Kissimmee Lake State Park

Kissimmee Lake State Park

Lake Kissimmee State Park is the perfect place to take the family or explore the abundant plant life and wildlife inhabiting the area through its numerous hiking trails and lakes. There’s also a shaded picnic area with a pavilion and picnic tables. Visitors can get the full experience by spending the night at Lake Kissimmee State Park, which offers both primitive campsites and full-facility campsites. There are tons of stuff to keep the family entertained in the State Park and nearby in the Lake Wales area.

About

Lake Kissimmee State Park is a scenic state park located 15 miles east of Lake Wales in Central Florida. The state park covers 5,930 acres and contains tons of wild flora and fauna, creating a thriving ecosystem. Lake Kissimmee State Park surrounds Lake Kissimmee, Lake Rosalie, and Tiger Lake. 

The Central Florida state park is known for its vast floodplain, prairie, forest, hammock, and Pine Flatwoods. In addition to the plants, numerous animals such as white-tailed deer, incredible birds, bobcats, and more call Lake Kissimmee State Park home. Visitors can enjoy countless outdoor activities such as boating and fishing in the picturesque lakes in the state park.

What To Do At Lake Kissimmee State Park

Lake Kissimmee State Park provides visitors with the ultimate outdoor experience. It’s the perfect place to go boating, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing in the nearby Lake Rosalie, Lake Tiger, and Lake Kissimmee.

Enjoy over 13 miles of hiking trails and bike trails winding around freshwater marshes and pine forests for beautiful wildlife viewing. Lake Kissimmee State Park also has six miles of equestrian trails.

Interesting and entertaining living history demonstrations take place on the weekends at Lake Kissimmee State Park.

Lake Kissimmee State Park showcase white tailed deer
Lake Kissimmee Cow Hunters Camp

The Lake Kissimmee Cow Camp is open during the fall and spring and involves and cracker cow hunter, as the pioneers were called, who stays in character while giving a tour of his campground and answering questions. The cow hunter has a pot of coffee over an open fire, an outfitted wagon, and a herd of cracker cattle. The cracker cattle are descendants of the cattle first brought to Florida by the Spanish in the 1500s and are a fun sight for visitors with their big Texas-style horns.

Lake Kissimmee State Park cow camp
Kayaking and Canoeing

Lake Kissimmee State Park makes it easy for visitors to rent canoes or kayaks and paddle along the shoreline of the nearby lakes. Kissimmee State park also has a challenging 11-mile paddle, known as the Buster Loop Trail, which combines a canal, two creeks, and three lakes all in a loop.

Fishing Kissimmee State Park

Lake Kissimmee State Park is on the shores of the beautiful Lakes Kissimmee, Tiger, and Rosalie, offering some of the best bass fishing in the state. A boat ramp in Lake Kissimmee State Park provides direct access to the famous Lake Kissimmee. Anglers can catch all of the most popular fish species in Central Florida here, including largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, catfish, and chain pickerel.

Lake Kissimmee State Park two loop trails

Lake Kissimmee

Lake Kissimmee is surrounded by the beautiful Lake Kissimmee State Park and is the fourth lake of the Kissimmee Chain. Central Florida is known by anglers around the world for its incredible bass fishing, and Lake Kissimmee doesn’t disappoint. Lake Kissimmee has a strong reputation for its trophy largemouth bass due to its expanse of thriving vegetation. Lake Kissimmee and other lakes in the Kissimmee Chain attract visitors worldwide to experience its incredible fishing on a charter with a professional captain throughout the year.

Florida Fishing Kissimmee

Tiger Lake and Lake Rosalie

Tiger Lake covers 2086 acres and has three main trails which provide access to pine Flatwoods, oak scrub, sandhill, and hardwood swamp. The lake has plenty of healthy vegetation holding fish and a loop trail to explore. Tiger and Rosalie lakes both specialize in largemouth bass, black crappie, and bluegill.

Lake Rosalie is a hidden gem covering 4,578 acres with excellent cover. This lake has its fair share of trophy bass and has relatively little fishing pressure adding to its incredible fishing opportunities. The area is known for its excellent bass fishing in the spring and top-notch crappie fishing in the winter.

Chris Davy

Bank Fishing

Visitors without a boat can still enjoy the same fishing opportunities of Lake Kissimmee State Park through its numerous canal banks, dam, and marina.

Techniques and Tips

Look around bridge pilings for largemouth bass using deep diving crankbaits or plastic worms. When crappie fishing, look for deep cool water, especially when the temperatures are warmer, using minnows or jigs. During the bass spawning season in the late winter and spring, anglers often have luck in the shallows with plastic worms, spinnerbaits, jerk baits, or craws.

Wildlife

This Central Florida area is a favorite state park for many reasons, and its abundant wildlife is undoubtedly one of those reasons. The site has so much wildlife thriving in its natural habitat for the family to experience. Visitors may come across bald eagles, sandhill cranes, white-tailed deer, turkeys, snail kites, crested caracara, and even bobcats in Lake Kissimmee State Park. Lake Kissimmee State Park has 12 natural communities holding over 30 listed species of fauna and flora. Some of the botanical bounties in Kissimmee state park include butterfly orchids, sawgrass, delicate mosses, fetterbush, gallberry, colorful fields of lotus, and pickleweed.

Things To Do Near Lake Wales

After exploring all there is to do and see in Lake Kissimmee State Park, visitors can experience some of the other adventures the Lake Wales area has to offer nearby. Lake Wales is close to both coasts for its beaches and is nearby the Central Florida theme parks. Some of the less known but exciting things to do in the Lake Wales area include visiting Bok Tower Gardens, Spook Hill, Hollis Garden, Wonder House, and the Polk Theatre. Lake Wales has something for everyone with tons of golf courses, museums, and outdoor parks to explore.

Camping At Lake Kissimmee State Park

Lake Kissimmee State Park provides some of the best camping in Florida. All campsites in Lake Kissimmee State Park are shaded by oak hammocks and separated by vegetation for privacy.

The sprawling live oak trees provide perfect shade and shelter to the campsites, and its secluded location also offers beautiful starry skies.

Full Facility Camping

Lake Kissimmee State Park has 60 campsites with electric and water hookups. Sewage hookups are not provided, but there is a dump station nearby. The full-facility campsites are located in the area with the oak hammock, making it one of the most scenic camping areas in any of the Florida state parks.

Primitive Camping Facility

Lake Kissimmee State Park has two campsites that are a part of the primitive camping facility. These campsites are located along the 13 miles of hiking trails in the state park. Those who prefer primitive tent camping need to backpack everything in, including water.

RV Camping

There are beautiful campgrounds within Lake Kissimmee State Park with electricity, water, and shade. Most of these sites are surrounded by natural buffers in the state park for a bit of seclusion. There are no septic hookups, but there is a dump station at the entrance of the campground.

Youth Camping Area

Lake Kissimmee State Park offers a youth camping area that can accommodate up to 50 people. There are two primitive campsites, both holding 25 people for youth camping at Lake Kissimmee State Park. Most of the camping areas are shaded by beautiful live oaks off the beaten path. The camping area has restrooms, cold showers, and a fire pit.

visitors enjoy boating and so many trails Lake Kissimmee State Park
Lake Kissimmee State Park  cow camp and cow hunters
lake wales park entrance and lakes kissimmee

Kissimmee State Park History

The Europeans arrived in Florida in the 1500s but didn’t have their presence felt until the 1800s. During the Civil War, the park area was used for raising cattle which were traded with Cuba for supplies or shipped to the Confederate Army. The cattle became the primary industry after the war, which has continued to the present day. The state of Florida purchases the 5030 acres of land in 1969 to use as a State Park. Lake Kissimmee State Park became open to the public in August 1977. In 1997 an additional 900 acres of the park was purchased and added to the western boundary.

Lake Kissimmee State Park sandhill cranes
Lake Kissimmee State Park dark skies and oak hammock

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