(Last Updated On: December 21, 2022)
Park sign at Lake Manatee State Park

Park sign at Lake Manatee State Park. Photo: Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If the pace of life in Tampa or Fort Myers has gotten too much for you, then consider a short getaway at Lake Manatee State Park.

Situated on the picturesque southern shoreline of Lake Manatee, this idyllic 556-acre Florida state park features a breathtaking terrain of sand pine scrub, pine flatwoods, hardwood forests and verdant marshes.

Although small, the park provides plenty of opportunity to enjoy its landscape. Visitors can partake in boating, swimming, fishing and hiking. While biking and geocaching are popular activities too.

For those who want to camp, Lake Manatee State Park has two campground loops that offer 54 sites for RVs and trailers. It also has tranquillity in abundance, which makes it the perfect environment for a city detox.

Activities

Guests at the park can enjoy its stoic surroundings and beautiful scenery in a variety of ways.

Showcased below is a brief overview of some of the main activities you can partake in during your time there.

Boating at Lake Manatee State Park

Spanning a surface area of over 2,400 acres, the lake is a popular destination for boating, canoeing and kayaking.

Not only does it provide you with a fabulous view of the shoreline. You can also paddle by beaver dams or get the thrill of seeing turtles floating in the water.

Swimming at Lake Manatee State Park

At the lake there is a fabulous designated swimming area. So you will definitely want to bring your costume with you.

When the Florida sun gets pretty hot, the cooling waters of the lake are perfect for a dip. The swimming area is situated within easy walking distance of the campground and also features restrooms with flush toilets, warm showers, a playground and a picnic area.

As the lake is not lifeguarded, you will have to exercise caution if you do take to the water.

Fishing at Lake Manatee State Park

Lake Manatee is championed by many anglers as one of the best places to fish in the state.

Visitors can choose to cast a line from the shoreline of the lake, in a boat out on the water or on a dock.

Depending on where you decide to do it, you may need a fishing license. However, you should be able to catch plenty of stripers, largemouth bass, blue catfish, channel catfish and bluegill.

While fishing you will also need to abide by the rules and regulations of the Florida Wildlife Commission. This includes only taking motor boats with up to 20 horsepower on the water.

Hiking at Lake Manatee State Park

With more than 4.5 acres of trails meandering through the park, hiking is an activity the entire family can enjoy.

Taking you through the heart of the park into some very remote areas, these trails showcase Lake Manatee’s flora and fauna.

You’ll need to be fully prepared when you tackle them. So make sure you wear proper hiking boots, a hat and plenty of sunscreen. Also take lots of water with you as well as a camera. The landscape is so beautiful you will want to take plenty of photos!

When on the trails look out for wildlife especially snakes, or alligators if you find yourself down by the wetlands.

Biking at Lake Manatee State Park

If you prefer to be on two wheels as opposed to two feet then the park’s 2.5-mile bike trail should excite you.

Looping around both campgrounds the track is flat and relatively easy to traverse. This makes it easy for you to get your bearings around the park.

Should you not have brought your own bike with you to the park, you can hire beach cruisers with fat-tires from the ranger station.

Geocaching at Lake Manatee State Park

Geocaching is a popular activity at Lake Manatee State Park on account of there being several treasures hidden within it.

If you intend to search for them, be sure to have your handheld GPS device with you to download their location coordinates.

Some of the treasures are pretty easy to find, while others involve a little bit more effort.

Once you have found the cache make sure you replace it with loot of your own, to provide something for the next person to find.

Pets at Lake Manatee State Park

Pets are welcome to join you at the park, although some restrictions on their presence do apply.

For instance they are not permitted within the swimming area and need to be kept on a hand held leash of no more than six feet in length at any time.

To fully avail yourself with all these restrictions it is a good idea to contact the park’s main office.

Camping at Lake Manatee State Park

For those looking for overnight accommodation the park offers 54 sites across two camping loops. Both of which offer 27 sites each.

Within the first campground loop there are 25 sites that can accommodate both RVs and tents. While there are a further two which are only set up for RVs or trailers.

Open all year round, this loop provides sites that have connections for 30-amp electricity. They are also back-ins which can host rigs up to 65 feet in length.

In this area you will find a dump station, as well as a couple of bathhouses. There is also a playground and picnic area in the locality too.

The second campground loop offers exactly the same set up in terms of facilities and amenities. Although the maximum length of the rigs it can house is 60 feet long.

Park Location

Lake Manatee State Park
20007 FL-64
Bradenton, FL 34212
Phone: 941.741.3028

Website
Reservations

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Lake Manatee State Park: