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USF’s Hidden Trails: The Best Trails Near Campus

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at USF chapter.

With the progression of the semester and schoolwork intensifying, feeling overwhelmed is inevitable. Spending time in nature can be a great way to de-stress and improve your memory! According to the journal article The Cognitive Benefits of Interacting With Nature, going for a walk in nature increases memory capacity (Berman, Jonides, & Kaplan, 2008). Knowing the ample benefits of getting outdoors, I began my nature trail quest the first few months of returning to USF’s campus. After weeks of testing new spots, I compiled a list of my favorite places to escape the chaotic homework terrain into the serene wilderness. 

Lettuce Lake Conservation Park
Water landscape
Original photo by Kelli Crispo

From canoe rentals to boardwalks, and informational gardens, this conservation park has it all. The main trail wraps around about 1.2 miles of forest with multiple side trails throughout. The wildlife here is spectacular: alligators, herons, turtles, owls, and more. Admission is $2 cash per vehicle holding up to 8 persons.

Original photo by Kelli Crispo
Red Cardinal at Lettuce Lake
Original photo by Kelli Crispo
Takomah Trail Park

This is a small and quaint location to escape into nature. Surrounding the body of water are picnic benches and bridges to take in the scenery. Facing the west, this is a great spot to watch the sunset.

USF Fitness Trail
Original photo by Kelli Crispo

Located across from the varsity tennis courts on the east side of campus, this 1.3 mile trail is perfect for getting out and active. Throughout the trail are fitness challenges such as monkey bars, pushup platforms, and balance beams.

USF Riverfront Park

With pavilions, fields, a boathouse, and a challenge course, this park offers plenty of activities. Rental rates can be found on the USF website.

Botanical Gardens
Meditation Garden
Original photo by Kelli Crispo

Not only is the Botanical Gardens full of beautiful plants and landscaping, but there is a nature trail alongside the water. Admission fees are posted on their website and lucky for you…USF students get a discount!

I am a third-year undergraduate psychology student at the University of South Florida. I enjoy trying new things, so I have plenty of hobbies (pickleball, golf, dancing, drawing, making jewelry, playing guitar, yoga, working out, and spending time in nature). My writing will be a mixture of activity reviews or experiences throughout this year :)