Thursday, February 25, 2016

Visiting Dog-Friendly Koreshan Historic Site in Estero, Florida

On our recent trip to Fort Myers and Sanibel Island, we tried to scout some State Parks for future camping trips. We were pleasantly surprised to stumble upon a State Historic Site that is dog-friendly and has a campground.  It is the Koreshan State Historic Site and it is located just south of Fort Myers in Estero, Florida.

Oz the Terrier visits dog-friendly Koreshan State Historic Site

The park has an interesting history. Florida has been home to pioneers of all kinds so it was no surprise in 1894 when Cyrus Reed Teed brought his religious followers to Estero to build the “New Jerusalem” for his faith.  The colony was known as the Koreshan Unity, a communal society that believed in the religious and scientific theories of Dr. Teed including that the entire universe existed within a giant, hollow sphere.

The Koreshan Unity Settlement was to be a grand but peaceful city built in patterns of applied geometry based on three elements: the arc, the chord and the radius.  The settlers laboriously carved gardens, orchards and building areas out of the dense mangroves, pine trees, scrub oaks and saw palmettos.

Oz the Terrier visits dog-friendly Koreshan State Historic Site, Florida

The colony faded after the death of Dr. Teed and so the remaining four followers deeded the 305 acres of land, with all of its historic structures, to the State.  It is now the Koreshan State Historic Site and the 11 historic structures and the landscaped grounds are maintained by the Florida State Parks Service.

Dogs are welcome in all areas of the park, however they are not allowed in the majority of the historic buildings though dogs are welcome to go into the buildings around the machine shop and Cast Iron CafĂ©.  We did go onto the porch at Art Hall and walk the wrap-around porch at Founder’s House.

Oz the Terrier at historic building at Koreshan Unity Settlement

There are several activities to participate in at Koreshan. First, you can walk the settlement on your own or join in a ranger-guided tour to learn more about the history of the Settlement.  The Park also has a boat ramp and canoe rentals for exploring the Estero River.  We traveled the Hiking Nature Trail along the river where we could observe the Bamboo Landing and the Bamboo Gardens.

Oz the Terrier hikes a trail along Estero River in Koreshan Historic Site

The Park is home to a variety of wildlife including bobcats, grey foxes, river otters and of course, alligators. The garden mounds and pine forest are also home to the threatened Gopher Tortoise and we were lucky to happen upon one on the Hiking Nature Trail.  Gopher Tortoises are considered a keystone species because they share their deep burrows with more than 350 other species of animals.  Since they are a threatened species, both the Gopher Tortoise and their burrows are protected under State law.

Oz the Terrier finds a threatened Gopher Tortoise in Koreshan Historic Site

Of course, we were thrilled to find that Koreshan State Historic Site also has a campground!  There are 60 campsites, both tent and small RV, all with electricity and water, a picnic table and a fire ring.  There is a picnic area and a playground a short walk away as well as bathrooms and laundry facility.  Though the camp sites seem a bit small, Ma was excited to learn you could camp just a short walk away from the historic settlement; Daddy-dog thinks the whole place will be haunted.  BOL

We found Koreshan State Historic Site to be an interesting park, filled with history and great wildlife.  It is definitely worth a visit whether for a day trip or camping.

Would you like to visit a dog-friendly historic site?


  1. How cool dat ya got to see dat tortoise!

  2. We'd love to visit a dog-friendly anything...BOL! that looks like a very interesting place.

  3. Oz that was interesting... I would love to visit this's so great to learn so much about historic things that way while you have a fabulous walk along that river...

  4. Oz, you are so lucky to get to go to so many places. We live far and lady is lazy so we don't get to do too many cool things.

  5. OMD..We would love t be able to visit Historic areas....That looks like a very cool park! History, wildlife, camping?? Wow!!
    Dory, Jakey, Arty & Bilbo

  6. I luffs visiting places....especially if there's a picnic involved!Hehe!
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

  7. They died out because they led celibate lives. I guess they thought that they were going to live forever.

  8. OMDs Oz we had no idea about all the lovely parks and historic places in Florida.
    With your good looks and knowledge You SHOULD be the official SpokesDog!!
    Hugs madi your bffff

  9. we will add that place to our list to visit - gotta love anywhere that is dog friendly :)

  10. Another cool place Oz you are so lucky! Just yesterday mom friends were talking about Florida and she mentioned your visit to Sansibel Island and that's what they were talking about! My friend Otto's mom (& dad) are going to Fort Meyers for a work conference and are going to visit there. Poor Otto has to stay at Grandma's and miss all the fun. Is your mom going to Global? Let us know thanks! Love Dolly

  11. We would LOVE to visit such a historical place. Dogs are supposed to be able to sense spirits so if it is haunted, Oz will let Daddy Dog know about it! BOL!!!

  12. Mom hates history, but we both love turtles. We used to have a turtle named Leave-the-Turtle-Alone. Weird name, right?

    Love and licks,

  13. There sure are some cool places to visit in that state of yours
    Lily & Edward

  14. Yikes a big turtle! Were you scared? I'm scared of turtles. I've been to Estero, but not that park.

  15. Yes, that looks really cool! We would love to camp at a place like many interesting things to see, learn and do.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  16. That looks like a really great place. I would love to go there.

  17. What a great place to stumble on.


Thank you for stopping by and leaving a pawprint. I enjoy reading each and every one!
Cairn cuddles,
Oz the Terrier