Get away from it all and find peace and quiet at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park in Okeechobee. The park offers 54,000 acres of dry prairie, the largest stretch remaining in Florida. Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park protects endangered plant and animal species and offers a numerous recreational opportunities. Come for the day, or stay overnight. A visit during the pleasant winter season is recommended, before the summer rains. You can explore on your own, or take a buggy tour led by a ranger.
The Prairie Past and Present
Historical homestead sites left by pioneers who benefited cattle left by the Spaniards can still be seen in the park. The prairie land was subsequently used for training missions during WWII, and some say that unexploded ordinances can still be found in the preserve. Restoration efforts by the Florida Park Service are designed to return the land to its original dry prairie ecosystem.
Activities at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park
- Bicycle Trails: The preserve offers over a hundred miles of roads for bicycling, including hard shell roads, trails and service roads suitable for off-road bicycling. Helmets are recommended, and they are mandatory for children 16 and younger. Kissimmee Park offers bicycles for rent at the Preserve Office.
- Bird Watching: Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is home to six bird species listed as threatened and endangered. Habitats include hardwood hammocks and wetlands in addition to dry prairie, and species that make their home here include the burrowing owl, the wood stork, the Florida grasshopper sparrow, the crested caracara and the white-tail kite.
- Nature Trail: The hiking nature trail is shared by bikers, bicyclers, horseback riders and vehicles. Expect to see a unique collection of plants and animals, including white-tailed deer, indigo snakes, wildflowers and birds including the bald eagle. Pets are required to be held on a leash.
- Equestrian Trail: Horseback riding is the perfect way to experience the delights of the preserve. Bring your own horse for the day or stay over at the equestrian campground. Trails wind through moist wetlands, shady hammocks and dry prairie.
- Camping Out: There are 35 campsites, all with water and electricity and easy access to restrooms, showers and laundry facilities. The remote location of the park makes it an excellent place for stargazing. You may see the planets of Jupiter and Saturn, along with the International Space Station and the Space Shuttle. For youngsters, there is a bedtime story library with picture books in the office. Family pets are allowed.
- Equestrian Camping: Equestrian campsites feature a paddock, water and 50 amp electrical service. The bathhouse is available in the family camp loop.
- Primitive Camping: There are three primitive wilderness campsites 2.5 miles from the preserve office and are reached by biking or hiking. Up to four people can camp at each site. Campsites feature a fire ring and a picnic table.
Kissimmee Prairie State Park
33104 NW 192nd Ave.
Okeechobee, FL 34972
Below is a short video overview of the park.