The Little Manatee River begins in a swampy area near Fort Lonesome and flows almost 40 miles before emptying into Tampa Bay. The river has been designated an Outstanding Florida Water and is part of the Cockroach Bay Aquatic Preserve.
Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the rare ecosystems found within the park, including sand pine and oak scrub and oxbow wetlands. The Little Manatee River flows for 4.5 miles, through eleven unique natural communities within the park. The park boasts one of the premier hiking trails of Southwest Florida, a 6.5 mile stacked loop located in the wilderness area in north half of the park.
The Oxbow Nature Trail, accessible from the main picnic area in the south half of the park, makes a one mile loop along scrub ridges that skirt the main river and an oxbow wetland. In addition, over 15 miles of equestrian and multi-use trails meander through the southern half of the park. Little Manatee River State Park is one of the best kept secrets of Hillsborough County, and has a little something for everyone.