The river was named in the late 1700s for Wills Hills, the British Colonial Secretary and Lord Earl of Hillsborough. After Florida became a U.S. Territory, settlers migrating in created conflict with the resident Seminole tribes. The U.S. government's plan to transport the Seminoles sparked the Second Seminole War. In 1835, Fort Alabama was built to protect the bridge over the Hillsborough River from Fort King (Ocala) to Fort Brooke (Tampa). The fort was abandoned a few months later and destroyed by fire. Fort Foster was built on the same site in 1836 and today visitors can experience the reconstructed fort. In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) established the area surrounding the river rapids as a public park. Many of the park's structures and the suspension bridge are examples of the CCC style of rustic architecture, in harmony with the natural environment.
Jump right in. The park offers seasonal swimming in an ADA-accessible, half-acre, man-made swimming pool.
Enjoy all (or most) of the comforts of home in the great outdoors. RV and tent camping are available with electrical hookups in the 108-site campground. Each site is equipped with water, a fire ring and picnic table.
The natural scenic beauty of the park can still be seen from this historic bridge, built by the CCC in 1938.
Visitors used to purchase their entrance to Hillsborough River State Park at the "Contact Station." Today, this historic building serves as the interpretive center showcasing exhibits about Fort Foster, the Seminoles and the Second Seminole War.