20 Amazing Things to do in Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

More the 5,000 acres of Native Central Florida Natural Habitat

8 a.m. until sundown, 365 days a year.​
$4 Per Vehicle
33104 NW 192nd Ave. Okeechobee FL 34972​​
863-462-5360

Welcome to Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

Home to an outstanding amount of endangered species, the 54,000-acre park sets the stage for Mother Earth’s continuous cycle, flood to fire to rebirth. The expansive nature of Kissimmee allows explorers to dive into the over 100 miles of trails. Stay into the evening and witness the sun set, as the skies uncover a vista of shimmering stars that are sure to leave a lasting impression on visitors.

Along the five-mile road leading to the preserve, visitors have a chance soak in rolling vistas of grasslands that can be compared to the Great Plains in the Midwest. The preserve offers up marvelous seasonal birding opportunities and is home to the endangered Florida Grasshopper Sparrow, as well as the Crested Caracara and Burrowing Owl. With more than 100 miles of dirt roads, hikers, bicyclists and equestrians alike can explore prairies, wetlands and shady hammocks. November through March, ranger-led prairie buggy tours allow voyagers to visit remote areas of the preserve. Kissimmee Prairie’s tucked-away location makes it one of Florida’s outstanding areas for stargazing. If you’re looking to spend the night, the Preserve offers two full-facility campground loops; family and an equestrian campground with paddocks.

Experiences

Bicycling

Hard shell roads acceptable for biking, along with 100 miles of trails and service roads for off- road bicycling, are shared with hikers, horseback riders and park vehicles. Check out Land Rentals for bicycles rentals and more. Helmets are encouraged for all ages and required for any cyclist age 16 and under by Florida law.

Birding

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park offers exceptional seasonal birding opportunities for the birders. Six federally threatened and endangered species, and another six species of special concern find a home in the park. Your birding trip to Kissimmee Prairie could include the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow, Burrowing Owl, Crested Caracara, Wood Stork and the seasonally sited White-Tail Kite with other opportunities. The Park features various habitats, including wetlands, dry prairie, and hardwood hammocks, to offer the bird-watching, tourist a full day of learning and relaxation.

The elusive White-Tailed Kites came back home to Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park!  There has been a pair of White-Tailed Kites often visiting a few oak snags just west of the Prairie Loop Trail, 60 meters north of the Primitive Campsite Hammock. No nest has been sighted in the oak snags as of yet but one of these snags historically has been home to a Swallow-Tailed Kite nest. The Swallow-Tailed Kites, who sometimes also call the preserve home, are uncharacteristically early this year and should be at the preserve in late spring or early summer. Come meet the staff in the office and get headed in the right direction of either of these majestic birds.

Camping

Surrounded by 54,000 acres of prairie, campers at the Kilpatrick Hammock Campground can have the best of both worlds and experience real Florida wilderness with access to modern conveniences. Rent Camping Gear at Camping Tent Rentals. Water and electricity are available at all 35 camp sites along with a large accessible restroom, including showers and laundry. The water-filling and dump station is easily-accessible for campers. The trails are close the campground and make it easy to explore the preserve. The park’s remote location makes Kissimmee Prairie a perfect location for star gazing. The park also offers the Bedtime Story Camper Lending Library, filled with picture books for campers aged four to nine. Well-behaved pets are welcome on the campground in agreeance with our Pet Policy.

  • Maximum recreational vehicle length is 65 feet.

  • Reservations to the park may be made up to 11 months in advance through ReserveAmerica. Book online or call (800) 326-3521 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.) or Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (888) 433-0287.

Camping Equestrian

Kilpatrick Hammock Campground offers Equestrian Camping with 50-amp electrical service and water on each campsite. See Land Rentals for Horse Rentals and more. One paddock is provided for each campsite and water is included in the southwestern-most paddocks, as well as the centrally located community water source near the camp entry. For the camper’s convenience, a composting toilet and bathhouse are accessible in this camp loop.  Pets are allowed in agreeance with our Pet Policy.

Camping Primitive

The Preserve offers three wilderness primitive campsites that are 2.5 miles from the office. Rent Camping Gear at Camping Tent Rentals, and check out other rentals for campgrounds on our Land Rentals page. Since these sites can only be reached by hiking or biking, we ask that you check in at the office two hours before sunset. Sites have a picnic table and a fire ring, but please keep in mind that whatever is carried in must be carried out, including water. The three sites, with a maximum of four people, are available to individuals and groups. Pets are allowed in agreeance with our Pet Policy. Call the Park office for reservations at (863) 462-5360.

Hiking

As you make your way through the grasslands of Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park you will find yourself in a place so serene, with a rare combination of plants and animals. You may come across white-tailed deer feeding on the tender grasses or send an Indigo Snake slithering off the trail to hide.  Study the skies and spot a Crested Caracara or Bald Eagle soaring overhead, listen carefully and you may hear endangered Florida Grasshopper Sparrows singing in their prairie home. Wildflowers adorn the countryside including Yellow Bachelors Buttons, Pipewort, Blazing Star, Meadow Beauty and the intricate Alligator Lily. Embrace the prairie by looking into it – not at it. Please be aware that trails are co-explored with horseback riders, bicyclists and park vehicles. Pets need to be on a 6-foot hand held leash and on their best behavior. Pets are allowed on the service roads. Pets are not permitted on the Hammock Trail (red markers).

Star Gazing

It can be challenging to find a location in Florida that is remote and unaffected by suburban light pollution than Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park. In 2016, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve was recognized as Florida’s first Dark Sky Park by the International Dark Sky Association.

All Florida State Parks close at sunset; however, we offer other ways to gain afterhours access to the preserve to enjoy the starry skies:

  1. Reserve a campsite in either our family campground or equestrian campground by checking out Camping Tent Rentals, or Land Rentals.  

  2.  Reserve an astronomy pad site online or by calling Reserve America. There are certain restrictions for the astronomy sites, after dark all lights must be red spectrum and no campfires are permitted here. After an astronomy viewing pad is reserved, you will need to arrive at the preserve prior to sunset and contact the ranger on duty to receive additional important information  

  3. If you are a Florida State Parks Family Annual Pass holder and have interest in gaining access to the preserve after sunset, please come to the office during our office hours and sign up for an after-hours permit, which grants you access to the preserve’s common day use areas after hours. 

Star gazers have the chance to see stars, planets, and other celestial bodies in numerous and unforgettable brilliance.  Jupiter and Saturn are both visible in the night sky and you may be even witness the International Space Station making its orbit around Earth. Rocket launches from the space centers on the east coast could also be spotted. Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park offers a special viewing of the night sky in the region and now has the credentials to prove it!

  • The entrance closes daily 15 minutes after sunset, only registered campers or after hours pass holders are allowed entry after dark.

Tours

Explore new things a ranger-led prairie buggy tour and see the remote areas of the park. From an elevated seat, one will see amazing scenery and endless wildlife. The ride can last 2 to 3 hours. Bring sunscreen, a hat, drinks and a snack or two. Tours are available from the first weekend in November to the last weekend in March and only on weekends and state recognized holidays. Reservations are strongly encouraged and can be made up to 60 days in advance by calling the park office at (863) 462-5360. $17 (plus tax) for adults, $9 (plus tax) for children 17 and under. Please be aware that tours are contingent on weather and the availability of the prairie buggy.

Wildlife Viewing

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park offers exceptional seasonal birding opportunities for the nature-loving tourist. The Park offers a safe home to six federally threatened and endangered species, and a further six species of special concern. The peak of a birding trip to Kissimmee Prairie may include the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow, Burrowing Owl, Crested Caracara, Wood Stork and the recently sited White-Tail Kite with many other possibilities. The Park also has enough varied habitats, including wetlands, dry prairie, and hardwood hammocks, to offer the bird watching, nature tourist a full day of exploration.

Amenities

Horse Equestrian Trail

Riding the trails at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park on horseback is an exceptional way to see the authentic Florida. With over 100 miles of two-trail roads, horseback riders are sure to see an abundance of wildlife. The trails take you through the dry prairie, damp wetlands and cool, shaded hammock. Find Horse Rentals on our Land Rentals page. Bring your own horses and enjoy a day’s ride or spend a night in our equestrian campground. Please be aware that trails are co-explored with hikers, bicyclists and park vehicles. Pets must be on a 6-foot hand held leash and well behaved at all times. Pets are allowed on the service roads. Pets are not allowed on the Hammock Trail (red markers).

Pets

Pets are allowed in the preserve and need to be kept on a six-foot, hand held leash to ensure good behavior. Pets may not be left unattended at any time and are permitted on the multi-use trail system (which consists of park service roads). Pets are not allowed on the Hammock Trail (red markers). Pets are not permitted in the wilderness primitive campsites.

Picnicking

A minimal number of picnic tables are available close to the park entrance and next to the park office.

Restroom Facilities

All restroom facilities are ADA accessible. Clivus Multrums (large Port-o-lets), can be found at the entrance of the park and at the Equestrian Campground. Additional restrooms can be found in the office. A full facility ADA accessible bathhouse can be found at the family campground.

Restroom Facilities

Restrooms can be found at the park office and are ADA compliant. The park office and campgrounds can be found 5 miles into the preserve from the front gate. A full facility ADA accessible bathhouse is at the family campground. The closest bathroom to the equestrian (horse) campground is at the park office.

 
If you are looking for Things to do in Orlando besides tourist attractions and theme parks, come check out Orlando’s natural lakes, and preserves for a truly memorable day.

 

 

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