Friday, August 26, 2011

Hillsborough River State Park

Thonotosassa, Florida

We made the long 25 mile drive to Hillsborough River State Park.  It is located in Thonotosassa, Florida, which is a suburb of Tampa.  We have been here many times and always enjoy it.

We didn’t know if our days of camping here would be over once we bought the “Big Guy.”  Thankfully, they are not.

Here we are at the check-in gate.

Big Guy at Hillsborough River State Park Entrance

Dang…this thing looks so big to us.  Can we navigate it around the curves and trees?  We love having all the interior space, but getting into campgrounds will be much more of a challenge.

Big Guy at Hillsborough River State Park Entrance

The main road is a paved one way 2.2 mile loop.  It’s plenty wide.  No overhanging trees to worry about.

Hillsborough River State main road - one way road

There are some horrendous speed bumps by the pool area, but just a few.

This is the entrance to the campground.  You can see how wooded it is.  Note the all the trees on the road straight ahead?  That’s where we have to go. Yikes!

entrance into campground

Our first choice was site number 96, which is a non-reserveable/walk-in site.  It was open, however they had it saved for a work camper that was arriving in a few days.  That didn’t seem fair to us, but that’s the way it is.  We can’t save them, but the work campers can.

Our second choice was site number 106, which has 50 amp and is a pull in site.   We paid for a week, then drove on to the site.  The loop road was fine for the most part, but there was one area where you had to be extra careful of the trees on both sides of the road.

a tight turn

We got over to number 106 and immediately noticed how “un-level”  it was.   It’s a lot larger than it looks and is a very pretty site. 

site # 106  --- too unlevel, no satellite

site # 106  --- too unlevel, no satellite

We put the satellite up for a test run, and it just kept spinning around.  Nope, no satellite here.  After a few minutes, Al thought we should see if we could change sites.  Site 92 was level and he thought we had a chance of getting the satellite signal. Al made a quick call to the office and we changed our site.

Of course that meant we had to navigate around that scary campground road again…and those two trees!

Al used the "Barney" method of backing into the campsite that we learned at Lazy Days.  We got right into the site with no trouble at all.  These classes are available online and I highly recommend them…even if you are a pro at driving a motor home.  I think everyone could learn something from this video series.  We especially liked the one showing an easy way to get into  a campsite.

The site was very level and plenty long enough.  We pushed the button for the satellite..never thinking we’d ever get a signal through all the thick trees.  Guess what?   We got a signal!  Note that pretty little satellite on the roof?  It’s working like a charm!  Our Verizon signal is also working great.  Internet and satellite..what more could you want?

Site 92, level and we got satellite

We have shade, trees, satellite and lots of room for the awning. 

We also have wildlife!


Al spread some birdseed on the picnic table and when we came back from a walk we had company.

Isn’t he cute?  He’s just a baby.  I don’t know where his Mom or siblings are.


This loop of the campground is not on the river.  The other loop is on the river, but those sites are smaller and mostly 30 amp.  Not big rig friendly.

We took a walk over to the river.  There is a wide spot in the river where the water doesn’t flow too well, so there is a lot of debris floating on the water, which is why the water looks so nasty.  Here is a picture of the resident gator.  He’s pretty big..probably 8-10 feet long.


Mom came for a short visit after a doctors appointment.  We sat outside for a while and between our new Therma-cell mosquito repellant, and two fans, we weren’t bothered by mosquitos.


Our backyard view.

view out the back at site 92

Our patio.

campsite 92 at Hillsborough River State Park

Some blooming “Beauty Berries”.

Beauty Bush

Al already saw 5 deer.  This is the kind of campground we prefer!  Life is good.


  1. looks like a great place..spent some time this morning watching the 'Barney videos'!..very informative!!!

  2. We also love Hillsborough State Park... Glad you got settled in and got all your conveniences. Great photos! Now tell me about the mosquito cell because I must have missed that... where did you get it and how does it work?
    Have fun

  3. Boy this looks like a great place. We're going there in January and your pictures have really raised our excitement level.

    Thanks too for the Barney link. Glad to hear you guys are doing so well with "the big guy".


  4. Wow, Karen, this looks like the best place yet. I loved all your photos of how you got settled in and navigated through the park. You new home looks wonderful, and it was nice to see Mom relaxing under the awning. Wildlife and palmetto understory all such a part of Florida. I loved seeing this. Nice. We actually use our ThermoCell repellent more here at home in Rocky Point than we needed to use it in Alaska!

  5. Yep. Our kind of cg too. Enjoy now that Irene has moved on.

  6. Thanks for including all of the pictures. It looks like a nice park. :)

  7. We spent a week there last January and will return this January. We were in our Van and had the itty bitty campsite on the right as you enter the campground. It is just everything we love about camping!!

    Hope you get out kayaking so we can go with you down the river;o))

    Your new rig is a BIG one. Best wishes and safe travels!

  8. I'm not sure when we will be picking up our Alfa, but I've watched the video twice. Craig also watched them and I'm hoping he will once more before we get the coach.

    I was on Google Earth this morning looking for a parking lot near the dealership that we could go to after pick up. I want DOTS!

    Craig think I'm overdoing my caution, but I know we have a very trick parking job to get it in place at home. He says there should be no problem. He will go to a parking lot and practice if I insist however. At least I hope so!

  9. Looks like a great spot to relax for a spell!! Glad you were able to get a nice level spot with both internet and cell service. You guys enjoy!

  10. Just thinking about Hillsborough makes us miss you guys!! We're glad you're able to be "out and about" and that your Mom has "stopped" by for a visit! That "Big Guy" certainly looks great no matter where you're able to park it!

  11. Looks nice, although I am not that excited about raccoons.

  12. Looks like a great site. Glad you fit and are still able to enjoy one of your favorite parks.

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  14. Beautiful! I'm making a note to visit this one. Great pictures. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Beautiful looking campground. Nice job of wheeling that big MH around too!


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