If you’re looking for a way to get lost in nature without getting caught in an afternoon thunderstorm, check out stargazing at Kissimmee Prairie State Park.
In the summer, following a long day of hiking or biking, you’ll want to unwind with some natural lighting. While the sun beats down on you all day long, the humidity can make it difficult to see stars at night.
The park is home to several mountain streams that have been frozen over for decades and are perfect for watching the sunrise and sunset.
On this beautiful morning, just look across the terrain for any signs of daylight; it should be pretty obvious where the light is coming from.
If you’re visiting Florida, you may want to take in some nature at the state park that’s 25 miles north of Okeechobee.
Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is an excellent destination for stargazing.
The park is filled with activities and trails for hikers and runners.
Whether you want to spend a day hiking or stargazing, you’ll find it all here.
Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park Facts
This state park is known for its unique landscape and wildlife, and it offers a beautiful and relaxing atmosphere.
The reserve is home to a variety of plants, birds, and animals.
It is home to deer, alligators, raccoons, otters, and a thriving “red light district” with unique plants.
You can use telescopes and other special equipment to view the night sky.
- The park offers camping at four different sites
- Tent sites at an astronomy pad
- Equestrian campsites
- Primitive wilderness campsites
Besides stargazing, visitors can also enjoy wildlife viewing.
While hunting is prohibited in all Florida state parks, observing wildlife is encouraged.
You can also take a Prairie Buggy Tour, which is offered from November through March.
The tours are weather permitting and available on weekends and state holidays.
The park is located away from major population centers, making it a prime destination for people looking for a quiet place to spend their nights.
Its night sky is one of the best in the Florida peninsula, and many visitors are drawn here to observe it.
In fact, it’s so accessible that the park is the first of its kind to add astronomy pads.
Because the park is so far from a city, visitors can observe the stars and constellations in a lightless sky.
Jupiter, Saturn, and Space Shuttle can all be spotted during the night, making it an ideal spot for stargazing.
The park also offers great seasonal birding opportunities.
If you love stargazing, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State park is the place to go.
The park is located on approximately 54,000 acres in Okeechobee County.
It is accessible from both the Okeechobee area and the Okeehaha County area.
It’s open from eight AM until sundown and costs $4 per car to enter.
Activities at the Park
If you want to learn more about nature can explore the park’s five-hundred-acre preserve.
There are campgrounds and primitive camping sites available for you to stay in.
If you’d prefer to camp in the park, there are three options:
- One is a primitive campsite
- One with full hookups
- One is an RV site
- Hikers and cyclists can also explore the park’s trails and roads
The preserve also has a trail system for equestrians. While hiking, visitors can observe the wide-open spaces, wildflowers, and rare wildlife.
In the spring, the area is bursting with wildflowers and butterflies.
You can also find rare species of snakes, including the nonvenomous Eastern Indigo.
The park’s ranger station also offers information about the park’s trails and wildlife.
The park also offers excellent birding opportunities.
There are six species of birds that are federally threatened or endangered.
You can even participate in a wildlife-viewing tour. Stargazing is also a popular activity in the park. The park offers astronomy pad sites and campsites that are great for stargazing.
Depending on the weather, the stars can be seen clearly at night.
Hikers can enjoy the park’s trails, which feature both wetlands and dry prairie. You can also relax on hammocks and enjoy the scenery from the park’s campgrounds.
Horseback riding is another great way to enjoy the natural surroundings of Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State park.
The park features 100 miles of trails and service roads.
Hikers are also encouraged to share the roads. The landscape is dotted with wildflowers, and you’ll often see white-tailed deer feeding on tender grasses.
Bicycling is another great activity at the park.
There are more than 100 miles of trails that are open to bicyclists and equestrians.
There are also designated swamp buggy eco-tours led by volunteer guides.
The trails vary in the surface from soft sand to grassy soil.
If you’re hiking, you will need to wear comfortable shoes and use hiking sticks to stay on balance.
Camping is another option.
The Preserve has two campground loops with full facilities:
- The Equestrian campground and the Family campground.
- If you’re camping with a horse, you’ll need to bring proof of a negative Coggins test.
Camping in the preserve is a great way to enjoy the natural beauty and peace of Florida.
Several hiking trails are popular in the park.
Over 100 miles of multi-use trails are available at the park, including a 20-mile section of the Florida Trail.
The trails offer varying shade levels and wildlife viewing.
The Kissimmee Prairie Preserve offers more than 100 miles of multi-use trails.
They are open to hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians.
The preserve also features swamp buggy eco-tours led by volunteer guides.
Many of the trails are located near natural sloughs that drain the prairies towards the Kissimmee River.
The sloughs are not bridged, so riders often must wade through them or wait until they dry up.
Trail conditions at Kissimmee Prairie Pre preserve state park vary depending on the season.
In spring, the prairie is alive with wildflowers, while in fall, a beautiful display of color adorns the park.
You can also stop by the park’s ranger station for information on trail conditions and park events.
This park features the largest dry prairie in Florida and is home to several rare and endangered species. It is also home to the last known sightings of the Carolina parakeet.
Another endangered species is the Florida grasshopper sparrow, which is protected at the park.
Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State park is accessible by car and is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
There are accessible restrooms, showers, and laundry facilities at the park and well-behaved dogs are welcome.
However, it is not close to grocery stores or gas stations.
For those interested in horseback riding, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park offers a horse corral.
This is a neat feature that is located just 5 minutes from the main family campground.
While the park is open year-round, its peak season is from April to October.
The park’s dark night sky makes stargazing a great activity.
The park has been designated as one of the state’s first Dark Sky Parks.
Rangers are available to help you see the stars and planets through telescopes.
The park’s trails offer a variety of terrain, including easy eco-biking trails.
A number of the trails are also suitable for hiking. Equestrians may also find the trails to be suitable for riding horses. The only drawback is that there are some soft sand sections.
While these sections are wide enough to accommodate bikers, you’ll want to use them wisely.
The Best Time to Visit Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park
There is the best time to visit Kissimmee Prairie Pre preserve State Park, but it will depend on the time of year you visit.
For example, the sunrise over the vast prairie grass is breathtaking. The park is also open at night, so you can spend an evening or night watching the stars.
The park is closed to vehicles after sunset, so you’ll want to be there as early as possible. During the evening, the park is open only to registered campers.
After-hours permits can be purchased at the park office.
You can also hike through the preserve and spot white-tailed deer and bobcats.
You can also take ranger-led buggy tours through the park’s remote areas.
The night sky is especially beautiful during the New Moon phase, so it’s a good idea to camp at the park’s campsite.
This campground is clean and pristine and offers gorgeous views of the surrounding area.
However, you should book your campsite in advance, especially during weekends, because the campground fills up quickly.
The cost of camping is $16 per night. Just be sure to bring a comfortable tent, as nights can be cold.
Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is filled with scenic areas and is ideal for hiking or biking. It is also home to many kinds of plants and animals, some of which are endangered.
If you are interested in camping, you can stay at the campground’s family campground, which has amenities like restrooms and water.
Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is one of the best places to see wildlife in Florida and at nightfall, a great place to take in nature while stargazing.
You can also take a Prairie Buggy Tour, which is offered from November through March.
The tour takes you along the banks of the river and into some remote areas where you’ll be able to see wildlife such as deer, alligators, raccoons, and other animals that live in this area during their mating season (the time when they’re most active).
You can also take a bird-watching tour with local guides who will show you how to spot birds like hawksbill sea turtles and eagles while taking part in activities like watching raptors fly overhead or seeing owls come out of their nests during the breeding season (when they’re most active).
You should plan their trip around the best time of year to see the wildflowers and butterflies. Spring and fall bring bursts of wildflowers.