Description - Little Manatee River is a peaceful suburban park featuring one of Florida's remaining sand scrub habitats. Dense hardwood hammocks and 4.5 miles of riverfront also entice wildlife into establishing residence. Saw palmettos, blueberries, greenbrier, grapevine, and prickly pear cactus support the various species including the endangered Florida scrub jay, warblers, fox, raccoons, armadillos, and bobcat. The Little Manatee River has been designated an Outstanding Florida Waterway, part of the Cockroach Bay Aquatic Preserve. Here, alligators and river otters nest and feed. Incidentally, you will not see river otters living in polluted waterways.
- Developed in 1974 as a recreation site for the suburban Tampa Bay area, the 2,400-acre park is divided into two sections. Visitors are invited to enjoy the day use area and several of the overnight opportunities. The most obvious recreation at the park is centered on the banks of the river. Here, visitors can picnic and launch canoes. Beyond the day use area, horse trailer parking enables equestrians to ride on over 10 miles of trail and camp at an overnight horse campground. At the end of the park road, up to 30 individuals are invited to stay at the group site. The main campground has 34 full-service sites. For folks in search of a remote excursion, stop at the park office for details pertaining to the 6.5-mile loop trail. This trail and its trailhead are located north of the river through a locked gate.
Recreation - Canoeing, camping, hiking, horseback riding, horse camping, primitive camping, fishing, and picnicking are available within 30 minutes of Tampa. Special events for adults and children are held throughout the year. Call the park office for up-to-date listings.
Climate - Winters in west central Florida are normally mild with occasional temperatures dipping into the 30's and 40's Fahrenheit. However, averages range between 52 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit (11 - 18 Celsius). Summers are normally hot and muggy with temperatures and humidity usually exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Averages range between 81 and 83 degrees (27 - 29 Celsius). Precipitation for the central west area ranges between 52 and 56 inches per year.
Little Manatee River State Park is located south of Tampa, four miles south Sun City, off U.S. Highway 301 on Lightfoot Road.