Lake Manatee State Park


If you are looking for the perfect place for RV camping and new outdoor adventures, look no further than Florida’s Lake Manatee State Park. Located just outside of Bradenton in southwestern Florida, Lake Manatee is a beautiful place to spend time swimming, hiking, fishing, kayaking, and more!

Lake Manatee is a man-made lake that was created in the mid-1960s when a dam was built on the Manatee River to provide a stable source of water for Bradenton and the surrounding area. Although there are no manatees in the park—the dam keeps them from swimming up into the lake—there is a vast array of birds, fish, and other flora and fauna. Lake Manatee State Park extends three miles along Lake Manatee with 549 acres to explore.

Camping at Lake Manatee State Park

Thanks to Florida’s mild winters, Lake Manatee is open year-round, and outdoor enthusiasts are sure to find a lot to do in the park regardless of the season. Campers will find a comfortable 60-site campground located just a short walk from the lake. Campsites are fully equipped for both tent and RV camping. Amenities include water, 30-amp electric hookup, a grill and picnic table, and centralized restroom and shower facilities. A dump station is located at the entrance to the campgrounds. You can make campsite reservations up to 11 months in advance through ReserveAmerica. Maximum RV length is 65 ft. Pets are allowed but must be kept on leash and cannot go into the swimming area.


Swimmers will find a designated swimming area, with easy access to picnic tables, showers, a playground, and volleyball court. Lake conditions vary, and there is no lifeguard on duty.

Photo credit floridastateparks.org.

A boat ramp and launch dock provide access for watercraft. Manatee County restricts boat motors to 20 horsepower on the lake and prohibits waterskiing, but a canoe or kayak is the perfect way to see Lake Manatee. With 2,400 acres to explore, you have ample opportunity to see egrets, herons, tortoises, and even alligators. Kayak and canoe rentals are available in the park.

Fishing at Lake Manatee is some of the best in the region. You can expect to catch sunshine bass, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, catfish, and more. Most of these fish can be found throughout the lake though largemouth bass and catfish are found primarily in the deeper waters.

View of Lake Manatee. Photo credit floridastateparks.org

For those who prefer solid ground, the park offers 6.5 miles of hiking trails. You are likely to see deer and quail as you walk through the pine flatwoods and sand pine scrub. There are a few areas of denser, hardwood forest. Visitors can also enjoy horseback riding and bicycling on these multi-use trails. And do not worry if you forget your bike, they are available to rent. For families, the 2.5-mile interior road is a great trail to safely explore the park’s flatwoods. In the spring and summer, keep your eyes out for wildflowers throughout the park.

Plan a camping trip to Lake Manatee State Park today!

Lake Manatee State Park is the perfect place to see the real Florida. It’s a quiet respite from the bustling tourist centers of Florida and a return to a quieter time. Start planning your RV camping adventure today to see all that Lake Manatee has to offer!

For more information, visit the Lake Manatee State Park webpage on floridastateparks.org or call 941.741.3028

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