Florida’s First Dark Sky Park Is Great For Camping
The state of Florida is not only popular for its sunny weather. People stop by there because of the Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park too. It’s one of the nature preserves in the United States that is an International Dark Sky Park. The combined efforts of the people and the government kept certain zones dark. Also, folks maintain the vegetation and wildlife protection too. Thus it’s a great spot for camping.
It is ideal for camping out because it’s where there are many things to see and experience. Yet this doesn’t mean that it’s okay to take an unplanned trip there. Before visiting, it may be wise to make some preparations to see that everything will turn out fine in the end.
How To Reach The Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park
To get to the Florida dark sky park mentioned, you ought to check some things first. Find out where it is on the map and see some directions on how you could get there. Download the brochure provided by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection too. With these things, at least you would have guides to help you get in and around the park.
It is at 33104 NW 192nd Ave, Okeechobee, FL 34972. You will see an entrance sign once you’re there.
Entering The Park
People visit the spot in their RVs or other types of vehicles. Some are even on their horses and bicycles. Yet, before going there, you might have to make a reservation first. That would be through the park’s website or by making a phone call.
In doing that, you’ll have to state which part of the park you’re going to dwell in. So you need to decide what type of camping you’re going to do before you even get there. You may also need to ready money to pay for fees to cover relevant expenses. Visitors there often pay for admission, camping, and reservation.
Things To Prepare Before Setting Up Camp
Familiarize yourself with the layout of the Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park. Select which parts to visit and stay in. This means having ideas on what activities you’re going to do there too. Yet you may also want to memorize how to get to the Visitor Center and Park Office too. After all, it is to get help when you need aid at some point during your stay in the park.
Travelers who visit have four choices in their dwelling.
Family campground. This comes with water, restroom, laundry, power, and hot showers. So modern conveniences are available here. It’s perfect for families and friends who want to tent the modern way.
Equestrian campground. The area includes water, electricity, hot showers, and paddocks. It’s for travelers who wish to explore the wilds doing horseback riding. But folks need to call ahead to see if the paddocks are available.
Primitive camping area. This is only reachable by foot and makes sleeping out rough yet enjoyable. This section provides experience camping out in an uninhabited or remote region. This means you won’t find the usual means of comfort in urbanized areas here.
Astronomy campground or pad. This is where folks can enjoy the dark, night sky. People who stay here could do some stargazing. To stay here, you must make a reservation and also arrive before sunset.
Activities To Enjoy While Camping
There are so many things to do in Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park while camping. This is because the preserve that is thousands of acres wide has many scenic spots. It is also filled with all sorts of plants and animals. Some of them are even endangered and kept in this location to be free.
Here are some of the recreations that visitors do during their stay in the nature preserve.
Hiking, Bicycling, and Horseback Riding
Plenty of hikers visits the reserve for an adventure. It has dry prairie, different wetlands, and hammock trails that are worth visiting. At the moment, there are no bicycles here for rent to move around. Riding on a horse also entails that you stay in the equestrian campground. Yet there are so many trails that cyclists, horseback riders, and hikers share.
Picnic and Wildlife Viewing
There are areas around the Kissimmee prairie preserve where folks could eat outdoors. Tables, grills, and nearby restrooms are available for guests. So bring plenty of food and water not only for nourishment but to enjoy.
But if it’s sightseeing that you want, then there are various creatures and greens to see too. The reserve has an assortment of birds, insects, deer, alligators, otters, and raccoons. There are also unique, large, and small plants and trees that thrive. It’s easy to take their picture or video since there are lots of them around.
At night, in the “red-light district” or astronomy pad, you can gaze at the stars. The skies are very dark and the preserve only allows the use of red light. Stargazers here can see celestial bodies with ease, using the right equipment.
It would be best to travel here with a quality telescope and a good camera. That is to have a great view of the heavenly bodies and capture their image. Also, having a comfortable tent with all the essentials for comfort would be great. The nights in this prairie preserve are often dark and cold so it pays to have some warmth and coziness there.
The buggy tour is available from November to March and operates on the weekends. This is a great way to explore the Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park. That’s because this journey will allow you to see and know many things while a ranger drives and narrates. It’s also a tour that takes no more than three hours. Thus, it is an interesting and practical way to take a tour of the prairie reserve.
For this, you may need to bring along a pair of binoculars, a camera, and even a checklist. It’s because you will do a lot of sightseeing, picture-taking, and counting. In the open, you will see plants and animals that may only be available there. Still, remember to put on clothes to help you with the weather too. You will have exposure to the elements so stay comfortable and safe.
Before you go camping and have an adventure, check out the fees you would incur. Make sure that you budget your expenses well for your entertainment and return home. It would be best to settle payments ahead so you won’t have to worry about money matters later. Pay for your transportation, entrance, accommodation, and food early.
If you’re planning to go back to the reserve again, you might as well get the annual pass instead. In that way, you could save money and enter and camp whenever you please for a year.
The Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is a great camping spot. Even if there are a lot of things to prepare first to get and stay there, it’s worth the effort. There are fees to pay and travel concerns to cover yet you can get a lot once you are already there. The amenities, campgrounds, and tours are perfect for travelers. Plus, it’s only where you could find some of the world’s rare and endangered wildlife.