The 10 Best Things to Do in Ruskin, United States

January 12, 2018 Toi Mattera

Ruskin's location on the Little Manatee River, part of Tampa Bay's South Shore, gives residents and visitors easy access to traditional Floridian pursuits like fishing and boating. Simmons County Park has white sand beaches, mangrove trees, wildlife and views of Tampa Bay. Long an agricultural community focused on vegetable farming, Ruskin hosts its own farmers' market and a Tomato and Heritage Festival.
Restaurants in Ruskin

1. Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center

6990 Dickman Rd, Apollo Beach, FL 33572-2241 +1 813-228-4289
Excellent
67%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2 reviews

Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center

Visitors come to this warm water viewing center to see manatees, an endangered species of marine mammals. Open Nov 1 - April 15

Reviewed By joy l - Derby, United Kingdom

Based across the water from a power station, this viewing centre relies totally on the water being cold out in the ocean so that the manatees swim up the estuary to the discharge pump from the power station which pumps warm water into the estuary. The manatees are seeking the warmth alone. If the weather becomes warmer and the ocean warms then the manatees will swim away and you will see nothing.

We took a long drive out to this location and saw only one manatee that was quite a distance away.

The management team however has tried very hard to make this the very best activity that they can with free parking, free admission, restrooms, ice creams for purchase and a picnic area. The viewing platform has been well designed and built and it makes this a good school trip option.

The saving grace is most certainly the interactive sting ray tank where all visitors can touch the stingrays in their tank (their tail stings have been removed) and this in some way makes up for the lack of manatees.

2. Florida Railroad Museum

12210 83rd St E, Parrish, FL 34219-2012 +1 941-776-0906
Excellent
47%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
4%
Terrible
4%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 159 reviews

Florida Railroad Museum

Founded in 1981, the Florida Railroad Museum's mission is to acquire, preserve and operate historic examples of Florida's railroad history. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 AM to 4 PM, year-round. Diesel train excursions operate on Saturdays and Sundays only, departing at 11 AM and 2 PM. Special events are scheduled throughout the year featuring themed train rides. Some events have different operating schedules, so please call or check our website before your visit.

Reviewed By fisherpl - Sheffield, UK

The Railroad Museum is not to be missed. It's in the middle of nowhere but so worth the trip. Get there early so you can take a look at the miniature railway exhibit, the old Pullman Coach and the many vintage wagons on display. The train ride is fantastic. There are heated & non heated coaches or open air carriages if the weather permits. Snacks are sold on board. The train bimbles along for about an hour. Look out for the coach that featured in "Unstoppable".Terrific! We would have loved to have had the time to go back for one of the many "themed" experiences they offer. They sounded such fun!

3. Ruskin Family Drive-In

5011 U.S. Hwy 41 North, Ruskin, FL +1 813-645-1455
Excellent
75%
Good
17%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
2%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 96 reviews

Ruskin Family Drive-In

Reviewed By McChi

Can't compare it to other drive-in theaters as this is my first time in one, it was extremely pleasurable outing. You pay at the entry per person (not per car) then drive in to park at any designated spot. The little building to your right houses the restrooms (entry on the outside) and the snack bar. Their snacks are cheap and they serve hot food items like hamburgers and hotdogs as well. It seems it's the food that keeps them open, not the movie ticket. I understand from locals that this is one of the very first and now one of the very last drive-through's in the country.

4. Little Manatee River State Park

215 Lightfoot Rd, Wimauma, FL 33598-7518 +1 813-671-5005
Excellent
49%
Good
38%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
4%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 65 reviews

Little Manatee River State Park

Reviewed By canoebase - Palm Harbor, Florida

This review is about the six-mile long trail at Little Manatee River State Park. I understand there's a campground and picnic area, but the only other activity we did was visit the bathroom before hiking.

Hiking opportunities in Clearwater are few and far between, so we drove about an hour to the Little Manatee River State Park to get some exercise and get away from people, and we succeeded on both counts. I was interested in the 6 mile hiking trail. We found the State Park without difficulty, although my Garmin GPS really wanted us to take the tollway!
(Hint: Use a map and take 301 south!) The volunteer at the State Park was friendly and helpful, and told us how to get to the trailhead itself, which is in a different area of the Park. Note: You don't have to go into the Park itself if you're only hiking the Trail. The Trailhead is right off 301, and an entrance fee is required, there's a cash box in the parking area. The volunteer also suggested that if we had valuables that we put them in the trunk so they aren't visible to passers-by. The Trail itself was a pleasant surprise. Trail maps were available at the Trailhead. The Trail was well-marked with yellow blazes every few hundred feet. The trail is a loop, and you'd really have to work at it to get lost. There's a "shortcut" in the middle for those who aren't up to hiking a full 6 miles, which cuts the distance about in half. We're experienced hikers and walk every day, and it took us about three hours, and WE ONLY SAW TWO OTHER PEOPLE, which I thought was amazing for a mero area. There's plenty of (for Florida, anyway) ups and downs, and plenty of tree roots to avoid, but all in all, a very enjoyable hike. If you turn LEFT when starting the hike, you'll stay along the river and in the woods for the first 1/2 of the hike. I suggest that you turn RIGHT, which means you'll hike in the open fields when it's cooler, and then hike in the shade in the afternoon when it's warmer. Another suggestion: Hiking is thirsty work, so you may wish to stop at Motorworks Brewery in Bradenton on your way home. I did!

5. Dooley Groves

1651 Stephens Rd, Sun City, FL 33570-6207 +1 800-522-6411
Excellent
50%
Good
38%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
6%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 47 reviews

Dooley Groves

Fresh-Picked FUN at Dooley Groves! Come to the Grove! It's easy and it's fun. From November through April,rain or shine, from 10am to 4pm, we offer U-Pick Oranges and Tangerines. In January and February, come and pick Honeybells, the BEST citrus fruit you'll ever taste! Dooley Groves ships fresh citrus all across the USA and Canada. Candy, local honey, marmalades, Amish cheeses. Freshly-squeezed Orange Juice. Located on Florida's West Coast, just south of Tampa Bay, just south of Ruskin, Florida.

Reviewed By Elizabeth V - Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

It's not worth!! Too expensive!! It's a tourist place !! It's a trapping!! Everything is overpriced!!

6. Canoe Outpost - Little Manatee River

18001 U.S. Hwy 301 S., Wimauma, FL 33598
Excellent
66%
Good
17%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
6%
Terrible
6%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 79 reviews

Canoe Outpost - Little Manatee River

Reviewed By Alexandria456 - Lakeland

We usually rent kayaks from Little Manatee River State Park but they were not renting due to their Spring event and demonstrations. We are both working Moms and have limited time, so our kayaks trips are a very special treat for us. We are usually limited to just a few hours to ourselves once a month. We drove to Canoe Outpost to give them a try. Their website states "Unlike the hourly rentals at the state park, our staff will handle all the equipment for you and assist you in launching and landing and all boats and equipment are cleaned after each use." We were the first in line last Saturday morning and were launched after several other people that came after us. In addition, when we asked the employees questions regarding what was further up river, the employee gave us attitude. They were less than helpful in the launching from the dock. We typically launch ourselves directly from the sandy area at the state park which is much easier and more comfortable for people with health and back issues. On top of that, on our return we saw them flip a woman into the water when they were trying to help her get into the kayak from the dock. Upon our return, they were launching a large group of people one at a time. They did not give the group members any directions and had way too many kayaks just sitting in front of the dock waiting for the rest of the group to launch (prob 30 or more people). Ideally you would ask the group to paddle just 50-100 feet downstream to allow room for all group members to launch and group up for the paddle. We waited very patiently for about 15 minutes for an opportunity to get out of the kayaks and the employees kept ignoring us. We finally asked if they could please take a minute break from launching that group to let the two of us use the dock to get out. The employee responded very rudely that he was busy with this group and would get us when they were done launching them. We finally went to another area on the side and got out on our own because we could not wait another 30 minutes for them to finish with the group. We know it took at least another 30 minutes because after we finally got out, took bathroom breaks, etc, they were still working on getting that group out. It would have taken just a minute or two to allow the two of us to get out and get on our way. We waited patiently for 15 minutes before even asking if we could please get out. There was very little room on the dock, so it took great creativity to get ourselves out while the employees kept working on the group. In fact, a member of that group (not an employee) helped my friend get out.
I just recently purchased my own kayak after renting from dozens of places for the past several years. I cannot think of ever having a bad rental experience.

I will never recommend this place in the future to anyone. The state park employees are much nicer, and although you have to take the kayak down off the rack and put it on the sandy area to launch, it is much easier to launch the kayak from sandy short vs doing it on a dock with employees that are not helpful.

7. Sun City Stables

4430 US 41 South, Hillsborough County, Sun City, FL 33586 +1 813-649-1126
Excellent
32%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
4%
Terrible
46%
Overall Ratings

3 based on 86 reviews

Sun City Stables

Reviewed By 325marines

EXPERIENCED HORSE RIDERS . BEGINNERS hold on. Rode with a group and the guide lead the way, the horse I rode tried ignoring commands and went off the path. Not your average horse ranch I am glad I got to ride I hope my money goes to the horses.

8. E. G. Simmons Regional Park

2401 19th Ave NW, Ruskin, FL 33570-3202 +1 813-671-7655
Excellent
47%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
3%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 115 reviews

E. G. Simmons Regional Park

Reviewed By DeelightfulTraveler - Saginaw, Michigan

We are snowbirds who spend a month or two here each year. The park is really nice, peaceful. There are areas for camping, fishing or day activities. Decent beach. Clean facilities.
The camping is "1st come, 1st placed." If you call ahead, they will say they are full. If you show up, they will find a place for you. One reviewer wrote that the camp area is noisey and rules are not enforced. I disagree with that assessment. I have camped all over the country. Simmons has the largest (most private) sites. There is a no alcohol rule, so no noisey late parties. Other campers tend to be helpful and respectful. Sure, there are problems with bugs and raccoons. You are camping. If you don't like that sort of thing, stay in a hotel. Finally, the fees are lower than other comprable state parks. About half of some of the private facilities.

9. Apollo Beach Nature Preserve

6760 Surfside Blvd, Apollo Beach, FL 33572-3038
Excellent
44%
Good
39%
Satisfactory
13%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 53 reviews

Apollo Beach Nature Preserve

Reviewed By Linda B - Batavia, Ohio

Visited w/ son & his family. Great kite flying area! This is not a swimming beach, however you can sun & fish from shore. Most people cleaning up after themselves and we love this place.

10. Berry Bay Farm

5135 Bonita Dr, Wimauma, FL 33598-4205 +1 813-642-9866
Excellent
100%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 2 reviews

Berry Bay Farm

Reviewed By Ann F - Central Florida, Florida

Plentiful strawberries to pick. Elevated beds but still backbreaking work. They only expect to be open the rest of this week for picking. Open at 8 am. Have to drive in on sandy road with ruts. Only 50 cents a quart for beautiful strawberries.

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