborough River. 

The trips range from two to six hours in length. Owner Brian Faulk said he has been down the river thousands of times.

"It’s always different. Every trip is unique to itself," he shared.

Canoe Escape welcomes both newbie and veteran paddlers on the river. They offer lessons to any customers who wants them to make sure everyone has the best experience on the water. But Faulk said the real star of their tours is simply the river. 

"We have this amazing wildlife area that is literally 20 minutes from downtown Tampa," Faulk added.

Faulk said most people go out on the river for the alligators. During the summer months, paddlers can expect to see between 40 and 60 alligators.

"We have other times during the year when we have regular counts that are well over a hundred," said Faulk.

The average size of an alligator on their two-hour trip is four to seven feet. Faulk explained how gators keep their distance and just dive under the water if the paddlers get too close.

As well as gators, people can see tons of birds on the river like egrets, herons, limpkins and ibis. Fish and turtles can also be seen up and down the river. 

"Everyone should get to experience this," shared Brian. "It’s really a treasure when it comes to wildlife."

Canoe Escape is open Thursday through Monday and operates in John B. Sargeant Sr. Park on U.S. 301 in Thonotosassa.

LINK: For more information about Canoe Escape visit their website: