Find me a campground!

Discussion in 'Florida' started by GatorChamp44, Jul 30, 2017.

  1. GatorChamp44

    GatorChamp44 Member

    Mar 16, 2017
    The wife and I invested in a Pup earlier this year and have been struggling to find a place to go with it. We have a four year old son and two year old daughter so we have a list of must haves for our cg:

    Within 5 hours (the closer the better) of broward county.

    Fire ring (amazed how many places don't have these)

    Big enough shaded sites

    Enough to do inside of or close to the park to keep the young ones entertained.

    Clean well kept facilities

    I think our maiden voyage is going be to Markham Park but I am trying to schedule a few trips through the cooler months coming up. I have a lot of experience at Jonathan Dickinson but was very disappointed when we visited on a day trip recently at the condition of the place. I have also been looking into long point park. Any other suggestions? Thanks!
  2. tw12

    tw12 New Member

    Sep 16, 2015
    We recently moved from Fl but used to camp a lot at Hillsborough River State Park. It meets all your criteria - right outside Tampa, nice hikes and beautiful river canoeing right inside the park, and if you like history, there's a replica of the Seminole War there with little cabins the kids can explore and get a history lesson. The spots are very shaded and large with hookups. It was our favorite little spot! :)
  3. GatorChamp44

    GatorChamp44 Member

    Mar 16, 2017
    Thank you so much! Seriously looks like exactly what we are looking for. Booked the week after Christmas!
  4. Fasttimes7

    Fasttimes7 Member

    Sep 7, 2014
    There are many great parks that meet your criteria. I prefer the State Parks in FL over private campgrounds, and FL has some really good ones. Bahia Honda and Anastasia top my list, but love Wekiwa Spings, Manatee Springs and Blue Springs as well. As said above, I enjoyed Hillsborough River as well, the fort is very cool.
  5. alibooie

    alibooie New Member

    Jan 26, 2015
    Blue Spring is great for kids as is Wekiwa Spring. Highland Hammock was fun if you take bikes. Fort Wilderness in Disney. In the Keys, love Long Key (may be closed for improvements) and Curry Hammock. I've got kids as well and the Florida State Parks have always been a great experience.
  6. yetavon

    yetavon everything is better around a campfire.

    Mar 11, 2010
    Western NC
    Hit the SP for sure. Only been to 3 in FL but all were great.
  7. equest

    equest Member

    Dec 22, 2016
    Tampa FL
    Fort DeSoto, south of St. Petersburg, is a wonderful park. It is operated by Pinellas County and you need to book well in advance using their reservations system. It is important to book far in advance for any of the popular parks during the cooler months. Some less popular parks are still nice but are more likely to have availability, i.e. Koreshan State Park which is a pretty short drive across the Alligator Alley from Broward. Those are just a few preliminary suggestions.
  8. scubacamper

    scubacamper Well-Known Member

    Mar 19, 2013
    Jacksonville, FL
    Go to and you can see photos as well as make reservations through Reserve America on the site. RA will kill you with fees but it's worth it if you can find an open spot...the tourists book way in advance so sometimes it's tough for us locals to book at a State Park (SP) though not impossible. We LOVE Blue Spring in Orange City and we've also camped several nights at Jonathan Dickerson in the last few years when we come down to go diving at WP Beach.

    With a 5 hr window from Broward you have a awful lot of places to choose from including the Keys. Here's a tip, if you head to the Keys in the summer check out the prices at the top resorts because it's off-season and they offer deals better than the State Parks or KOA's.

    Good Luck.
  9. Rob Mikell

    Rob Mikell New Member

    Apr 10, 2018
    Lake City Florida area
    I live near Lake City Fl. We have the good fortune to live an hour or less from 32 magnitude 1 springs, some of the largest in the world. There are dozens around us. Unless you enjoy fast paced crowded campgrounds, I would NOT recommend Ginny Springs. The simple reason for this is that it is 30 miles from University of Florida. It has become a weekend destination for students. It allows alcohol, so you can imagine how quickly things get out of control on weekends. There is Itchetucknee Springs( doesnt allow camping) , but has really nice campgrounds just outside the gate. There is the River Rendenzous at Convict Springs, excellent campground, privately owned and proffesionally run. Really good shaded spots for pups. Land yachts are designated to field farther from water. Stephen Foster State Park has a LOT going on year round, museum,carrillion tower, nature walks, folk crafts square, plus the historic adjoining town.Oleno State Park is nice, suspension bridge across river, nature walks, fishing. The Santa Fe River goes underground in this park. Suwanee River State Park west of Live Oak is nice, shaded spots, full facilities, lots of water activities. Nice if you have a canoe or kayak. Spirit of the Suwanee park is privately owned, and it is huge. If you check thier schedule, there are major concert events several times a year. All these parks are in a 45 mile radius of each other. Judging from your nickname, you like to scuba. I would suggest Itchetucknee Campground, completely shaded, family oriented, nice clubhouse, restaurant,bar. 6 pool tables and fireplace. You can use this as a base of operations, dive the multiple springs of Itchetucknee, start at Ginny, dive the 32 class 1 springs to the bridge(8 miles). Shuttle buses from major springs to bridge, same with Itchetucknee, shuttle from takeout to springhead. There are multiple opportunities here with lesser uncrowded springs frequented by locals. If you want salt, I highly recommend Shired Island county park. At the end of a 25 mile highway to coast, very secluded and beautiful. Only 12 full hookups, its first come first served. Halfway between the town of Suwanee and Stienhatchee, it is out of the way not widely known. The beaches recede at 1 ft every 500 yards, good for kids. Very good fishing here, and if you like oysters this is your spot. If you are a Florida resident, you are allowed 2 bushels a day, easily obtained within sight of the campground. A canoe or kayak is advised as they get very heavy carrying by had. Bring good gloves, a 5 gallon bucket, and a welding chipping hammer to grade the big from the small. Foot protection is a must around the oyster bars. This is my go to spot of reference. The way we get a spot is my wife goes ahead (45 miles away). If there is an open spot, she immediately throws a small "instatent" on the spot and calls. Because of limited spots, this works well for us and saves wasted travel. Its one of the better " undiscovered" spots on the gulf. All the small towns on the gulf here have campgrounds. Note☆ Shired has showers, bathrooms,etc, but the water is "not" potable. Heavy sulfer mineral content. Last of all, the State bird, the mosquito thrives here at night. Be absolutely sure to bring repellant. I have found the natural stuff works best. Good luck!

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