Spend your weekend - or a week or more - beneath the shady oaks at Clearwater Campground, a quiet oasis in the southeast corner of the Ocala National Forest.
This 42-space campground provides breezy lakefront sites for camping at Clearwater Lake. It accommodates both trailers and tents, and has bathhouses with warm showers. Clearwater Lake camping guests can swim, grill up a steak, take a walk around the lake on the nature trail, go mountain biking on the Paisley Woods Bicycle Trail, take a hike on the Florida Trail, or just drift across the water in a kayak, trailing a line and waiting for a nibble.
Perfect for who are looking for a not crowded campground. Manager and Host so gently and friendly. Absolutely I’ll back!
We stayed here after not being able to get into Alexander Springs due to the campground being at capacity. Clearwater campground was smaller and a lot calmer yet had access to an awesome little lake, bike/hiking path, and it was in proximity to the other parks in Ocala National Forest.
We went right after a controlled burn so the opposite side of the lake was burned bare and it was still absolutely beautiful. You can hike around the lake during the day and stay up listening for gators at night. The map online isn’t really accurate with regards to bathrooms so be prepared to walk if you book something in the middle.
This was my first time ever being on water this clear. If is deep in the middle of the spring fed lake but you can see perfectly to the bottom. Lots of fish to catch and eat in there too.the water gets warm easy but it's a walk in beach style so it's perfect for big and very small kids. No electric hook ups, no water hook ups. They do allow you to run your generators and most people are considerate and don't run them ALL NIGHT. They have two loops we use the back loop bc the first loop is also for day use and it's a lot of foot traffic and more vehicles in and out. They have hot showers but just a heavy spray and it does shut off so you have to keep pushing the button. But the design of the bath houses is also cool bc the high ceilings keep the restrooms cool even in100° days. There is no cell service. You are also in bear country here and it is mandatory to use the bear lockers for your food and put your shower stuff in there too. If it's not a bear, which we didn't encounter it will definitely be a raccoon.lots of wild life to see and billions of spiders to shine
Clearwater Lake Recreation is one of the few National Forest Service managed campgrounds located at the southern end of Ocala National Forest. Campsites are well-shaded, private and spaced apart. As with the majority of other campgrounds within the National Forest, electric and water are not provided at each site, however there are multiple water faucets located throughout the grounds as well as restrooms and shower facilities.
Clearwater lake lives up to it's name, with water conditions typically providing excellent visibility to the mostly sand-bottomed swimming area. The lake also provides excellent canoeing and fishing opportunities.
There is a short hiking trail that surrounds the lake, with additional access to the Florida Trail, which runs through the area. The Paisley Woods mountain bike trail also exists on site, which provides a 11 mile one-way path to popular Alexander Springs.
Being within the national forest, wildlife is plentiful and precautions must be taken against raccoons and black bears, which frequent the area. Lockable storage containers are provided at each campsite. In the spring months of March and April, fireflies are abundant, which is typically an uncommon sight in Florida.
Beat the heat at this beautiful swimming spot. Clear water and a nice beach make this a perfect spot. Lots of space between camping spots and nice bathroom/shower house.
Campground is quiet and sites are HUGE. We were able to find a very nice hammock friendly site near the water. Easy access to all the ONF has to offer. You can swim in the lake or fish if you have a boat or kayak. Staff were very accommodating and friendly people. Facilities were in nice shape for a campground of this type. Also, if you stay here you can still day use near by springs for free, like Alexander or Juniper.
This little campground is on the edge of the Ocala National Forest and is a hikers dream. MIles of trails through the woods and around the lake. Wildlife is abundant, especially bears, raccoon and deer. We saw wild turkeys in the woods too and did a lot of bird watching. The lake is pristine, and you can primitive camp right near. The restroom facilities are large and super clean. Good paved road in camp area and lots of picnic tables. There is a "beach" area too near camp area. We saw a few people on mountain bikes too exploring the many well marked trails. Just be very sure to pick up all food and trash and use the designated bear proof trash containers and store all edibles in your car. Campsites are first come/first serve, and get there before the gate locks at 8 PM!
Clearwater Lake Recreation Area was recommended to us as a backup option to nearby and popular Alexander Springs for our small group of scouts.
I'd like to start off by saying the rangers and campground hosts were some of the most helpful and attentive staff I've encountered in a park. They checked on us frequently and did everything possible to make sure we had an enjoyable stay.
The campground is situated along the east shoreline of Clearwater Lake. The sites are heavily shaded and large, with plenty of room and natural buffer between sites. The sites do not have electric or water, however there are shared water spigots situated within close distance to most of the campsites.
The restroom and shower facilities were nice and clean. The only minor issue we encountered was the fact that while the showers were heated, there only appeared to be one temperature setting available (quite warm!)
There are quite a few recreation options within the campground. The swimming area on Clearwater Lake is a gradually deepening sand bottom with very clear water. Canoeing and fishing is available on the lake, and I was able to see some nice schools of bass while snorkeling outside of the swimming area. There is a hiking trail that circles the lake, and the Paisley mountain bike trail head also begins at the campground entrance.
This camground is a great option if you are looking unplug and get away from the RVs, TVs, radios and other noisy activities that are common at most state parks.