Little Manatee River State Park By: Wes Tallyn

Every New Year’s Day my wife and I pick a new park for us to go to for the first time. We hike along the trails, fish, do a tailgate lunch and whatever else the park offers.  This year, we chose Little Manatee River State Park (LMRSP) and we were not disappointed!

One thing to check with every park is when they are open.   LMRSP is open 365 days a year from 8am until sunset.  The park offers approximately 16 miles of hiking, equestrian and multi-use trails which provides for some great day hiking opportunities.

The trails that are along the river have several viewing areas of the river for some excellent photo ops.  There’s also some great kayaking and canoeing on the river.   Two launch areas let you put in the river with ease!   There’s also a campground onsite for both primitive and traditional tent/RV sites.

Photographers have great opportunities for scenic shots and wildlife photos.  Deer, birds, gopher tortoises, alligators and other species frequent the park.  There’s a $5 fee upon entering the park, but it can be paid online or via a drop box at the front gate.

The park was surprisingly easy to get to, as it’s just off of US-301 between Tampa and Bradenton.  It’s a short drive from just about everywhere in the Tampa Bay area, so get out there and experience the park for yourself!