Koreshan State Park features a campground that RVers will not want to miss. Whether you enjoy boating, fishing, or hiking, this peaceful location on the Estero River offers outdoor activities for the whole family to enjoy. This park provides an opportunity to step back in time while visiting the Koreshan State Historic Site, which includes several restored buildings built by the Koreshan Unity Settlement in the late 1800s.
Dr. Cyrus R. Teed founded the Koreshan Unity Settlement in the 1860s, based on Utopian ideals, and moved to this site in 1894 to establish a community where they could practice their beliefs freely. Some of their ideals included the belief that the earth and sky exist together within a giant sphere, communal living, and reincarnation. This group established their own bakery, general store, power station, and printing house all within their settlement. After Dr. Teed passed away in 1908, the community gradually dwindled until, in 1961, the last remaining members donated the land to the Florida State Parks.
Today, you can visit any of the 11 nationally-registered historic buildings which were built by the Koreshan community. You can choose to take a guided tour of the settlement or just wander on your own, exploring the buildings, farm, botanical gardens, or the bamboo forest. Whether you're a history buff or a nature lover, Koreshan State Park offers a unique getaway for your next RV adventure.
Koreshan State Park is conveniently located just off of Florida Interstate Hwy 41, also known as the Tamiami Trail. The park is directly between Fort Meyers and Naples, being a half-hour’s drive away from either city on I-75 or I-41. You won’t have to pull your RV through awkward city streets as the exit from the highway is less than a mile from the Tamiami Trail.
The RV sites at the campground are all back-in, and the maximum RV length is 40 feet. Some campers have mentioned that some of the sites are better for longer rigs than others. There is also a parking area by the boat ramp. If you choose to drive your tow vehicle over to tour the Koreshan Historic Site adjacent to the campground, there is also day parking available there.
Visit the Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers, cruise to the local islands off the Gulf Coast, or eat all the seafood you desire at the many restaurants nearby. The lush, lakeside sites of Fort Myers/Pine Island KOA make a pleasant base, offering full-hookup sites powered by up to 50 amps. Some are deluxe patio sites where pets are welcome. You’ll find plenty of amenities like Wi-Fi, cable TV, a Kamping kitchen, pool, and hot tub and sauna. Firewood and propane available on-site.
Koreshan State Park features 60 campsites. Twelve of them are tent-only sites, and all other campsites are back-in RV sites offering 30- or 50-amp electric and water hookups. There are no sewer hookups, but there is a dump station at the campground. Generator use is allowed except during quiet hours. Pets are permitted, but pet owners are expected to maintain them in the designated places. Fire rings and picnic tables are located at each site for your enjoyment, but firewood cannot be brought into the campground. Firewood and ice are available at the Ranger’s Station.
Most of the campsites are sand or packed dirt; however, there are four paved ADA-compliant campsites. The back-in sites are fairly level with shade and vegetation between sites. Most sites can fit RVs up to 40 feet long, but if you have a rig larger than that you can call the park to see if any sites might be able to accommodate your vehicle. There are two bathroom facilities at the campground, and one of them has showers and laundry attached. Kids can play on the playground next to the pavilion and picnic area.
All campsites at Koreshan State Park can be reserved online or by calling the Florida State Parks. Reservations can be made from one night up to 11 months in advance. Reservations are highly recommended, as the campground is busy. You may stay for up to 14 consecutive nights at this Florida State Park.
Even if you do not have a reservation, you can show up in person and see if there are any sites available that have not been already reserved online.
The Koreshans planted many non-native plant species to keep their community going in the late 1800s. Among these, the bamboo plants are believed to have been donated by the famous inventor, Thomas Edison. The bamboo plants have become highly invasive and now grow over most of the park's nature trail. While usually parks try to control and limit non-native species, in this case, the bamboo is considered a cultural resource, and it is maintained. Visitors can enjoy the sounds of the wind blowing through the tall bamboo trees as they stroll through the bamboo forest as the Koreshans once did.
If your RV stay extends over a weekend, you can enjoy the farmer's market offered on Sunday mornings. The market is open year-round and sells local produce as well as native plants. There are a few food vendors and local crafts vendors as well. It is not a large market but truly has local flavor. Dogs on leashes are welcome. Come and pick up some delicious fruits and vegetables to take back to the camper and share a meal of local fare with the family.
The Utopian society founded by Dr. Cyrus Teed in the late 1800s is the namesake for this national park. The last remaining members of this religious sect donated 305 acres to the Florida State Park system in 1961. Since then, there are 11 original buildings that are maintained and open to the public.
Rangers lead guided historic tours through the arts center, the Damkohler house, and Planetary court. In the industrial area of the park, visit the Cast Iron Cafe, where you can even sample the foods that the members of the Koreshan community ate for no additional charge; however, donations are encouraged. This is more than just stopping by for a treat; you'll watch as bread and desserts are cooked in cast iron on a wood stove and served up by volunteers to give guests a taste of Koreshan community life.
All year-round, campers can enjoy the guided walks, demonstrations, and lectures led by park personnel and Florida Master Naturalists. Take a walk, where guides head out in advance to check out where the wildlife is, and take you to the best places to spot creatures native to the park. Some hikes are all about the reptiles, while others focus on birds migrating through the park. Other activities include photography hikes, botany walks, and lectures on local species. Historical cooking and engine demonstrations are some of the unique programs you'll find during your RV stay at Koreshan State Park.
The Koreshan Nature Trail is an easy 1.5-mile loop that will get you out of the RV and into nature. You can walk through the bamboo forest planted by the Koreshan Unity Settlement over 100 years ago. There are also nice views of the river from the trail. To see some indigenous as well as transplanted ecology on a moderate-level trail, take a walk on the Bamboo Trails. You might spot some of the wildlife while hiking, including tortoises, geckos, and butterflies. Dogs are allowed on the trail but must be kept on a leash.
Some say the best fishing in Florida can be found here. The brackish water leads to a great diversity of fish that can be caught in the Estero River and Estero Bay. Largemouth bass, tilapia, and sunfish frequent the waters in the river. Brackish game fish such as redfish, tarpon, and snook can also be found in the Estero River.
Before you throw out your line, be sure to check with the Florida Wildlife Commission to find out if you need a fishing license and what the current fishing regulations are. Once you do that, you are free to get the fishing gear out of the camper.
The peaceful Estero River runs alongside the Koreshan State Park campground, where canoeing and kayaking are popular activities. Its serene waters are perfect for an easy float or some fishing off your skiff. The water leads to Estero Bay which is about three miles away. There is a boat ramp where you can launch your own boat or rent one for the day. RV campers will want to check with a ranger to see if there are any guided boat tours available during their stay.
You might want to take a break from all the fun activities in the park, and just kick back and relax in the serenity of nature. Pack your lunch and head over to the picnic area next to the playground, where you can send the kids to run off some energy while you while away the afternoon overlooking the Estero River. Don’t stay too long or you just might fall asleep in the warm Florida sunshine. Make sure to put on some sunscreen just in case!