Fort Foster


Few things in life are more delightful than a vacation with a few close family members and the wide open road. A vacation is a chance to rest, relax and recharge your batteries in a laid back space designed for leisure. One of the best things about taking a vacation in the United States right now is there are so many possibilities. You can go lots of places.

For many people, certain kinds of vacations are at the top of their list. A good vacation is one that lets them get out in nature, enjoy the outdoors, see new sites and offers plenty of opportunities for recreation. One vacation that does all of this and more for any modern traveler is RV camping at Fort Foster.

Deep Roots

Florida is a place of incredible warmth and beauty. The state of Florida has a surprisingly long and fascinating history. People have made their home here for centuries. In many ways, contemporary Floridian history begins in the eighteen hundreds. This is when many people chose to move here. The inviting climate and plentiful produce were quite a draw. Those who are interested in Floridan history and the natural world can come to this corner of the world to learn what happened here in person. The fort spans the time between Native American settlement and the start of modern American history.

Photo credit floridastateparks.org

People who are curious about life back then can visit Hillsborough River State Park and the fort that is part of the park. It was designed to defend the settlement against attack by the native Seminoles. The fort itself is a recreation of the original. Next door the fort is an interpretive center.

The center is a treasure trove of artifacts dating back many centuries. There are over a hundred artifacts that tell the story of the area and the many cultures that have made it their own. Younger members of the family can learn more via the park’s highly detailed Junior Rangers Program. Family members can take a tour on weekends to learn more about the history of what is front of them as they enter the park and walk the grounds.

The fort was built in 1836 in order to rebuild and defend a local bridge. About a hundred and eight men came here to be part of the plan to keep this land. In 1837, the fort was part of a much larger battle between the Seminole Native Americans and Americans from other parts of the United States. The fort was briefly abandoned after the bridge was burned. The settlers suffered in the heat and fell prey to many local diseases that were unfamiliar to them. For much of 1837 and 1838, the fort was again a place of settlement and defense. It was largely a supply post for the rest of the area until it was permanently abandoned in 1849. In 1972, the fort was added to the list of U.S. National Register of Historic Places where it has remained ever since.

Things to Do at Fort Foster

When you bring your RV camping to Fort Foster, you’ll find many ways to spend your days. One of the best ways to have fun here is at the annual rendezvous. The fort comes alive with lots of faraway travelers for a single weekend every February. This is when people from all over Florida and other parts of the country come to be part of the Fort Foster Rendezvous. The event offers dozens of actors in authentic early American and Native American dress. They reenact the events that happened here in the 1830’s. The event includes people who play the part of members of the military engaged in the process of defending the fort. You’ll also see civilians who have authentic dress who are part of the local settlements. Actors also wear authentic Seminole dress. They explain Native American customs to visitors who are curious about what life was like for local tribes before the colonists arrived in Florida.

Photo credit floridastateparks.org.

Live action recreations of the battle give spectators a chance to see what it was like to be part of this area during a turbulent time in local history. In addition to battles and people in costumes, there’s also lots of opportunities to see and purchase local crafts and artwork as well as meet with regional residents. Food and drink are also on hand for spectators. That makes this one weekend trip the entire family will remember and enjoy together.

The site and tours have been shut down recently due to COVID.  To ensure that they are open or for more information, visit the Fort Foster webpage on floridastateparks.org or call 813.987.6771.

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