On this months review of our local parks, I am highlighting my childhood favorite: Alderman’s Ford Conservation Park.
100 Alderman’s Ford Park Dr.
$2 per vehicle. Up to 8 people per vehicle. Rentals are extra.
This county park is at the top of my list. It offers a playground with shade for all ages, a boardwalk, canoe/kayak launch, a gorgeous 1.9 mile paved hiking trail, and CLEAN bathrooms!
It is one of the most well-rounded parks in the area. The paved loop is hiker, pet, and bicycle friendly. The Boardwalk is great for bird watching and possibly spotting an alligator. The boardwalk is currently being repaired. (see note below).
The last time we went I took my daughters bike. She loved riding the trails and even rode her bike on the boardwalk bridge. We had the best time. She also enjoyed taking a break at the workout equipment along the trail.
As a self-proclaimed hover mom, this park makes me comfortable. I was able to walk the trail as my daughter rode her bike. It was not too hard to keep up with her and I was able to see her even if she was ahead of me. There is also a side-walk all the way around the playground (off the main trail) that kids can ride on. I can sit on a bench and see her ride around and around. The park equipment is appropriate for all ages even the little ones. there is a nice rubber pad under both play areas. There is also a big open area for the kids to explore while you keep an eye on them. We love to print and bring scavenger hunt with us too.
This park is also perfect for parties and family gatherings. Pavilions need to be reserved in advance, but can be done online. The cost ranges from 42.00 to 75.00 for the day. They also have a 600 sq. ft. air-conditioned room you can rent with 12 banquet tables and 65 chairs. The room cost is 161.00 for the day. All of these areas are close to the restrooms.
A canoe launch is located in a separate entrance at 9625 Canoe Launch Loop Lithia, FL 33547. The launch entrance opens daily at 7 a.m.
Fellow Everyday Moms, Jennifer Dean and Courtney Fletcher have spent many hours with her families at Alderman’s Ford. So I asked the two of them a few questions to provide a little more perspective.
1)What are your key reasons for visiting the park?
Jennifer Dean: “We were introduced to Alderman’s Ford Park by my oldest son’s school. They had their cross-country meets there once a week. He would run and our other kids would play on the playground. After visiting a few times, we decided to see what else the park had to offer. We’ve gone canoeing, hiking, fishing, attended a birthday party at the pavilions and have even had a photo shoot there.”
Courtney Fletcher: “The main reason for visit the park is to let the kid(s) play on play ground and run around and go on the trail and explore nature.”
Do you feel safe when visiting this park?
Jennifer Dean: “I’ve always felt safe at Alderman’s Ford, though I’ve never been there after dark or without an abundance of other families.”
Courtney Fletcher: “I have felt safe with no issues at Alderman’s Ford, other than squirrels liking to steal food when are not watching it.”
What is your overall opinion of Alderman’s Ford?
Jennifer Dean: “Overall, the park has some great offerings for families. We enjoy spending time there as a family. The main downside is lots of bugs (more than other parks we’ve been to in the area) and few restrooms or drinking fountains. As long as one plans ahead for these, a fun day can be had.”
Courtney Fletcher “I do like Alderman’s Ford park but due to the river flooding the past year its been hard to go out and enjoy the trails.”
Overall Alderman’s Ford has much to offer the families in our community. As long as you protect your food and bring bug spray, you should have a wonderful time. Also, for those of us born and raised here this usually goes without saying, but BEWARE OF ALLIGATORS!
SAHM, Wife, Homeschooler, EM contributor, Owner/Artist of Bring Your Own Canvas
Unfortunately mother nature has caused the main trail to be closed during the weekdays this summer for repairs.
- The canoe launch is temporarily closed (posted 7/3/18)
- The paved trail at Alderman’s Ford Conservation Park will be closed during the weekdays from April 16, 2018 thru September 2018 for construction to the boardwalk. The trail will be open for use on the weekends.
For more details, please call the park at (813) 757-3801.