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.
Resources for exploring the area
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Address: 20200 Tamiami Trail E, Naples
Fees: $4-5 per vehicle
Land Manager: Florida State Parks
Open 8 AM until sunset daily. Leashed pets welcome.
Bring insect repellent. Mosquitoes are fierce here all times of year.
From Interstate 75, take exit 101, Naples / Marco Island. Drive south on CR 951 for 7.1 miles to US 41. Turn left to continue east 8.5 miles to the park entrance on the right, just beyond the turnoff to Marco Island at Royal Palm Hammock. From the east, the Collier-Seminole State Park entrance is 15.5 miles west of the FL 29 / US 41 junction north of Everglades City.
About the Park
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.
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
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.
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
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.
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park
It’s the Amazon of North America, home of the ghost orchid. Protecting more than 85,000 acres, Fakahatchee Strand is Florida’s largest state preserve and most certainly our wildest.
Ten Thousand Islands
Where the waters of Big Cypress and the Everglades meet the Gulf Coast, the Ten Thousand Islands are a maze of mangrove forest: the second largest mangrove forest in the world, bested only by Bangladesh
Big Cypress National Preserve
Protecting nearly three quarters of the million-acre Big Cypress Swamp, Big Cypress National Preserve is Florida’s largest and most remote wilderness.
Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge
The longer of two loops at Florida Panther NWR guarantees a wet walk through panther habitat of wet pine flatwoods and cypress domes