Canoe Escape was founded by the Faulk family in 1991, and is still a run by the Faulk family today. It is located only 16 miles from downtown Tampa and 15 minutes from Busch Gardens. Canoe Escape offers self-guided, downstream trips; hourly rentals; shuttles for canoe/kayak owners; and guided paddling adventures.

We run six different self-guided, downstream, day-trip combinations along the Hillsborough River, through a diverse ecosystem. Guests are encouraged to take extra time on any trip for nature observation, picnicking, photography, or fishing. Whether you are renting canoes or kayaks or Canoe Escape is shuttling your personal boat, all paddling adventures start at Canoe Escape located in John B. Sargeant Park. You will be launched at or transported to the start of your trip from John B. Sargeant Park. (John B. Sargeant Park charges a $2.00 per car parking fee.)

We provide a river map, an explanation of your trip, and information about current river conditions. Our staff is happy to provide cursory paddling pointers to review the basic strokes, in case it's been a while since you've paddled or if you are a first-time paddler. Knowing the draw stroke in the bow along with the J-stroke and rudder in the stern of the canoe will help you navigate your way down the Hillsborough more easily. Approximated paddling times will vary with your paddling proficiency, weather conditions, and the water level. Although a rare occurrence, since this is a wilderness area, it is possible to encounter a downed tree or other obstruction that may require a portage on any trip even though we do our best to keep all self-guided trip sections free of objects blocking the path. 

Whether you are renting canoes or kayaks or we are shuttling yours, reservations are strongly recommended on all trips to secure trip time and availability. By making a reservation you assist us in doing our best to stagger-start launches so everyone can enjoy the wildlife and serenity. Reservations and advance prepayment are required for groups of 8 or more canoes. Canoe Escape is open year around however we are closed Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve Day, and Christmas Day. We open at 9:00 a.m. daily.

Because this river is of such great ecological importance to the Tampa Bay area, we believe that these trips are best suited to wildlife watchers, families, and those seeking the serenity of the outdoors. If you are looking for a social outing that revolves around a lot of alcohol, this is not the place for you. We have only a few rules that are simple to follow and they exist for your safety as well as that of the wildlife.

We have trips that offer the chance to escape to nature on a 2-hour - to full day, downstream, quiet-water, paddling adventure through a 16,000-acre wildlife preserve. In all seasons the Hillsborough River astounds with its beauty and abundant wildlife. From the thousands of white ibis in the fall, the sightings of deer, wild hog, and turkey in the winter, the proliferation of songbirds in spring, and its cooling shade on a summer's day, the Hillsborough River brings a new surprise and delight around each bend.

Bring your sense of adventure, rent a canoe or kayak, or schedule a guided trip, and paddle through this cypress swamp full of Florida's unique flora and fauna. Perhaps paddling close to a sunning 'gator, a threatened limpkin, 6 turtles congregating on a log, or catching that large-mouthed bass will be the most prized memory of your vacation. Whether this is your first-time, you are an experienced paddler, a vacationer or a local resident, the Florida you're looking for is just a short paddle away. We look forward to providing you with one of the greatest outdoor experiences you'll ever have! 


American Alligator