If you are looking for a good place to take a nature walk while in Tampa, stop off at Lettuce Lake Regional Park. The park is located on Lettuce Lake, named so for all of the vegetation that grows on top of the water. It's a beautiful park that offers pavilions, restrooms, playgrounds, and trails. There is a 1.25 mile paved pedestrian trail, a 1.3 mile non-paved nature trail, and a long boardwalk that goes along the water. Lots to explore at this park!
We took the unpaved nature trail, which was nice. It's about 1.3 miles long and meanders through the park. It's not as quiet as I would prefer when taking a hike, as there is traffic you can hear, and the park was very busy, so we could hear people on the playgrounds in certain areas. However, the real gem of this park is the 3,500 ft. boardwalk. It's stroller and wheelchair friendly and it is awesome!
When you start on the boardwalk from the visitor center you can go left or right. If you go to the left you will go around the one side of the lake, as well as have a turn-off to another area. If you go to the right from the visitor center you will come to a high observation tower that provides spectacular views of the whole area. You can stop there and take in the beautiful scenery of the lake, as well as the trees.
This boardwalk was a real treat because of the massive cypress trees that dot the way. They are the biggest cypress trees that I've ever seen and they were awesome. We had to stop and check them out, finding their girth impressive. I thought the boardwalk was a great nature walk and well worth stopping off at this park.
We packed a picnic lunch and after we were through with our hiking and strolling on the boardwalk we found a picnic table back on the unpaved nature trail (away from everyone) and enjoyed our lunch. Very nice park to stop off at if you will be the Tampa area. There's something for everyone, but don't miss taking a walk on the boardwalk! The only downside to this park is how busy it was, but we were there on a Saturday. If you visit on another day of the week it's probably not going to be as busy.
The visitor's center offers programs, events, maps, restrooms, etc. You can get more information about Lettuce Lake Park here.
Here are pictures from our unpaved trail hike, as well as our boardwalk stroll at Lettuce Lake Park: