It was meant to be a national park, the largest natural hammock of royal palms in the United States, set aside by developer Barron Collier during his push to create the Tamiami Trail across the Everglades. The Federal government wasn’t interested, so the state of Florida stepped in and created Collier-Seminole State Park, which opened in 1947.
Fees: $4-5 per vehicle
Open: 8 AM until sunset daily
Leashed pets welcome
When Barron Collier died in March 1939, he was Florida’s largest landowner, thanks to his grand scheme of draining Southwest Florida for development in return for vast tracts of land. This was one of the pieces he’d set aside for conservation.
In addition to viewing the Bay City Walking Dredge, one of the original dredges used by Collier’s workers to build the Tamiami Trail, and a monument to Collier, the park offers several wilderness adventures.
Launch your canoe or kayak for a paddling trip, or put in your boat for a ride down the mangrove-lined Blackwater River. Camp out in a pleasant tropical campground, ride your mountain bike on a 3.5-mile loop, walk the nature trail and look carefully in the trees for colorful tropical liguus tree snails, or go for a hard-core 6.5 mile swamp-slogging backcountry trek through the wilds of the Big Cypress Swamp, with a dry spot for camping.
The symphony of mosquitoes at this particular state park is one of the loudest, especially at dawn and dusk.
Explore the park
- Adding to the Life List - Although John is a native Floridian, our research trip to South Florida became an opportunity for him to see many natural "firsts" in Florida that most people have on their life lists.
- Collier-Seminole Hiking Trail - A wet and wild 6-mile loop into the watery wilderness of the Big Cypress Swamp, the Collier-Seminole Hiking Trail provides a challenging wade into beauty
- Royal Palm Hammock Trail - At Collier-Seminole State Park, the short and intriguing Royal Palm Hammock Trail is a wild but gentle introduction to the habitats protected by this park. Although the boardwalks are slippery, you can explore the coastal prairie and mangrove marsh without getting your feet wet.
- Thinking small at Collier-Seminole - One of Florida's most beautiful nature trails, Collier-Seminole State Park's Royal Palm Hammock Trail can be a challenge, but worth it for both vistas and details