Accessible only by boat or airboat, Gardner-Cobb Marsh is the largest District property in the Upper Chain of Lakes region. Gentle slopes in elevation by only a few inches or feet result in a rolling landscape that produces a contrast in natural communities. Swamps, pine flatwoods and wet prairie, which burst forth in the fall and spring with an abundance of wildflowers, dominate the landscape. Rest in the shady oak hammock, explore the property or set up camp at the primitive campsite after you park your boat along the sandy shoreline. Among airboaters, the landing there is known as "The Yacht Club." The land is productive and is a good place to hunt deer and turkey.
You can walk along the oak and cypress-lined berm just landward from the lake's edge to the neighboring Drasdo property, or arrive there by boat, as well. A small area at the southeast corner is very high ground where a special resident lives. The scrub jay, a listed species, forages there in rare scrub habitat. A more common habitat is "prairie hammock." This classic Florida landscape sports cabbage palms and live oak trees among grassy prairies and marshes. Enjoy fishing at the lake's edge or anywhere else on the property that's fishable.
Other popular destinations on Lake Kissimmee include Eastshore, Westshore, Bird Island and Sturm Island. Johnson Island is accessible from Lake Hatchineha.
Activities by Site
- Bird Island: airboating, boating, canoeing, fishing, hiking, hunting, kayaking
- Gardner-Cobb Marsh and Drasdo: airboating, boating, camping (tent), canoeing, fishing, hiking, hunting, kayaking
- Lightsey: airboating, bicycling, boating, camping (tent), canoeing, equestrian trails, fishing, hiking, hunting, kayaking
- Rabbit Island: airboating, boating, canoeing, fishing, hiking, kayaking
- Strum Island: boating, canoeing, fishing, hiking, hunting, kayaking
- Access is by airboat or boat from private launches on the C-37 canal and at Port Hatchineha. Osceola County maintains two boat ramps at Lake Cypress and Lake Kissimmee.
- Port Hatchineha: From Lake Wales, travel north on U.S. 27 approximately eight miles and turn left on C.R. 542 in Dundee. C.R. 542 turns left in Dundee. Go approximately 1.5 miles and turn right onto Lake Hatchineha Road. Travel to the end.
- C-37 Canal at Camp Mack: From Lake Wales, travel east on S.R. 60 from the intersection with U.S. 27 approximately seven miles and turn left onto Boy Scout Camp Road. The road ends at Camp Mack Road. Turn right and follow to the end.
- Lake Cypress and Lake Kissimmee: From St. Cloud, travel south on Canoe Creek Road approximately 10 miles to Lake Cypress Road and 20 miles to Joe Overstreet Road for Lake Kissimmee access.