Florida State Parks 75th Anniversary Logo
The Lake Manatee State Park sign welcomes visitors to many outdoor recreational opportunities, including fishing, hiking and camping. A couple enjoys fishing on Lake Manatee from their boat. Whether by boat or on shore, fishing the lake is a fun option for guests. This campsite is set up for the Christmas holidays - a reminder that having a good time camping is possible any time of year. This great horned owl is just one of the many birds found at Lake Manatee.
Lake Manatee State Park
Lake Manatee's boat ramp at sunrise with mist rising from the water.

History and Culture

This park extends three miles along the south shore of Lake Manatee. With a little more than 526 acres, the park was established in 1970 and welcomes visitors to fish, hike and camp.

Staff and volunteers work together to build a pavilion.

Park Pavilion

To meet the needs of the growing number of visitors, staff and volunteers work to construct a new pavilion. In 1993, a single volunteer took on the project of constructing a pavilion from scratch. With the help of the Manatee County School Board and the Night Riders Group, he managed to construct the pavilion at no cost to the Florida Park Service.

Some of the park's first campers stand next to their vehicles and talk with the ranger.


Camping has always been a favorite activity at Lake Manatee. At the newly opened campground in 1986, one of the rangers meets with a couple to talk about ways to enhance their visit and make their camping stay more enjoyable. Some things ¿ like first class service ¿ never change.

Three of the park's former staff pose together.

Park Staff

These individuals were some of Lake Manatee State Park's former staff. They were instrumental in the development and success of the park. From left to right: Park Manager Charles Dickerman and Park Rangers Carolyn Kempton and Roy Specie.

Campground restroom under construction.

Campground Restroom

As part of the continuing development of the park, two new restrooms were built to accompany the 60-site campground. The restrooms are accessible for all guests and include solar-powered hot showers for campers.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony at the park's grand opening.

Ribbon Cutting

Attendees at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Lake Manatee campground grand opening in 1986 included officials from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, Department of Environmental Protection's district office and local visitors.