Paddle the Hillsborough River Wilderness Preserve

Rate this Adventure Florida John B Sargeant Parking Area

Added by Stephanie Wagner

See Florida's unique and abundant wildlife on a leisurely stroll down the river. Around every corner you'll find something new and beautiful from an array of different birds to alligators and turtles sharing a log!

Start at John B Sargeant State Park--they do have a $2 parking fee. There is a canoe rental and shuttle service on site called Canoe Escape. They do have kayaks as well. If you own your own canoe you can pay for the shuttle service to pick you up at the end if you choose not to paddle out and back.

There are a few routes to take:

  • Sargeant Park to Morris Bridge Park: 2 hour paddle
  • Sargeant Park to Trout Creek: 4 hour paddle
  • Sargeant Park to Rotary Park: 6 hour Paddle

Mix and match any of those locations if you want or you can paddle out and back and not rely on any shuttle service.

We saw most of the wildlife on the Sargeant to Morris section of the river. Once you get on the river at Sargeant you will come to a fork in the river. Go right into a bay, you'll see many alligators sunbathing and swimming. You'll then turn around and make your way down the river.

You'll see many different species of wildlife in their natural habitat. You'll see alligators, turtles, white ibis, pink ibis, anhinga, little blue heron, limpkin and much more.

Note: Follow the Orange flags to determine which way to go. We got stuck on some shallow areas and came close to having to portage.

Pack List

  • Sunscreen
  • Water
  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Fishing Rod and License
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Chillin, Fishing, Kayaking, Photography

Skill Level:



Year Round


Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area

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Added by Stephanie Wagner

Many years ago I was infected by the travel bug and I have not been able to find a remedy. I haven’t been everywhere, but it is on my list. I’m just starting to dabble in photography, I figured it’d be nice to capture better photos of our adventures.

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