Rules and Expectations

General rules that apply to all Hillsborough County Conservation Parks and Nature Preserves

  • All plants and animals are protected. No hunting is allowed. Where fishing is allowed, you must follow state regulations.
  • Pets must be restrained on a hand-held leash, and their poop must be scooped and disposed in the trash
  • Please stay on marked trails. Bikes, horses, and campfires are only allowed in specified areas in certain parks and preserves. No unauthorized vehicles are allowed. If you have an emergency or witness illegal activities, call 911.

For a complete list of Hillsborough County park ordinances and laws please see Municode Chapter 38

Have questions? Call us at (813) 829-2626.

Before you go

  • Read your destination’s webpage for site details and important announcements (like trail closures)
  • Download or print a trail map when available
  • Most importantly, know your limits. We offer guided tours on foot, by canoe, and wagon – and we’ll be happy to show you our favorite highlights!

Find rules for Hillsborough County outdoor activities

  1. Fishing
  2. Boating
    • Anyone born on or after January 1, 1988 who operates a vessel powered by 10 horsepower or more must pass an approved boater safety course and have in his/her possession photographic identification and a boating safety education identification card issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
    • All vessels with gas powered or electric motors must be registered with the State. Learn more about boating regulations.
  3. Camping

    Length of stay

    • Camper(s) with qualified Recreational Vehicle to stay a max of 30 consecutive days at one park
      • After 30 days, the camper(s) will be required to vacate their site and may not return to camp in that park for at least 30 days
    • Tent campers are limited to a 14 day stay per park within a 30 day period

    Max people, tents, RV's

    • Only 8 people allowed per site
    • Each amenity campsite can accommodate one tent and one mobile unit, or two tents, and up to 3 registered vehicles (limited only by size of the site)
    • The maximum amount of tents allowed on a primitive campsite is determined by the size of the site

    Hours and registration

    • Quiet hours are 10 PM – 8 AM
    • The individual registering for the campsite must be camping on the site and will be held responsible for their guests and condition of the site and making sure all rules are followed
    • Campers who qualify for discounts must:
      • camp on site for the entire stay
      • be the camper re-registering for the site

    General camping

    • All trash must be taken to dumpster located at the entrance of the campground
    • All plants and animals are protected by state and county laws
    • Campers are responsible for cleaning up after pets and must properly dispose of pet waste

    Prohibited activities

    Do not do any of the following:

    • Attach anything to the trees including clothes lines, hammocks, lights, etc.
    • Wash clothing or bedspreads in the bathhouses
    • Wash hair in sinks
    • Cut through other camper’s campsites without permission
    • Set up picnics in the park prior to park opening
    • Enter or stay in the general park area after 10 PM
    • Bring pets inside facilities
    • Drain off grey and black water tanks on site


    • Intoxicants and intoxicated persons are prohibited inside of the park property
    • Parties possessing or consuming any intoxicants will be removed from the park or campground

    Camping Rules and Regulations

  4. Swimming at Lithia Springs Conservation Park

    Wristbands and age limits

    • Wristbands are only sold at the main office
    • Anyone going past the entry gate to the spring must have a wristband this also includes campers (orange)
    • Children under 12 years old must be supervised by a responsible adult over the age of 18
    • The adult must also purchase a wristband even if they are not swimming to supervise the children under 12

    Prohibited items and activities

    • No food and/or coolers in the swimming area
      • Drinks are acceptable in a non-disposable container (Yeti Cups, Tumblers, Thermos, etc.)
    • No flotation devices in the deep end
      • Arm floaties/life vests are allowed in all parts of the spring
      • Round rings and blow up toys are allowed in the shallow areas
    • No bluetooth speakers
    • No hammocks or anything attached to trees or fence within the swimming area
  5. Hiking

    What to bring

    • The correct trail map for your destination
    • A compass or GPS
    • Plenty of drinking water
    • Wear appropriate shoes and sun protection

    Parks vs. Preserves

    How are Hillsborough County’s nature preserves different from its conservation parks? Conservation parks usually have bathrooms, manicured pathways, picnic areas, playgrounds, and on-site staff. Some parks also have boat launches, canoe and kayak rentals, and campgrounds with amenities such as potable water, electric and showers. Nature preserves have minimal development because they are intended to protect wildlife and their habitats. You should expect to find unpaved parking lots, interpretive kiosks, and primitive trails. Importantly, most nature preserves lack water or bathroom facilities, so please plan ahead.

    Public trails vs. Fire lanes

    In addition to marked trails for public use, our conservation parks and nature preserves also have unmarked fire lanes. Why? Because fire plays a natural and essential role in maintaining Florida’s native habitats. Public trails are marked with blazes and numbers corresponding with the trail map. Fire lanes and other management roads are not marked. Please make sure to bring a trail map and pay attention to where you’re going. You can even download a georeferenced PDF that is compatible with smartphone tracking apps.

    Using trail maps

    Trail maps are provided to help you find your way around our sites. Map backgrounds are aerial images, which allow you to interpret natural features such as water bodies, forests and fields. Trail colors and numbers indicated on the map match those found on marked trails. Each map includes a compass rose for orientation, a scale bar for estimating distance, and a legend to identify amenities such as the parking lot, preserve or park entrance, kiosk, shelters, restrooms, picnic tables and trails.

    Safety Guidelines

    Always be prepared when hiking on nature preserves:

    • Bring plenty of water
    • Download the map
    • Tell someone your plan
    • Wear proper shoes and sun protection
    • Stay on marked trails
    • During the rainy season, many trails will have standing water.
    • If you think you are lost, call us at (813) 672-7876
    • In case of an emergency, call 911
  6. Shelter rentals


    • Shelters must be vacated one hour before the park closes

    Bounce houses


    • Prohibited items include:
      • Staples, nails, pushpins, tacks or paint
      • Metallic decoration sprinkles, glitter, confetti, rice, and birdseed
      • Candles
    • All decorations must be removed and disposed of properly
    • Under no circumstances are signs to be nailed, pinned, or stapled to any tree, park sign, facility, and/or along the roadways


    • To provide a positive experience for all park visitors we do not allow amplified music or speakers. (i.e. other visitors should not be able to hear your music)


    • Hot coals must be extinguished prior to leaving
    • Do not place coals in trash cans
    • Fires are only permitted within the provided grills
    • Ground fires are strictly prohibited
    • Personal propane, electric grills, and use of canned-heat (sternos) are permitted


    • All trash must be bagged and disposed of in the receptacles provided
    • If trash cans will not be adequate for disposal, it is the shelter user's responsibility to remove and dispose of excess trash offsite
    Rent a Shelter
  7. Horseback riding
    • Riders may be required to show documentation that their horse has a current negative Coggins test
    • Only ride in areas designated for horseback riding
    • All riders 15 and under are required to wear a helmet