An unincorporated area within Hillsborhourgh County Florida, Riverview is located roughly 10 miles from the beaches in Brandenton and thirty minutes from Tampa. Riverview has a population of 71,050 (as of the 2015 census).
Founded in 1865, and originally referred to as “Peru,” (an Indian name for “straight part of the river”) the area we now know as Riverview was home to Tocobaga Indians who lived on the land for centuries. Peru was one of the oldest settlements in the state of Florida and was initially founded on the south shore of the Alafia River which takes it’s name from the native word meaning “river of fire.” Indians bestowed this name upon the river due to the phosphorous sitting on the river bottom that glowed at nightfall. Today the river contributes primarily to outdoor recreation, offering ample opportunities for residents to fish or launch a boat from the Riverview ramp.
During the 1890s settlement began on the north side of the river with the first school being built in 1893, inside of the Peru Baptist Church. The north and south communities were connected by river ferry and soon a bridge was constructed from the remains of a bridge that at once had spanned the Hillsborough river in downtown Tampa. A post office was constructed on the Riverview side and then moved to the Peru side, causing great tension and confusion. The post office eventually adopted the Riverview name, in the early 1940s to alleviate confusion with mail service. Much to the dismay of pioneer families, what was once known as Peru has largely disappeared from all but the earliest of maps.
Modern-day Riverview is considered a progressive community with strong economic stability and still encompassing the original small town feel. The river location affords residents the opportunity to enjoy year-round outdoor activities like boating, canoeing, swimming and fishing. Due to the unique location, sitting near wilderness, straddling the banks of the Alafia River and in close proximity to golf courses and other amenities that come with Florida living, Riverview made CNN Money’s list of “100 Best Places to Live” in 2012.
Our Favorite Things to Do In Riverview , Florida
Our mini-guide to Riverview below will help you discover more about this dynamic city by the lake.
- Outdoor Activities
- Places to Eat
Riverview offers a wide array of outdoor activities or locals and visitors. There is plenty of room to roam and explore the unique landscape of Riverview. Be it on water or by land, you are sure to discover a new favorite spot while observing some incredible wildlife in their naturel habitat. Some of our favorite adventures are listed below.
Balm-Boyette Scrub and Triple Creek Preserve Hiking Trail
13998 Balm Boyette Rd
There are a few rare scrubs in west Florida and the Tampa area, one being the Balm Boyette Scrub. These endangered habitats are common in both central and eastern Florida. Balm Boyette is a 5723 acre nature preserve with a large area of undisturbed habitat. Coupled with the neighboring Triple Creek Preserve, you’ll find 6 miles of hiking trails, 18 miles of mountain bike trails. Expect to see wildlife aplenty including Gopher tortoise, Fox Squirrels, a bounty of butterflies and a cornucopia of birds. There are several creeks along the main hiking path all of which feed into the Alafia River.
Alafia Scrub Nature Preserve
10212 Gibsonton Dr
Located on the Alafia River, east of I-75, Alafia Scrub Nature Preserve consists of 80 acres of ravines, creeks, marsh and shoreline. There is a clearly marked trail which winds for roughly two miles and leads to a scenic overlook.This is a heavily wooded site and rural Florida at it’s best.
Bikes on the Bay Water Bike Rentals
11222 Casa Loma Dr
Hope on an eco-friendly and human powered water bike for a one-of-a-kind day out of doors. It’s a change of pace and a chance to possibly spot dolphins, manatee or other wildlife. Water bikes are nearly impossible to tip and offer great opportunities for team building, fun with friends or family bonding. If you’re looking for a healthy choice for an outing, Bikes on the Bay is it!
Never downplay the importance of a good lunch meal. It’s the get-you-over-the-hump staple that tends to take a back seat to breakfast, brunch and dinner. While you’re in Riverview, be sure to take some time out to enjoy some of our favorite lunch spots, listed below.
Trust Me BBQ
If you’re craving delicious, fall-off-the-bone-barbecue then take a short drive down US-301 to Trust Me BBQ (trust me). Originally a road side BBQ joint with a smoker right there on the side of the street, their food became so popular that they opened up a location right across the street, although the smoker is still outside. These are smoked meats that are flavorful and tender with a mix of Southern BBQ and Caribbean flavors. Sides range from garlic mashed potatoes to mac and cheese to collard greens to baked beans. There are lines at lunch but these guys are pros at moving everyone through pretty quickly.
Peck’s Flame Broiled Chicken
Serving only farm fresh, grade A chicken, Peck’s marinates their chickens in their special blend of herbs and spices for no less than 24 hours and then broils them over an open flame. The chicken is never frozen, battered, fried in grease or marinated in oil. Don’t let the exterior of the building fool you; this is a gem of a find in Riverview if you like chicken—and who doesn’t like chicken? There are daily specials including a barbecued chicken pita and a barbecue platter. They also offer pulled pork, a gyro platter, tasty ribs and a veggie pita. Peck’s is a healthy alternative to fast food so go on in and “get peck’d!”
It’s the most important meal of the day and it’s the perfect time to explore some of Riverview’s best known spots. Whether you are planning a night out with the family or a dinner date, Riverview has some amazing options for that special meal. Be sure to try out one of our favorites from the list below
Eats! American Grill
6264 Winthrop Town Centre Blvd
It’s been called the “Cheers” of the Tampa Bay Area. Established in 2010, Eats! American Grill has been featured on the Food Network and serves up selections such as award winning burgers, fried pork chop sandwiches and delicious deserts. They have an array of HDTV screens for the sports lover in the group and the kids can watch movies on select TVs in the restaurant. Eats! has an extensive beer list, featured cocktails that change monthly and a tasty Bloody Mary menu.
Italian Kitchen and Café
6915 US Highway 301 S
Italian Kitchen & Café features fresh, homemade, Italian favorites with recipes that come straight from Italy. Even the basics like the lasagna and the spaghetti & meatballs have a cult-like following. This is a cozy space so it is perfect for a romantic night out or a relaxed family dinner. Be sure to leave room for a cannoli or the Tuxedo Brownie Mousse.
East Coast Pizza
13340 Lincoln Rd
Step up for some counter-served, NY style pizza, subs, calzones and more. The pizza is hand tossed and baked in brick ovens for that true East Coast flavor. While pizza is the focal point you’d be safe closing your eyes and pointing to anything on the menu. Don’t forget to try the garlic knots.