Michael has a BA in History & American Studies and an MSc in American History from the University of Edinburgh. He comes from a proud military family and has spent most of his career as an educator in the Middle East and Asia. His passion is travel, and he seizes any opportunity to share his experiences in the most immersive way possible, whether at sea or on the land.

Part of our in-depth series exploring Southern Early American Forts

Picture of Fort Foster

Hillsborough River State Park
15402 U.S. 301 North
Thonotosassa, Florida 33592
Phone: 813-987-6771
Fax: 813-987-6773
Park Manager: Kim Tennille

Welcome to Hillsborough River State Park. One of Florida’s original state parks. Built in 1936 by the Civilian Conservation Corp. Hillsborough River State Park is steeped in history and natural beauty. Many activities are available at the park by which visitors can access and enjoy this area. Fort Foster, a replica of an original Second Seminole War military fort, is open for guided tours on Saturdays and Sundays. A visit to the Fort allows visitors to step back in time to the days of when Florida was being settled by pioneers. The Fort Foster Visitor Station houses a display of artifacts from the time period, and provides the visitor with information about the operation of the Fort.

The natural scenic beauty of the park is astounding. Many trails offer the visitor the opportunity to experience this first hand. A popular trail is the Rapids Nature Trail. It meanders through oak hammocks to the edge of the Hillsborough River at the point where an outcropping of limestone rocks has created rapids. This area is a popular spot for photographers, and outdoor enthusiasts. For enjoying the river by being on it, the park has canoe rentals for visitor’s convenience.

Hillsborough River State Park also offers 111 campsites, picnic areas, pavilions, and the Spirit of the Woods Pool Side Café and Gift Shop. A swimming pool with a capacity of 216 swimmers is also within the park. All of these amenities are made available for our visitor’s enjoyment.

From an afternoon picnic, an all day family reunion, an extended stay by overnight camping, or a corporate gathering, Hillsborough River State Park provides an exceptional setting in a natural environment for folks to relax and reconnect with family, friends, and colleagues.

Hours of Operation

Fort Foster is unfortunately not open for routine daily visits. It does however offer guided tours to those who reserve a slot. Tours take place every Thursday at 10:30am November-April, and every third Saturday at 10am during the summer.

Driving Directions

Hillsborough River State Park is located 9 miles north of Tampa and 6 miles south of Zephyrhills on US Highway 301.

From I-75, Southbound from Ocala take the SR 54. Exit #279 east to Hwy 301, travel South for 6 miles, and the park will be on your right-hand side.

From I-75, Northbound from Tampa take the Fowler Ave. Exit #265 east to Hwy 301, travel North for 9 miles, and the park will be on your left-hand side.

From I-4, West bound take Exit 10 go north on CR 579 to US 301, follow the signs and go North 7 miles the park will be on your left-hand side.

From I-4, East bound take Exit 7 (be careful of the merges) and go North on US 301 for 14 miles, the park will be on your left-hand side.

Park Fees

Admission Fees - $6.00 for up to 8 people per vehicle.
Single Occupant in a vehicle $4.00
Pedestrians, Bicyclists, Extra Passengers, Passengers In Vehicles With Holder of Annual Individual Entrance Permit, Members of Organized Groups - Admission Fee $2.00

Recreation Buildings available (inquire)

Pool Fee

Camping Fee (inquire)
All Year: $16-$42 plus tax
Cabin: $30-$160

Pavilion Fee
Large Pavilion: $60.00 plus tax; Medium Pavilion: $30.00 plus tax

Communities and Related Links
Tampa Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau

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