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Lake Kissimmee State Park
Lake Kissimmee State Park
This lovely State Park is definitely worth a visit if you fancy a quiet day out with just Florida’s wildlife for company.
Lake Kissimmee State Park covers more than 6000 acres and has 4 trails that cover 15.95 miles, the park also has 6 miles of horse trails.
The park is easy to find, head down US27 to Lake Wales, and then follow Route 60 east for 10 miles, the park is then very clearly signposted.
Lake Kissimmee is Florida’s 3rd largest lake, and the land surrounding the lake was purchased in 1977.
There are many endangered species living within the boundaries. Amongst the many species, there are herons, egrets, bald eagles, osprey, sandhill cranes, turkeys, bobcats and white-tailed deer.
The park also has a ‘cow camp’, the rangers of the park use this camp to demonstrate what it was like to live and work cattle in Florida.
We visited the park in November, our first surprise was before we even got to the park, as we were approaching the park entrance, we noticed a bald eagle just perched on top of a pole, we pulled off the road to get a better look and found there were a family of 5, two adults and 3 younger birds – a fantastic sight.
Once at the entrance to the park, we paid the few dollars entrance fee, and drove down to the car park and marina (this is around a 10 min drive from the ranger hut). There are rest rooms here, a picnic area with benches and a lookout tower with views of the lake.
We decided to have a look at the nature trail, this is a small 0.75 mile walk that shows some of the natural habitat of the area, we found several deer that really didn’t seem to bothered to see us, and very kindly allowed us to take some great photos.
The second trail we did was the Buster Island Trail, be warned it is only approx 7 miles, but is very, very hard work, make sure you take plenty of water on this one. That said it is a very rewarding trail to follow, one of our first experiences was of a bald eagle, we got very close before it took off through the trees. This trail rewarded us with many glances of deer, bald eagles, swallow-tailed kites, countless woodpeckers, and turkeys.
Once back at the picnic area, we had a bite to eat, and whilst overlooking the ponds, trying to take pictures of turtles, we spotted a gator…..he also spotted us at the same time and sank down into the water. After about 5 minutes he re-surfaced and we got a great photo !!
A small look around the marina and look-out tower and our day was complete, this park is fantastic, and anyone interested in seeing Florida wildlife in its natural habitat would really enjoy this park.
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