Florida Christmas Markets

Florida Christmas Markets – The Complete List Of Them All

During the holiday season, many cities worldwide celebrate with a Christmas market. Florida is no exception, and there are plenty of Florida Christmas markets in various cities nationwide. Get in the holiday mood by visiting one of the traditional markets where the smell of Christmas trees, mulled wine, and cookies will trigger the Christmas joy in you.

Florida Christmas Markets

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History of Christmas Markets

The December Market in Vienna throughout the middle times was the precursor to the Christmas market as we understand it today. It was first mentioned in 1298 when locals were allowed access to host an Advent Krippenmarkt. The first Christkindlmarkt was held in 1384, a century after opening open-air winter street markets in Germany, which became more closely associated with the holiday.

This occurred in Bautzen, a highland town in eastern Saxony. These early markets initially just sold meat, but as time passed, they expanded to offer other necessities, seasonal sweets, displays, and crafts, all to the accompaniment of singing and dancing.

With Martin Luther’s views that the birth of Christ was a more suitable gift-giving day than other saints’ days, Christmas markets saw a significant increase in popularity in the 16th century.

The churches soon discovered that they had to compete with the markets for the attention of their disciples after initially encouraging the holding of neighboring markets to increase attendance. Since then, holiday markets have become extremely popular. This was when the custom of purchasing Christmas presents started to gain ground.

Florida Christmas

What Is There To Do At A Florida Christmas Market?

Christmas markets are lovely places to explore. They ooze the holiday season vibe.  And, despite the lack of snow in Florida, the Christmas markets here still have the same feel as those in Europe. You can look or buy traditional souvenirs and gifts, spend time with friends and family, eat delicious cuisine, and enjoy the holiday spirit. Perhaps the best thing about a Christmas market is they are often free! Few charge an entry fee, giving you the perfect opportunity to enjoy the festivities without obligation to buy anything. Note that some on this list charge a nominal entry fee, so check before you go.

Looking for FREE things to do in at Florida Christmas? See this: 50 Plus Free Things To Do In Orlando at Christmas

The extent to which European Christmas markets go in the winter is over the top; they are a spectacular experience unmatched in America for spreading holiday pleasure. Even if you’ve never been to one, they are nostalgic and full of holiday traditions, fantasy, and joy. Many people cry when they go to a Christmas market, which, while it might seem corny, is the overwhelming joy they feel. They’ll become your go-to method of holiday preparation.

What To Expect:

  • Enjoy Light Displays – At Christmas markets throughout the country, you will see some of the best Christmas light displays. Tens of thousands of glittery lamps dance and sparkle everywhere.
  • Eat Tasty Foods – There are Christmas markets all over Florida where you can find everything from burn sausages to gigantic puffy bretzels, flavorful soups and stews, roasted chestnuts, potato cakes, and all the favors you could ever assume – plus gluttonous areas of expertise like truffles, foie gras, caviar, and escargot.
  • Buy Gifts – Christmas markets are great places to discover unique gifts for Christmas, including toys, trinkets, chocolates, cakes, biscuits, apparel, and more.
  • Get Holiday Decorations – Christmas markets contain some of the most exquisite and distinctive displays; some shops have stunning structures that are entirely covered to make you feel comfortable on freezing nights outside.
  • Meet Santa – Almost all Christmas markets have Santa pay a visit.

Many larger town markets include skating rinks, parades, pony rides, competitions, and other traditional festive activities. Most Christmas Markets are outside throughout the chilly winter months. Let the good times begin by grabbing a warm cup of wassail, mulled wine, gluhwein, slivovica, or maybe some kinder punch.

Florida Christmas Market

Florida’s Christmas Markets 

Numerous Christmas markets in Florida provide food, music, and the finest in regional stores. Consider one of these weekend markets to buy a special present for your best friend. Swap out your local mall for a market that offers everything Christmas.

Before making plans, please double-check directly with the event to ensure accurate information. It’s always better to be safe than sorry about dates and details!

American German Club’s Christkindlmarkt – Lake Worth

Lake Worth, Florida, annually hosts a German Christmas Market at the German American Club of Palm Beaches. Families and friends get together to celebrate the holidays in an old-world tradition. There are some festive traditions straight from Germany that are perfect for adults and kids alike. You can taste everything from roasted nuts to bratwurst, schnitzel, Gluehwein, potato pancakes, and strudel.

With its plethora of activities, entertainment, and even some holiday shopping, the Christkindlmarkt adds some old-world charm to the holiday season. You’ll find handcrafted favorites such as Christmas ornaments and other holiday treasures at the best place to buy Christmas gifts in Florida this year.

Christkindlmarkt is one of the most well-known and traditional Florida Christmas markets. It offers not only delicious food and drinks but also holiday music, holiday carolers, a brass band, a dance group, and even Santa Claus! Celebrate the most beautiful time of year in Florida at this Christkindlmarkt.

An Olde Fashioned Holiday – Del Ray Beach

At Old School Square, the Fieldhouse (formerly The Vintage Gymnasium) will host the annual juried art and craft show of the Southern Handcraft Society, Pineapple Grove Chapter. The longest-running indoor art and craft show in Delray Beach, this is the most spectacular event. This is our biggest and best year yet! The unique works of art and crafts created by our local crafters and artists are of distinction. Our gift and holiday items include Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, and things suitable for any occasion. Stunning Limited Edition ornaments, limited to 100 pieces, are always available. There are jewelry, cards, journals, shell art, glass art, handpainted and turned wood pieces, ornaments, purses, quilts, hand-knit hats, sweaters, blankets, and local honey. Get ready to be amazed by all of our local talents. This year, we have many new and spectacular items.

FL Christmas Markets

Art & Craft Holiday Bazaar – Cocoa Village – Cocoa Beach

Over 200 Unique Artists & Crafters! Two days of fabulous Arts and crafts. There is fantastic street food and live entertainment throughout the grounds.  Kid & pet friendly!

Atomic Holiday Bazaar – Sarasota

Atomic offers screen-printed t-shirts, faux taxidermy, upcycled items including home decor, clothing, and jewelry, vintage clothing, kitsch, lowbrow to elegant fine art, holiday cards, jams, jellies, doggie stuff, felted art, plants, plushies (unusual and humorous creatures), pop culture-graphic art posters, dark sentiments, body products, candles, beachy vibe stuff, ethnic Latin textiles, rock n roll edgy clothing.

And this steampunk-esque outfit puts a unique spin on Florida Christmas markets. Over the top, op artsy, and green, Atomic has something for all. Join thousands of others at Robarts Arena at 3000 Ringling Boulevard in sunny Sarasota, FL.

Big Bang Bazaar – Orlando

The best collection of over 100 local independent artists may be at one of Orlando’s biggest Florida Christmas markets. You can get anything you want at this market.  This market sells everything from clothing to art to jewelry to home products. Get your Christmas shopping done a week before Christmas and find the finest deals there. Sunday will be spent haggling for the most incredible prices and checking things off Santa’s list. 

Christmas Markets In Florida

Brandon Annual Holiday Vendor Market – Brandon

Brandon Holiday Vendor Market will host over 80 local vendors and food trucks. Santa will be there for free pictures. Free face painting. Free admission. 

Brewing Christmas Market – Orlando

The natural microbrewery in Orlando will host its annual holiday market. Local artists and crafters will sell their wares at the Christmas market, offering food from authentic empanadas catering & vending, desserts from delightful cakes, and live music. Drinking and shopping locally lets you taste the most fantastic local beer during the holidays. You will get a free raffle ticket for each item you buy. Additionally, volunteers will wrap your Christmas presents at no cost to you.

C2C Annual Christmas Market – Seminole

Come for the annual Christmas Market with 25 vendors, including artists, crafters, local small businesses, food, etc.

Christmas Bazaar – North Port

This Florida Christmas market occurs at City Hall Center Green in North Port. There will be custom crafters, local artists & vendors displaying their wares, food trucks & more! Selfies with Santa as well. They are hosted by Local Ladies Social Network, Inc.- LLSN Events!

Christmas in the Country – Tampa

Bring the family for a great day, experiencing the sights, sounds, and smells of an old-fashioned country Florida Christmas market. Learn how the holiday traditions of the 19th century differ from those of the 21st through hands-on historical interpretations, carols, traditional decorations, and more!

Christmas Under the Oaks – Clearwater

GFWC North Pinellas Woman’s Club proudly presents the 46th annual Christmas Under the Oaks. This popular local event is our single most significant fundraiser of the year. Our event will feature a variety of exhibitors offering handmade arts & crafts, unique gifts, and creative holiday-themed items.  Local food vendors will be in the food court, offering various options.  These proceeds are used to fund grants, scholarships, and community service projects in the community.

City Market for Fashion – Miami

Visit The Shops at Sunset Place to participate in this festive fashion land. During this two-day festival, there will be a D.I.Y. shop, a beauty lounge, and unusual photo walls. Investigate the several South Miami-based local vendors instead of purchasing the exact present you purchase yearly. This Florida Christmas market is a terrific place to visit with friends so you can finish buying stocking stuffers.

Christmas Florida

C-Note Grab & Go Art Show – Orlando

This neighborhood tavern must be the last stop on your tour of the seasonal markets. Arrive here to pick up a last-minute gift for your Secret Santa or white elephant giving and receiving. The pub features local artists and musicians showcasing their most recent works. Support your favorite neighborhood artisans and select a piece for your creative friend. All of the artwork is under $100, making it the ideal choice for a special Christmas gift.

Coastal Christmas Market – New Smyrna Beach

Enjoy the variety of beautiful gifts and holiday decor handcrafted by local artisans. The merchants will welcome you into their shops to look at the treasures available all year long on Canal Street.

  • Shop Handcrafted Holiday Items from 90+ Local Vendors
  • Music & Demonstrations (on Live Oak)
  • Grab Lunch or a Snack: Local Restaurant or Street Fare

Deck the Chairs – Jacksonville

Founded in 2013, Deck The Chairs promotes art in public spaces in a Christmas market setting and creates opportunities for children’s arts education and outreach in the Beaches. With over 100,000 visitors each year, this is a nationally celebrated holiday experience. 

DeFuniak Springs Mistletoe Market – DeFuniak Springs

Part of DeFuniak Springs‘ Merry Main Street’s four-week-long festivities is the Mistletoe Market. This Florida Christmas market features Food Truck Fridays and live music from local and regional artists. The vendors will be set up along Baldwin Ave. between South 7th St. and South 8th St. on Fridays and Saturdays.  The goal is to offer downtown shoppers a variety of entertainment, dining, and shopping options in the heart of the beautiful city.

DeLand Indie Market – Deland

Discover the holiday mood while shopping the way independent locals do. Various homemade, vintage, and boutique merchants are featured in this carefully chosen market. You only get an empty bag to begin selecting presents for your buddies. The patio of Cafe DaVinci offers live music and food from neighborhood merchants. You support local businesses by doing your shopping there. If your friend enjoys candles, stock up at this event on the best homemade candles.

Christmas Market In Florida

Emerald Coast Christmas Bazaar – Panama City Beach

A wide variety of vendors from coast to coast! Family-friendly holiday shopping and entertainment! A great selection of food and spirits! The bazaar offers beautiful boutiques, sporting goods, children’s apparel, amazing artists, custom furniture, and home decor. There will be crafts with Santa, face painting, balloon artists on stilts, and much more! Prizes for the raffle are great! This event benefits Second Chance of NW Florida Brain Injuries.

Enchant Christmas – St Petersburg

Enchant Christmas creates the World’s Largest Christmas Light Maze with ice skating, dining, shopping, and photo visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus using light, art, and story. Enjoy a heartwarming and memorable evening with your family and friends at Enchant.

Fancy Flea Country Christmas Market – Dade City

Enjoy the season’s splendor with excellent vintage shopping and more in picturesque Dade City! This is an outdoor street show with free admission.

Fox Lake Winter Festival of Crafts – Titusville

This festival began in 1994 when the traditional Christmas Craft Sale at Sandrift Recreation Center was combined with the fall sale of homemade crafts at Tom Statham Park. The first festival was hugely successful, with about 100 artisans and 5000 shoppers. The popularity and growth of the festival were demonstrated last year, with 12,000 in attendance and more than 250 displays of handmade or homemade crafts.

Grandma Party Bazaar – Orlando  

Go shopping with your grandmother or friends at this grand bazaar in Orlando. The trendy, vegan-friendly cafe Stardust Video & Coffee is the venue for this Florida Christmas market. For a unique shopping environment, the organizers invite the top antique dealers, zine publishers, and artists from Orlando. While you browse and enjoy live music from Wet Nurse, Tiger Fawn, and other bands, DJ Nigel John will play the finest songs. Find the one-of-a-kind piece of art you’ve been looking for for your living room, then relax with a coffee and some music from the neighborhood. For the gypsy at heart, it’s the ideal setting.

Christmas In Florida

Haven Holiday Market – Winter Haven

The Annual Haven Holiday Market is brought to you and promoted by Central Florida Event Vendors. This event will feature 150 vendors, including arts and crafts, holiday gifts, vintage, fair trade goods, cottage food, fresh gourmet, local authors, kids’ art area, food trucks, live music, and more. This will be the perfect venue and place to start your holiday shopping and maybe even finish! Also, the community will have the opportunity to meet several local authors and purchase their books.

Holiday Magic Bazaar – Coral Gables

Visit this enchanted bazaar to complete your holiday shopping rather than waiting an hour on hold with U.P.S. or FedEx. Finish shopping for Christmas and locate the most extraordinary stores in town decorated in theme. You can pick up some cookies on your way out, and your relatives will be curious about where you got your presents. They will never learn this secret.

Holiday Market in the South – St Augustine

Jacksonville Business Connections invites you to their Holiday Market in the South, featuring 100 creatives and retailers at the Renaissance World Golf Village Resort.  

  • Accessible to the public & indoor event
  • The first 30 guests receive FREE swag bags!
  • Kid-friendly event – Santa Meet & Greet
  • The quarter Auction Event is at 4:30 after the event.

HoliDazzle Market at Anthem Church – Fort Myers

Holiday shopping event with vendors, crafters, and artisans. Meet and greet Santa Claus and have your picture taken.

Junior League of Tampa’s Holiday Gift Market – Tampa

The goal is to provide attendees a thoughtfully curated Florida Christmas featuring products and makers nationwide.  To create a unique shopping experience, the Holiday Gift Market accepts merchants from various categories, including apparel, home & holiday décor, gourmet food & cookware, children’s gifts, and more.

Light Up SoDo – Orlando

The SoDo neighborhood features one of the best main streets in the nation, with distinctive local stores, exhibitions of art, and film festivals. The area is bringing the Light Up SoDo market for a fun-filled evening this December. Pets are welcome at the event, offering many family-friendly activities. You may enjoy train rides, bouncy houses, face painting, and a Florida Christmas market. As you assist Santa in gathering gifts, kick off the last month with a family-friendly holiday event.

Florida Christmas Season

Lions Parent Association Christmas Boutique & Craft Market – Fort Lauderdale

The annual Boutique & Craft Market presented by the Lions Parent Association is a Fort Lauderdale tradition spanning four decades. Hosted in the Kennedy Fellowship Hall of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, this festive event is the beginning of the Christmas season for many in our community. Over 80 craft and retail booths feature high-quality, handcrafted, non-handcrafted gifts, unique home and holiday decor, jewelry, woodworking, clothing, and other specialty items. Enjoy the spectacular Christmas Café and visit the Student Vendor Marketplace, where our youngest entrepreneurs sell their products and crafts to showcase their businesses.

Mistletoe Market in Bartow – Bartow

The Mistletoe Market is located in downtown Bartow.  Over 80 vendors congregate downtown to sell handmade holiday wares and other assorted merchandise. As an added holiday bonus, children can enjoy Christmas fun by eating cookies and hot cocoa, writing and mailing letters to Santa, and visiting Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

If you visit Bartow be sure to visit The Wonder House – it’s also decorated for Christmas. 

MTRA Arts & Crafts Market – Ocala

MTRA will be hosting its Annual Arts & Crafts Market. This family-friendly event supports Small Business Saturday with local vendors while raising awareness for MTRA’s programs, including Therapeutic Riding, Freedom Reins for Veterans, and the Equine Experience for Foster Children and at-risk Youth. This event is open to the community and gives local artists and small businesses a way to showcase their arts and crafts! 

The Christmas market hosts 40+ arts & crafts and direct sales vendors, live music & dance performances, a photo booth, a car show, food, pony rides, pie eating and baking contests, and a fun activity area for the entire family!

Oh, What Fun!® Holiday Festival – Lake Nona

Step into a spectacular winter wonderland with holiday magic around every corner during Central Florida’s favorite holiday festival; oh, What Fun! Located in Lake Nona Town Center, or as it’s known for the holidays, Peppermint Square is a season filled with celebrations.

Take advantage of a collection of holiday-themed pop-up food stands while strolling through Peppermint Square. Please take a picture with Santa and Mrs. Claus in their whimsical winter cottage. Together, create holiday memories that will last a lifetime along Oh, What Fun! A 24-foot-tall Christmas tree is Peppermint Square’s centerpiece. Would you like to take your own tree home with you? The Peppermint Forest Christmas tree lot near Boxi Park is the perfect place to find the perfect holiday tree for your family.

Live performances will be presented throughout the festival at the Starlight Stage in front of “The Beacon,” including Peppermint the Penguin’s dance parties. Children can make crafts, watch classic holiday movies, and participate in costume contests and trivia at Boxi Park. 

Florida Christmas Things To Do

Palmetto Kris Kringle Market – Palmetto

The 700-year-old tradition of the open-air Christmas markets throughout Europe inspired the Kris Kringle Market. The event features one-of-a-kind shopping, art, wreaths, and handcrafted gifts for the holiday. All locally made and one-of-a-kind Christmas finds. This one is not to be missed, so mark your calendars.

There may be a visit from the man himself!! Multiple food trucks for this event Smokin Momma Lora’s B.B.Q. Truck! Note: only take cash payment on the day of the event.

Pensacola Winterfest – Pensacola

Snow begins falling as soon as you enter Plaza Wonderland on Palafox Place. It brings back memories of the Polar Express when you drink hot chocolate and hear a trolley bell. The conductor calls your name: All aboard for the most beautiful journey you will ever have this Christmas season. Ride the mini-train through Winterfest’s magical scenery, lights, and snow! Visit Santa in his sleigh for family photos with the Grinch. Santa would love to meet you! Don’t miss the Free preshows every night. Sing and dance along with your favorite characters throughout the night. Get your family picture taken now by booking your reservation. The Grinch may also surprise you with a photo or two if you intrude upon him. Winterfest’s preshows are free and open to the public, with events happening every few minutes.

Pioneer Christmas & Vintage Market – Dade City

Pioneer Christmas & Vintage Market is an outdoor event. It offers excellent, unique vendors for great Christmas presents, food trucks, live entertainment, craft demonstrations, children’s reindeer games, and more. Make and take home arts and crafts and ornaments, or take part in cookie decorating. Grab the perfect family photos, listen to Christmas Carols, or build decorations for Christmas. There are even docents in period dress, a quilt raffle, model trains, blacksmith demonstrations, pony rides, and a gnome scavenger hunt with prizes, all set in a traditional Florida Christmas market.

POP SWAP Holiday Market – Orlando

Floridians can experience a bohemian vibe at this Christmas market. Park Ave CDs, Dear Prudence Shop, and The Lovely Boutique Market are the event’s hosts. Numerous regional sellers specializing in vintage apparel, albums, and pop culture memorabilia can be found. After purchasing gifts for your friends, grab a break at one of the neighborhood food trucks. The event will take place at Corrine Drive. It’s a terrific spot for discovering vintage albums and taking a stroll while enjoying live R&B music from neighborhood musician Gina Falcone. Mercantile Coffee Co. will also supply coffee.

Pottery Festival – Orlando

Over 50 vendors selling the finest ceramics and pottery will be present at this Florida Christmas market. It’s time to spruce up your etagere and gift your folks some hip art. The Orlando Pottery Festival is unique, and you can find one-of-a-kind items only here. Consider buying your neighbor superb pottery for their plants or living space instead of heading to the big-name stores. A handmade present is usually a good choice; you can find everything from jewelry to sculpture to durable dishware.

Salt Air Farmer’s Christmas Market – Port St Joe

Two significant Christmas events are Port St Joe.  Enjoy the Christmas market with 35 vendors and live entertainment by The Port St Joe High School Band of Gold.  The Port St Joe Garden Club will host a Christmas in the Garden Celebration at the Garden Center at 216 Eight Street in Port St Joe.  Both events will offer unique homemade gifts, baked goods, and something for everyone.

florida at christmas

Shops at Wynwood Market

The Wynwood Market consistently brings together the finest local fare from Miami. With new suppliers and the best food trucks, the market presents its Christmas in December. Take a break from the tense lines and packed malls and go outside instead. The Christmas market will include local craftspeople from all over the city and a fantastic atmosphere. Buy last-minute presents and sip a local beer at the same time. Before Christmas, you’ll find the most festive atmosphere and unique sellers.

Tampa Bay Holiday Market – St Petersburg

Celebrate the holiday season at the Holiday Market at The Coliseum in downtown St. Petersburg ! Make sure to bring your holiday to-do list because there will be many unique merchants displaying their products.

Tampa River – Holiday Fest – Tampa

This “Open Air Festival” will showcase gifts from home decor, plants, local artwork, handcrafted jewelry, small batch & chef-made foods, baked honey, spices, paper goods, apothecary goods, sauces, and more, all in time for the holidays!  The Riverwalk offers a festive atmosphere & Your Tampa Markets invites you to join in on the music and locally curated vendors!

The Daily City’s Holiday Market – Orlando

This Florida Christmas market is where you can discover antiques, food, and truck merchants. Orlando’s top handcrafted local sellers will be at this inside market fair. At the Confection Fest, you will be amazed and sample some of the tastiest desserts ever. You can complete your Christmas shopping and eat the best seasonal fare regardless of whether it rains. We advise you to arrive early to avoid missing out on the event because it is becoming increasingly popular.

The Holiday Market at Schenley Park – Miami

At Schenley, this occasion is open to the whole family and community. A toy drive for Radio Lollipop, blood drives, local vendors, and the best food trucks, including El Mago de las Fritas, Don Ramón Pizzeria, and Kona Ice, will all be featured at the market. Let your child enjoy the bouncy house while you shop or snap pictures of them with Santa. You can purchase raffle tickets for an opportunity to win gifts and toys at the market.

Town of Callahan Christmas Parade and Craft Fair – Callahan

The Town of Callahan Christmas Parade and Craft Fair is hosted by the West Nassau Historical Society, an all-volunteer 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to discovering the rich adverse history and culture of Nassau County, especially the western half of the county. The parade lineup, route, and return area are on Warrior Drive.

Will’s A Faire Holiday Market – Orlando

You can enjoy live music and food trucks at the Mills 50 District’s beloved Will’s Pub’s retro vintage market. As well as seasonal beers and alcohol, Will offers a great selection.


Which city has the most Christmas markets?

Berlin, Germany
There are more than 100 Christmas markets held across Berlin each year, so the German city does not take its Christmas festivities lightly. The trendy Christmas market is Alexanderplatz, where bratwurst, gingerbread, and mulled wine fill the air.

Where is the best place for Christmas markets?

Europe is the continent in the world for Christmas Markets. Here are some of the most famous places:
·         Basel, Switzerland.
·         Berlin, Germany.
·         Bruges, Belgium.
·         Budapest, Hungary.
·         Copenhagen, Denmark.
·         Lille, France.
·         Vienna, Austria.
·         Zagreb, Croatia.

Does Miami have a Christmas market?

From November 15th to February 15th, urban space Lincoln Road Holiday Market will be open Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., to enjoy Miami’s newest holiday tradition.

Closing Thoughts

If you want to make all your Christmas wishes come true, Florida’s Christmas markets are necessary. It never gets old, and you’ll always get a healthy serving of holiday cheer. Unforgettable memories make November and December feel warm and festive. Christmas markets are an excellent way to celebrate the holidays, individually or with friends and family. 

Do you know of a Christmas market in Florida that’s not listed here? Let us know, and we’ll gladly add it!

Looking for more seasonal things to do in Florida? Start here:

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park: A Guide to Florida’s Natural Beauty

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is a hidden gem located in the heart of Florida. With over 54,000 acres of land, it is the largest remaining tract of dry prairie in the state. The park is home to a diverse range of wildlife and is a habitat for rare and endangered species. Visitors can explore the park’s sweeping vistas of grasslands, wetlands, and shady hammocks, and enjoy a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, birding, horseback riding, and camping.

One of the unique features of Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is its designation as Florida’s first Dark Sky Park. The park offers visitors a rare opportunity to experience the beauty of the night sky without the interference of artificial light. The park is an ideal location for stargazing, and visitors can see stars, planets, and even rocket launches. The park also offers astronomy pads and after-hours permits for those who want to explore the night sky in more detail.

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the natural beauty of Florida. With its vast expanse of grasslands and diverse range of wildlife, the park is a haven for nature enthusiasts. Whether you want to hike, camp, or simply enjoy the beauty of the night sky, this park has something for everyone.

History and Establishment

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is a 54,000-acre protected area located in central Florida. The park was established in 1997 when the state of Florida acquired 48,000 acres to preserve the largest remaining expanse of Florida dry prairie. The park is home to a variety of plant and animal species, including Florida grasshopper sparrow, sandhill crane, and gopher tortoise.

Before the establishment of the park, the area was used for cattle ranching and hunting. In the early 1900s, the Peavine Railroad was built to transport cattle from the prairie to the coast. The railroad was abandoned in the 1950s, and the land was used for hunting until it was acquired by the state.

The park’s history is also tied to the Avon Park Air Force Range, which is located adjacent to the west boundary of the Preserve, across the Kissimmee River. The range was established in 1942 as a bombing and gunnery range for the Army Air Corps. Today, the range is still active and is used for training by the Air Force and other military branches.

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park has a rich history and is an important part of Florida’s natural heritage. The park’s establishment has allowed for the preservation of a unique ecosystem and has provided opportunities for visitors to experience the beauty and diversity of Florida’s natural landscapes.

Geography and Landscape


Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is located in Okeechobee, Florida, and is the largest remaining expanse of Florida dry prairie. The park covers an area of approximately 54,000 acres and is home to a variety of ecosystems, including flatwoods, oak hammocks, wet prairies, mixed wetlands, hardwoods, and cypress. The park’s unique ecosystems are the result of a combination of factors, including its location, climate, and geology.

The park’s dry prairie ecosystem is characterized by an open landscape dominated by grasses, such as wiregrass, bluestem, and muhly grass. This ecosystem is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, bobcats, and coyotes. The park’s wet prairie ecosystem is characterized by wetlands, ponds, and marshes that are home to a variety of aquatic plants and animals, including wading birds, alligators, and turtles.

Flora and Fauna

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is home to a diverse range of plant and animal species. The park’s dry prairie ecosystem is dominated by grasses, but also includes scattered trees, such as live oak, sand live oak, and longleaf pine. The park’s wet prairie ecosystem is characterized by a variety of aquatic plants, such as water lilies and pickerelweed.

The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including the Florida panther, which is an endangered species. Other notable species include the Eastern indigo snake, the gopher tortoise, and the sandhill crane. The park is also home to a variety of bird species, including the crested caracara, the Bachman’s sparrow, and the red-cockaded woodpecker.

Overall, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is a unique and important ecosystem that provides a home for a diverse range of plant and animal species. Visitors to the park can learn about the park’s ecosystems and wildlife through a variety of educational programs and activities.

Recreational Activities

Hiking and Biking Trails

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park offers over 100 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Visitors can explore the vast open grassy forests of longleaf pines, wet prairies, mixed wetlands, hardwoods, and cypress. The trails are well-maintained and clearly marked, making it easy for visitors to navigate through the park’s natural communities.

Hikers and bikers can enjoy sweeping vistas of grasslands that are reminiscent of the Great Plains of the Midwest. The trails are suitable for all skill levels, from beginners to experienced hikers and bikers. Visitors are advised to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and insect repellent, especially during the summer months.

Camping and Picnicking

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park offers a variety of camping options, including family camping, equestrian camping, and astronomy camping. The family campground has 35 campsites, each with water and electric hookups, picnic tables, and fire rings. The equestrian campground has 10 campsites, each with water and electric hookups, picnic tables, and fire rings. The astronomy camping area has 10 pads for telescopes and is reserved for visitors who want to enjoy the park’s dark skies.

The park also has several picnic areas, each with picnic tables, grills, and restrooms. Visitors can enjoy a picnic lunch while taking in the park’s beautiful scenery.


Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is one of the best places in Florida for stargazing. The park’s remote location and lack of light pollution make it an ideal spot for viewing the night sky. Visitors can bring their telescopes or use one of the park’s telescopes. The park also offers astronomy programs, where visitors can learn about the stars and planets from a park ranger or volunteer astronomer.

Visitors are advised to dress warmly and bring blankets, chairs, and flashlights. The park is open for stargazing until 10:00 pm, after which the park gates are closed. Visitors who want to stargaze after hours can reserve an astronomy pad site or contact the park office for more information.

Conservation Efforts

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is a unique ecosystem that is home to a variety of endangered and threatened species. The Florida Grasshopper Sparrow, for example, is one of the rarest birds in North America, with only a few hundred individuals remaining in the wild. In order to protect these species and their habitats, the park has implemented a number of conservation efforts.

One of the most important conservation efforts at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is the use of prescribed burning. This technique involves intentionally setting controlled fires to clear out old growth and promote new growth. This helps to maintain the natural balance of the ecosystem and prevent the buildup of hazardous fuels that can lead to destructive wildfires.

Another important conservation effort is the removal of invasive species. Invasive species are plants and animals that are not native to the area and can cause harm to the ecosystem. The park has implemented a program to remove invasive species such as Brazilian Pepper and Old World Climbing Fern, which can crowd out native species and disrupt the natural balance of the ecosystem.

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park also partners with other organizations to promote conservation efforts. For example, Audubon and the Florida Park Service have signed an agreement for Audubon to fund the construction of a bunkhouse on the park. The 58,000-acre Preserve conserves the largest remaining tract of Florida’s unique Dry Prairie Ecosystem and is in a remote corner of the state. This partnership will help to promote conservation efforts and protect the unique ecosystem of the park for future generations to enjoy.

Overall, the conservation efforts at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park are making a significant difference in protecting the unique ecosystem of the park. By using techniques such as prescribed burning and removing invasive species, the park is helping to maintain the natural balance of the ecosystem and protect endangered and threatened species.

Visitor Information

Operating Hours

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is open every day of the year from 8:00 AM to sunset. The park office is open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday, and from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on weekends and holidays. Visitors are advised to plan their visit accordingly and to check the park’s website or call ahead for any changes in operating hours.

Admission Fees

There is an admission fee to enter the park, which varies depending on the type of vehicle and the number of occupants. The fee for a single-occupancy vehicle is $4.00, while the fee for a vehicle with two to eight occupants is $6.00. Pedestrians and bicyclists are charged $2.00 per person. Annual passes are available for $60.00 and provide unlimited access to all Florida State Parks.

Park Rules and Regulations

Visitors to Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park are expected to follow all park rules and regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. Some of the most important rules and regulations to keep in mind include:

  • Pets are allowed in designated areas only and must be kept on a leash at all times.
  • Camping is allowed in designated areas only and requires a reservation.
  • Fires are allowed only in designated fire rings or grills.
  • Hunting is allowed in designated areas only and requires a permit.
  • Fishing is allowed in designated areas only and requires a Florida fishing license.

Visitors are advised to check with park staff for a complete list of rules and regulations, as well as any updates or changes. Violations of park rules and regulations may result in fines or expulsion from the park.

Research and Education

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is not only a popular destination for nature enthusiasts but also a hub for scientific research and education. The park offers a unique opportunity for researchers to study the flora and fauna of Florida’s dry prairies, which are one of the most endangered ecosystems in the state.

The park’s staff and volunteers work closely with researchers to ensure that their studies are conducted in a safe and responsible manner. The park has a number of ongoing research projects, including studies on the effects of fire on the ecosystem, the migration patterns of birds and butterflies, and the impact of invasive species on native plant and animal populations.

In addition to research, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is also a valuable resource for education. The park offers a variety of educational programs and activities for visitors of all ages, including guided hikes, wildlife viewing, and stargazing. The park’s staff and volunteers are knowledgeable about the park’s ecosystem and are happy to share their expertise with visitors.

One of the most popular educational programs at the park is the Junior Ranger program, which is designed for children ages 6-12. The program allows children to explore the park and learn about the environment through a series of fun and interactive activities. Upon completion of the program, children are awarded a Junior Ranger badge and certificate.

Overall, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is a valuable resource for scientific research and education. Its unique ecosystem and knowledgeable staff make it an ideal destination for anyone interested in learning more about Florida’s natural environment.

Volunteer Opportunities

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park offers a variety of volunteering opportunities for those who want to give back to the community and help preserve the park’s natural beauty. Volunteers can choose from a range of tasks that suit their interests and skills, including visitor services, maintenance, resource management, and more.

One of the most popular volunteering opportunities at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is the campground host program. Hosts are responsible for assisting visitors, providing information about the park, and ensuring that the campground is clean and well-maintained. This program is ideal for those who enjoy interacting with people and have a passion for the outdoors.

Another volunteering opportunity is the park resident program, which allows volunteers to live on-site and work on various projects, such as beach cleanups, trail maintenance, and more. This program is ideal for those who want to immerse themselves in the park’s natural beauty and contribute to its preservation.

Volunteers can also assist with resource management, which involves monitoring and preserving the park’s flora and fauna. This is an excellent opportunity for those who have a background in biology or environmental science and want to make a meaningful impact on the park’s ecosystem.

Florida State Parks welcomes volunteers of all ages and backgrounds. Volunteers are provided with training and support to ensure that they have a safe and rewarding experience. If you are interested in volunteering at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park or any other Florida State Park, visit the Florida State Parks website for more information on how to get involved.

Events and Programs

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is not only a great place to experience nature, but it also offers a variety of events and programs throughout the year. Visitors can participate in educational programs, guided tours, and special events that highlight the unique features of the park.

One of the most popular events at the park is the annual Prairie Heritage Day, which takes place in February. This event celebrates the history and culture of the prairie and includes demonstrations, exhibits, and live music. Visitors can learn about the park’s natural resources, wildlife, and the history of the area.

For those interested in stargazing, the park offers a variety of astronomy programs throughout the year. The park’s Dark Sky designation makes it an ideal location for viewing the night sky. Visitors can attend astronomy talks, telescope viewing sessions, and other educational programs that focus on the stars and planets.

In addition to these events, the park offers a variety of guided tours throughout the year. Visitors can take a buggy tour of the prairie, go on a birding hike, or explore the park’s trails with a knowledgeable guide. These tours provide visitors with a deeper understanding of the park’s ecology and history.

Overall, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park offers a wide range of events and programs for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re interested in learning about the history of the prairie, stargazing, or exploring the park’s trails, there’s something for everyone at this unique Florida State Park.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of camping accommodations are available at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park?

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park offers both primitive and full-facility campsites for visitors. The park has a family campground with 35 sites, including 19 sites with electric and water hookups, and 16 primitive sites. There is also an equestrian campground with 10 sites that offer water and electric hookups, as well as a horse wash area and a corral.

How can I make a camping reservation at the park?

Visitors can make camping reservations by calling the park or by reserving online through the Reserve America website. It is recommended that visitors make reservations in advance, especially during peak season, to ensure availability.

What activities are popular to do in and around the park?

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is a popular destination for stargazing, hiking, biking, wildlife viewing, and horseback riding. The park has over 100 miles of dirt roads that allow visitors to explore the prairies, wetlands, and shady hammocks. The park also offers ranger-led programs, including guided hikes and campfire programs.

Are there options for glamping at the park, and what do they include?

The park offers glamping options in the form of astronomy pads, which are raised observing platforms with a tent and a telescope. These pads are available for reservation and offer visitors a unique stargazing experience. The pads include a tent, picnic table, fire ring, and grill.

Can visitors expect to have reliable cell phone service while at the park?

Visitors should not expect to have reliable cell phone service while at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park. The park is located in a remote area, and cell phone coverage can be spotty.

Where in the park can guests experience the best stargazing opportunities?

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is known for its dark skies and is a popular destination for stargazing. Visitors can experience the best stargazing opportunities from the astronomy pads, which are located in a designated stargazing area in the park. The pads offer unobstructed views of the night sky and are equipped with telescopes for visitors to use.

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