Lake Manatee State Park is located 15 miles east of Bradenton, Florida on State Road 64. It extends three miles along the south shore of beautiful Lake Manatee, our namesake.
The lake was created when a dam was built across the Manatee River in the mid-1960s. Despite the park’s name, visitors cannot actually see manatees at this park because the dam blocks their access to the lake. The lake offers excellent freshwater fishing and anglers can fish from their boats or from the park's fishing docks. A boat ramp provides easy access to the lake for boating, canoeing and kayaking; boat motors must be less than 20 horsepower.
A swimming beach is located in our day-use area for those who want to cool off on those hot summer days or just soak in the rays. Please swim at your own risk, as lifeguards are not provided. A restroom facility with showers is located near the beach. A large picnic area is nestled in oaks next to the lake. A picnic pavilion is available on a first-come, first-serve basis or may be reserved for a fee.
Campers can enjoy full-facility camping, just a short walk from the lake. The park’s natural habitats consists primarily of pine flatwoods and sand pine scrub with some depression marshes and hardwood forest. A hike down one of our trails is like taking a step back in time, providing a glimpse of the Real Florida.
Lake Manatee State Park offers a fun, family friendly biking experience along our 2.5 mile paved interior road that winds you through Pine Flatwoods, down to the shore of beautiful Lake Manatee, through our day use area nestled in Sand Pine Scrub and finally winds lazily through our 2 campground loops. This is a smooth and pleasant ride. There are also 2.34 miles available of off road cycling for the more adventurous of heart with a variety of terrain. Here you can check out the wildlife, enjoy the beautiful panoramic views of the lake, wind through different habitat, see the wildflowers in bloom, observe the restorative results of prescribed fire and step back in time for a glimpse of what Real Florida is all about! The bicycles available at the park are fat-tired beach cruisers suitable for the pavement and for the sandy trail system. Bike rentals are available at the Ranger Station. Helmets are highly recommended for all cyclists and Florida law requires helmets for cyclists age 16 and under.
A Manatee County ordinance restricts the use of boat motors to 20 horsepower or less on Lake Manatee. The ordinance also prohibits water-skiing.
A 60-site camping area located within walking distance from the beach and fishing areas. Water and 30 amp electricity are available at every site. A dump station is located at the entrance of the campground.
Camps are near picnic tables, playground, swimming area and beach. A boat ramp and launching dock provide access to the lake. Well behaved pets are welcome at the campground.
Maximum RV length = 65 ft.
Reservations: Reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance through ReserveAmerica. Book Online or call (800) 326-3521 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.) or TDD (888) 433-0287.
Bring your own canoe or kayak and travel the shores of our 2,400 acres Lake Manatee. Scenic Lake Manatee serves as a wonderful wildlife viewing area which is easy to tour by canoe or kayak.
Lake Manatee offers excellent fishing. A variety of species are frequently caught, such as largemouth and sunshine bass, speckled perch, bluegill, shellcracker and catfish.
All fishing within the park must conform to regulations concerning size, number, method of capture and season. A fishing license may be required. More information is available at the Florida Wildlife Commission’s Fishing in Florida.
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.
Operation Recreation GeoTour
There are 40 caches in the park scattered along our trail systems.
The Park offers approx 4.5 miles of trails located throughout the park.The park is remote so please have a hiking plan and let family or a friend know were you are going, know what your getting into, have a hiking buddy, have pleanty of water, take a backpack for supplies like a cell phone, hat, sunglasses, raingear compass, first aid kit, snacks, sunscreen insect repellant and binoculars. Always be alert of bad weather, stay on designated trails. The park protects over 600 acres of habitat for hundreds of common Florida species and rare and listed species. All wildlife in the park is protected, under the Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.) 62-D. All wildlife should be viewed from a distance, and it is illegal to feed, harass, molest, trap or hunt animals in the park. Please see map located at kiosk and sign in.
Picnic tables and grills nestled in a mesic flatwood habitat just a short walk from the lake. A pavilion is also available and may be reserved. Seating capacity for up to 75 people. Consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited, except during park-sanctioned events where alcohol is permitted within designated areas.
Lake Manatee State Park’s designated swimming area is along the shores of a man-made reservoir. Water plants are frequently blown ashore. Conditions and accessibility vary seasonally. It is strongly recommended that those wishing to use the swimming area call in advance of their visit for current conditions. A lifeguard is not provided.
Pets are allowed in the park at Lake Manatee State Park. Visitors should remember to clean up after their pets and keep pets on a 6 foot hand-held leash at all times. Pets may not be left unattended. You may walk your pet along the trails, and in use areas, but they are not allowed in the swimming area. Service animals are welcome in all visitor use areas in the park. Please contact the Ranger Station for specific pet restrictions or inquiries.
A boat ramp and fishing dock are available for visitors to use.
Boaters can enjoy the convenient double access boat launching facility with floating fishing docks, one of only two access points to Lake Manatee. Overnight mooring is not permitted and all boaters must pay entrance fees to access the park and a $4 boat ramp fee.
The Picnic Pavilion is located in the picnic area within view of Lake Manatee. This pavilion includes 12 picnic tables and rents for $74.55 for a full day, tax included. Electric, barbecue grill and water are available. Please contact the ranger station at (941) 741-3028 for availability and reservations.
A playground is available at the park. Also available are horseshoe pits and a sand volleyball court. Visitors may bring their own equipment or rent our horseshoes and volleyballs for a nominal fee.
ADA accessible restroom facilities are available in the park.
A rinse station is located at the restroom near the swimming area.