This fall, instead of being a couch potato and bored out of your mind, try something different! Check out one of Naples’ most beautiful parks, Collier-Seminole State Park. As interesting as Discovery Channel or Animal Planet might be, experience the natural beauty and wildlife of the Everglades, as well as a forest of tropical trees. This 7,271-acre park overlaps the great mangrove swamp of southern Florida, one of the biggest in the world. The National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark is also an integral part of the Collier-Seminole State Park, as it is the only Bay City Walking Dredge still in existence. It was built in 1924 and was later used in the construction of the Tamiami Trail, which runs through the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp. The park offers myriad activities including hiking, biking and canoeing. To help you plan your trip, naplesillustrated.com has compiled a list of 10 great things to do at Collier-Seminole State Park.
Hike the Nature Trail. With an endless variety of vegetation and wildlife, visitors can enjoy a 6.5-mile hike that offers everything from pine flatwoods to cypress swamp.
Learn. Tamiami Trail was a monumental accomplishment in the history of Florida, and is still a vital part of our community today. Come and learn how Barron Gift Collier made it all come about in 1928 when the odds were against him.
View some wildlife. While we love the Naples Zoo, we also enjoy seeing animals in their natural habitat. Alligators, raccoons, osprey, white ibis and many other wading birds can often be spotted from the nature, bike and canoe trails.
Youth Camping. If your son’s Scout troop is looking for their next great camping adventure, they may find it at Collier-Seminole. The campground accommodates 20 people and is located underneath beautiful royal palms and gumbo-limbo trees.
Canoeing and kayaking. Ride down the Black Water River through Southwest Florida’s mangrove estuaries. The canoe trail is 13.6 miles long and winds alongside Florida’s natural beauty.
Visit Memorial Field 1948. There are only three places in Florida where royal palms grow in a natural habitat, and this is one of them. Walk to the center of the park and you will find a memorial honoring Barron Gift Collier and his accomplishments.
Campfire Circles. While most of us are used to telling ghost stories around the campfire, at Collier Seminole State Park, stories focus on education. Campers and visitors can view a slide show about local and park interests covering everything from the black bear to Native American history and mangrove forests. The program lasts about 45 minutes and has a question and answer session at the end.
Play with the kids. Collier-Seminole is a great place for kids, with a playground complete with a slide, swings and climbing equipment in their camping and picnic areas.
Picnic. After all the hiking, biking and paddling, you are bound to get hungry. The picnic area offers grills, tables and pavilions operating on a first-come, first-served basis.
Biking. If you’re tired of simply wheeling through the neighborhood, go on a search for panther or bear tracks along Collier-Seminole’s dirt bike path.
Collier-Seminole State Park
20200 Tamiami Trail East, Naples, FL 34114
Hours: 8 a.m. – sundown daily