Unique 5,930-acre Lake Kissimmee State Park was used for raising cattle during the Civil War. At the end of the war, cattle became the main industry in this area of Southern Florida. In 1969, the state of Florida purchased 5,030 acres of land from the William Zipperer estate for use as a state park. Lake Kissimmee State Park was opened to the public in August 1977. In 1997, an additional 900 acres was purchased and added to the park's western boundary.
Lake Kissimmee State Park, nestled between three lakes, offers guests a wide variety of outdoor adventures. Guests to the park enjoy fishing, boating, hiking, and bird watching in this stunning natural setting. The pine and scrubby flatwoods found in the park are host to: long leaf pines, scrub oaks, Florida scrub jays, Sherman fox squirrels, gopher tortoises, white-tailed deer, turkeys, bobcats and the grey fox.
The park provides 54 camping sites that can accommodate RV’s measuring up to 45 feet. Guests to the park are welcome to use the fishing deck, boat launch, horse trails, playground, and picnic areas. Lake Kissimmee State Park offers guest the opportunity to explore 12 distinct natural communities and allows those interested the opportunity to view over 200 species of native and migrating birds. Bird watchers can expect to sight the bald eagle, snail kite, sandhill crane, and crested caracara.
RV Rentals in Lake Kissimmee State Park
Transportation in Lake Kissimmee State Park
Kissimmee State Park is located at:
14248 Camp Mack Rd.
Lake Wales FL 33898
From Florida turnpike guests take State Rd 60, west to Boyscout Rd. Turn right (north) onto Boyscout Rd to Camp Mack Rd, turn right onto Camp Mack Rd, and go 5.5 miles to park main entrance.
From Highway 27 to State Rd 60, east to Boyscout Rd, turn left (north) onto Boyscout Rd to camp Mack Rd, turn right onto Camp Mack Rd, and go 5.5 miles to park entrance.
Parking is available near Tiger Cove. There is equestrian parking just across the cow camp bridge in the hay fields.
There is no public transportation available within the park.
Campgrounds and parking in Lake Kissimmee State Park
Campsites in Lake Kissimmee State Park
Lake Kissimmee State Park
Lake Kissimmee State Park provides a well-thought-out camping experience for guests. The campground offers all the amenities guests could want in a year-round park in beautiful Kissimmee, Florida. Within the park, guests will find hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. The park offers a playground, fishing dock and cleaning station, group pavilion, picnic areas, marina, boat ramp, and multi-purpose building. Boat rentals are available in the park. Guests will also find a visitor center and historic sites sprinkled throughout the park.
Lake Kissimmee State Park rests between three lakes: Lake Rosalie to the West, Tiger Lake to the South, and Lake Kissimmee to the East.
The 54-site campground offers a Boat Ramp and Boat Launch. The sites are paved, as are the roads. The campground has sites that can accommodate up to 55 foot RVs. Each campsite has water and electric hookups, a table, fire ring and grate. The campground has drinking water, flush toilets, hot showers, a dump station, comfort station and laundry. Firewood is also available for sale from the camp host. The park offers a playground, fishing dock and cleaning station, group pavilion, picnic areas, marina, boat ramp, and multi-purpose building. Outdoor recreation options include boating, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, picnicking and wildlife viewing.
Guests should note that generator use is not allowed after sunset.
Seasonal activities in Lake Kissimmee State Park
Lake Kissimmee State Park offers 13 miles of hiking trails that provide guests the opportunity to see white-tailed deer, bobcat, bald eagles, sandhill cranes, turkeys and other wildlife. The trails wind their way through pine flatwoods, oak hammocks, past freshwater marshes and out to Lake Kissimmee. Guests can pick from a half-mile self-guided nature trail, two loop trails and a spur trail out to the lake. There are two back-country campsites along the trails available for those who wish to spend the night under the stars.
Buster Island Loop is an easy seven-mile, moderately trafficked loop trail. This trail offers guests scenic views and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is most accessible from September until March. Pets are welcome but must be kept on a leash
North Loop is a six and a half-mile loop trail that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. This trail is accessible year-round. Pets are welcome but must be kept on a leash.
Gobbler Ridge is a little under three-miles, features a lake and is good for all skill levels. Guests primarily use this trail for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding. Gobbler Ridge is accessible year-round. Pets are welcome but must be kept on a leash.
Located on the shores of Lakes Kissimmee, Rosalie and Tiger, Lake Kissimmee State Park offers some of the best fishing opportunities in the state of Florida. A variety of fish that can be caught include the large-mouth bass, crappie, catfish, chain pickerel and bluegill. Lake Kissimmee is world famous for big large-mouth bass. The expanse of vegetation and number of hiding places make the lake ideal for bass fishing. It is entirely possible for a bass to live to a ripe old age in these waters without many encounters with anglers.
A boat ramp in the park offers direct access to Lake Kissimmee. For those without boats, there are fishing opportunities from the canal banks, marina, and dam. The marina provides accessible parking spaces, restrooms and a fishing area. All fishing within the park must conform to regulations concerning size, number, method of capture and season.
Water enthusiasts will enjoy touring the waterways within Lake Kissimmee State Park. They will view a variety of incredible birds and wildlife that inhabit the area known as the "headwaters" to the Everglades. Paddlers can launch their canoes and kayaks from the cow camp bridge to paddle Zipprer Canal to Lake Rosalie, or from the accessible canoe and kayak launch at the marina out to Lake Kissimmee.
The park offers a scenic ten-mile Buster Island Paddling Trail. This trail is Florida’s 53rd state designated paddling trail and is suitable for experienced paddlers. This trail offers excellent fishing and wildlife viewing opportunities as it encircles Buster Island. Guests can rent a kayak or canoe at the park marina’s camp store. The canoe/kayak launch is universally accessible.
Pack your binoculars, get your field guides out, and plan to take off in the early morning or early evening along the trails in Lake Kissimmee State Park for exceptional bird watching opportunities. Remember to keep your ears open as you’ll often hear a bird before you spot it.
Whether guests are merely curious enthusiasts or serious bird-watchers, they will find Lake Kissimmee State Park an exceptional bird-watching experience. Due to its location and varied terrain, the park is a wondrous spot for viewing for both migrating and native species.
Guests can expect to see Crested Caracaras, Sandhill Cranes, Bald Eagles and Northern Bobwhites. The entrance station is a good spot for Florida Scrub-Jays. Watch for Red-Headed Woodpeckers in the flatwoods along the long park entrance road. Guests can walk all the way to the lake, watching for waders and Snail Kites, or take a guided boat tour. Alternatively, guests may choose to rent a canoe and explore the waters on their own The cow camp area across the bridge from the picnic area is an excellent place to see migrating songbirds.
Geocaching is an outdoor adventure that can be enjoyed year-round. It is an activity that many guests to Lake Kissimmee State Park may not be aware of.
For those who don’t know, geocaching is an outdoor adventure similar to treasure hunting. Guests enter locations into their GPS device or cell phone. Satellites are used to help guests locate hidden containers, referred to as geocaches. Geocaches offer an array of small trinkets, some thematic in nature, that guests can trade. Geocaching can be enjoyed by guests of all ages and is a simple way to involve the family in a group outdoor activity.
The biggest reward for geocachers is the thrill of the search and the discovery of a place where you have never been. Lake Kissimmee State Park is an ideal place to partake in this low-cost tech-savvy sport.
Meandering down the short trail in Lake Kissimmee State Park to the Cow Camp, guests will be transported back in time to 1876. A Florida Cow Hunter will greet you at the end of the trail where you find yourself in a frontier camp along the route of a cattle drive. The Cow Hunter will likely be cooking, making coffee, tending to the cattle or just resting up until the next roundup or cattle drive. The Cow Hunter will happily offer up stories about what his life is like and the challenges he faces in his every-day-life. Guests may wish to pack a picnic lunch and bring the family out to Lake Kissimmee State Park to enjoy this little scene of Florida history.
Cow Camp Season and Hours
The Cow Camp is open for the winter from October 1st through May 1st on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. The Cow Camp is also open on holidays (except for Christmas Day) from 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Cow Camps are also available upon request for groups of 15 or more.