(Last Updated On: December 13, 2022)
Old military road in Fort Cooper State Park

Old military road in Fort Cooper State Park. Photo: Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fort Cooper State Park is a 19th century historic site that overlooks Lake Holathlikaha in Citrus County, Florida, 73 miles north of Tampa. The park, named for Major Mark Anthony Cooper and his bravery here during the Second Seminole War, serves to preserve the memory of both sides who fought here.

Guests visiting this 710-acre Florida state park enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking, camping, picnicking and learning more about the history of the fort and the area surrounding it.

Activities

Beautiful Fort Cooper State Park is a great place to spend a quiet afternoon or an entire day. Bring a picnic lunch and relax in the picturesque picnic area near the lake. A small shaded playground is located nearby.

Then hike along the trails that extend through the forest of oak, pine and hickory trees and through wildflowers and wildlife. Or bring your bicycle and explore the trail that extends for 46 miles and through 3 counties. This long multi-use pathway, the Withlacoochee State Trail, leads from Citrus Spring to Dade City.

Learn more about Fort Cooper and the area’s rich history through interpretive signs and by visiting the spot where the actual fort once stood, on a small hill overlooking the lake.

If you’re looking for a beautiful location for a special event look no further – The rustic Lake Lodge and nearby gazebo offer stunning views of the area and are ideal for weddings and other special events.

Here are some of the many activities that you can do during your visit to Fort Cooper State Park:

Boating at Fort Cooper State Park

Enjoy a quiet day paddling on Lake Holathlikaha. Canoe and kayak rentals are available within the park, private boats are not allowed. Contact the park office for more information.

Hiking at Fort Cooper State Park

Explore the 5 miles of trails that wind through pines, oaks and hickory trees and along sand hills and wildflowers throughout Fort Cooper State Park. Interpretive signs highlight flora and fauna found within the area and benches scattered along the trails provide resting spots for guests.

Here are a few trails at Fort Cooper State Park:

  • Sandhill Loop – Easy 2.1 mile through the forest surrounding the park. Benches are scattered along the wide pathway for guests to stop and rest and appreciate the nature all around.
  • Dogwood Trail – An easy 1.1 mile loop through the woods with views of wildflowers and wildlife throughout.
  • The Seminole Heritage Trail – An easy 1.5 mile loop through the historic area. As guests walk along the trail, interpretive signs depict the history of the area and the Seminoles and also the story of the battle of Fort Cooper.

Biking at Fort Cooper State Park

The park provides a half mile paved pathway that connects with the Withlacoochee Trail, a 46 mile trail that extends between Citrus Springs and Dade City.

Fishing at Fort Cooper State Park

Fish for largemouth bass, black crappie, red drum, sunfish and bluegill in Lake Holathlikaha during your visit. Pack your angling gear and a Florida fishing license and discover what you might catch along the shoreline or canoe inside Fort Cooper State Park.

Birding at Fort Cooper State Park

The park lies along the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail and is a favorite spot for bird lovers of all ages.

Guests delight in seeing both native and migratory birds throughout the park’s nature trails and along the lake.

Bring your binoculars and bird lists for a chance to see ospreys, bald eagles, egrets, ducks, owls, herons, turkeys, woodpeckers, cardinals, storks, ibis, warblers, cuckoos, sparrows and vireos.

Nature and Wildlife at Fort Cooper State Park

Fort Cooper State Park is surrounded by hammocks of oak, magnolia, pine and hickory. Inside this picturesque setting lives many species of wildlife. During your visit you may see White-tailed Deer, Sherman’s Fox Squirrels, Gopher tortoises, wild turkey, opossum, bobcat, turtles, snakes and frogs.

Pets at Fort Cooper State Park

Pets are allowed at Fort Cooper State Park as long as they are supervised and kept on a hand held leash no longer than 6 feet and stay within designated areas.

Camping at Fort Cooper State Park

Fort Cooper State Park offers primitive camping for organized groups. These sites accommodate up to 25 people and have picnic tables, grills and fire rings. Restrooms and potable water are available nearby. Contact the park office for more information.

Park Location

Fort Cooper State Park
3100 S Old Floral City Rd
Inverness, FL 34450
Phone: 352.726.0315

Park Website

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Fort Cooper State Park: