2008 Keystone Challenger
2008 Keystone Challenger
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Just under an hour away from the small town of Immokalee and 45 minutes away from the coastal Bonita Springs, sunny Naples makes for a popular vacation destination. The area that's now Collier-Seminole State Park was originally purchased by Barron Collier in 1929 to preserve the region's royal palm trees and was later donated to the state in 1947. The park still provides a flourishing habitat for the palms, which display their beauty for nature lovers around the world to visit and enjoy.
Nestled within a section of one of the largest mangrove swamps in the world, the park offers fishing, boating, birding, and more along the Blackwater River. Dotted with vibrant flora and fauna, the park is home to an impressive array of native plants, with some endangered species in the mix. Florida's last remaining Bay City Walking Dredge, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is also located within the park.
Whether it's the rich history or the relaxing river routes that interest you, the scenic spot will have you searching for an RV in Collier County and planning your Collier-Seminole State Park camping adventure.
Bringing their own Hollywood glamor to the park, the royal palm trees are on full display at the Royal Palm Hammock Trail. This diverse hiking trail runs for about a mile and is overflowing with natural Florida wildlife. Breathe in the scents of pond apple trees and morning glories while watching the endangered Florida panther glide through the forest in search of an afternoon snack. Just make sure not to leave your bug spray in your rental RV as mosquitos are in season year-round.
Not far from the trail is the Blackwater River, where you can kick back with your fishing rod and relax to the sound of the water trickling by. Surrounding the peaceful river are mangrove trees, creating an inviting pathway down the Blackwater River for anglers and boaters alike. Looking to get some exercise? Join hundreds of Collier-Seminole State Park campers before you in kayaking or canoeing down the river. Whether you want to spend the whole day enjoying the 13.5-mile trip or just take a dip for a little pre-breakfast jaunt, Blackwater River is good for both.
If you’re more of a biker, don't despair. The park offers an off-road, three-and-a-half-mile bike or hike trail right along the historic Marco Road. Along the way, you'll likely see a variety of bird species soaring overhead. If you keep your eyes peeled, you might just spot a bald eagle!
Although the park is open year-round, the peak time to camp at Collier-Seminole State Park is from November to March as this ensures that there's no flooding on any of the trails. More than 100 sites accommodate tent and RV campers. If you’re planning to camp with an RV, the back-in sites can fit rigs up to 50 feet long. You can reserve a site as soon as one day in advance and as far out as 11 months in advance.
All fears of your phone battery dying while motorhome camping will soon disappear, as electrical hookups are provided at all of the sites. Restrooms with hot showers, laundry facilities, picnic tables, grills, and more are all at your disposal. Pets are not only allowed at the campsite, but also in most areas of the park, as long as they're on a six-foot leash.
Not far from the Collier-Seminole State Park RV campground is the stunning site of the Bay City Walking Dredge, a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark. The purpose of the dredge was to forge a major road. Used to build the Tamiami Trail Highway, or U.S. 41, through the rugged terrain of swamp and everglades, the dredge finally linked Tampa, Miami, and southwest Florida. Today, it stands as a wonderful reminder of what some good hard work can accomplish.
Just a few steps away from the dredge, you can check out one of the many interactive exhibits around the park. The exhibits are ever-changing and new, so there’s always something to discover and explore. After a day of culture and sightseeing, make the 30-minute drive to treat the kids to the Sun-N-Fun Lagoon, where there’s something for everyone. Lazy river for Mom, tadpole pool for the toddlers, and five different slides at 38 feet high atop a wooden water tower for Dad and the teens.
Work up an appetite while boating on the Blackwater River? Less than twenty minutes away from the park is the magical Marco Island, where you can choose from a variety of five-star restaurants that serve fresh seafood, Mexican, Italian, breakfast, and more. While in town, you can easily refuel your campervan rental tank at one of over ten gas stations. With a full tank of gas and the open road ahead of you, you'll find no shortage of places nearby to soak up some of that rest and relaxation we could all use a little more of.