August is National Parks Month, and there are more than 350 parks and preserves in Hillsborough County providing plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors this summer and fall. From splash parks and playgrounds for toddlers to hiking, biking and fishing for teens and adults, you’re sure to find a park you
and your family will love — one that will give you a new appreciation for the beauty, wildlife and history that makes Tampa a great place to live. To get you started, here are four local parks to check out this month.
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
600 N. Ashley Drive | Downtown Tampa
Bordered by the Tampa Museum of Art, the Glazer Children’s Museum, and the Riverwalk, this 8-acre park has plenty of open space for young ones to romp, an innovative playground like no other found in Tampa, and fountains for cooling off when the temperature heats up. Its central location makes it the perfect spot to have a family picnic or meet up with friends before exploring Downtown Tampa. Curtis Hixon is host to many festivals and special events throughout the year and has weekly yoga and Zumba classes open to the public. This summer, the park will host camps under the shade structure donated by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the Winter Village holiday event.
Ballast Point Park
5300 Interbay Blvd. | South Tampa
This picturesque park has stunning views of the bay and Downtown Tampa as well as two playgrounds, a splash park, plenty of large shade trees and Taste of Boston, a small restaurant that serves New England seafood and ice cream. Anglers can bring their rods and reels to fish from the 600-foot-long pier. Kids who love to climb will appreciate the monkey bars, tall slides and ladders on the playground here.
Explore the River
Lettuce Lake Park
6920 E. Fletcher Ave. | University Area/Tampa Palms
The Hillsborough River runs through this 240-acre park, so you never know what birds or wildlife you’ll see while exploring the boardwalks that meander through three different ecosystems. There is also a paved path through the park that is perfect for biking or scootering. An open play field, playground and interactive visitors’ center are also fun for nature-lovers of all ages, but the real highlight is the view from the three-story observation tower. Each month the park hosts beginners’ bird-watching gatherings and native plant walks.
17302 N. Dale Mabry Hwy. | Lutz
There are five lakes at this aptly named 589-acre park, which makes it the perfect park for bird watching and hiking. Lake Park also has boat and kayak launches as well as primitive camp sites, but the features that make this park truly unique are two equestrian arenas, a radio-controlled car track and an archery range, all of which are open to the public except during races, special events and tournaments.