Campsites at Hillsborough County parks provide a fresh-air remedy to the mid-winter doldrums.
Whether your thing is disc golf or horseback riding, fishing or bird-watching, a tent or a fully-equipped RV, there's a patch of land waiting - if you arrive early.
The County’s full-amenity campgrounds at E.G. Simmons, Edward Medard, and Lithia Springs parks fill up on weekends when the weather is cool and pleasant. Sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There’s also primitive camping, with no amenities, at Alderman’s Ford, Lake Rogers, and Upper Tampa Bay parks.
The fee is $24 per night for a site at the three full-amenity campgrounds. Seniors (age 55 and older) pay $18 per night. Hillsborough County residents age 65, or those with a full disability, pay $12.
Wondering what you'll do all day? There are many options. Fishing, for instance: There are campgrounds near freshwater springs, lakes, and rivers, and others close to saltwater canals and Tampa Bay.
Here are the County's three parks with full-amenity campgrounds, and some of their features:
David and Sharon Rasmussen are "perpetual travelers" whose last permanent address was in Tennessee. They discovered Lithia Springs Regional Park two years ago, after fellow RV campers told them about the "hidden treasure" in eastern Hillsborough County. They are so enamored with the park - they swim in the spring, hike and bike beneath the Spanish-moss draped oak trees - they now volunteer as greeters at the park's entrance. "We've been volunteers here for two years now and love seeing how the park continues to blossom and improve," David Rasmussen says.
Groups such as Cub Scout packs can reserve primitive campgrounds at Alderman's Ford, Lake Rogers, and Upper Tampa Bay. There are no restrooms, picnic shelters, or other manmade features at these campsites. Like the full-service campgrounds, these areas also are popular in winter.