Parks are now
toll free, at
MANATEE RIVER STATE RECREATION AREA
Named for the river that flows
through it, Little Manatee River State Recreation Area was acquired in 1974
to provide outdoor recreational opportunities in the Tampa Bay area. Since
it opened in 1987, the river has been designated as an Outstanding Florida
Water and is included in the Cockroach Bay Aquatic Preserve.
The recreation area comprises 2433 acres on U.S. 301 along the Little Manatee
River. Beginning in a swampy area east of Fort Lonesome in southeastern
Hillsborough County, the river flows about 40 miles before emptying into
Tampa Bay. The river's channel is generally well-defined and steep, sandy
banks are observed throughout its length. In its lower reaches, which include
the portion that flows five miles through the park, Little Manatee river
rises and falls with the tide.
Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities at Little Manatee River State
Recreation Area. Camping is available at one of 34 sites,
complete with electric and water hook-ups, set within a pristine sand pine
scrub. Picnic tables and shelters are available in the
picnic area along the river. Visitors can explore the river by canoe and
observe the area's scenic beauty and wildlife. Canoeists must furnish their
own canoes. Freshwater fishing opportunities include bass,
bream and catfish. A Florida freshwater fishing license is required for
persons 16 years of age or older.
miles of trails are open for horseback riding. Riders must furnish their
own horses and confine riding to designated, established trails. Proof
of a recent negative Coggins test is required. Horse camping sites are
A 6.5 mile hiking trail that
meanders through a diversity of habitats is available in the park's northern
wilderness area. A primitive camp, located along the trail, is available
by reservation only. All hikers must register at the park's ranger station.
Some facilities and activities
are accessible to people with disabilities.
For more information, write
Little Manatee River State
215 Lightfoot Road
or call (813) 671-5005.