Whether you’re just starting out in RV camping or are a seasoned veteran, taking advantage of Florida’s State Parks is a must. Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to visit a number of state parks in Florida. While my visits have been of the tent camping variety, the activities at each park are just as great if you’re waking up in your 40 foot home away from home. Today I’ll highlight my 3 favorite state parks and hopefully give you some inspiration to plan your next adventure.
A beautiful location in a historic area
Located north of Gainesville in High Springs, Florida, O’Leno State Park is one of Florida’s oldest state parks. O’Leno has a rich history going back to the 1840’s, which will be of interest to anyone curious about the origins of central Florida. You’ll be able to walk along the Sante Fe river on the land that was once the town of Keno. Highlights like the suspension bridge, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s, make for a memorable visit.
In addition to the local history, O’Leno offers a variety of activities from canoeing and kayaking to fishing and nature trails. The nature trails are a personal favorite. They are relatively short in length and let you explore the park.
One of my favorite aspects of this park is the secluded nature of the campsites. The two campgrounds are organized in large loops with sites only located on one side. Having an unobstructed view of the surrounding forests help give you a much more relaxed atmosphere compared to other parks.
Wekiwa Springs State Park
The perfect place to cool off during the summer
Wekiwa Springs State Park is one of the most popular state parks in central Florida and for good reason. There are a number of different activities for the whole family. The main attraction of the park is the spring itself. With water temperatures at 72 degrees year round it’s the perfect place to cool the family off during the summer. There are also canoes and kayaks available for rent if you’re interested in exploring the river, which is an experience not to be missed.
In addition to the river there are activities such as fishing, hiking, and bicycling. Also, depending on the time of year, the park may have horseback riding available. During my last visit, my wife and I biked up to the horse stables and back. It made for a great afternoon and definitely something to look into. I would recommend calling ahead if this is an activity you’re interested in. One thing to keep in mind is that this park can get very busy. Be sure to book your campsite far in advance to make sure you get the time you want.
Florida Caverns State Park
A unique attraction rarely seen in Florida
If you’re willing to make a longer drive than Florida Caverns State Park is well worth the trip. Located in Marianna, Florida this state park has one of the most unique attractions you’ll find in the state. As the name implies, the Florida Caverns State Park offers a series of caves that are available for tours. The tours last for 45 minutes as you explore the caves and admire the limestone stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, flowstones and draperies. It’s a beautiful sight to see and makes for a great outing for the family.
In addition to the tours you’ll find activities such as canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and nature trails. The Chipola River runs through the park and gives you the perfect opportunity to view wildlife.
With the tours being a popular attraction, you’ll want to make your reservation early. The park only has 35 campsites, so they fill up quickly.
Now go out and explore!
These are just a few of the options that Florida has to offer. We’re lucky here in Florida that our camping season never really ends. If you’re looking for a place to spend time in nature and make some great memories with your family, these 3 parks are a great place to start. Have fun out there and happy exploring!