Looking for somewhere that combines gorgeous scenery with a little bit of history and plenty of outdoor recreational activities? Then Collier-Seminole State Park is the place for you!
Situated just a 25 minute drive from Naples, within southern Florida’s great mangrove swampland, the park covers 7,271-acres. Of this, some 6,430 acres are made up of cypress and mangrove swamps, as well as pine flatwoods, salt marshes and mangrove rivers.
This creates a stunning habitat for a diverse range of wildlife, which usually is not found in The Everglades. It also provides an excellent environment for canoeing and kayaking, as well as fishing, hiking and birding.
The park is also home to the Bay City Walking Dredge which has been designated as a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark. This was heavily used in the construction of the Tamiami Trail through the Everglades.
Regarded as a great base for visiting The Everglades, it presents plenty of sites that provide water and electric hookups for RVs, trailers and tent camping.
Visitors to the park can enjoy several outdoor recreational pursuits during their time at Collier-Seminole.
Below is a small selection of some of the many activities you can engage in whilst you are there.
Boating at Collier-Seminole State Park
Canoeing and kayaking is a very popular activity at the park on account of the Blackwater River.
Flowing through a stunning mangrove forest, it takes you into the scenic Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge.
Although the river is technically classed as tidal, it is very gentle. So it is good for less experienced paddlers to get to grips with the activity.
Guided tours are offered throughout the year for those who do not want to tackle it alone. If you are a seasoned paddler, or just fancy a challenge, the 13.5 mile canoe and kayak trails provide an exciting adventure.
The concession stand at the park hires out watercraft and related equipment for those who don’t have their own.
Fishing at Collier-Seminole State Park
Anglers from all over Florida come to the park for its superb fresh and saltwater fishing opportunities.
The Blackwater River provides both types of environments in which to cast a line, either from the shore, or in a boat out on the water.
Depending on what type of fishing you partake in you may require a licence. You will also have to abide by the park’s rules and regulations. So it is worth consulting with the main office prior to throwing in a line.
If you do fish, you can expect to catch plenty of bream, redfish, mullet, seatrout, largemouth bass, spotted sunfish, warmouth and croaker.
Trails at Collier-Seminole State Park
Throughout the park there are four excellent nature trails you can explore either via hiking or on a bike.
These trails vary in length from between a mile to three and a half miles, as well as degrees of difficulty.
One of the prettiest of them is the Royal Palm Hammock Nature Trail which showcases plants that are usually found in the Caribbean or Yucatan.
This includes a verdant canopy of Jamaican dogwood, satin leaf, royal palms and gumbo limbo. This trail also takes you past a wetland that is home to several species of wading bird.
For those who want to embark on a longer trail, the Off Road Bike and Hiking Trail takes you on a 3.5 mile course which passes a historic railbed.
Along this route you might see some of the park’s native fauna including gopher tortoises, deer and black bears.
Birding at Collier-Seminole State Park
With over 150 species calling it home the park is a birder’s paradise.
The park is actually part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail, so you will want to bring your binoculars with you on your visit.
Several breeds reside here on a year round basis, while others visit seasonally.
Depending on when you come to Collier-Seminole, you may see the likes of sandhill crane, snowy egret, swallow-tailed kite, limpkin and osprey.
The best places to spot them are on the hiking or kayak/canoe trails.
Pets at Collier-Seminole State Park
The park is considered to be pet-friendly and there are no pet fees. However, all dogs must be kept on a maximum of a 6 foot leash at all times.
They should also not be left unattended for more than half an hour and also be properly cleaned up afterwards.
While pets are permitted within the park’s primitive tent sites, they are not recommended.
Camping at Collier-Seminole State Park
The campground at Collier-Seminole State Park is quite large. So it is perfect for those who intend to visit in their RV or trailer.
Unlike other campgrounds in Florida state parks that tend to be laid out in a loop, this one has a rather unique diamond form.
Overall there are 78 RV spots available which are a mix of dirt and sand pads. All of these sites come with hookups for water and 50-amp electricity. Some of these are ADA accessible and there are also a number of tent sites available too.
Amenities include modern and well maintained toilets and showers, as well as a dump station and telephone box. Cell phone reception might be a bit iffy and mosquitoes can be a pest, so bring plenty of bug spray with you.
Collier-Seminole State Park
20200 Tamiami Trail E
Naples, FL 34114
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Collier-Seminole State Park: