Protecting woodlands and marshes around Lake Holathlikaha, Fort Cooper State Park preserves an important chapter of the Second Seminole War.
Fees: $3 per vehicle, $2 for bicyclists/pedestrians, $5 primitive camping
Open: 8 AM until sunset daily
Leashed pets welcome
Fort Cooper State Park is south of downtown Inverness. From the intersection with SR 44 at Cooter Pond, downtown, take US 41 south to Old Floral City Road. Turn left at the light. You’ll cross the Withlacoochee State Trail, and turn right. Follow the signs 1.6 miles to the park entrance. After paying your Florida State Parks entrance fee, follow the winding road back into the woods.
In 1836, during the Second Seminole War, a bedraggled battalion of sick and injured soldiers walking to Tampa stopped to regroup after a month-long battle at the Cove of the Withlacoochee. The Seminoles followed and continued to attack.
A hastily-build log fort along the shore of Lake Holathlikaha protected the 380 men as they recuperated. Named for Major Mark Anthony Cooper, who was charged with protecting the soldiers, the fort was abandoned when the soldiers were able to continue their journey.
A reenactment each March showcases pioneer and Seminole life near a fragment of reconstructed fort along the original Fort King Trail, a military trail between Ocala and Tampa.
Camping is limited to youth groups and primitive campers coming off the Withlacoochee State Trail, which has an extension into the park. Check with the office for details (352-726-0315).
Explore the park
- Fort Cooper Hiking Trails - Follow in the footsteps of soldiers in the Second Seminole War through the forests along Lake Holathlikaha at Fort Cooper State Park in Inverness