I’ve always wondered what Bowling Green, Florida is like. Well, it’s like many small Florida towns, except it offers up Paynes Creek Historic State Park.
Here you’ll find a lot of history. The unfortunate part is that you won’t find the fort or a replica. However, this shouldn’t deter the history buffs or someone who wants to enjoy a fun day in a clean state park. I think the design of this park and the state of its facilities cannot be beat. It’s a great place for kids. It wasn’t busy on the day we went, but that was nice for a change. And I’ve never seen cleaner restrooms!
They have a hike to the site of the fort, along with some hikes that take you to historical markers and the meeting of the Peace River and Paynes Creek. That is one fast-moving body of water too. That alone is fun to see.
They also have a nice visitors center that offers up a small exhibit of the history of the area. There you can read about the massacre that happened there and see a partial replica of the trading post that used to exist there. It’s a good starting point for anyone traveling to all the state parks or for those that want to visit the big historical sites in Florida.
It’s not every day you get to visit a fort. But luckily for Floridians, we have several. One such fort is Fort Foster, at Hillsborough River State Park in Thonotosassa, Florida. While it is only a replica, it is still an awesome sight!
It is a short tram ride through Hillsborough River State Park to get to the fort. Along the way you are treated to a ranger talk that covers the history leading up to the building of the fort, as well as a good overview of the Seminole Wars. (Once you get to the tram stop though, be aware that there is a bit of a hike to the fort.)
Once upon Fort Foster, you are greeted with a large, oval wall made of wooden posts. The massive amount of beams that make up this historical place is mind-blowing. Inside, you find buildings made of the same material. There are a few different buildings inside, along with a large cannon. You can look out the cannon door, as well as out most of the “windows” along the wall.
Most of the buildings in the fort have old props and furnishings reminiscent of the time, ones that are often used in the living history events the park has from time to time. It’s fun to hear the stories of these props and envision in how they might have been used.
A trip to Fort Foster is not to be missed. The accompanying Hillsborough River State Park is also a pretty cool place, with its large pool and picnicking spots.