Florida Guide > State Parks
Beautiful Lake Louisa State Park
Lake Louisa State Park is situated off H27 approximately 15-20 minutes north of the I4 junction. Set in the northeast corner of the Green Swamp, a vast wetland in Central Florida, Lake Louisa is the largest in a chain of thirteen lakes connected by the Palatlakaha River.
This beautiful 4500 acre park offers 23 miles of trails to hike or cycle as well as 2 large lakes and several smaller ones for bathing, picnics, BBQs or fishing. Anglers can fish by boat (these can be rented at Dixie lake, call the park on 352 394 3969) or from the piers at Lake Dixie and Hammond Lake. Lake Louisa has a lovely picnic area on the shore under the shade of the cypress trees with tables and barbeque stands.
I arrived at the park late morning and drove the winding 4 mile road down to Lake Louisa. The thing I first noticed when I got out the car was how quiet it was. There was no car or road noise to be heard, just the birds singing and crickets playing their tune.
I set off on the nature trail armed with insect repellent, suntan lotion and several bottles of water. The trail map I was given at the ranger station was a little confusing to read, but the trails are marked with orange blazes on the trees and side trails and loops were marked with blue blazes so it would be very almost impossible to get lost.
I walked for about one and a half hours through changing scenery of scrub, heavily wooded areas, swamp, marsh and open, savannah type areas with eagles flying above. On the route were fitness stations where you could use pull up bars, do sit ups or balance on pools. For me the walk itself was enough, especially in the 90 degree heat!
The information you are given says the park is home to deer, turkey, quail, gopher, tortoises and a variety of song birds. Along the trails there are information boards about the wildlife and fauna. I didn’t see any animals, though I saw signs, such as footprints and burrows. I enjoyed the unusual plants such as a whole glade of reindeer moss, wild flowers and birds.
After my walk, I took a stroll across the boardwalk from the car park to Lake Louisa. A couple of families with young children were playing in the water or looking for little crabs on the sandy beach, though I would expect many more visit at weekends.
I paddled through the water which was surprisingly warm and an orangey gold colour. Due to the lack of rain the water level in the lake was down several feet so the roped off swimming area was quite shallow, but there was still a life guard on duty.
This park makes a lovely break away from the theme parks. Bring a picnic hamper and a bag of BBQ coals for a really relaxing day. There are showers and toilets by the lake, but you will need to bring everything else for a good old fashioned family day out. The park is open 365 days a year from 8am until sundown and only $4 entry for a car with up to 8 occupants.
Author: Shirley Dugdale
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