Lettuce Lake Park is located just 20 minutes northeast of downtown Tampa.
Here, 240 acres of swamp, forest and floodplain are crisscrossed by about two miles of paths lined with pine needles and dirt. The hum of the nearby highway is almost ignorable.
Lettuce Lake Park is Florida at its Florida-est: palm trees, alligators, pot-bellied men with ripped sleeves playing frisbee, snakes, chatty seniors, birdwatchers sporting ponytails and community radio t-shirts.
The coolest part of the park is a 3,500-foot wooden boardwalk that weaves through the cypress swamp.