State Parks in Polk County, Florida

State Parks in Polk County, Florida
Polk County, Florida was home to many of Florida's original cowboys and cattle ranches. Today, several of these spaces have been purchased by the Florida government and turned into state parks. Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek, Lake Kissimmee and Colt Creek are examples of the beautiful state parks founded throughout Polk County. Guests can enjoy fishing, wildlife viewing and miles of nature trails.

Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park

The Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park is located along the Lake Wales Ridge, near Lake Wales, Florida. This Polk County State Park features 8,000 acres of land and 65 acres of submerged land, according to the Florida State Parks website. Throughout the landscape, visitors to the park will find scrub land, sandhill land and flatwoods and should be prepared for rugged terrain. Catfish Creek is home to a variety of wildlife, including scrub-jays, bald eagles, gopher tortoises and Florida scrub lizards.

In addition to viewing protected wildlife, visitors to Catfish Creek can fish and hike throughout the area. About a mile hike from the parking lot, the park features various ponds, which are approved for fishing.

Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve State Park
14248 Camp Mack Road
Lake Wales, FL 33898
863-696-1112
floridastateparks.org/catfishcreek/default.cfm

Lake Kissimmee State Park

The Lake Kissimmee State Park is near Lake Wales in Polk County. This state park is located on the shores of Lake Kissimmee, Lake Tiger and Lake Rosalie, and features boating, canoeing and fishing opportunities. According to the Lake Kissimmee section of the Florida State Parks website, the park is fashioned to resemble an 1876 cow camp, with demonstrations by local cowboys. Other park attractions include 13 miles of nature trails available for public use. Along the 13 miles of nature trails, campers will find two backcountry campsites.

Boats can be launched from the park and guests are invited to explore the 35,000 acres of Lake Kissimmee, Lake Tiger, Lake Rosalie and connecting creeks.

Lake Kissimmee State Park
14248 Camp Mack Road
Lake Wales, FL 33853
863-696-1112
floridastateparks.org/lakekissimmee/default.cfm

Colt Creek State Park

The Colt Creek State Park, located in Lakeland, Florida, features 5,036 acres within the Great Swamp Wilderness area, according to the Florida State Parks website. The park land was originally used as a cattle ranch by a private family, before being purchased by the state of Florida in 2006. Since January 2007, the park has been open to the public, providing a variety of nature activities to its guests. Colt Creek's landscape includes pine flatwoods, cypress domes and open pastures.

Visitors to the park are invited to fish along the banks of the park's three freshwater lakes. Common fish species include largemouth bass, bluegill, bream, shell cracker and catfish, according to the Colt Creek website. Fishermen must return any largemouth bass unharmed but may keep up to six catfish and 12 pan fish per day. Visitors can fish from kayaks, canoes or small jon boats equipped with electric trolling motors.

In addition to fishing, guests can hike on any of the 12 miles of marked trails that wind throughout the park. Trail maps are available as you enter the park.

Colt Creek State Park
16000 State Road 471
Lakeland, FL 33809
863-815-6761
floridastateparks.org/coltcreek/default.cfm

Article Written By Erin Maurer

A freelance writer for various online publications, Erin Maurer covers travel destinations, gardening and home decorating projects. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication studies from Widener University in Chester, Pa.

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