Let's Talk About Nature - 8 Things To Do In Ruskin, Florida

things to do in ruskin florida
Annette
Annette
Updated

The Ruskin community was founded in 1908 on the banks of the Little Manatee River. The county was named after John Ruskin, a social critic and essayist. Ruskin is famous for its agricultural roots, especially as it is home to the Ruskin Tomato Festival. There’s also its tropical fish farms, complete with its very own tropical aquaculture lab. Yes, this is not your usual fare in grand old America. It’s another piece of pie altogether. A delicious one at that too! Here are the best things to do in Ruskin, Florida:

1. Cockroach Bay Aquatic Preserve

Sunset over Cockroach Bay
Source: Photo by user Jeff Stark used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

As shocking as the name sounds, Cockroach Bay Aquatic Preserve is not a home for pesky bugs. Instead, drive over to enjoy the view of the sunset. It is not a commercial center in any sense, so don’t expect to see cafes and shops in its vicinity. Rather, it’s a natural habitat for water creatures and birds of the sky. Bird enthusiasts will love to know that spoonbills and white pelicans can be found here. A true treasure that’s just off the Gulf City Road.

Cockroach Bay Aquatic Preserve

Address: 3839 Gulf City Rd, 33570 Ruskin, FL

Website: Cockroach Bay Aquatic Preserve

2. E.G. Simmons Regional Park

Park
Source: Pexels

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Another gem in Ruskin, but this one comes with a tiny entrance fee of 2 USD per vehicle, with access to the playground and the park proper. You’ll be spoilt for choice here when it comes to outdoor sports, with activities from boat launches and camping to hiking trails and swimming at the beach. There are loads of canopies to provide shade and kitchen areas that can be rented. You can walk out as far as 31 meters (100 feet) and still see clear blue water surrounding you.

E.G. Simmons Regional Park

Address: 2401 19th Ave NW, 33570 Ruskin, FL

Website: E.G. Simmons Regional Park

3. Hydro Harvest Farms

Pick your own fruit
Source: Pexels

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

This business is one that is family-owned, and it is an enlightening experience, finding out what the farm is doing for the Ruskin community. The homegrown market gives you the chance to pick your own fruits and veggies. Kids (and adults!) get the benefit of the explanation on how horticulture is conducted. You’d be spoilt for choice from apples and strawberries to onions and tomatoes on the Hydro Harvest Farms front.

Hydro Harvest Farms

Address: 1101 E Shell Point Rd, 33570 Ruskin, FL

Website: Hydro Harvest Farms

4. The Fish House

Acme Oyster House Shrimp and Catfish Platter
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Kimberly Vardeman used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

This is a truly fantastic find as far as eateries go around Ruskin. The Fish House is made up of an open dining space, complete with picnic tables and pretty scenery. The menu goes on and on, with various selections for crabs, fish, and shrimp. It is, however, only open three days in a week: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. If fried food is your kind of plate, you’ll want to drop by here.

The Fish House

Address: 1902 W Shell Point Rd, 33570 Ruskin, FL

Facebook: The Fish House

5. Ruskin drive-in theater

Autokino Hueckelhoven
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user ErriTollsten used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Not been to a drive-in movie scene as yet? Check out Ruskin’s offering, and you’ll fall in love with it. Drive in at least a good half hour before your movie begins, and you’ll get a good parking lot for your movie flick. Payments are only accepted in cash, so you might want to keep your cards away.

Charges to watch the movie is on a per person basis and not per vehicle. The snack bar has got great hamburgers and hotdogs on its list. Ticket prices are subject to change but are about 6 USD per person.

Ruskin drive-in theater

Address: 5011 US-41, 33572 Ruskin, FL

Website: Ruskin drive-in theater

6. Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center

IPC Summer Camp
Source: Photo by Flickr user Liina Eamets used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Camp Bayou invites its visitors to discover the untouched and wild, so to say, a segment of Florida. Located in the south of Hillsborough County, the camp has sustained a part of Florida in its original habitat. This serves to provide the public with an education on the culture, natural resources and local history of the land.

There are a couple of trails for hiking and a quaint museum in its space. Take note of its time slots though. The center is only open to the public on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday between the hours of 9 a.m to 2 p.m.

Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center

Address: 4202 24th St SE, 33570 Ruskin, FL

Website: Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center

7. Gus's Crabby Adventures

Editor’s Note: Establishment is permanently closed at the time of writing

Now here’s something you don’t see every other day. Captain Gus heads your adventures, as he takes you on his boat and shows you the seas of Tampa Bay. You’ll get to experience first-hand what it’s like to catch crabs, fish, and shrimp. When you return back to his humble abode cum cafe, you’ll be able to dig into a meal of fried soft shell crabs, grilled shrimp, and hush puppies. Wash everything down with a cold drink or a beer, but hold on to the picturesque scenes that are all around you.

Gus's Crabby Adventures

Address: D3031 Manatee Ave, 33570 Ruskin, FL

Website: Gus’s Crabby Adventures

8. Little Manatee River State Park

Little Manatee River SP sign01
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ebyabe used under CC BY-SA 3.0

We’ve saved the best for last. No visit to Ruskin is ever complete without a peek into this very state park, which is also part of the Cockroach Bay Aquatic Reserve. There are some very rare ecosystems here, including that of oxbow wetlands and oak scrubs. There are more than 24 kilometers (15 miles) of multiple-use trails and equestrian trails that can be used to scour the area. When you’re done, you can have a picnic at its enchanting riverside pavilions or even spend the night on its campgrounds.

Little Manatee River State Park

Address: 215 Lightfoot Rd, 33598 Wimauma, FL

Website: Little Manatee River State Park

Nature's hollering at you

Yes, the tiny town of Ruskin has many alluring places and experiences for even the most seasoned of travelers. Do go over and take a look for yourself, and let your heart be awed by the gift Mother Nature has showered in this fantastic place.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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A woman who loves her books and passport with equal passion. Travelling opens up many different outlooks on life, so why should one be confined to just one place?

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