I was excited to spot Lake Manatee State Park on Google Maps. It seemed like it was an exciting find as I especially like to visit state parks with lakes or rivers. In fact, it is a very modest state park with one small, but nice access point to the lake, which is itself somewhat nondescript. In other words, the place was basically a desert. The campground was booked solid with it being Labor Day, but the park still felt rather empty. This is normally ok with me, but it seems there was a reason for it being so. Kiki was with us so we could not swim in the lake (against its alligator attracting rules), a prudent precaution by the park, but with a number of people swimming, including children, it would seem quite safe enough and any alligator would be avoiding the human contact of the area. Still, we could have rented a canoe and brought Kiki on the lake that way, and since you can only rent a canoe at the entrance, we thought we should have just rented one then and saved the return trip. However, we ended up being glad we did not fork out the $10 for a 2-hour rental ahead of time as the lake offered no cover and we would have only boiled on its surface with minimal sightseeing opportunities.
Despite all that we enjoyed window shopping as we walked through the campground wondering what all the trailers and RVs looked like inside and had a nice picnic lunch on one of the numerous covered table areas. We even made use of the playground for a bit.