Meandering on the Hillsborough
Treasures of Florida’s Gulf Coast
Ybor City Tampa's Cultural Jewel
Meandering on the HillsboroughResplendent in natural beauty, the Hillsborough River and its tributaries make up a 16,000-acre wilderness preserve that is waiting for your quiet discovery. Our downriver journey will bring surprises around every turn as we seek out gators, limpkins, deer, wild hogs, turkeys and a multitude of Florida’s beloved wading birds.
Our expert naturalists will offer you a glimpse into the habits and peculiarities of this area’s abundant wildlife. You will also learn about the Native American peoples who once held Tampa as the northernmost outpost in their shell-mound kingdom.
See why early pioneers considered Florida an earthly paradise and capture a piece of this state in its untrammeled glory.
Treasures of Florida’s Gulf CoastGet ready for the kind of day that makes Florida famous. We begin our journey with a stop at one of America’s oldest roadside attractions and see a place known to generations of Florida travelers passing through the Tampa/St. Petersburg area: the Sunken Gardens. Started in 1903 in the confines of an ancient lake, this little piece of paradise boasts over 500 varieties of vegetation. Sunken Gardens is also home to butterflies, flamingos and cascading waterfalls.
Fort DeSoto Park, which is made up of five breathtaking barrier islands strung together with nature paths, a pier, sugar sand beaches, aqua-hued waters and a historic fort impoundment is our next stop. This beloved park has been voted one of America’s best beaches. It’s for beautiful places like these that people have always come to Florida. So, what do you say? Let’s go exploring!
Ybor City Tampa's Cultural JewelVincente Martinez-Ybor made a crucial decision in 1885 that was to change the course of Tampa history forever. The Cuban cigar baron facing labor unrest in his Key West cigar factories was scouting for a friendlier environment to make his cigars. He eventually chose 40 acres northeast of downtown Tampa resulting in this city’s decades-long reign as “Cigar Capital of the World.”
Trace with us the dramatic story of the ascent of Ybor City and the thousands of Cuban, Spanish, and Italian immigrants that came here as other cigar manufacturers joined the thriving industry. See the wrought-iron balconies, dramatic social clubs, brick-paved streets and casitas (little houses) that set this National Historic District apart as a Tampa treasure.
Along the way, we visit the Ybor City Museum State Park and its preserved buildings and historic exhibits. We also encounter a couple of surprises that offer you a “taste” of the cultural contributions that this little town has made to the area. So, as they might have said in the old days in the cigar factories, “let’s get rolling.”