Description & History:
Throughout its history, Florida has welcomed pioneers of all kinds. Cyrus Reed Teed was probably the most unusual, bringing followers to Estero in 1894 to build the “New Jerusalem” for his new faith, Koreshanity. The colony, known as the Koreshan Unity, believed that the entire universe existed within a giant, hollow sphere. The colony began fading after Teed´s death in 1908, and in 1961 the last four members deeded the land to the state. What remains of their once vibrant community are 11 beautifully maintained historic structures that date from 1882-1920 and landscaped grounds including unique ornamental exotic vegetation from throughout the world. Today, visitors can fish, picnic, boat, and hike where Teed´s visionaries once lived and created their own utopia.
A boat ramp and canoe/kayak rentals are available. Visitors can take self-guided tours of the settlement or a ranger-guided tour. For overnight stays, the park has a full-facility campground. Campers can enjoy campfire programs every Saturday night starting in December and every Wednesday and Saturday from January through March.
Koreshan State Historic Site provides visitors with the opportunity to enjoy numerous different activities, including the following:
Today the park maintains the heart of Dr. Teed’s ‘New Jerusalem’ as it would have appeared more than 100 years ago in the early 20th century. Eleven buildings on the National Register of Historic Places that date from 1882 to 1920 are located throughout the landscaped grounds that include ornamentally landscaped Victorian Gardens. Visitors can get a glimpse of how the Koreshans lived from the Founders House, Planetary Court, Damkohler, Vesta Newcomb and Members Cottages within the settlement. Their role in commerce and industry is evident in the Bakery, New Store, Large and Small Machine Shops and the Generator Building. Last, but not least, their contribution to local culture is evident in the Art Hall. ADA access is available to the major buildings; however, due to their small size and historical nature, access to the smaller cottages is not possible. Please contact park staff should you require any assistance.
Every Sunday 8:00am-1:00pm Experience a unique Farmers’ Market in the historic settlement of the Koreshans. Fresh and local goods including produce, Key Lime goodies, seafood, coffee and teas, hot crepes, artisan breads, honey, Classic Cuban, soap, candles, crafts, jewelry and more! FREE park admission but, $1 per entry environmental impact fee applies.
Wednesday – Sunday at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Join us for a Guided Tour of the Historic Koreshan Settlement. Explore structures and gardens of the 19th century religious settlement. This walking tour is about 1.5 hours. Guided tours are $2 for adults, $1 for children under 6 years of age with park admission of $4 for one person in a vehicle, $5 for up to 8 persons in a vehicle.
Koreshan State Historic Site offers 60 campsites, all with electricity and water, a picnic table and fire ring. Twelve sites are designated tent camping only and located next to the Estero River. Four paved ADA campsites are available. Sites have a vegetation buffer between them for privacy. Fire wood and ice are available for campers at the ranger station. The picnic area with a playground is a short walk away. A dump station is available for RV campers. Other amenities include a utility area with a washer, dryer and sinks, a soft drink vending machine and a volleyball court.
A boat ramp is available. Maximum boat length 24′.
Canoeing and Kayaking
Canoeing and kayaking on the Estero River is a popular activity at the park. The river is a brackish tidal waterway which leads to the Estero Bay approximately 3 miles west. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent.
There are several spots along the river for fishing. The Estero River is brackish with snook, mullet, redfish and other popular game fish. Freshwater bass can be caught in the summer and fall high water months. The Estero Bay is located about 3 miles by canoe down the river. It offers abundant saltwater fishing and wildlife viewing opportunities.
The park features a hiking trail along the river and a running trail along the park boundary that takes you through a pine flatwoods habitat.
The picnic area is located on the Estero River and is well shaded by Pine trees. Also found there are grills, restrooms and a playground.
Bobcats, grey foxes, river otters and alligators can all be found along the Estero River. During the winter, manatees frequent our waters. Koreshan is great for bird watching as it is home to over 100 bird species. Among them are swallow-tail kites, bald eagles, bobwhites, belted kingfishers and many wading bird species.
- $5 per vehicle. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle.
- $4 per single occupant vehicle.
- $2 for pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers or passengers in a vehicle with a holder of the annual individual entrance pass.
- $26 per night, plus tax, plus a non-refundable $6.70 reservation fee. Includes water and electricity.