Orlando City Guides

Get Outside & Experience The Kissimmee River

Orlando, Florida - Review Experience

Take a short drive and spend the day on the Kissimmee River

The Kissimmee River is, as the name eludes, located in Kissimmee, Florida – just a short drive outside of Orlando! If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of downtown Orlando's theme parks and other attractions, this is the perfect place for you! Experience Florida's flora and fauna first hand!

About Kissimmee River

The river is 134 miles long, flowing through multiple lakes. A few of these lakes include Lake Cypress, Lake Kissimmee, and Lake Tohopekaliga. After the disastrous 1947 Atlantic hurricane season, the river was canalized. Unfortunately, this ending up damaging the river and causing massive environmental damage. Efforts have been, and still currently are, underway to reverse this damage.

Animals

There is an abundance of wildlife that you might expect to encounter along the Kissimmee River, both in the river itself and on the land around it. Examples of natural wildlife found along (or in) in the river include: white-tailed deer, hogs, turkey, alligators, gopher tortoises, crows, gray squirrel, quail, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyotes, skunk, nutria, bobcat, otter, duck, geese, coot, and frogs.

Plant Life

The plant life found in the area is also extremely diverse. On the river banks themselves to around a mile radius along the entire river, you may be able to find any of the following plant life.

Trees include: box elder, red maple, water hickory, pop ash, water ash, red mulberry, swamp bay, sand pine, sweet gum, water oak, live oak, cabbage palm, bald cypress, and American elm.

Shrubs include: marble-berry, dwarf pawpaw, beauty-berry, firebush, inkberry, sandweed, gopher-apple, rouge plant, saw palmetto, dwarf palmetto, scrub palmetto, shiny blueberry, and arrowroot.

Flowers and ground covering plants include: swamp milkweed, butterflyweed, purple thistle, yellow thistle, bird pepper, spiderwort, mistflower, elephant's foot, rockrose, sneezeweed, swamp sunflower, redroot, pine lily, sunshine mimosa, neverwet, red chokeberry, and meadow beauty.

Ferns include: giant leather fern, swamp fern, southern wood fern, chain fern, maiden fern, and netted chain fern.

Vines include: pepper vine, moonflower, tievine, climbing aster, coral honeysuckle, yellow jesamine, white milkpea, and swamp leather flower.

Allowed Uses

The primary way to access the river is by boat. In fact, a day spent out in a boat would be a fantastic way to experience the true wildlife and environment of Florida, as Kissimmee River is a prime example of this state's nature. The sportsmen will be happy to know that hunting is also allowed in the area during specified times of the year. People have found turkey, deer, and hog hunting to be exceptional along the river. You may bring horses to specified areas of the river, and camping is also allowed in designated areas. If you are unsure which areas these are, you can speak to a local Game Warden or look the information up on the state park's website here. Bicycle riding, hiking, fishing, and general exploration are also allowed.

Rules

Dogs are prohibited unless being used for hunting purposes. All horseback riders under the age of sixteen must wear helmets, and all horses being rode on state lands must have proof of a current negative Coggins test.

Conclusion

If you need a break from the hustle and bustle of downtown Orlando, take a short drive and spend the day on or along the Kissimmee River. Get in touch with nature, and experience real Florida first hand. You'll be glad you did.

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