You don’t have to go west to get the dude ranch experience -- sort of. At Lake Kissimmee State Park, check out the Cow Camp, a reproduction of a late 1800s outpost of Florida’s “cow hunters.” The Cow Camp comes complete with live re-enactions and live cows. Cows not your thing? First of all, what gives? Cows are awesome. Second of all, no worries -- there’s plenty else to do at the park. Hike on 13 miles of trails that wind around freshwater marshes and through forests of pine and oak; nearly half the trails are open to equestrians. Paddle, boat, and fish on the 35,000 acres of water that make up the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. If you get tired of treading on your own two feet, park concessions even offers segway tours. And at night, the big open sky of Florida’s cow country makes for some amazing star gazing. If you’re lucky, there might even be a full moo-n (sorry, but we had to get at least one cow pun in here).
Live like the fabled Florida cow hunters for a night or two at Lake Kissimmee State Park Campground. The 60 campsites are mostly shaded by old oak...
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History of Lake Kissimmee State Park
During the Civil War the area was used for raising cattle that were shipped to the Confederate Army or traded with Cuba for supplies. After the war, cattle became the main industry and this continues to the present day. In 1969, the state of Florida purchased 5,030 acres of land from the William Zipperer estate for use as a state park. Lake Kissimmee State Park was opened to the public in August 1977. An additional 900 acres was purchased in 1997 and added to the park's western boundary.