Slow down at these rapids, just a half hour from Tampa

Just minutes from downtown Tampa, Hillsborough River State Park offers a refuge from city life with seven miles of nature trails and wonderful wildlife viewing.

The Thonotosassa park is a breathtaking oasis of natural historical significance. Visitors can stroll along river rapids, enjoy camping, explore historic structures, share a picnic, or view scenic landscapes.

"One of the reasons why the park was open in this location is because of the topography and the rapids on the river," explained Kyle Easley, the park manager. "We do have one of the only rapid rivers in Florida."

The park’s history goes all the way to the Seminole Indian wars of the early 1800s. It officially opened as a park in 1938, thanks to the Civilian Conservation Corps’ foresight to protect this rare feature, showcasing it to millions of visitors over the years.

Hiking, camping, paddling, and nature watching are the most popular activities at the park. If you do brave the rapids, be sure to keep an eye out for alligators lounging in the river.

Entry to the park is $6 per vehicle.