We ended up deep in the ocala national forest. Make sure you look at a map before you go. Once you reach the forest you will lose all reception on phones. Campground states free WiFi but plan to be without. No WiFi worked while we were there. Neat trails and plan to return for summer and warmer weather and will bring atvs. Pet friendly. Seen a black bear roaming at night. John the firewood guy brought wood around for $10 in evening. Nice bathhouse if you need it.
The place is a nice hole in the wall on the side of the road, just past the north entrance of the Springs. They offer canoes, kayaks, rafts and tubes for rent and shuttle you to and from to take all of the work out of it. We paid a reasonable $85 for six of us in two canoes. The service was great, with two different people taking us and picking us back up. The shuttle was an old school van, similar to the Home Alone airport shuttle.
The canoes were good, but one did take in a little bit of water. Not enough to cause concern.
The sites are pretty primitive without hookups and they do offer some with electric/water closer to the front. The small cabins are basic, but do offer heat or AC, so are a step up from real camping. The only concern I would have would be toilet use if the park was busy. I would personally plan a visit back during the off season.
I am excited to have added my first campground to the Dyrt Community, and look forward to many more.
I will admit that booking this campground gave me anxiety. It was several hours from home, and a reservation guaranteed a site, not a specific site. Having a family of five and two in laws in tow, it is usually more reassuring to pick out your site. I had found this site simply from Kym (manager) responding to a post in a local Facebook camping group. I thought she seemed nice, and the campground seemed rustic and welcoming. I decided to book us in for two nights over the Veteran's weekend (Sunday/Monday).
The booking process was very simple and old school. I emailed what we wanted, and they replied that they had availability and sent a link for the $20 secure site fee (we had electric/water, so this is required). It can be paid via Venmo or Paypal. They are old school and work via cash, so do not plan on using a card. Hit the ATM before you get close. We arrived a little later than we wanted (around 6:30). It was pretty dark. We followed the sign in the office to the host camp, right behind the rec hall. It was simple. The check in process took all of five minutes and we were sent to our site, which was 17 and right next to the rec hall and bonfire pit. We also ordered up two piles of firewood to start. They charge $5 (cash) and deliver right to your site.
We couldn't see the site well since it was dark, but it was clearly huge. We had no issue setting up our 12 man and 4 man tents with plenty of space to spare. When we woke up in the morning, we realized that we could have easily slept 50 people or more at our site. The site was private (cars provide a nice wall from the single opening) and wooded. They provided two tables (not crappy ones) and a big fire ring. The site had several trees that were good for hammocks or clothes lines. The water and electric were in a pretty logical spot and could easily reach anywhere in the site with a long enough hose or cord.
The campground itself is really no frills. They have a rec hall with OLD arcade games (this is a good thing), pool, foosball and air hockey. They have a jukebox with some country and rock choices to get your bones moving. The bathrooms are single person, one for each sex. They are kept immaculate. I ran into the grounds woman, and noted to her that I had never seen a place kept so clean. She told me that she is a retired nurse, so it makes sense. They also have two single showers. This is camping, not the Ritz. It is exactly what is needed.
We did not run into any wildlife issues. We did have a lot of bees, but they were not too bad. Ants were abundant, but again, this is Florida. The hosts were very nice and humble, and provided local recommendations for tubing and canoeing. The roads are well maintained and the place shows an overall sense of love. They are located just a minute down the road from the North entrance of the State Park. We look forward to coming back here in the future.
Clean, organized, and very reserved. I stayed on the furthest tent site. It is accessible with you car. They have their own beautiful spring, and the camping site is right at the river. It even has a rope to swing from the river bank into the water. We could hear the large fishes jumping out of the water and managed to see a few.
They offer a service of Dropping you off up the river with a canoe, so that you don't have to paddle too hard to go back to camp. If you can, stop along the little entrances and find amazing little springs along the way.
The owners are always in the main cabin, and always happy to help you out. I haven't been there in more than a year, but cannot wait to go again!
We had a really nice extended stay here. The lots are very spacious and well kept. There are a lot of activities to keep you and your family occupied here. The on-site restaurant (Eagles Nest Cafe) has very good food and well priced. The amenities and facilities are very clean and the lake view is awesome. Will definitely be back soon.
Bayard Conservation Area is located in Green Cove Springs Florida and is maintained by the St. Johns River Water Management District. It is a track of land that has many hiking trails that traverse through shaded pine forests, hammocks, marsh, and river areas.
We have day hiked here many times, but this trip we were going to do some primitive camping at one of the campsites. There are several areas to park and then hike in. The campsites are a few miles from the parking area. They include a fire ring and a picnic table. The campsites have several different settings, but we chose the river view. On our way to our campsite we were able to spot many animals including: deer, otter, turkey, and wild pigs.
The area is kept clean and is quiet with the exception of a bit of noise pollution from the surrounding area. However, this does not distract from the experience. We enjoyed our overnight backcountry trip and highly recommend Bayard.
As a Dyrt Ranger I receive products from time-to-time and this time I am testing out the Pureland 30L Guard Backpack sold by Outdoor Element.
There are so many things to love about this backpack. The extensive cording and hooks on the outside made attaching extra items a breeze. I was able to store my trekking poles and Jetboil on the back with no problem. The hip pockets were an added plus and fit my cellphone inside of it easily. The room inside of the backpack was able to hold everything I needed for an overnight trip– including my bulky sleeping bag. The only two things that took away from the backpack was the inside zipper and the water pouch. The zipper on the inside of the bag came off the track with only a light pull while the bag was empty. It did not have the integrity that the zippers on the outside had. My 3.0L reservoir would not fit all the way in the provided pouch and hung out the top a bit. After the whole trip, I sincerely love this pack and will be using it for all of my hiking and primitive camping needs!!
Nice area and staff. Site 142 is big and slightly more separated than the rest of the tent sites. Also closest to the kayak launch. The other sites holy crap no privacy or separation between most of them. Wouldn't want to camp here when they are busy.
This is my husband and my second stay here. The town of Mayo is a small quite town so it is advisable to have your provisions, as it is approximately 45 minutes to most shopping. The upper level sites are spacious and clean with the lower level more rustic. We love the restaurant, the spring, the entertainment, and the unique…..to say the least, weekend games/activities. EVERYTHING is dog friendly. That is a big plus for us as our westie dog Mojo goes everywhere with us.
We come here to "get away from it all" and chillax.
We didn't stay here but enjoyed it as a day use facility. The spring is MAGNIFICENT! We swam, floated, dove, and played in the sand. The Swimming area around the spring was nice and sandy and graded, not just rocky and/or deep some of the other near by springs. There were pavilions and picnic tables spread out around the swimming area, there was some shade, and a little beach area to throw a blanket on and tan.
As the newest acquisition of FL State Parks, there were some things that need to be brought up to par. Getting down to the spring was a bit haphazard as the terraced steps had been washed out, leaving you to have to step over exposed retainer boards. The bathhouse had been cleaned and touched up, but were still pretty dilapidated. We drove through to check out the camp ground, it is pretty small but well shaded. There currently isn't a Dump station on site.
The State Park web site: Indicates that they are Planning for Amenity upgrades.https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/ruth-b-kirby-gilchrist-blue-springs-state-park
The campground was large and shaded. the kids loved the playground and pool. It was still to cool to enjoy the spring when we camped but it was nice to walk around and explore. The bath house wasn't that great they were building something on to it while we were there, but not sure what. Hopefully, they were working on revamping them.
Over all a nice get away.
We've stayed @ O'Leno 3 times over the past year and love it! The campsites are spacious, well shaded, and with in easy walking distance to the Bathhouse/Restrooms. The facilities are kept clean and neat. There are plenty of trails and a swimming hole on the Santa Fe River.
We also like that O'leno is 15 -20 minutes from some of Florida's beautiful Natural Springs.
Otter Springs Campground is off the beaten path, but is a very pleasant place for relaxing and a little spring dipping. There is a pool with showers and several playgrounds near the campsites. Mostly for RVs, however there are some very nice tent sites. The campground backs up to an amazing field for stargazing. The Suwannee River can be hiked to! Otter Springs itself has developed some eutrophication but it is still very nice for swimming.
Step into a world of deer, manatee, and unknown river surprises at Manatee Springs State Park. The campground here is placed delicately in the FL scrub and is surrounded by short hiking trails that pass by major sinkholes. Swimming in the headspring is eye-opening. The cave entrance is mesmerizing. There is a larger cave entrance near the main swimming area, however some eutrophication seems to have taken over the surface currently. #Savethesprings
I personally do not like camping in slots like a deck of cards. Most of this place is permanent residents. They have a nice private beach and a small game room. We had a camper next to us who.was living there for a month and was nasty because he had his antenna on our site
Pprimitive, no reservations, gets some traffic visiting historic site.
Very well kept and quiet 55+ resort! They have a free night promotion going in now so we spent two nights here. Beautiful clubhouse, huge fire pit area, nice library and game room. They have ice cream at the caboose every Friday/Saturday. Will have to come back when it’s cooler out to enjoy the community fire pit. Residents are very friendly as is the staff!
Been here twice and loved the camp lay out. Sites have a little gap between them for the most part. Facilities are very nice and large. The spring area is built up nicely with easy access. Would suggest this based on location and accommodations nearby if you need any forgotten items.
Beautiful campground in Ocala forest! I camped here for 2 nights and enjoyed everything about it! Campsite 160 is my absolute favorite because it's the only private tent ground. Everything else is an open layout with the neighbors. Salt springs is a short walk about 3-5 minutes. Great for swimming and snorkeling! Crabs, turtles and manatees swim nearby as well! Campsite includes entrance to springs, fire pit, bench, water hook up with your own supplies though. Shower house and sink house centrally located. All of the hosts and rangers were so nice they genuinely care for the property which is so wonderful to see!! Brings tubes/rafts or buy one at the springs shop. Only thing close by at 5minutes is subway, dollar general, and gas stations so be prepared.