(Last Updated On: November 29, 2022)
Entrance to Dade Battlefield Historic State Park

Entrance to Dade Battlefield Historic State Park. Photo: Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Established in 1921, Dade Battlefield Historic State Park is a great place to visit if you love nature, history or war memorabilia.

Situated in Bushnell, about an hour’s drive from Tampa and Orlando, the park is a National History Landmark that commemorates the Battle of Dade in 1835.

Widely accepted as being something that changed the course of history, one of the main events at the park is an authentic battle reenactment that takes place in January. It also has an interesting museum that showcases various exhibits and artifacts that relate to the battle.

War history aside, this pet-friendly Florida state park is a popular spot for hiking, biking, birding, geocaching and picnicking. It doesn’t have any camping accommodation directly onsite, but there are several campgrounds you can stay at within a 20 minute drive.

Activities

Guests at the Dade Battlefield Historic State Park can enjoy a wide selection of outdoor recreational activities during their visit to it.

Here is some further information about some of the main things you can see and do while you are there.

Battle recreation at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park

Arguably the showpiece event at the park is the iconic battle reenactment that takes place annually in January.

Dade’s Battle of 1835 was a monumental event that initiated the longest and most expensive American Indian war in U.S. history.

Every year, over 2000 people come to see the re-creation which takes place in full and authentic war regalia.

Museum at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park

One of the other main draws of the park is its fascinating museum.

Open from 9 am to 5 pm, 365 days a year, it might occupy a small space, but is packed full of fantastic exhibits.

This includes artifacts that relate to the Seminole Wars period, as well as original antiquities that date back to Dade’s Battle of 1835.

The museum also presents a 12 minute video entitled ‘This Land, These Men’, which showcases events that occurred before, during and after the battle.

Within it there is also a store which sells merchandising, clothing and books.

Hiking at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park

For those who want to explore the park away from the museum, there is a quaint half-mile nature trail available to check out.

Meandering its way through the park’s west side, it takes you on a gentle stroll through an attractive woodland of longleaf pine flatwoods and native plants.

While undertaking the walk, especially in the summer, be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen, put on comfortable shoes and drink lots of water.

During it, you should see some of the park’s resident fauna, which includes birds like woodpeckers and hawks, as well as gopher tortoises, wild turkey, indigo snakes, fox and deer.

So, you might want to have your camera at the ready to snap this wildlife.

Biking at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park

For some visitors who come to the park, exploring it by bicycle is the best way to discover it.

There are plenty of paved surfaces for guests to ride on, as well as a biking trail that showcases the park’s outstanding natural beauty.

It is highly recommended that all cyclists put on helmets and other protective gear. For children aged 16 or under it is a legal requirement.

Picnicking at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park

Picnicking is a very popular activity for visitors to engage in at the park.

Throughout it there are several free-standing picnic tables and grills available at scenic spots, which can be used on a first-come, first-served basis.

In addition to these tables there are also six picnic pavilions which can be rented to larger groups. Equipped with wooden picnic tables and charcoal grills, they can be reserved up to 11 months in advance.

Should they not be reserved at the time of your visit, you can use them on a first-come first served basis.

Please note, the consumption of alcoholic beverages is strictly prohibited at them.

Geo-Seeking at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park

For those who enjoy geocaching, the park provides plenty of exciting opportunities to search for treasure.

Several caches are hidden within its boundaries, so if you want to find them you will need to visit the geocaching website and download their coordinates on your GPS enabled device.

Once you do find a treasure, be sure to have something to replace it with.

Birding at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park

Ranging from the live oaks that line the battlefield, to the stately pine flatwoods found on the hiking trail, the park has many trees. These provide a fantastic home and shelter for several species of migratory and resident upland birds.

If you are into birding, you should bring your binoculars to the park for the opportunity to spot the likes of kestrels, red-headed and pileated woodpeckers, wild turkeys and great blue herons.

Pets at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park

Dogs are welcome to join you at the park, but they must remain on a hand-held leash that is no more than 6-foot in length.

Other restrictions may also be in place. So to ascertain what they are it would be worth contacting the park’s main office for further clarification.

Camping at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park

While there are no campground facilities directly onsite, within a 15 to 20 minute drive there are plenty of others to choose from.

This includes Ridge Manor, Red Oaks RV Resorts and Florilow Oaks campgrounds.

Between them they offer a variety of camping options, which range from full hookup sites with connections for water, sewer and electricity to more primitive tents sites.

They also have a range of amenities including flush toilets and hot showers, dump stations, swimming pools, playgrounds and boat ramps.

Park Location

Dade Battlefield Historic State Park
7200 Battlefield Pkwy
Bushnell, FL 33513
Phone: 352.793.4781

Website

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park: