Lettuce Lake Park

Lettuce Lake Conservation Park, 6920 E Fletcher Ave, Tampa, FL 33637

Lettuce Lake Park

 

 

I’ve lived in Florida for over 30 years and have visited many parks, both county and state. Each has its own beauty. Today we’ll go over to my neighboring county of Hillsborough, home of the city of Tampa on the Hillsborough River. Close to the city and on the river is a quiet county conservation park filled with wildlife and tranquility. As with all parks in a natural setting, please follow the rules and stay on trails and boardwalk for an enjoyable, safe visit.

 

 

Lettuce Lake Park sign

 

 

 

 

scenery

 

 

 

tree

 

 

 

Lettuce Lake Conservation Park is one of Hillsborough County’s most visited parks. More than half of the park’s property lies in the natural floodplain of the Hillsborough River, consisting of a hardwood swamp forest. The remainder of the park consists of hardwood hammocks and pine flatwoods plant communities.  It is an inexpensive place for a family outing. The entrance fee is $2 per vehicle with up to 8 people per car. You can’t beat that! Bikes and dogs are allowed.

 

 

turtle on log

 

 


view of park

 

 

 

Features

 

Lettuce Lake Park opened in 1982 and quickly became a hub of activities. The 240-acre site offers something for everyone. Wooded picnic areas and a playground are family favorites. A 1.25 mile paved bicycle path/jogging trail, complete with a fitness course, meander through the park.

 

owl by boardwalk

 

 


visitor center exhibit

 

 

visitor center exhibit #birds

 

 

Lettuce Lake is also a haven to study nature. The Visitor Center is a good starting point on your first visit. It has bird feeders that attract a variety of feathered friends and exhibits on wildlife and the eco system.

 

 

Lettuce Lake Visitor Center

 

 

gator

 


From the Visitor Center you can go to rent a canoe or go for a stroll through the park on the raised boardwalk.  The boardwalk and marked trails are quite safe to explore the park despite the alligators and snakes you see.

 

 

alligator in lake

 

 

 

alligator

 

 

The observation tower provides scenic views of the Hillsborough River.

 

 

observation tower

 

 

 

 

lake view

 

 

reflection off lake from observation tower

 

 

 

 

On the weekends, park ranger and volunteer-led nature tours are available.  Scheduled events include: Saturday, April 6th, a Native Plant Walk, and on April 13th, Beginning Bird Walk.

 

 

insect

 

 

 

bird

 


Canoes and kayaks rentals provide an opportunity to get close to plants and wildlife.

 

 

canoe on lake

 

 

lake canoe

 

 

Lettuce Lake Park wildlife

 

 


What I like about the park is its true reflection of natural Florida with wetlands, cypress trees, and lots of wildlife.  I’ve seen many different birds (including cranes), snakes, alligators, turtles,  and fish jumping out of the water.

 

 

Lettuce Lake Park

 

 

I love cypress trees and their cypress knees growing in wetlands. Cypress and cypress knees are protected on state property and vital to the eco system. If you see cypress mulch for sale, please do NOT buy it as cypress wetlands are being decimated.

 

 

cypress

 

 

cypress with knees on Hillsborough River

 

 

 

 

cypress stand

 

 


It is a quiet, serene environment and perfect for hours of enjoyment.  The park is open in the Spring/Summer: 8 AM to 7 PM and 8 AM to 6 PM in the Fall/Winter.  The boardwalk closes 30 minutes before the closing time. To really explore the park you need at least 2 hours, but it is also a pleasant place for a short walk.

 

Before You Go

 

Visit the website and read the County rules for all parks:

  • All plants and animals are protected. No hunting is allowed. Where fishing is allowed, you must follow state regulations.
  • Pets must be restrained on a hand-held leash, and their poop must be scooped and disposed in the trash
  • Please stay on marked trails. Bikes, horses, and campfires are only allowed in specified areas in certain parks and preserves. No unauthorized vehicles are allowed. If you have an emergency or witness illegal activities, call 911
  • Get the latest announcements (like trail closures) at website
  • Download or print a trail map when available
  • Most importantly, know your limits.

 

In the winter, you can experience dusk from the boardwalk.

 

dusk at lettuce lake park

 

 


dusk Letucce Lake Park

 

 

 

 

When you’re in the Tampa area, stop by Lettuce Lake Park and experience a quiet time with nature.

 

 

Lettuce Lake Park collage

 

 

 


 

 

pelican come back often

 

Get exclusive free printables & all the news straight to your mailbox!

 

 

 

Please see my Link Parties page for the parties where this post was shared.

 

Carol

I was raised in Tennessee but have lived in Florida for many years. Love my small home in the Tampa Bay area and its developing garden. My decorating style is eclectic - some vintage, some cottage, all with a modern flair. Pursuing a healthier lifestyle. Spent many years in social services but am happily retired.

40 thoughts to “Lettuce Lake Park”

  1. Wow, such wonderful photos! I find it fascinating that you have parks with alligators and snakes and noone bats an eye lid. We don’t have that in the UK, seeing snakes in the forest would probably make the local papers!! #mmbc

    1. Florida was mainly a wilderness of swampy, wetlands in early 20th Century. Eco conscious people push for protection of natural species both plant and animal. Wetlands in Florida have gators and snakes. No way around it. You’re safe if you follow the rules and designated paths.

    1. rule to remember – if in an area with a gator, keep behind fence or protective wall – if there is no protective wall, stay away from water’s edge. Gators pull small creatures into water from edge and drown them. Otherwise, you don’t see them everywhere. Mainly wetlands which is their natural habitat.

  2. Thank you for sharing the information on this beautiful spot, Carol. I loved the nature photos, especially the one of the little owl! That was a great picture. I’m surprised he was out during the day. I don’t believe I have ever seen cyprus mulch for sale, but I will now be on the watch for it. Cyprus trees are so pretty and such a vital part of the ecosystem. It’s a shame they are being turned into mulch!

  3. That’s beautiful. I lived in Tampa from 1974 to 1976 and was wondering why I had never heard of this park; now I know. Hoping I will be in the Tampa area sometime next winter; I will definitely keep this park in mind.

  4. Beautiful photos of an amazing place full of natural beauty. Some interesting creatures there. I would like to see the water, kayaking activities and the structural landscape of those trees from the lookout towers.

  5. Hello, Love the photos. Lettuce Lake was one of my favorite parks to visit in Florida. Great sighting of the Owl. Happy Friday, I hope your day and weekend is great!

  6. In December, my husband and I usually head for Florida for 10 days (more or less). I usually show up at one of the lovely parks in the area we are visiting. Enjoy walking and taking pictures and being one with nature. I enjoyed cyber walking tour of this park. Thanks so much. Have a great week-end.

  7. These are lovely, clear photos of flora and fauna! I love the name Lettuce Lake, and it looks like a fun place to explore!

    1. The lettuce plant is an invasive species from another country that can clog rivers and lakes.

  8. What a stunning nature reserve and your photos are amazing! To be able to see alligators up close and going about their day must be a great experience. Thanks for taking us along 🙂 #MMBC

  9. Carol – I thought of you and my other Florida friends this week because my husband and I went to see a set of films all based on water – rivers, lakes, etc. One of them was called The Last Green Thread, a 2018 documentary about three friends who set out on an expedition into the most rapidly developing landscape in Central Florida, traveling the narrowest and most imperiled wildlife corridor in the state. Your post reminds me so much of the film … I think it’s something people in Florida should see and consider strongly if they want to preserve the native flora and fauna in Florida. Thanks so much for including the important conservation reminders in your post! And thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday!

    1. It’s always a pleasure to visit you Angie. Conservation is always difficult with big money always yelling for development.

  10. You’ve really made us all want to GO! I love how you described why you like this park…seeing the natural Florida! It is so wonderful to get to visit places that are beautiful but also have so much native wildlife. Love the photos of the river with big beautiful clouds above! WOW! Happy Spring!

  11. What a beautiful park! I love the photo of the owl and thought how lucky you were to get so close to it. Then I saw the alligator and thought how scary to get so close to it. I’m surprised people would get in canoe with alligators in the water. You can probably tell I live in an area where alligators are rare.

    1. Most places do not have predators in parks – that’s a fact. I just stay on the boardwalk and away from them. I like them from a distance.

  12. What is worse? Beware of alligators, bear away or cougar in the neighbourhood? Just kidding. Looks like a beautiful par to visit. – Margy

  13. That looks a super place to visit with an endless variety of things to see and do. I hope that everyone sticks to the rules. Personally, I don’t think that domestic pets and wild nature can co-exist.

    1. If dogs are kept on leash in APPROVED areas there shouldn’t be a problem. There can be no free roaming by pets at all or you must leave and probably be fined. I can understand your concern – there are lots of birds and other wild creatures to protect.

    1. Lettuce leaf is an invasive water plant (not native to Florida) that is widespread in the lake and river in this area. Thus the name!

I love to make new friends and get to know you.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.