24 beautiful Florida state parks within driving distance of Tampa

This is the real Florida, and since there's no better way to embrace everything our tropical peninsula has to offer, here are a few of the best state parks within driving distance of Tampa.

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Hillsborough River State Park
Estimated drive from Tampa: 30 minutes
This state park’s Class 2 rapids are perfect for those seeking a little thrill along with their camping trip. You can also take a guided tour of Fort Foster, the only standing replica of a Second Seminole War fort in the United States. But arguably the best part of this park is the half-acre swimming pool, which costs a few bucks per head and features a poolside cafe that serves booze. 
Photo by Colin Wolf

Hillsborough River State Park
Estimated drive from Tampa: 30 minutes

This state park’s Class 2 rapids are perfect for those seeking a little thrill along with their camping trip. You can also take a guided tour of Fort Foster, the only standing replica of a Second Seminole War fort in the United States. But arguably the best part of this park is the half-acre swimming pool, which costs a few bucks per head and features a poolside cafe that serves booze.

Photo by Colin Wolf

Honeymoon Island State Park
Estimated drive from Tampa: 50 minutes
Honeymoon Island State Park is Florida's most visited state park, and for good reason. The park features miles of white sands, plenty of wildlife and a cafe that sells booze. The park also has ferry terminal for access to nearby Caladesi Island.
Photo via Florida State Parks/Facebook

Honeymoon Island State Park
Estimated drive from Tampa: 50 minutes

Honeymoon Island State Park is Florida's most visited state park, and for good reason. The park features miles of white sands, plenty of wildlife and a cafe that sells booze. The park also has ferry terminal for access to nearby Caladesi Island.

Photo via Florida State Parks/Facebook

Alafia River State Park
Estimated drive from Tampa: 45 minutes
This state park has 30 family campsites, and if you camp here you’ll be able to see a phosphate mine, watch birds, go boating or fish virtually anywhere. All the camp sites are equipped with electricity hookups, water and campground restrooms. 
Photo via Florida State Parks/Facebook/

Alafia River State Park
Estimated drive from Tampa: 45 minutes

This state park has 30 family campsites, and if you camp here you’ll be able to see a phosphate mine, watch birds, go boating or fish virtually anywhere. All the camp sites are equipped with electricity hookups, water and campground restrooms.

Photo via Florida State Parks/Facebook/

Wekiwa Springs State Park
Estimated drive from Tampa: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Old hunting cabins at this park have been turned into “primitive camping sites.” Fun activities include kayaking, horseback riding and hiking. If you get lucky, you can catch a glimpse of a bear cub at rest from a distance.
Photo via Florida State Parks

Wekiwa Springs State Park
Estimated drive from Tampa: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Old hunting cabins at this park have been turned into “primitive camping sites.” Fun activities include kayaking, horseback riding and hiking. If you get lucky, you can catch a glimpse of a bear cub at rest from a distance.

Photo via Florida State Parks

Little Manatee River State Park
Estimated drive from Tampa: 40 minutes
Rare fauna and ecosystems set Little Manatee apart as a spot for nature lovers. A full-facility campground and 15 miles of multi-use equestrian trails add to the stay-and-enjoy atmosphere of this park, whose river has been designated as an Outstanding Florida Water. 
Photo via Little Manatee River State ParkFacebook

Little Manatee River State Park
Estimated drive from Tampa: 40 minutes

Rare fauna and ecosystems set Little Manatee apart as a spot for nature lovers. A full-facility campground and 15 miles of multi-use equestrian trails add to the stay-and-enjoy atmosphere of this park, whose river has been designated as an Outstanding Florida Water.

Photo via Little Manatee River State ParkFacebook

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