Green Swamp: Hampton Tract
Much of northern Polk County stretches across the Green Swamp, where the Florida aquifer is recharged as four important rivers begin their journeys to destinations throughout the state. The Hampton Tract of the Green Swamp comprises a portion of the wilderness protected by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. Cyclists, hikers and equestrians share 28 miles of trails traversing this 11,000-acre section of the 500,000 acre Green Swamp, and the western corridor of the Florida National Scenic Trail winds through adjacent tracts. Primitive campsites for foot and equestrian campers require only registration with the district. Campsites are equipped with nonpotable water, picnic tables, grills and fire rings.
Southwest Florida Water Management District
18490 Rock Ridge Rd.
Lakeland, FL 33809
(352) 796-7211 ext. 4470
Lake Kissimmee State Park
Lake Kissimmee State Park lies between the interconnected central Florida lakes of Kissimmee, Rosalie and Tiger at the eastern edge of Polk County. These lakes draw boaters and freshwater anglers throughout the year to reel in the bluegill, catfish and largemouth bass that dwell in these waters. Thirteen miles of hiking trails and six miles of equestrian trails allow exploration of the marshes, hardwood hammocks and upland pines covering the park. On weekends between fall and spring, a cow camp is established to provide visitors with a historical and cultural perspective of central Florida life in the late 19th century. A developed campground offers campsites with electricity and water, while campers looking for a more rustic experience will find two primitive campgrounds along the hiking trails.
Lake Kissimmee State Park
14248 Camp Mack Rd.
Lake Wales, FL 33853
Saddle Creek Park & Campground
Polk County campers need not venture far from the urban setting to find lakefront RV and tent campsites shaded by oak trees. Saddle Creek Park and Campground lies between Lakeland and Winter Haven in the interior area of Polk County. Anglers and boaters share the park's waters as hikers enjoy the trails and adjacent Tenoroc Fish Management Area. Marksmen can practice their aim with pistols, rifles and shotguns at the shooting range in the northern section of the park. Campsites with and without electricity and water are available. Park amenities include multiple boat ramps, playgrounds and a dump station.
Saddle Creek Park and Campground
3716 Morgan Combee Road
Lakeland, FL 33801
Article Written By David Chandler
David Chandler has been a freelance writer since 2006 whose work has appeared in various print and online publications. A former reconnaissance Marine, he is an active hiker, diver, kayaker, sailor and angler. He has traveled extensively and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of South Florida where he was educated in international studies and microbiology.