Experiences & Amenities
Many visitors come to Dade Battlefield by bicycle and bikes are welcome on all paved surfaces in the park. For your safety, please don't take bicycles on the trail. Helmets are highly recommended for all cyclists and Florida law requires helmets for cyclists age 16 and under.
From the ancient live oaks dotting the battlefield to the lovely pine flatwoods through which our hiking trail meanders, Dade Battlefield provides excellent habitat for upland birds -- which equates to great viewing opportunities for birders! From late February through June, swallow-tailed kites nest in the park and can be seen daily. But throughout the year, resident and migratory birds of every stripe may be found here. Pileated and red-headed woodpeckers, kestrels and summer tanagers are among the favorites, while large birds such as great blue herons and wild turkeys may stroll across your path. So pack the binoculars when you come to visit. There's more to the park than the historic battlefield.
From the ancient live oaks dotting the battlefield to the lovely pine flatwoods through which our hiking trail meanders, Dade Battlefield provides excellent habitat for upland birds -- which equates to great viewing opportunities for birders! Throughout the year, resident and migratory birds of every stripe may be found here. Pileated and red-headed woodpeckers, kestrels and summer tanagers are among the favorites, while large birds such as great blue herons and wild turkeys may stroll across your path. So pack the binoculars when you come to visit. There's more to the park than the historic battlefield.
Family reunions are a common sight at Dade Battlefield, and many families have held them here for generations. The Dade Lodge and the picnic pavilions are available for reservation 11 months in advance. The lodge costs $107 including tax. Pavilions cost $53.50. The lodge building has a kitchen with a stove, refrigerator and microwave. Pavilions have charcoal grills. Please call the park at 352-793-4781 to make reservations.
Explore the park in a new and challenging way. Experienced Geocachers have requested permission to hide caches containing trinkets, treasures, or information in various places around the park. Please check the Geocaching website for the most current and up-to-date information and clues to locate these caches.
Hiking Nature Trail
A lovely half-mile nature trail winds through the longleaf pine flatwoods on the west side of the park. It's an easy walk, but be sure to bring sensible shoes, sunscreen and drinking water. Dogs are welcome too, but they must be on a 6-foot, hand-held leash. Common sights along the trail include gopher tortoises, hawks and woodpeckers. If you're lucky you may spot a deer, fox or wild turkey!
Meetings and Retreats
Many groups utilize the Dade Lodge for meetings and retreats. The lodge seats up to 98 persons and comes with the use of a kitchen with a stove, microwave and refrigerator. The cost to rent the lodge for the day is $107, including taxes. It may be reserved up to 11 months in advance. Call the park at 352-793-4781 or just stop by to make reservations. If you are unfamilar with the lodge facility, come on by and we will be happy to open it up for you to check it out.
Picnic tables and grills are located throughout the picnic area and inside the pavilions. Pavilions may be reserved (please see the activity entry under Pavilions); free-standing picnic tables are first-come, first-served.
Ranger-led tours of the battlefield and Visitor Center may be available to organized not-for-profit groups through prior arrangements. Please call the park office at 352-793-4781 if you would like to schedule a tour for your school or group.
The park's Visitor Center contains a small museum with artifiacts related to the Seminole Wars period, a 12-minute video about the battle, public restrooms, and a small store offering books, crafts, t-shirts, etc. Here you will find the park office, where you may reserve facilities and ask questions. Due to the small size of our staff and other needs throughout the park, the office is not always occupied. If you stop by and no one's home, please note that a cell phone number posted to the left of the office door will put you in touch with the ranger on duty, who will be happy to return to the office and assist you.
Dade Battlefield is a popular location for weddings. Many brides and grooms choose to exchange vows beneath the shady limbs of our majestic Ancient Oak Tree, and the Dade Lodge is a sought-after facility for non-alcoholic wedding receptions. The Ancient Oak area may be reserved for $50 plus tax. The Lodge costs $100 plus tax for the full day, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In addition, wedding parties should plan to pay the $3 per vehicle park entrance fee. The Lodge comes with a kitchen, and private catering is permitted. For more information, please call the park office at 352-793-4781.
In recognition of its pivotal role in the development of the young American nation, Dade Battlefield was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1974. The events that occurred here in December 1835 changed the course of history.
The park's Visitor Center contains a small museum that is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day of the year. Exhibits include original artifacts from Dade's Battle of 1835, along with other items that shed light on life in Florida during the Seminole Wars period. Be sure to watch our 12-minute video, "This Land, These Men," which paints a poignant picture of the battle, the events leading up to it, and its aftermath.
Dade Battlefield offers ample parking in the vicinity of the picnic area, pavilions and lodge. There is a small parking lot suitable for cars and trucks at the Visitor Center. Drivers of oversized vehicles should park in the loop by the pavilions and walk to the Visitor Center, which offers limited turnaround space. During special events, designated parking areas will be established. Please follow the signs and directions from staff and volunteers for parking during special events.
Pets are welcome in all outdoor areas at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park! They must be well-behaved and on a six-foot, hand-held leash. Please do not leave pets unattended in vehicles or bring them into the Visitor Center or Lodge.
There are six picnic pavilions available for rent at Dade Battlefield. All are accessible and equipped with charcoal grills and wooden picnic tables. Pavilions may be reserved up to 11 months in advance at a cost of $53.50 per day including taxes. Visitors are welcome to use unreserved pavilions on a first-come, first-served basis. After using the pavilions, please remember to collect your trash and litter and deposit it in one of the two dumpsters located on the west side of the parking loop. Important Note: When using pavilions, please remember that the consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in Florida State Parks.
The playground is a popular destination at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park. It is located behind the Captain Gardiner pavilion on the west side of the picnic area.
Dade Battlefield recycles! Please place recyclables in the labeled containers by both dumpsters and inside the Dade Lodge building.
Public restrooms are located at the northwest corner of the picnic area, inside the Visitor Center and in the Dade Lodge. The lodge restrooms are open only to parties renting the lodge or during certain special events.