Prior to its 1982 opening, Lettuce Lake Park was used primarily for cattle grazing, hunting, and fishing. Today, this 240-acre site has proven to be one of the most successful parks in the County, with well over one million visitors annually. More than half of the park’s property lies in the natural floodplain of the Hillsborough River, consisting of a hardwood swamp forest, which provides a natural storage reservoir for floodwater and improves water quality. The remainder of the park consists of hardwood hammocks and pine flatwoods plant communities.
Fitness enthusiasts can enjoy the park’s bicycle path/jogging trail, complete with a fitness course and a playground for the kids. Nature lovers can either hike, kayak, or fish on their own, or take free guided nature tours on Saturdays and Sundays, where park rangers take participants through the 3,500 boardwalk and along the scenic Hillsborough River. The rangers will also highlight many native plants, a variety of birds, and usually even an alligator or two. Visitors can check out the interpretive center and its exhibits before strolling to a three-story observation tower where they can view an extensive variety of wildlife.
After completing their nature tours, visitors can return to their campsites and access the park’s wooded ADA accessible picnic areas and shelters, as well as picnic tables, restrooms, recycling bins, and barbecue grills.
The Oct. 28 Lettuce Lake Park After Dark Boardwalk Tour is full. Please stay tuned for the next guided after dark tour.