Hillsborough River Camping Trip

Camping review of our two day trip to Hillsborough River State Campground near Tampa.


We are camping for two nights at the Hillsborough River Campground in Thonotosassa, Florida. My son is going to a concert in Tampa which is about thirty minutes away.

Because it’s July and the weather is hot, I did not plan to do much outside during this trip. I work online and hoped to get a lot of work done, but internet was not great here.

The Campsite

Our site was number 56 on Loop 3 and it was nice. The site was big, with nothing but nature behind us. When booking a campsite, it’s tough to figure which site to choose because not a lot of info is given. Loop 3 seems to have a lot of very nice, shady sites. I did not closely check out either of the other loops, but did walk through one where the permanent tents were set up.

  • Campsite
  • grilling food at campsite
  • wooded campsite
  • Campsite Imagine trailer
  • back window camper view of green woods

The Campground

On Saturday morning I took a walk. It was hot and I barely made it back (LOL) but I got some photos of what is offered at this state park. It seems that mostly there are a playground, picnic tables and little pavilion, kayak and canoe rentals, fishing, and trails to explore. This is what I found on my quick walk.

The pool is closed, and I bet that was once a huge draw. The grounds are kept nice with tables near a playground in that area. It’s nice and shady. I’m not sure how long this pool has been closed. It seems that this area has not recovered from the hurricane. There is a Fort somewhere, but it is closed also.

  • closed pool
  • playground and tables
  • canoe and kayak area
  • gift shop store at pool

The River Trails

The walk took me to the kayak and canoe launch area. I suppose they need to be rented, probably from the store across the street. It was way too hot for me to consider kayaking, and I’m not a fan of fresh water in Florida. Alligators can move very fast when they want to, and I’m sure this area has plenty of them.

One bridge was closed and had been since Hurricane Irma-2017. I’m not sure why it hasn’t been fixed by now, or taken down. The other bridge was open and it took me over the water to some trails. I did not get much further because of the heat and mosquitoes. Hiking in Florida is not my thing either, but they have lots of trails for those who like it. I have no idea what condition the trails are in.

  • wild florida path
  • footbridge across the river
  • closed bridge
  • brown river water
  • brown river water
  • Long steps near the river
  • Florida river

Hillsborough River Campground

Overall Observations

I would not make it a point to go here to camp, but for anything having to do with Tampa, this place is close, and affordable, for campers. This is why we were here. We did not have noisy, obnoxious neighbors (like our last trip) and enjoyed our two days.

I will say that navigating this campground can be a bit confusing at first. I took the map with me when I went walking. On the drive in, you follow a long one-way road around to the area with three camping loops. Each loop is marked with campsite numbers, so just pay attention.

Bring a bike. Saw some people on electric bikes – and my son brought his and rode all over, but I would bring my normal bike – if it was a cooler time of year.

  • campground road
  • campground road

On this trip our camper awning quit working. It was out and then wouldn’t go back in! The site was pretty well shaded, thankfully and with a push we got the awning retracted.

I have to say that I am not extremely impressed with this camper. We’ve had it for a year and have had to fix the outside door, the bathroom sliding doors, the window shades, and now the awning. It did not rain, other than a few sprinkles, so the awning would have been nice to use.

Our next planned camping trip will be in September with some friends. We are returning to Salt Springs, where the water is clear and cool! Can’t wait.

More to read…

Author: Pam

Spending time on the water is the best, and blogging about the sea life found along the saltwater river and ocean is what I do. I’m also a designer at Zazzle and sell my work, with a lot of ocean themes, on the site.

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