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“The Koreshan Site offers a Unique Glimpse into Florida History”

Koreshan State Historic Site
Ranked #2 of 16 things to do in Estero
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Park open daily, 365 days a year from 8:00 AM until sunset. The historic Koreshan Settlement is open daily from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM. Camping, hiking, picnic area, playground, kayak and canoe rentals, boat launch on the Estero River, guided historic tours, Sunday Farmers Market, Yoga in the Park Tuesdays and Thursdays. Dr. Cyrus R. Teed's utopian community of 200 followers relocated from New York to Florida in 1894. Dr. Teed took the name 'Koresh,' the Hebrew translation for Cyrus, meaning shepherd. The colonists believed that the entire universe existed within a giant, hollow sphere. They conducted experiments that seemed to confirm their beliefs. The Koreshans built and operated a printing facility, boat works, cement works, sawmill, bakery, store and hostelry. Education, science and art also helped shape their community. After the death of Dr. Teed in 1908 at the age of 69, membership of his religious group began to decline. In 1961, the four remaining members deeded 305 acres of their land to the state of Florida as a park and memorial. The Koreshan Unity Settlement Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access, Activities for young children
Fort Myers Beach
Level Contributor
53 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 147 helpful votes
“The Koreshan Site offers a Unique Glimpse into Florida History”
Reviewed 11 May 2012

The Koreshan State Historic Site is one of my very favorite destinations in Southwest Florida. The place becomes much more meaningful if you know a little about its history. Cyrus Teed, born in 1839, had a mystical experience in which he saw a vision of a beautiful woman who revealed the secrets of the universe to him. He changed his name to “Koresh,” the Hebrew version of his name, “Cyrus,” meaning “shepherd or Messiah.” Teed brought his followers to Estero, Florida, near Naples, in 1894 to build New Jerusalem for his new faith. The Koreshans believed in the Hollow Earth theory; that is, the world in which we live is contained within a sphere, and we live on the INSIDE of the sphere, with centrifugal force holding us down, rather than gravity.

Around 250 believers followed him to Estero, and constructed various buildings, including a print shop, where they published a newsletter; a power plant, where they generated their own electricity and even sold it to homes in the surrounding area; a bakery, where the “risin’ bread” was sold in the general store; a steam laundry; an Arts Hall, where they put on plays and band concerts; a three-story community dining hall; the “Master’s House,” a home for Teed; and the Planetary Court, where the seven women who ruled the community lived. On December 22, 1908, Teed died. His followers, who believed in reincarnation, awaited his second coming, which of course never occurred. That marked the beginning of the end of the Koreshan Unity.

Today, many of the original buildings have been restored, and visitors to the site can go inside some of them or view the inside of others through Plexiglas partitions. I return to visit the site from time to time because its history keeps drawing me back. You can find out park information at www.floridastateparks.org/koreshan .

Visited April 2012
4 Thank BeckyBooBird
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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417 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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  • French first
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English first
Level Contributor
78 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“An interesting place”
Reviewed 11 May 2012

Enjoyed this park on two levels.

Firstly, it is an intriguing insight into a small community (the interpretation centre gives a really clear account of the background here). The remaining buildings and artefacts are quite poignant really but give some good example of the building styles of the time.

Secondly, the park grounds are very attractive and peaceful.

For $6 admission, it is a good way to learn a bit of history and relax.

Visited April 2012
1 Thank Stephen H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cape Coral, Florida, United States
Level Contributor
33 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“A Family Tradition for a Day Out”
Reviewed 8 May 2012

We have been taking our blended family to Koreshan since the 80's. Now we have grandchildren and they love it as much as our kids did. They have added a great little playground in the picnic area which is shaded a bit so the kids aren't getting direct sun. We take the kids on a "walk in the woods" through the bamboo forest along the stream that runs into the bay. The kids never tire of looking at the lives of this unusual cult through the windows protected by plexiglass. Really cool and you can almost picture the way these folks lived - almost. In the picnic area they have little grills to use and plenty of picnic benchs. We had the kids looking for the occasional gopher turtle that might come along. It is a real touch of Florida and like anything else, you can find the beauty in many things if you just look and experience them. Some may not be able to see all there is to do at Koreshan but we really do. Things that can be done, but we haven't done, are camping at the campground and renting canoes across 41 and going down the beautiful stream. It is really cool to just watch the canoers as they paddle down past us. I look for places to relax. The kids look for places to run and a playground. We get both at Koreshan. There's just not many natural places in our area like this anymore.

Visited April 2012
Thank Cindi K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Naples, Florida
Level Contributor
62 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“afternoon out”
Reviewed 24 April 2012

kinda of boring,,kinda boring decided to go kayaking instead..........

Visited October 2011
Thank Crazylady34101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gulf Coast
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Nice campground with a surprise”
Reviewed 18 April 2012

We have found Florida State Park campgrounds pretty consistently good choices for short stays. I chose Koreshan based only on it being in the FL State Park system and located where we needed. It wasn't until after I made the reservation that I learned the history of the settlement, so it was a bonus educational experience!

The campground was clean and quiet as expected, with a fire ring, picnic table, lantern hook, and water. The pad for our tent was nice and level. The bathrooms were clean and conveniently located.

There is an easy trail along the river with many interesting plants and lots of bamboo, and it comes out at the Koreshan settlement which are lovely grounds to walk around. We took the guided tour the next morning and it was fascinating. Our guide was very knowledgeable and even my 6 year old found it interesting and asked many questions.

This is not an exciting activity filled place for adventure by any means, and I think we would have been bored if we had stayed more than the one night, but it was different and nice in its own way. History nerds like me should definitely visit.

Visited March 2012
1 Thank BamaFam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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