Thursday, June 27, 2013

Camping at Collier-Seminol State Park

Sunset at Collier-Seminole Park - Naples, FL
Sunset over the Salt Marsh
During this past winter, I took Nadia and her friend camping on our own to Collier-Seminole State Park.

Collier-Seminole State Park is located in the Everglades on the west coast of Florida. It is 7,271 acres and is home to the Bay City Walking Dredge, which was built in 1924.  The dredge was used to build the Tamiami Trail Highway through the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp, which links Tampa and Miami thus opening southwest Florida to travelers.

Bay City Walking Dredge at Collier-Seminole State Park, Naples, FL
Bay City Walking Dredge
This park also offers, Ranger led walks, bicycling and canoeing.  You can read more by visiting the Collier-Seminole State Park website.

Camping at Collier-Seminole State Park - Naples, FL

We arrived around 3 p.m. and started to set up camp.  I had to purchase a new camping tent for us so we could fit an extra person.  Nadia and I also wanted to be able to stand up straight in our tent instead of being bent over.  

It took a whole day researching different tents.  I kind of wanted one with a little screened porch, but I ended up purchasing this tent on Amazon.com. Coleman Red Canyon 17-Foot by 10-Foot 8-Person Modified Dome Tent.  This was a big tent and I was concerned if we would be able to set it up, but we did.  We were able to set this up with one adult and two 10-year olds.



This tent was huge on the inside.  I loved it and the girls loved it.  It comes with room dividers so you could have 3 rooms!  I got to have my room and privacy at one end of the tent and girls took the room at the other end of the tent.  We called the middle part our living room.




The tent held up for the weekend, the only bad part was that it was not easy to fold up to put back in the bag that it came in.  I will have to buy a bigger bag to store it in.

Camping at Collier-Seminole State Park - Naples, FL
Screened Tent to Block out the Bugs
I also purchased a screened tent to block out the bugs.  We were camping in the Everglades, so plenty of mosquitoes.  While we were eating lunch, those yellow bees came flying around scarying us all, so we ran inside the screened tent and ate in piece.  So I was very impressed with this tent at well.   The Coleman 10 x 10 Instant Screened Shelter.  It was very simple to set up.  I was able to set it up with just  one 10 yr. old child and myself.  I set it up over the picnic bench and it fit.

Royal Hammock Nature Trail at Collier-Seminole State Park - Naples, FL
Royal Palm Hammock Nature Trail

After we were done eating breakfast, we headed over to the Royal Palm Hammock Nature Trail for a Ranger let hike.  This is only a  0.9 mile walk.  I believe it took about an hour and a half.  
Royal Hammock Nature Trail at Collier-Seminole State Park - Naples, FL

We learned about the different types of trees and plants and eco-systems, including the three mangrove trees found all along the boardwalk and area: The Red, Black and White Mangroves.  You can read more about the different types of Mangrove Trees here.

Royal Hammock Nature Trail at Collier-Seminole State Park - Naples, FL

The girls were really enjoying themselves and were really interested in what the Ranger had to say.  I was proud of them.

Royal Hammock Nature Trail at Collier-Seminole State Park - Naples, FL
Black Vulture Spreading his Wings
There were many sites to see and the habitat changed all along the path.

Royal Hammock Nature Trail at Collier-Seminole State Park - Naples, FL

The Ranger informed us that a Black Bear, Panther or Wild Hog made this trail off the boardwalk!

Royal Hammock Nature Trail at Collier-Seminole State Park - Naples, FL

This was all you could see for miles and miles...

Royal Hammock Nature Trail at Collier-Seminole State Park - Naples, FL

When the hike was over, we then went on to visit the exhibits in the park.

 Collier-Seminole State Park - Naples, FL

Collier-Seminole State Park - Naples, FL

Dug out Canoe lat Collier-Seminole State Park - Naples, FL

After learning about the Seminole Indians, we went on to rent a canoe.  You rent from the Ranger station and then you have to go to the boat basin and put the canoe in yourself.  We were able to do this.  Nadia's friend sat in the middle because this was her first time canoeing.

canoes at Collier-Seminole State Park - Naples, FL

canoes at Collier-Seminole State Park - Naples, FL

We had fun, but we were the only ones out there on the Blackwater River.  I was kind of afraid of seeing an alligator, but luckily we did not.  We decided to head back after 30 minutes.  The park offers a group canoeing trip in the morning, you would have to check with the Ranger Station.  We all agreed that we would like to do that the next time we visited.

canoes at Collier-Seminole State Park - Naples, FL

When we arrived back to shore, a Blue Heron and a Black Vulture were waiting to greet us.  We were able to get the canoe back in it's place.

After we returned our supplies back to the Ranger Station, we headed back to camp, ate lunch and hung out for a little and then headed over to the playground.  There were also picnic tables and grills in this area.

Playground at Collier-Seminole State Park - Naples, FL

Playground at Collier-Seminole State Park - Naples, FL

We then headed over to the Salt Marsh:

Salt Marsh at Collier-Seminole State Park - Naples, FL
Looking out at the Salt Marsh

It was now time to head back to camp and work on dinner.   At 7:00 p.m. there was going to be an ice cream social and a Ranger talk on the Florida Black Bear.  We were looking forward to this.  This is a great park to be able to see wildlife.  I have heard that you could see deer, bear, panthers and even a manatee.  We were not so lucky on this visit, but we still enjoyed our time here.
Boat Basin at Collier-Seminole State Park - Naples, FL
Boat Basin
We still had some time after dinner before the ice cream social, so we headed back down to the Boat Basin and park.

Collier-Seminole State Park - Naples, FL

We took pictures of the beautiful sunset over the Salt Marsh:

Sunset at Collier-Seminole State Park - Naples, FL

Sunset at Collier-Seminole State Park - Naples, FL

The ice cream social was nice and we enjoyed the Florida Black Bear presentation, but when we got back to camp it went downhill.  There were noisy campers who were so rude and kept everybody up way past quiet time.  I guess they never learned a whisper voice. - NOT NICE!! Even the girls were complaining.  The Rangers did not do much to help out either.

Even though the last night ended on a bad note, we still enjoyed this park and would very much like to visit again.  It was very nice campground and in a great area to visit other parts of the Everglades like Shark Valley.


-->