Camping near Ichetucknee Springs

Discussion in 'Campground / Trip Planning & Suggestions ?' started by Nani2, Apr 24, 2019.

  1. Nani2

    Nani2 Active Member

    Messages:
    292
    Likes Received:
    120
    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2018
    Location:
    Tennessee
    I'm eager to try the tubing and snorkeling here and want to plan a trip.
    It looks like O'Leno State Park is closest. I've read reviews on various sites but they don't seem to be written by pop-up owners so the tight turn concerns might or might not apply.
    I also read on here comments from a few years ago about lots of ticks.
    What info can all our Florida people and others who've been there recently give?
    Would I be crazy to go over the 4th of July? Heat, crowds, busy tubing?
    Would I be able to snorkel and tube same day or should I plan a day for each? What so you see snorkeling?
    Any info on what to do in area or other campgrounds is appreciated .
     
  2. epcotisbest

    epcotisbest Active Member

    Messages:
    118
    Likes Received:
    75
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2019
    While I have not camped at O'Leno, I have tubed and snorkeled Ichetucknee several times. Here is an illustration of what it is like during a summer holiday:

    E6E531CA-73D9-4CFF-83DC-EB34BF09A9F5.jpeg
     
    BillyMc and Orchid like this.
  3. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

    Messages:
    5,672
    Likes Received:
    2,511
    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    Location:
    Florida by way of WV and MD
    We live about a 5 minute drive from Ichetucknee Springs! It will be packed on the 4th of July and is most summer weekends.

    O'leno has had serious tick issues in the past, but the last few years have been good. I would wear repellent, but have not seen any there in about three years. It is, by far, the nicest of the campgrounds close by. There is a privately owned one at the springs but their restrooms are horrendous (or so I hear,) and since they allow alcohol, can attract a rowdy crowd. I would always choose a state park over a private.

    Obviously, Florida is hot and humid in the summer. Tubing the springs is or snorkeling is a perfect activity. I would highly recommend weekdays over weekends.

    O'leno has a swimming area, but you wouldn't catch me in it! There ARE gators there. Just walk up the path a bit and you will see them. And the water is almost black. I will never understand why people swim there. They claim the gators don't come down past the suspension bridge, but I wouldn't trust that.

    Ichetucknee is safe from gators, being spring fed and the water is clear, so you could see them anyway.

    At O'leno, I would highly recommend the Magnolia Loop. The Dogwood loop is tighter, with smaller sites. They have great trails to walk there, and the river rise situation (where it goes underground and then reemerges into another river, is an interesting phenomenon to see. And lots of gators, usually with turtles lined up on their backs, to photograph along the trail.
     
    Nani2 and epcotisbest like this.
  4. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

    Messages:
    5,672
    Likes Received:
    2,511
    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    Location:
    Florida by way of WV and MD
    Also, you can most definitely tube and snorkel in the same day. Lots of people do both on the same trip down the river. Getting back on the tube, in the water, seems tricky to me, but I'm not in the best shape. :tongue: As far as what you will see, I don't know because I'm not brave enough to get off the tube once I jump into it from the dock.
     
    Naturelover, Nani2 and epcotisbest like this.
  5. Nani2

    Nani2 Active Member

    Messages:
    292
    Likes Received:
    120
    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2018
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Maybe we will try this in October. Would it be warm enough to tube and snorkel then?
    We won't be going over the fourth. If I wanted the packed sardines feel, I would go for the special fireworks at Epcot. It IS the best!!!
    Orchid I am so glad you are back!! You are such a wealth of information. It must be awesome to live where you are. I don't like ticks or alligators--I think I'll always remember where I was when I found out the alligator got that boy at Disney. Our grands are all close to his age and it totally freaked us out.
    I definitely want to try Ichetucknee out.
     
    epcotisbest and Orchid like this.
  6. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

    Messages:
    5,672
    Likes Received:
    2,511
    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    Location:
    Florida by way of WV and MD
    Thank you, it's great to be back!

    It's most definitely warm enough in October. The only problem is that, after Labor Day, the main entrance closes and, starting at the south entrance, you only get about an hour or so float. In the summer, it's a few hours to get down the river and you experience the more shallow part, that is better for snorkeling!

    I do absolutely love living where we do. That said, it's been about four years since we went floating. You just get used to having cool things nearby and never think to go there.

    We were at O'leno just last month, for the day. Didn't see a single tick! When we first moved here, 12 years ago, our first camping trip was there. The ticks were AWFUL! You could see the ground moving on some part of the trail, there were so many of them. My husband ended up with Lyme disease and blamed it on O'leno, which was probably accurate.

    We quit going for many years. A few years ago, we heard the tick problem was no longer, so we went back. Sure enough, haven't seen any ticks in recent years. I have no idea what they did to get rid of them, but they are gone. We haven't camped there this year, but do go there fishing and walking the trails.

    As far as the gators, these native Floridians are a tad crazy swimming with them. No way will I ever do that. I stick to pools and the springs. We have lots of springs within 20 minutes of us. When I was a kid in the 70's, we used to go to Disney and stay at the Contemporary. It was one of only two hotels at that time. They actually had a swimming beach and my sister and I spent a lot of time in that water where the little boy was killed by a gator. I have no idea what my parents were thinking ....
     
  7. Nani2

    Nani2 Active Member

    Messages:
    292
    Likes Received:
    120
    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2018
    Location:
    Tennessee
    We went to River Country often and never thought about gators coming in. I remember the uproar when they closed the swimming beach at Beach Club. I thought it was because of the brain eating amoeba but maybe then they knew about gators there.
    We might just wait till next year to do the full tube run.
    Is your husband's Lyme disease okay now? I know a few people who were severely impacted by it . The one I know best is recovered fully but she suffered for years .
     
    Orchid likes this.
  8. Nani2

    Nani2 Active Member

    Messages:
    292
    Likes Received:
    120
    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2018
    Location:
    Tennessee
    There needs to be a don't like button for this!!
     
  9. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

    Messages:
    5,672
    Likes Received:
    2,511
    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    Location:
    Florida by way of WV and MD
    Yes, he's fine, thanks for asking. He has never had any symptoms at all. Only found out when he was being tested for a bunch of things trying to determine the cause of something that was going on with him. It turned out that he had diabetes.

    He had a lot of markers for several different types of Lyme. So many, that the CDC was called, and a worker actually came to our home to take a full history from him. We had to give them history and dates of all the places we had camped and lived in the past years. It was an impossible task (as far as the camping dates,) but we did the best we could. We "think" we listed all the places, but dates were just not happening. Not even sure we got some of the years correct.
     

Share This Page