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“Overpriced, go somewhere else” 1 of 5 bubbles
Review of Canoe Escape

Canoe Escape
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The leading canoe outfitter on the Hillsborough River offers trips anywhere from two hours to all day long.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Overpriced, go somewhere else”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 18, 2009

Boring and overpriced, Go to rainbow river, or Wekee Watchee. We paid $56 to go see some turtles, bugs, and birds you see everday pecking at the ground near the interstate. I can't even begin to see why people rate canoe escape so high. The water is nasty the wild life is tame and the river was so shallow you got stuck. GO SOMEWHERE ELSE!

1 Thank tpa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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201 reviews from our community

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English first
Erlanger, KY
Level Contributor
50 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
“If you're a paddler, put this on your life list!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 29, 2009

THIS is what the Deep South is all about! Forget about the touristy beaches and overpriced theme parks - places like this are where you will find the true beauty of Florida!

The website is detailed, the staff is friendly and helpful, the equipment is high quality (no cheap aluminum canoes!), the rates are reasonable, and most of all, the beauty of the Hillsborough River is unsurpassed.

If you're looking for fast water, you won't find it here; this is a flat water trip (though the river does have a nice steady current). What you will find is a secluded, peaceful, swamp-like paddle on a blackwater river shaded by tall cypress trees draped with Spanish moss and teaming with wildlife. Nearly every kind of bird found in the Deep South you will see here, along with turtles, deer, and possibly snakes and otters. And yes, you will see alligators; and no, they will not attack you - provided you don't threaten or harass them.

We took trip 4, which is Seargent Park to Trout Creek Park. Unlike many others, I personally enjoyed the second section even more than the first. For those looking to see alligators and other wildlife, we actually saw more on this section of the river than on the first. Also, those who take out after section one will miss the section of river passing through Nature's Classroom, which would be a shame - it is beautiful there.

Those who complain about the fallen trees and the presence of alligators should remember that this is a true nature experience, not a controlled, make-believe environment in a theme park. As long as there are hurricanes in Florida, there will be fallen trees on rivers such as the Hillsborough. Although the Hillsborough has no rapids to negotiate, it does have a steady current, many bends, and the aforementioned fallen trees to paddle around or underneath, so those who are unfamiliar with basic paddling strokes may want to go with an experienced paddler the first time out, or at least take a lesson.

Don't miss a chance to paddle the Hillsborough. Paddlers and nature lovers, put this on your life list!

2 Thank Louder72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Awesome Canoeing”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 1, 2009

Canoe Escape was a great place to go to for canoeing. We saw a number of birds, turtles, fish, and alligators - 3 which were larger than 8 feet long. It was a chance of a lifetime to be right next to nature while relaxing in the outdoors. The river is a challenge with fallen trees to avoid and tight bends, which we liked versus the 'lazy river' type that requires no skill at all. However we do warn that their website says each section takes about 2 hours - it took us more like 2-1/2 or better due to us taking our time looking at the wildlife. You would have to keep a pretty steady pace to arrive in the 2 hours - so keep that in mind when they ask for your pick up time.
The staff was great to work with, friendly and very helpful. Their canoes, paddles, and life vests are all very nicely kept, almost appearing new so that was also great.
I only have good things to say - so check them out! It will be a canoe trip like you've never had before and totally unforgettable. DON'T FORGET YOUR CAMERA!
Melinda from Michigan

1 Thank Keway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Central Florida
Level Contributor
23 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Great Canoe Trip”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 4, 2009

Did this trip on 1/2/09. Did tour 1 & 2 which they call trip #4. After paying for the tour they take you by school bus about 10-15 min to the drop off point. From there you canoe. Trip #1 was great and there is lots of wild life. The water is pretty shallow about 2 ft deep and shallow is some areas and clear. I did it with my husband and 10 year old. The three of us were in one canoe. Trip 1 was better than trip 2 in my opinion, because the water was deeper on trip 2 and the river got wider and wasn't so narrow as trip #1. The water flow seemed slower on trip 2,but my husband says it just appears that way because it's deeper. They told us if we want to get picked up after trip 1 they would refund the difference to us- we didn't have anything to lose. But once you get out there you don't want to return. Saw lots of turtles, alligators (3), lots of water birds, herons of gallore, vultures of gallore, and an otter on trip 2 playing in the bottom of a cypress tree. The owner is really nice also.

1 Thank dkoitz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Petersburg, Florida
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Must See”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 11, 2008

The Hillsborough River is a must see if you are in the Tampa area and are a canoer, kayaker or nature-lover. While I'm fortunate enough to live in the area and to have paddled about 95% of the river, the area through the Hillsborough County Wilderness Parks is the most scenic and has the most wildlife.

Yes, there are alligators--it's Florida! But, there are also a huge variety of birds--blue herons, snowy egrets, green backed herons, American egrets, limpkins, little blue herons, white ibis, wood storks, red shouldered hawks, barred owls, and pileated woodpeckers. And, those are just the obvious ones I sometimes spot. In addition to the birds, I've seen river otters, deer, and wild hogs.

It's amazing the peace and serenity you can find paddling through the towering cypress trees only 15 minutes from downtown Tampa.

My last trip with Canoe Escape was a blast. I did trip #1--Sergeant's Park to Morris Bridge Park--with a group from the St. Anthony's Carillon Wellness Center and everyone loved it. One of the participants had been on several other kayak trips and said this was his favorite. The staff were professional and got us to the put-in on time. And, they were at the take-out at the arranged time. The service was top notch.

For the hearty adventurer's in the bunch, I recommend stopping at the old railroad bridge near the end of trip #1. There is a gazebo on the lefthand bank (as you head downstream) and an old railroad berm (raised road bed) on the righthand bank. If you want to get a good look of what a cypress swamp looks like from a different perspective, land your boats on the right side and hike out along the top of the old railroad berm. It will take you through the cypress swamp and "ends" at a large "open" area called (by the locals) Pine Island--it's actually a saw palmetto prairie dotted with pines and small wetlands. Pine Island is actually very visible on Google Earth if you look at the area--it's a bit hear-shaped clearing. The footing for the walk is uneven and not maintained--there are roots and pig rootings and downed branches. But, the berm is obvious and the "trail" is easy to follow.

Have fun! Have a great adventure!

2 Thank kipkayak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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