Mound Key Archeological State Park
Framed in forests of mangrove trees, the shell mounds and ridges of Mound Key rise more than 30 feet above the waters of Estero Bay. Prehistoric Native Americans are credited with creating this island’s complex of mounds with an accumulation of seashells, fish bones, and pottery. Mound Key is believed to have been the ceremonial center of the Calusa Indians when the Spaniards first attempted to colonize Southwest Florida. In 1566, the Spanish governor of Florida established a settlement on the island with a fort and the first Jesuit mission in the Spanish New World. The settlement was abandoned three years later after violent clashes with the Indians. The only access to the island is by boat; there are no facilities. Interpretive displays can be found along a trail that spans the width of the island. Located in Estero Bay, several miles by boat from Koreshan State Historic Site or Lovers Key State Park. For Information about Mound Key Archeological State Park, please call 239-992-0311.
Myakka River State Park
One of the oldest and largest state parks, Myakka protects one of the state´s most diverse natural areas. The Myakka River, designated as a Florida Wild and Scenic River, flows through 58 square miles of wetlands, prairies, hammocks, and pinelands. Visitors can enjoy wildlife viewing from a boardwalk that stretches out over the Upper Myakka Lake, then take to the treetops with a stroll along the canopy walkway. The park´s river and two lakes provide ample opportunities for boating, freshwater fishing, canoeing, and kayaking; a boat ramp provides access to Upper Myakka Lake. Hikers can explore trails that cross large expanses of rare Florida dry prairie. Scenic lake tours are offered daily on the world´s two largest airboats. Safari tram tours of the park´s backcountry are offered from mid-December through May. Full-facility campgrounds and primitive campsites are available. Five palm log cabins, built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, have been modernized for comfortable lodging. Located nine miles east of Sarasota on State Road 72. For Information about Myakka River State Park, please call 941-361-6511.
Oscar Scherer State Park
A large acreage of scrubby flatwoods makes this park one of the best places to see Florida scrub-jays, a threatened species found only in Florida. The park protects scrubby and pine flatwoods that were once widespread throughout Sarasota County. Fifteen miles of trails through these beautiful natural areas provide opportunities for hiking, bicycling, and wildlife viewing. Canoeists and kayakers can paddle along South Creek, a blackwater stream that flows to the Gulf of Mexico. Canoe and kayak rentals are available, but motorized boats are not permitted in the park boundaries. Freshwater and saltwater fishing are available along the creek. Anglers can fish along the shores of Lake Osprey, which is also the park´s swimming destination. Picnic areas along South Creek are equipped with grills; pavilions can be reserved for a fee. The park has full-facility campsites and a youth/group campground. The park nature center has exhibits and videos about the park´s natural communities. Located on U.S. 41, two miles south of Osprey. For Information about Oscar Scherer State Park, please call 941-483-5956.
Paynes Creek Historic State Park
During the 1840s, tensions between the settlers and Seminole Indians prompted authorities to establish a trading post in Florida´s interior, away from settlements. Built in early 1849, the post was attacked and destroyed by renegade Indians that summer. In late 1849 Fort Chokonikla was built nearby as the first outpost in a chain of forts established to control the Seminoles. The Seminoles never attacked the fort, but the Army was nearly defeated by mosquitoes. Today, nature enthusiasts and hikers can enjoy walking along trails through the park´s natural areas. Paynes Creek and the adjoining Peace River provide opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. A museum at the visitor center depicts the lives of Florida´s Seminole Indians and pioneers during the 19th century. The visitor center is open 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily. Located one-half mile southeast of Bowling Green on Lake Branch Road. For Information about Paynes Creek Historic State Park, please call 863-375-4717.
Skyway Fishing Pier State Park
When the new Sunshine Skyway bridge was built over Tampa Bay, connecting St. Petersburg with Sarasota, the old bridge was turned into the world’s longest fishing pier. Anglers love being able to park their cars or campers within a few feet of their favorite fishing spot. The bridge is lighted at night, so anglers can see to rig a line, bait the hook, and get a good look at their catch. The light also attracts many species of fish after sundown. Common catches include snook, tarpon, grouper, black sea bass, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, cobia, sheepshead, red snapper, pompano, and many more. Snacks, drinks, bait, and fishing supplies are available. The pier is open 24 hours a day year-round. Located north and south of the Skyway Bridge on I-275 (U.S. 19). For Information about Skyway Fishing Pier State Park, please call 727-865-0668.
Stump Pass Beach State Park
At the southwest corner of Sarasota County there is a mile of beach where seashells and shark teeth wash up, and anglers fish the surf for prize catches. Visitors can enjoy an excellent view of the Gulf of Mexico, as well as a stretch of undeveloped Florida coastline. Visitors come to this secluded beach to enjoy the year-round swimming and sunbathing; shelling is best during the winter months. A hiking trail passes through five distinct natural communities that provide homes for many species of wildlife; covered picnic tables are located along the trail. While at the park, visitors might see West Indian manatees, gopher tortoises, snowy egrets, least terns, and magnificent frigatebirds. Ranger-led turtle walks and beach nature walks are available in the summer. Located at the south end of Manasota Key off I-75, exit 191. For Information about Stump Pass Beach State Park, please call 941-964-0375.
Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park
This park protects four miles of pristine coastline along the Gulf of Mexico in western Pasco County. The salt spring looks small, but it is an amazing 320 feet deep. Gray fox, gopher tortoises, alligators, and West Indian manatees call this park and its waters home. Birdwatchers can enjoy sighting raptors, wading birds, shore birds, and migratory songbirds. A recent addition to the state park system, Werner-Boyce now has a picnic pavilion, tables, informational kiosk, and a short hiking trail. Plans for the future include providing more access and recreational opportunities for visitors. Located off Scenic Drive in Port Richey. Turn west off U.S. 19 at Regency Park Boulevard, go one mile to the intersection of Scenic Drive and Cinema Drive. For Information about Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park, please call 727 – 816-1890.
Ybor City Museum State Park
Don Vicente Martinez Ybor came to the frontier near Tampa and built a city that became the “Cigar Capital of the World.” From the opening of the first cigar factory in 1886 until the 1930s, Ybor City flourished. This urban park is dedicated to the preservation of Ybor City’s unique cultural heritage. The museum, housed in the historic Ferlita Bakery, traces the rich cultural history of Ybor City and the cigar making industry. The museum has self-guided exhibits, with written and audio information, and a video presentation. La Casita, a restored cigar worker’s house, is open for viewing 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Guided tours are available Monday through Saturday. The ornamental garden can be rented for events after regular park hours. Located at the corner of 9th Avenue and 19th Street in Tampa. For Information about Ybor City Museum State Park, please call 813-247-6323.
Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek
Welcome to the park The preserve’s scrub, sandhill, and flatwoods communities are home to numerous rare plants such as scrub morning glory, scrub plum, pygmy fringe tree, and cutthroat grass. They are also home to several protected animal species including Florida scrub-jays, bald eagles, gopher tortoises, and Florida scrub lizards. Visitors can enjoy hiking, wildlife viewing, and horseback riding. When you visit the preserve make sure you are prepared for the rugged conditions typical of the scrub habitat. Bring plenty of water and be prepared for the challenging trails at the park. Enjoy your visit and bring back memories of one of the rarer habitats in Florida.
NOTE: There is no mail delivery to this park. All mail delivery is through Lake Kissimmee State Park, Lake Wales, FL. For Information about Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek, please call (863) 696-1112.
Anastasia State Park
Anastasia State Park welcomes hundreds of thousands visitors from all over the world to enjoy our natural and cultural treasures. At Anastasia you can enjoy camping, nature trails, beach time, water sports, and an archaeological site where coquina rock was mined to create the nearby fortress, Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. Anastasia State Park, located just south of historic St. Augustine on Anastasia Island, has 4 miles of pristine beach, a tidal salt marsh, and maritime and upland hammock.
Camping, beachcombing, swimming, fishing, picnicking, windsurfing, hiking, wildlife-viewing, canoeing and kayaking are popular activities. Nature trails meander through the ancient dunes shaded by hammock forest. The full-facility campground is located in a wooded area within easy bicycling or walking distance of the beach.
Island Joe’s camp store, rental shop, and grill sells beach sundries, camping and fishing supplies, rents bicycles, beach chairs, ocean toys and umbrellas. Their grill has a great selection of tasty food to choose from. Call 904-461-9322 for more information. Anastasia Watersports rents, canoes, sailboards, paddleboats, and kayaks. Lessons on various water sports are available. Call 904-460-9111 for more information.
Neighboring Park: Fort Mose Historic State Park–Many visitors to Anastasia do not realize that just a short drive north is Fort Mose Historic State Park. (Anastasia administers Fort Mose, pronounced “Mo-say”.) Fort Mose was the first free black community in the United States. Fort Mose represents an amazing story of human endurance and the drive for freedom. This park is currently closed as we construct a visitor center. For more information go to: Fort Mose
Contact the Florida Park Service Information Center for general inquiries. For information about Anastasia State Park, please call 904-461-2033.