Lake Manatee State Recreational Area, Pristine and Beautiful

Escape for a Day or Camp Overnight at Lake Manatee State Recreational Area

Located on state Road 64, fifteen miles east of Bradenton, Lake Manatee State Recreational Area encompasses three miles of Lake Manatee shoreline and 556 acres that once provided the common activities of pioneer days: cattlemen worked the land as hard as the farmers. The land also supported a busy timber and turpentine industry. Periodic controlled burns are used these days to clear the land and keep habitat from choking the area off.

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Today, it is an area for recreational activities such as camping, swimming, fishing (from the dock or boat) and boating and is open seven days a week, from 8 AM until sundown.

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Bicycles can be rented at the Ranger Station. They have fat wheels, making them suitable for biking on or off paved trails. A two and a half mile paved road provides bicyclists and hikers with a pleasant step back into nature and eventually loops around the two campground areas. For the more adventurous, there is another trail, unpaved, that is nearly as long, but offers a bit more challenge.

Lake Manatee, encompassing a 2,400 acre area, is now a reservoir for Manatee and Sarasota County drinking water. Fishing is popular here and the lake teems with catfish, largemouth and sunshine bass, bluegill, and speckled perch. Bobcats, alligators, deer, and gopher turtles, as well as numerous species of birds inhabit the area.

A boat ramp provides easy access to the lake. Boat motors are restricted to 20 horsepower, so it is a pleasant place for those who prefer to canoe or kayak. Water skiing is prohibited.

Swimming is restricted to a designated area. There are no lifeguards on duty so you swim at your own risk. Be warned: lake plants are sometimes blown into the swimming area. Their long roots can act like tendrils that can entrap an unwary swimmer.

There is a good-sized picnic area tucked under the scrub pine trees and the main pavilion (accommodates 12 tables and has electric and grill) can be reserved for a fee. The children’s playground is a popular spot for young families.

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The full-facility campground includes 60 campsites and a bathhouse and shower facility. RVs are limited to 65 feet. Each campsite is provided with water and electricity. A dump station is located near the campground entrance.

Pets are welcome, but must be well-behaved and on a six foot hand held leash at all times. Pets, excluding service animals which are allowed in all areas, are not allowed in the swimming area and should never be left unattended. Pet owners are expected to clean up after their pets so that everyone can enjoy the park freely.

Popular with people from all walks of life, the Lake Manatee State Recreational Area offers an escape from the busy-ness of daily life and reminds us to take time to slow down a little and appreciate our surroundings.

For more information call the Lake Manatee State Recreational Area at (941) 741-3028

 

7 thoughts on “Lake Manatee State Recreational Area, Pristine and Beautiful

  1. Nancy Laird

    I’m going to have to sit down and spend some time catching up with your entries here, Connie. My mother was born and grew up in Wauchula, Hardee County, and so many of the places you mention are familiar to me. As a matter of fact, Christmas Day, 1962, my cousin and I spent at Lake Placid, and I went swimming! Bok Tower, Cypress Gardens…all of those wonderful places. I’m looking forward to reading. Nancy :)

    1. Connie K Post author

      Nancy, my relatives live mostly in Myakka City and Arcadia, not far from Wachula! I’ll be writing about Lake Placid later this week. :)

      1. Nancy Laird

        Somehow i don’t think you are related. She was born in 1909 in Wauchula (I think), and was the oldest of 10 children. By the time the youngest child came along, my grandmother had a child (my mother) oldest than her youngest sibling. But….the family name was Long, her name was Ruby Lee. My mother was born out of wedlock in Sarasota in 1925, then Grandmamma married a Lonzie Stanford, eventually divorced him, and married a Larry Horseman. My grandmother was a migrant worker who worked the crops up and down the east coast, until she retired from that business in the late 50s/early 60s. Her “profession” after that was as a waitress in all sorts of junky places. She lived in a little trailer about the size of my bathroom in a junky little trailer park in Arcadia. She had been poor all her life and it didn’t seem to bother her much.

        1. Connie K Post author

          Nancy, my mother was second to youngest of 14 kids. Her older siblings lived in Arcadia, Myakka City, and Sarasota. They picked oranges and were seasonal workers. I have an interesting story on the tin can tourists at the Arcadia trailer park that I will post here soon. The picture was taken in the 1920s, guessing by the clothing and cars in the picture. My Aunt Mae lived in a tiny trailer that she referred to as a “house car”. I have a feeling your grandmother and my aunts and uncles may very well have crossed paths. I know they worked for Maxcy’s groves in Frostproof, but not sure if they extended down to Arcadia.

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