45 photos
LITHIA SPRINGS
3932 Lithia Springs Rd
Lithia, FL 33547
(813) 744-5572
LithiaSpringsPark@hillsboroughcounty.org

HOURS:
Spring/Summer: 8 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Fall/Winter: 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.

FEE:
$2.00/Vehicle (up to 8 people)

TWO THINGS TO NOTE:
It is a VERY long carry to the launch dock and THERE ARE RAPIDS which are great fun downstream, but, at spots, impossible to paddle through upstream. PLAN TO PORTAGE on the way back or just go in one direction and have transportation at the end.

Well-known for its natural spring which flows year-round, cool, clean water into the Alafia River, the Lithia Springs Park was originally purchased by Gardinier, Inc., a mining company that soon became Mosaic Phosphate, Inc. When the company leased the park to Hillsborough County as a recreational area in 1957, the 160-acre site slowly became a popular camping spot.

After setting up camp, hikers can explore the woodsy trails and its diverse plant communities, river cypress swamps, and hardwood hammocks. But it is the natural spring that serves as the park’s major attraction, which - courtesy of the water’s 72 degree temperature - provides an excellent swimming experience all year long. In addition to swimming, visitors can fish and play volleyball. There is also a bath house for the parents to rest and chat, while their kids can play at the park’s playground.

The park’s 44 camping sites - which is also suitable for RVs - include water/shower and electrical services. The campers also have access to picnic shelters and tables, restrooms, and barbecue grills. There are no reservations for these sites; everything is done on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Park rules to know:
  • Picnic shelters are not rented for the months April - September.
  • All shelters, tables and grills and parking spaces are first come first serve
  • Due to the high demand of the swimming area and current conditions maximum capacity is reached on weekends
  • No rain checks / refunds
Round trip was nearly 8 miles in 4 hours.$2/vehicle - must provide info so they can find you if you don't return by park's close.LONG carry to dock for put-in/take-out.Just beyond the put-in, there’s this great iron bridge - it’s internal to the park, but not sure what mode of transportation it supports.The first of several turtles I saw this day.What Nature made.It was right after noon, and the sun worship was on high - can you spot the devotee?A wonderfully bright and vivid day.Though the river water is tannin, it is very clear……and all the natural elements conspired to make for fascinating scenery.Can’t get a real feel for them here, but the rapids were unexpected and amazing.Another resident along the way.There were several signs of extreme weather having wrought force over the decades.More rapids - so fun on this leg, much more treacherous coming back.The many cypress knees would be my saving grace on that return trip (had to get out and pull Kiki [my kayak] while hugging them and trees to make it through the fast and heavy current).Where the current would gently carry me was serene and void of humans - just the way I like it.But alas, the spoils of man are never far from sight.Fortunately, there were many, many organically perfect views.And so many remarkable remakes.This little someone and/or others like it were at every bend…