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 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.
Campground sites have electricity, water, a grill and picnic table. The restrooms have hot showers and there are laundry facilities available. A dump station is available for RV campers.
Park programs are offered from December through March. Park Rangers present programs on a variety of topics, such as the park’s plants, animals and history.
Visitors can experience this park’s remarkable wilderness on several trails. The Blackwater River originates in the park and meanders several miles through the mangroves to Blackwater Bay and the Ten Thousand Islands. The park has canoe rentals along with a boat ramp that provides access to the Blackwater River. Other trails offer opportunities for bicycling, hiking and nature observation.
Off-road biking is available within our Prairie Hammock Trail along the historic "Old Marco Road." This is a 3.5-mile course winding through marsh, hammock and pine flatwood and conveniently located on U.S. 41.
Helmets are highly recommended for all cyclists and Florida law requires helmets for cyclists under the age of 16.
You may experience a short detour on this trail during mid-season (Season is December - April).
Registration at the park ranger station is required for this trail and is open 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. during the winter, and 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. during the summer.
Collier-Seminole State Park is part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail and offers many opportunities for bird watching. Within our three different trail areas, as well as a 13.5-mile canoe/kayak trail, there are a number of different natural communities to explore. Over 150 different species of birds have been spotted in the park.
Add your sightings to the list.
The Friends of Collier-Seminole State Park offer GUIDED CANOE TRIPS during season (December - March). Step off the pavement and paddle into "the Real Florida.” Experience an easy enjoyable, and educational adventure on the Blackwater River.
Space is limited, so call 1-239-394-3397 for reservations.
Day Trips ($30 per person) and Moonlight Trips ($35 per person) for ages 12 years and up.
Watercraft up to 24 ft. can launch from the boat basin and access the Blackwater River, the Ten Thousand Islands or the Gulf of Mexico. Be aware that motorized watercraft entering Mud Bay will likely get stuck and are prohibited from that section of the river.
The campground is considered a tropical outpost on the edge of the Everglades. All sites have electricity, water, a grill and picnic table. There are 105 campsites that accommodate all campers, from tents to large motor homes. Sites one through nineteen are for tents and pop-ups only. Hammock camping is designated in campsites 2, 5, 34, 53 and 79. This park is frequented in the winter by motor-home campers seeking warmer climates. Pets are welcome in the campground. Consumption of alcohol is prohibited except in designated areas. The restrooms have hot showers and two have laundry facilities. A centralized dump station is available for RV campers.
Maximum RV length = 50 ft.
Reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance through ReserveAmerica. Book online or call 1-800-326-3521 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.) or TDD 1-888-433-0287 .
Hike/Camp: The primitive campsite for hikers is located approximately three miles from the parking area within the Strand Swamp Trail, one of two trails, located north of Highway 41. The site accommodates up to 6 people. The hiking trail is wet during the summer months and some sections are muddy all year.
Registration is required by calling the ranger station 239-394-3397.
Canoe/Camp: The primitive canoe campsite at Grocery Place on the Blackwater River accommodates up to 8 people. Accessible only by boat or canoe/kayak, the site is located approximately nine miles from the park boat basin.
Check at the ranger station for availability and reservations or call 239-394-3397.
Overnight canoe rentals are available through Collier Seminole Nature Tours 1-800-719-8160.
Pets are permitted at the primitive sites, but not recommended. Downed wood may be collected for fires at these primitive sites only. There are no facilities at either site. Campers must carry in all supplies and carry out all trash. Bring bug spray and plenty of water.
A group camping area is available for groups to rent not far from the main campground. It is within walking distance of restroom/shower facilities and has drinkable water. The cost per night is $5.00 per adult and $1.00 per child, plus tax. The maximum capacity is 20 people and priority is given to established youth groups.
For more information or to make a reservation call the ranger station at 239-394-3397.
Collier-Seminole State Park is a great place to canoe or kayak. The Blackwater River flows through a beautiful mangrove forest and into the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge. The river is tidal but very gentle and is a good place for less experienced paddlers. If more adventure is on the day's agenda, give the 13.5-mile canoe/kayak trail a go. Be sure the tide is high while navigating through Mud Bay. Call the park office for tides of the day at 239-394-3397. Bring your own equipment or rent a canoe from Collier-Seminole Nature Tours, our park concessionaire. Pole boat tours and canoe/kayak/paddle-board rentals and tours are also available.
Reservations and Information, call 1-800-719-8160.
The Friends of Collier-Seminole State Park also offer guided canoe trips through season December-March. Day Trips and Moonlight Trips are offered. Call the ranger station for more information at 239-394-3397.
The Blackwater River is a mix of salt and fresh water and provides plenty of fishing opportunities. All fishing within the park must conform to regulations concerning size, number, method of capture and season. A fishing license may be required. More information is available at the Florida Wildlife Commission’s Fishing in Florida.
The park has 10 geocaches, with 3 of those being multi-stage caches. Collier-Seminole State Park also has the oldest geocache in Florida, named the "Christmas Cache."
Trail registration for certain geocaches such as the "Christmas Cache" is required and is done at the ranger station 8:00 am until 4:00 pm. For more information call 239-394-3397.
Geocaching is an outdoor game using hand-held global positioning systems (GPS) devices. It's effectively an inexpensive, interactive, high-tech treasure hunt that's a great way to learn geography. Participants use location coordinates to find caches. Some caches are easy to find; others are more difficult. The biggest reward is the thrill of the search and the discovery of a place where you have never been. Geocaching should have minimal impact to the environment and conscientious land use ethics should be followed.
Operation Recreation GeoTour
Collier-Seminole State Park has four great nature trails within its boundaries. Please call the park office for current conditions, 239-394-3397.
Royal Palm Hammock Nature Trail/Boardwalk (0.9-mile)
Collier-Seminole State Park is unique for having a tropical hardwood hammock, known as “Royal Palm Hammock.” Here are plants more common to the Yucatan or Caribbean, with a thick canopy of royal palms, gumbo limbo, Jamaican dogwood, satin leaf and many varieties of ferns. The nature trail starts at the parking area of the boat basin, just around the corner from the stop sign entering the parking lot. About two-fifths of a mile, the trail will split and quickly bring you to the boardwalk, where the habitat changes to low wetlands that are inundated with water most of the year. Here you will see pond apple trees, thick patches of giant leather ferns or stands of white mangrove. The far end of the boardwalk has a 200-yard spur trail that ends at a scenic extended platform to the salt marsh. Often birds are seen feeding or nesting in the area. Animals such as bobcat and bear have been sighted but avoid people and remain elusive.
Strand Swamp Trail (5.25-mile) & Flatwoods Trail (3-mile)
One of the attractions of the Western Big Cypress Basin is to hike through a cypress strand swamp and wet pine flatwoods. Much of this trail is wet during the year except in the winter and early spring. The pine Flatwoods Trail has a pine overstory with an herbaceous understory. As you hike through this area you may see several native wildflowers in bloom. The cypress strand trail is dominated by cypress trees, but as you hike through this trail you will also cross through pine islands where native animals may take refuge during the wet summer and fall months. Sightings of wildlife like bear and panther are not uncommon, but they avoid humans whenever possible. This is Big Cypress habitat in its natural state! Give yourself about 3 or 4 hours to enjoy the entire trail. Also, make sure to bring plenty of drinking water and some bug spray with you. Please register at the ranger station to get a map and gain access to this trail.
Please register at the ranger station to get a map and gain access to this trail. Trail is open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. EST and 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. during EDT.
Prairie Hammock Trail/Off Road Bike & Hiking Trail (3.5-mile)
This trail is suitable for either biking or walking. The trail head is along highway 41, about 0.7 miles west of the main park entrance gate. Please come to the ranger station and register before going on this trail. About half of the trail is a historic road bed named “Old Marco Road.” This is easily traversed and dry year-round. Sections of the rest of the trail are wet through the summer and fall months. The wildlife most often seen are deer, gopher tortoise, wading birds, woodpeckers, and a variety of song birds. Though rare, it is possible to see endangered species like Florida panthers and red cockaded woodpeckers. Florida black bears are also common.
You can bring your own bike or rent one from the Park's concessionaire, Collier Seminole Nature Tours 1-800-719-8160. Trail is open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. EST and 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. during EDT.
The picnic area currently has two pavilions with picnic tables. Both of these have standing charcoal grills. Nearby are the park's boat basin, playground and restrooms. The pavilions are non-reservable.
Collier-Seminole State Park offers the opportunity for some of the most diverse wildlife viewing in the Florida State Park system. With four hiking trails and a 13.5-mile canoe trail, there are many different natural communities to travel through. Some species found in the park include Florida panther, bobcat, gopher tortoise, manatee and alligator. For a list of species found in the park stop in at the ranger station.
The boat basin at Collier-Seminole State Park has a ramp that allows access to the Blackwater River. The Blackwater River is a tidal river that flows to the Gulf of Mexico. It is recommended that watercraft no larger than 24 ft. launch from the site. Parts of the river may be shallow during low tide.
Canoe / Kayak Launch
Canoe and kayaks can be launched at the boat basin into the Blackwater River. Stop at the ranger station for information on tides or to get a map of the river.
Bay City Walking Dredge No. 489 was constructed in Bay City, Michigan and used to construct the Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41) in the late 1920s. Its revolutionary design allowed it to "walk" itself forward as it was dredging limestone to create the roadbed. The Bay City Walking Dredge was designated a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1993. An ASME landmark represents "a progressive step in the evolution of mechanical engineering." The Dredge was also listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013. The Dredge is on display inside the park with kiosks explaining its history and function.
Pets are allowed in most areas of the park. However, pets are not allowed in park buildings. We ask that pets be kept on a 6-foot leash and not be left unattended in a campsite for more than 30 minutes. We also ask that pets be well behaved and confined to a tent or R.V. during campground quiet hours.
There are two picnic pavilions available at the park's picnic area. Located nearby the picnic area is a playground and the park's boat basin. These pavilions have stand-up grills and picnic tables. These are non-reservable and available on first-come basis. Consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in the picnic area.