Southwest Florida is home to more than a dozen State Parks and scores of County Regional Parks. Whether your looking for hiking trails, wildlife viewing or just scenic spots, check out all the recreation opportunities our parks have to offer.
Southwest Florida is home to more than a dozen State Parks and Rescreation Areas. Bring your family and friends for an enjoyable day trip or an overnight adventure at one of Florida’s State Parks with cabins and camping. Cabins vary from rustic to modern. Most campgrounds accommodate tents, trailers and RVs. Reservations can be made through Reserve America: http://floridastateparks.reserveamerica.com Go to State Park Listings
The Collier County Parks & Recreation department's focus is to provide the public, both residents and visitors, with unique recreation experiences. The department promotes health and wellness, senior activities, family style events and classes for both adults and children.
Lee County Parks & Recreation provides the Natural Place to Play with safe, clean and functional Parks & Recreation facilities. They also provide programs and services that add to the quality of life for all Lee County residents and visitors alike, as well as enhance tourism through special events and attractions.
With nine miles of beautiful beaches and acres of pine forests, oak-palm hammocks and mangrove swamps, this barrier island park is a Gulf Coast paradise. Cayo Costa is accessible only by private boat or ferry. On the island, visitors can swim or snorkel in the surf, enjoy the sun and picnic in the shade.
Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park is comprised of 42,000 acres and protects 70 miles of shoreline along Charlotte Harbor in Charlotte and Lee Counties. Visitors can hike, fish, paddle and observe wildlife in the park's many natural communities, including mangrove forests, marshes, scrub habitats and pine flatwoods
Experience the natural beauty and wildlife of the Everglades, as well as a forest of tropical trees at Collier-Seminole State Park. The 7,271-acre park lies partly within the great mangrove swamp of southern Florida, one of the largest mangrove swamps in the world. Collier-Seminole also contains one of the three original stands of the rare royal palm in Florida.
One of the most popular seaside destinations in Naples, the mile-long stretch of white sugar sand at Delnor-Wiggins has been rated one of the best beaches in the nation. The 166-acre park is a tropical paradise for beach lovers, boaters and divers. The beach is a popular spot to sunbathe, swim, beachcomb, snorkel and picnic.
Beautiful Don Pedro Island State Park is part of an extensive chain of barrier islands extending along Florida's Gulf Coast. Between Knight Island and Little Gasparilla Island, Don Pedro is accessible only by private boat or ferry. Boaters can tie up at the dock on the mangrove-lined bay side of the island.
The first aquatic preserve established in Florida, this is one of the most productive estuaries in the state. The bay is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including the bald eagle. The preserve protects the water, inlets, and islands along 10 miles of Estero Bay. Visitors can canoe or kayak in the bay or on the Estero River.
Welcome to the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, "the Amazon of North America". The Fakahatchee Strand is a linear swamp forest, approximately twenty miles long by five miles wide and oriented from north to south. It has been sculpted by the movement of water for thousands of years and clean fresh water is the key to its existence.
This antebellum mansion was home to Major Robert Gamble and headquarters of an extensive sugar plantation. It is the only surviving plantation house in South Florida. In 1925, the house and 16 acres were saved by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and donated to the state.
Separated from the mainland by Charlotte Harbor and Pine Island Sound, this island is part of a chain of Gulf Coast barrier islands. The historic centerpiece of Gasparilla Island is the restored Boca Grande Lighthouse built in 1890. Swimming, snorkeling, fishing, and nature study are popular activities. Shelling is particularly good in the winter months.
One of Florida´s oldest parks, opening to the public in 1931. Many visitors enjoy bicycling the scenic 3-mile loop drive or hiking along the park´s nine trails. An elevated boardwalk traverses an old-growth cypress swamp. For equestrians, there is an 11-mile, day-use trail. Picnicking is another popular activity as are ranger-guided tours of the park.
Throughout its history, Florida has welcomed pioneers of all kinds. Cyrus Reed Teed was probably the most unusual, bringing followers to Estero in 1894 to build New Jerusalem for his new faith, Koreshanity. The colony, known as the Koreshan Unity, believed that the entire universe existed within a giant, hollow sphere.
This park protects sand scrub, which is sometimes called "Florida's desert." Some of Florida's rarest plants and animals, including the Florida scrub-jay, Florida scrub lizard, Florida mouse, deer, gopher tortoise, and bobcat are found in the scrub. Ospreys and bald eagles are frequently sighted along the three miles of lakefront.
Lake Manatee State Park extends along three miles of the south shore of Lake Manatee, which serves as a water reservoir for Manatee and Sarasota counties. The rest of the park is primarily pine flatwoods and sand pine scrub with some depression marshes and hardwood forests.
8700 Estero Boulevard, Ft Myers Beach • 239-463-4588
For years, Lovers Key was accessible only by boat. Today, it is one of four barrier islands that make up this state park. A haven for wildlife, the islands and their waters are home to West Indian manatees, bottlenose dolphins, roseate spoonbills, marsh rabbits, and bald eagles. The two mile long beach is accessible by boardwalk or tram and is popular for shelling, swimming, picnicking, and sunbathing.
This ancient Native American site was the first in Florida to be designated a State Archaeological Site. Karl and Madira Bickel donated the mound and surrounding property to the state in 1948. The flat-topped ceremonial mound-composed of sand, shell, and village debris-measures 100 by 170 feet at the base and is 20 feet in height.
Framed in forests of mangrove trees, the shell mounds and ridges of Mound Key rise more than 30 feet above the waters of Estero Bay. Mound Key is believed to have been the ceremonial center of the Calusa Indians when the Spaniards first attempted to colonize Southwest Florida.
Myakka State Forest is made up of a pine overstory with a palmetto understory. Numerous depression marshes are scattered throughout the flatwoods, providing many opportunities for viewing wading birds and other wildlife. The forest includes approximately 2.5 miles of frontage on the Myakka River which is designated as an Outstanding Florida Water and a Wild and Scenic River
One of the oldest and largest state parks. The Myakka River, designated as a Florida Wild and Scenic River, flows through 58 square miles of wetlands, prairies, hammocks, and pinelands. Visitors can enjoy wildlife viewing from a boardwalk that stretches out over the Upper Myakka Lake, then take to the treetops with a stroll along the canopy walkway. Airboat tour, tram tour and concession store.
A large acreage of scrubby flatwoods makes this park protects scrubby and pine flatwoods that were once widespread throughout Sarasota County. Fifteen miles of trails through these beautiful natural areas provide opportunities for hiking, bicycling, and wildlife viewing. Canoeists and kayakers can paddle along South Creek, a blackwater stream that flows to the Gulf of Mexico.
In the heart of an ecosystem called the Big Cypress Basin. The majority of this hydric forest is under water during periods of considerable rainfall. The forest is comprised of cypress strands, wet prairie, and pine flatwoods in the lowlands and subtropical hardwood hammocks in the uplands. The northern section of the Belle Meade Tract contains many second growth South Florida slash pine, with some remnant trees being over 100 years old.
Located at the northern end of the Ten Thousand Islands. An amazing world exists within the 110,000 acres of pristine mangrove forest, uplands and protected waters of Rookery Bay. Where rivers and streams meet the sea, a unique habitat is formed. A myriad of wildlife, including 150 species of birds and many threatened and endangered animals.
At the southwest corner of Charlotte County, there is a mile of beach where seashells and shark teeth wash up, and anglers fish the surf for prize catches. Visitors can enjoy an excellent view of the Gulf of Mexico, as well as a stretch of undeveloped Florida coastline. Visitors come to this secluded beach to enjoy the year-round swimming and sunbathing; shelling is best during the winter months.