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Your guide to Kissimmee
All About Kissimmee
Less than 30 minutes south of Orlando, the central city of Kissimmee makes for an ideal home base for visiting Florida’s most popular theme parks. The city sits on the northwest corner of Lake Tohopekaliga, also known as Lake Toho, which stretches across Kissimmee for four miles. Flat, grassy terrain complemented by tall palm trees surrounding the water make Lake Toho the unofficial centerpiece of Kissimmee. Many local activities revolve around the lake, from bass fishing to bird watching and scenic walks through its lakefront parks.
Tall mangrove trees sprouting up from the wetlands mark the official start of the infamous Florida Everglades at Kissimmee’s Shingle Creek Regional Park. These protected wetlands stretch for more than a million acres from Kissimmee to the tip of South Florida, finally emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. The park’s grassy terrain leads you to long, overwater docks hovering over the freshwater marshes, but visitors be warned: this lush foliage also provides perfect coverage for one of Kissimmee’s scaly residents, the alligator. The city takes great measures to ensure that they never cross paths with humans, but do heed the signs and do your bird spotting on the decks. On a clear day, you might find a sandhill crane or the bright pink roseate spoonbill.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Kissimmee?
Kissimmee weather stays fairly warm throughout the year, but visitors should plan for a few rainy days here and there. Summers are usually hot and humid, and on a sunny day, a visit to Cocoa Beach is about an hour’s drive away from most Kissimmee vacation rentals. Spring weather is cooler but warm enough to kayak through the headwaters of the Florida Everglades at the Shingle Creek Regional Park. On a typical winter or fall day, the weather is cool and comfortable enough to be outdoors. During these two seasons, you can plan a picnic at the serene Brownie Wise Park facing Kissimmee’s massive Lake Tohopekaliga.
What are the top things to do in Kissimmee?
Kissimmee Lakefront Park
The one-mile walking trail at the Kissimmee Lakefront Park is an easy walk or bike-friendly path over flat, grassy terrain. The trail follows the north shore of Lake Tohopekaliga, and at opposite ends of the trail, you can make stops at the Big Toho Marina and the eclectic Monument of States Memorial. This quirky memorial is made with stones from each of the 50 states that make up the United States.
Museum of Military History
Exhibitions featuring historic relics help tell the story of America’s military endeavors, beginning with the Revolutionary War and ending in the present day. Each of the five military branches is included too. Authentic, donated artifacts representing each major military event are on display for visitors to take in, from muskets used in 1775 to World War II service vehicles. Guided tours are often led by military veterans.
Twin Oaks Conservation Area
The 370-acre Twin Oaks Conservation Area along Lake Tohopekaliga preserves Floria’s native wildlife habitats. Tall, untamed grass pokes through the park’s freshwater marshes, and overwater piers jut out over the marshlands for visitors to take a closer look at the landscape and its inhabitants. The best wildlife lookout point is at the park’s main, elevated viewing platform, where you may be able to spot one of Florida’s most well-recognized reptiles, the alligator, or even a bald eagle.