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Lettuce Lake Park: Walking Amongst Florida Swamps

Swamps at Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa, Florida

The Tampa Bay area is home to a handful of beautiful parks. One of the best is Lettuce Lake, located near the University of South Florida, in the northern section of Tampa. This gorgeous park enables visitors to take a walk, via a 3500 foot shaded boardwalk, across hardwood swamp forests. The scenery is spectacular, especially the beautiful cypress trees.

Along the way, you might even catch a glimpse of a gator! In fact, Lettuce Lake Park is well-known for being one of the best places in the city for spotting gators in their natural habitat.

The boardwalk

The boardwalk at Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa, Florida

Beautiful trees lining the boardwalk at Tampa's Lettuce Lake Park

Plenty of shade coverage along the way – A great place to come to escape both the city noise & Florida heat!

Shaded boardwalk at Tampa's Lettuce Lake Park

Views of the swamp

View of the swamp at Lettuce Lake Park - Tampa, Florida

View of the swamp at Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa, Florida

Look at the size of this tree trunk - Swamps of Lettuce Lake Park - Tampa, Florida

Check out the size of this tree trunk!

Swamp - Lettuce Lake Park - Tampa, Florida

Swamp view at Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa, Florida

Swamp view on a rainy day at Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa, Florida

Swamp at Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa, Florida

Swamp view from the Lettuce Lake boardwalk - Tampa, Florida

Sadly no alligators seen on this trip. Below, the only wildlife we encountered…

Turtle at Tampa's Lettuce Lake Park

Lots of squirrels on the Lettuce Lake boardwalk in Tampa, Florida

In addition to the boardwalk, a beautiful nature trail (about a mile or so long) takes you through the beautiful native plants of the area. The shady path offers a much needed escape from the heat. We got drenched on our hike, although it was in the 90’s, so we really didn’t mind. In fact, it helped cool us down tremendously! I recommend leaving early in the morning as afternoon thunderstorms are very common during the summer months.

Nature trail sign at Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa, Florida

Canopy of trees on the Lettuce Lake nature trail-Tampa, Florida

A walk through natural Florida on the Lettuce Lake nature trail in Tampa, Florida

A rainy day on Tampa's Lettuce Lake nature trail

Bunny on Tampa's Lettuce Lake nature trail

The observation tower (pictured below) gives you the chance to take in panoramic views of the Hillsborough River. A beautiful sight – be sure to bring with your camera!

Observation Tower at Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa, Florida

What a beautiful view!

Views of the river from the Lettce Lake observation deck - Tampa, Florida

Also available in the park: a bike path/running trail with fitness stations, a canoe launch, picnic tables, and a fishing pier.

Beautiful tree-lined biking/jogging path (about a mile long)

Biking/jogging path at Tampa's Lettuce Lake Park

Biking/jogging path at Tampa's Lettuce Lake Park

Lettuce Lake Park is a great escape from all the traffic and congestion in Tampa. This beautiful area is great for recreation of any kind. Whether you feel like taking a nature stroll, a relaxing bike ride, a jog, or a ride in your canoe, you will find it all here. The peaceful relaxed setting of Lettuce Lake will definitely bring me back for another visit. Hopefully, we will spot a gator the next time around!

Swamp views on a stormy day in Tampa, Florida - Lettuce Lake Park

Tips:

*An umbrella is a must, especially if visiting in the summer afternoons!

*Bring with plenty of water!

*Pack your camera in case you come across a gator.

*Wear light, loose fitting clothing. If it is already hot outside and you add in exercise, you risk overheating yourself.

Lettuce Lake Park is located at 6920 E Fletcher Ave, Tampa, FL 33637 (across from USF). Parking is $2 per vehicle. Spring & Summer hours: 8am-8pm, Fall & Winter hours: 8am-6pm.

Have you visited Lettuce Lake? Have you ever spotted an alligator? What are your favorite parks in the Tampa area?



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