Collier Seminole State Park - Welcome
The 7,271-acre Collier-Seminole State Park lies partly within the great mangrove swamp of southern Florida, one of the largest mangrove swamps in the world. A wide variety of wildlife, including several imperiled species, inhabits this unusual blend of temperate and tropical native plant communities.
Collier-Seminole State Park features vegetation and wildlife typical of Florida's Everglades. Although rare elsewhere, the park covers one of three original stands of royal palm trees in Florida, coexisting with large areas of mangrove swamp. The park is the site of a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark, the last existing Bay City Walking Dredge. Built in 1924, it was used to build the Tamiami Trail Highway (U.S. 41) through the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp, linking Tampa and Miami and opening southwest Florida to travelers.
Collier-Seminole State Park is at the junction of two of tropical Florida's most interesting natural features: It overlaps the northern edge of the great mangrove swamp of southwestern Florida, and the southern edge of the Big Cypress Swamp. The park is the meeting place of the land and the sea, fresh water and salt water, and tropical and temperate zone vegetation. Because of this blending, a great diversity of plants and interesting wildlife are found here.
The original intent for this park was to preserve the royal palm trees that grow naturally in the park. Among other things this park also serves as a memorial to both the Seminole Indians and the US Army who fought in the Seminole wars.
Collier-Seminole State Park Introduction by Chad Lach, Park Manager
Collier Seminole State Park - Activities
Off road biking on Historic Marco Road along a 3.5 mile course along marsh, hammock and pine flatwood.
The boat ramp will accommodate small to medium vessels during low tide and most boats during high tide. Please call for conditions.
The Black Water River flows from the park, allowing access to the Ten Thousand Islands and the Gulf of Mexico. A float plan is required to be filed at the ranger station. You can rent from the park or bring your own canoe.
The campfire circle provides an opportunity for campers and the park visitors to view a slide program by park personnel about local interests. The topics varies from black bear, native american history, the building of the Tamiami Dredge to the mangrove forests. The slide programs last from 30 to 45 minutes with a chance for questions at the end.
There is a 13.6-mile canoe trail that flows down the twisting Black Water River through a mangrove forest.
Canoe rentals available at $25.00 per day or $5.00 per hour. Price subject to change.
Guided Canoe Trips
December - March: Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday:
$25 per person with your canoe or ours. (Cash or check only)
Ages 6 and up.
Moonlight Guided Canoe Trips
Call 239.394.3397 for dates and further information.
Call 239.394.3397 for dates and further information.
Fishing is available. A freshwater or saltwater license may be required. Check local regulations.
Full Facility Camping
Collier-Seminole State Park is a full facility Camping Park. Rates are $19.80 per site, and prices subject to change without notice.
Reservations may be made up to eleven months in advance. One night’s camping fee deposit will be required (credit card only – must be canceled within 24 hours of check-in time for refund). For more information on camping in our park simply click on the Reserve America link. Clicking on the park map or selecting one of the camping area links just below the park map will allow you to see a map of the individual campsite locations. Select any campsite icon to see a detailed description of the individual campsite and what it has to offer.
A 6.5-mile hiking trail winds through pine flatwoods and cypress swamp, allowing visitors to observe the great variety of vegetation and wildlife found at the park. A self-guided nature trail featuring a boardwalk system and observation platform overlooking the salt marsh is also available. Additional exhibits of plants and wildlife may be seen in the park's Interpretive Center.
Picnic area is available with tables and grills. Pavilions are available but limited on a first come first serve basis.
Primitive camping is available along our canoe and hiking trails. Campers can experience true camping with no amenities. Space is limited. Check at ranger station for availability.
The park has two camping areas. One area contains 19 sites located in a wooded area and is popular for tents, vans, and popups. The other consists of 101 sites in an area more suited for RV's and also includes tent sites. All sites have electricity and all sites have a picnic table and a grill. Three bathhouses are located in the campground and are equipped with hot and cold showers. One bathhouse has a washer and dryer and another has an activity room with tables, chairs, brochure rack, and other reading material. The park has a youth camping area, a primitive camping area that is accessible from the park's hiking trail, and another primitive camping area accessible by canoe. The youth camp area can be reserved and the primitive camps are first come first serve.
A self-guided tour through the nature center has many exhibits of the plants and wildlife that can be seen here.
There are several opportunities to view wildlife through nature trails, bike trails and canoe trails. Common sightings are alligator, raccoons, osprey, white ibis, and other wading birds.
Youth camping is available for youth groups i.e. Scouts, church, and schools. Youth camp area is primitive and will require some walking with food and water to get to the site. No showers and only privies are available.
Collier Seminole State Park - History
Collier-Seminole State Park takes its name from two people who made their mark upon this land, forever changing it. Barron Collier was a wealthy entrepreneur who financed the building of the Tamiami Trail and purchased the land for this park, and the Seminole and Miccosukee Indians who have resided in this area since the early 1800’s. Because of the Tamiami Trail, the two are forever intertwined in the history of this area.
Collier-Seminole State Park covers what is historically known as Royal Palm Hammock. Here is found one of three original native stands of Royal Palms in the state of Florida, resembling the coastal forests of the West Indies and Yucatan. The park also extends down to the Ten Thousand Islands and includes mangrove river estuaries and salt marsh preserves that are favorite habitats for wading birds.
The Seminole and Miccosukee Indians settled in this area by 1840 and have remained here ever since. In 1841 and 1857 during the Second and Third Seminole Wars, efforts by the Army to drive them out failed, making the Seminoles and Miccosukee people in Florida known as the “Unconquered.” The visitor center in the park is patterned after a blockhouse from the Seminole War era.
In the early 20th century, effort was made to build a roadway across the vast expanse of Big Cypress and the Everglades. This effort was begun, but was ended because of World War One and funding needed elsewhere. In the 1920’s the state of Florida asked Barron Collier, a wealthy advertising entrepreneur and pioneer developer, to help fund and complete building of the Tamiami Trail. It was a monumental engineering feat to build the roadbed between Naples and Miami, but was finally completed in 1928.
Inside the park is the Bay City Walking Dredge, used to construct the roadway that now passes by the front entrance of the park. In 1994 this now-silent machine was designated as a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark.
The Tamiami Trail that Collier built had a permanent effect on the Indians in the area. Collier’s roadway exposed the formerly isolated Seminole and Miccosukees to American culture and economic activity. There are many villages along the trail and even within the confines of the park, where the people maintain their balance between modern society and traditional ways.
After building the Tamiami Trail, Barron Collier envisioned developing the Lincoln-Lee national park, but failed to get government support for his idea. The land became a county park, and by 1947 it was turned over to the state of Florida for management as a state park. Named in part for Collier and for the Seminole Indians who had made the area their home, Collier-Seminole State Park now stands as a monument to the natural environment and historical people that have shaped the landscape.
Collier Seminole State Park - Additional Information
The 6,430 acres that make up Collier-Seminole State Park feature a wealth of vegetation and wildlife that is typical of the Everglades region of Florida. One special feature of the park is a tropical hammock dominated by trees that are characteristic of coastal forests of the West Indies and Yucatan. The rare Florida royal palm is a common species here. Much of the park is extensive mangrove swamp. Also found in the park are cypress swamps, salt marshes and pine flatwoods which further add to the park's botanical diversity.
Many species of wildlife have been seen in the park, including several of the state's threatened and endangered species. The brown pelican, wood stork, bald eagle, roseate spoonbills, American crocodile and Florida black bear are among the animals that make the park their home. The official state marine mammal, the West Indian manatee, may also be seen occasionally in the Blackwater River.
Collier-Seminole State Park houses a unique piece of history. The Bay City Walking Dredge # 489 was dedicated as a "National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark" on February 19, 1994 at Collier-Seminole State Park. This machine, built in 1924 was used to build the highway through the Everglades that is today known by two names, U.S. 41 and the Tamiami Trail . Because of the extreme hardships in building this highway, normal means were not possible, This machine was developed specifically for the job. It was designed for use over swampy terrain where wheeled or tracked vehicles would bog down. This machine, instead, distributed its weight over "shoes". To move, the middle movable shoes were lowered to take some of the weight off the corner shoes. The frame then was pulled forward about ten feet, using both an on-board winch and the shovel bucket, then lowered back onto the corner shoes. The Walking Dredge was capable of walking at the lightening speed of one mile per day. It was a long tedious job but one that could not have been accomplished without this machine.
Collier-Seminole State Park is home to a 4,760 acre wilderness preserve located in the mangrove swamp. The preserve is a prime example of how this region looked before the arrival of the first European explorers. A limited number of visitors are allowed to visit the preserve each day by canoe. It is a 13.5 mile canoe trip to the preserve which offers primitive camping for overnight stays. For complete information about the Collier-Seminole State Park please visit the website.
All information courtesy Florida Division of Recreation and Parks