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Old 03-25-2013, 09:46 AM   #1
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Florida State Parks

Lots of discussion was going on in my intro thread, so I was hoping to continue it here. We really enjoy camping at the state parks. They make it so easy to book, and it's great being able to see photos of not only the campground, but your actual site.

I'd be interested to hear about other's experiences. There are so many parks we want to visit.

Most of our camping is usually centered around kayaking. Particularly when we had our pop-up, it was such an ordeal to go camping that we had to have a "reason". Now with our new camper, it's such a breeze to set-up that we'll probably do more "just because" trips and explore more.

We would love to stay at Bahia Honda (Keys), but it's always booked. One day, we'll get there. Instead for Fourth of July weekend, we'll be at Curry Hammock. A little place near Marathon.

Also on our to do list is we're going to Florida Caverns in May.

Here are some favorites we've stayed at so far...

Hillsborough River -
Only about 15 minutes from our house in NE Tampa, we love this huge park. We have paddled much of the river, all the way from the springs down to the bay. But this park is great to stay at for a weekend. Besides kayaking the isolated river (which is so beautiful - no homes are built along it for many miles), the kids love the HUGE pool. My pup also enjoys exploring the many hiking trails with me. He just can't kayak with us since the river is tannic and inhabited by many gators


Rainbow River -
Many people go to Rainbow River just for the tubing, which is fantastic. But we also have taken our kayaks. The river is gorgeous, crystal clear. The campground is nice, although the pool has been "broken" for years. It was remodeled a couple of years ago, so many of the shade trees are gone but growing back. The layout of the campground makes it a great place for the kids to run around safely.
Downside is it's a bit of a trek from the campground to the river. You need a dolly for kayaks.


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Old 03-25-2013, 09:47 AM   #2
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Homosassa Springs -
We LOVE this river! You can't camp at the actual state park. The park itself used to be a theme park. The state bought it and it now showcases Florida wildlife, with the exception of Lucifer the hippo.
We've always camped at a place called Nature's Resort. They have their own marina/ boat ramp, and we'll launch our kayaks there to paddle to the springs or down river to monkey island.
As you can see, this river is safe for our pup. Clear water. Populated and can be heavy traffic on nice days. But it's laid back personality and abundance of manatees make it worth it.




Others we've visited or kayaked...
Caladesi Island (only accessible by boat)
Anclote Key (only accessible by boat, our very first camping trip with the kids was primitive camping on the north end of the island)
Lovers Key
Delnor-Wiggins Pass
Egmont Key (stunning water on the gulf side, and an old fort to visit)
Honeymoon Island (lots of beaches, dog beach)
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:21 PM   #3
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Leave it to DKB great post!
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:17 AM   #4
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Thanks!
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:54 AM   #5
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Hi dkb74,
I live in Pensacola, so we've been staying primarily at the State Parks in the panhandle. We've done Florida Caverns and it was awesome! I highly recommend it. Just make sure you bring a light jacket or sweater, the caverns are cold even in mid-summer. I'd also recommend Grayton Beach and Big Lagoon State Parks if sun, white sands and cool waves sound appealing.
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Old 03-26-2013, 11:41 AM   #6
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We loved snorkeling with the manatees in the Crystal River, but have never camped there. Not a bad idea for the future. Thanks for the great post.
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Old 03-26-2013, 11:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SabreDoc View Post
Hi dkb74,
I live in Pensacola, so we've been staying primarily at the State Parks in the panhandle. We've done Florida Caverns and it was awesome! I highly recommend it. Just make sure you bring a light jacket or sweater, the caverns are cold even in mid-summer. I'd also recommend Grayton Beach and Big Lagoon State Parks if sun, white sands and cool waves sound appealing.
Doc
Thanks, we can't wait!

Have you been to Henderson Beach? It looks like quite a trek for us, but a friend of mine comes down annually from Ohio for spring break and raves about it.
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Old 03-26-2013, 12:21 PM   #8
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Thanks, we can't wait!

Have you been to Henderson Beach? It looks like quite a trek for us, but a friend of mine comes down annually from Ohio for spring break and raves about it.
Henderson is great if you want to be right next to all the action along the strip along with restaurants galore. When you are inside the campground, all the racket from the strip disappears and your close distance to beach access.

When we head to Destin, we camp at Topsail SP due to wanting to be away from the strip as we can always drive to it if we want to spend the afternoon at the fun parks with the kids.
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Old 03-26-2013, 12:39 PM   #9
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Have you been to Henderson Beach?
It's on the list...
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Old 03-26-2013, 12:43 PM   #10
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You may also enjoy Salt Springs. Good place for a yak. It may be a federal park. This is the head of the spring.


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