Kayaking the Hillsborough River of Central Florida

Updated on April 6, 2020
bdegiulio profile image

Traveling has always been one of my passions. It exposes us to new cultures and experiences and makes the world a more tolerant place.


If you're looking for a little outdoor adventure on your next trip to central Florida why not consider a canoe or kayak trip down the Hillsborough River? Located just sixteen miles from downtown Tampa and fifteen minutes from Busch Gardens lies the meandering Hillsborough River. Starting in the Green Swamp, the Hillsborough River winds through two counties before ending its journey into Tampa Bay. Along the way, the river passes through the Hillsborough River State Park, which occupies over three thousand acres along the rivers banks.

Hillsborough River State Park opened in 1938, making it one of the oldest state parks in Florida. The river attracts kayaker's and canoeists who are looking to bond with nature as they take a relaxing trip down the river.


Canoe Escape

If you are visiting the area you can rent a kayak or canoe through Canoe Escape, an outfitter that has been providing tours on the Hillsborough River for over twenty-five years. This family-owned business takes great pride in providing environmentally friendly paddling experiences on the Hillsborough River. They offer self-guided downstream trips, hourly rentals, and interpretive guided nature tours along the Hillsborough River. For a great outdoor experience give them a call.

Canoe Escape

  • John B. Sargeant Park
  • 12702 U.S. 301
  • Thonotosassa, FL. 33592
  • 813-986-2067

Hours: Opens at 9 am daily. Last rental is at 3:30 pm.

Rates vary depending on whether you are renting a double or single kayak/canoe.

Interpretive guided tours are available in groups every Wednesday starting at 11 am. Private tours are also available on your schedule and must be reserved at least 48 hours in advance.

For a really special event Canoe Escape offers a moonlight, guided tour that will explore 5 miles of the river. Call ahead for reservations and available dates.


I can't say enough about our experience on the Hillsborough River. You are truly transformed into another world, a wilderness wonderland away from the hustle and bustle of the Tampa Bay area. It was astounding the amount and variety of wildlife that we saw during our trip down the river. We encountered numerous alligators, countless turtles, a barred owl, hawks, a very large water moccasin, egret, ibis, anhinga, and blue heron. This is just a small sampling of the wildlife you may encounter on your outing. All this during a half-day, self-guided trip down the river.

And if sharing a river with alligators concerns you, be assured that they keep to themselves and Canoe Escape has never had an incident. If you're looking for a truly unique outdoor experience while you're in the Tampa Bay area check out the Hillsborough River and the folks at Canoe Escape.

Ahinga | Source
Turtle | Source
Barred Owl - can you see it?
Barred Owl - can you see it?
Alligator | Source
John B. Sargeant Park, Thonotosassa, FL:
Thonotosassa, FL, USA

get directions


© 2012 Bill De Giulio


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      7 days ago from Massachusetts

      Absolutely. Thank you for asking.

    • profile image

      Jennifer Boroff 

      8 days ago

      Hi Bill, I am a teacher in Hillsborough County Florida and was wondering if I could use your photo of the alligator above for a PowerPoint presentation for my 6th grade students. Its a beautiful picture! Thanks so much for your consideration.

    • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill De Giulio 

      8 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thank You. I'm new to HubPages but getting the hang of it and also getting addicted to it.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      8 years ago from South Carolina

      Sounds like a great adventure for anyone who enjoys kayaking and nature.

      I loved the photos and the way you wrote this hub made it feel like you were talking to the reader as a trusted, well-informed friend.

      Welcome to Hub Pages. Voted up across the board except for funny.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, skyaboveus.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)