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A few miles outside of town is a amazing jem of a place called McCarty Ranch Preserve. If you need a place to go and relax and recharge this is the place!! It’s a little primitive as there is no hook ups. You need to bring your own water and have a generator for electric but it’s worth it. All the sites face the huge lake that is available for fishing or kayaking, there are plenty of hiking and biking trails, wildlife and beautiful sunsets to view from your camp site. I highly recommend this campground!!
We stayed at Fisheating Creek on the lake a couple weeks ago and had a very fun time with my three daughters. Rented a canoe and saw alligators almost immediately. There is a nice little spot with a beach that was popular to pull over and stretch your feet. We were lucky to bring our own lifevests because they did run out when it was time to get our canoe.￼ they had a food truck on site that looked very good but we never made it there because we had plenty of our own food. I would recommend it and will be back.
All around a great location to get away and explore. This is one of the most comfortable and well-kept campgrounds I've found in FL. The staff and volunteers were very attentive and accommodating. The other campers were friendly and enthusiastic. We tent camped in the Equestrian loop, and the sites were decently spaced with plenty of room for our two tents, two cars, and 8 campers to spread out without bothering the neighbors. There are no stores or restaurants nearby, so pack well. These sites have water, electric, grill, and a table. Firewood is available for $7 cash per bundle (honor system). The dumpster is by the firewood. You can buy ice from the rangers for $2.50 during business hours. Showers are hot. Bathrooms are spacious.
I should probably mention that I'm camping spoiled. I traveled for a year or so around the country tent camping, and lived in Colorado for 10 years camping at least once a month out west. I'm from Florida, and I really didn't think there was much worth seeing here, so I stopped looking. It turns out I was wrong.
The air was so clean that we felt like we were on oxygen! The night sky was absolutely breathtaking, but catching dawn and dusk over the landscape is really nice too. The trails were well maintained and clearly planned to create a unique experience, while being just challenging enough to feel like a real adventure.
The animals just weren't afraid of humans. Our 6 teenagers were so excited to stand face-to-face, only a few feet from gentle deer, bunnies, and turkeys. We even saw some lazy baby alligators sunning on the Military Trail.
The Prairie Loop Trail took much longer than we anticipated, and the wind pushing us back was insane, but it was gorgeous and we had a lot of fun. I'll just plan better for that next time. And, the whole family agrees there will be a next time, soon!
If you are looking for a place in FL where you really feel "out in it", away from absolutely everything, while still having what you need to be comfortable, this is it.
Located nearly dead center in the middle of Florida, and equidistant between Fort Pierce and Bradenton is Highlands Hammock State Park. This lush& alluring park has a lot to offer the hiker, the biker, the kayaker,& the boater. However, there’s no better way to describe the campground inside the park but old and worn. Nonetheless, Highlands Hammock is a very popular campground for tent campers, RVers,& everything in between.
Google Maps and perhaps other direction apps want to bring you in from the west on County Road 634. If you go this way the road becomes a very bumpy dirt road once you enter the state park. It’s Ok for a car but perhaps not for a trailer or RV and everything you have inside it. Instead, come in from the west on route 66 and then go north on County Road 635 that will lead you into the front entrance of the park and the Ranger Station.
One of the oldest state park campgrounds in the Florida State Park system, these sites were designed for a time void of 30-foot RV’s. Most of these sites are either narrow, short, or both. And, with few exceptions, there is no vegetation or other type of barrier between them. You better hope for nice and respectful neighbors, which we had.
Most of the campsites have slopes and stumps. Many campers had to get creative in how they angled their trailer or RV into their site to get a level spot. The hookups are shared between sites which means you may have to run your water hose and electrical line a long way in 50% of the sites. And very strangely the fire rings are placed in the middle of a lot of the sites. That’s fine for tent camping but not necessary for a larger trailer or RV.
All the bathroom and shower facilities are in need of modernization with the exception of one that we saw. Faucets dripped and didn’t completely shut off. While using the men’s room the toilet paper dispenser fell off the wall into my lap.
The campground consists of 138 sites that are accessed from 8 different roads once inside the campground. There are ample bathrooms, dumpsters, and the dumping station is conveniently located on the way out of the campground.
We had site#71 which was next to the very nice campground host. We did have ample room for our pop up camper and awning, our privacy tent, and a screen tent because the site was long. But it definitely was narrow. Our neighbor’s trailer was not more than 25 feet from us.
To see our entire review of Highlands Hammock State Park visit https://lifestyleover50.com/highlands-hammock-state-park-campground-review/
Kissimmee prairie preserve is my favorite campground. It is a dark sky area, so the night sky is beautiful. Upon getting into the park, there was wildlife everywhere (turkey, deer, alligator, birds). The prairie is so open that you can see forever.
We had campsite 15 which had a great view of the prairie and backed up to the woods. The bathrooms were very clean with large shower areas and continuous hot water. Definitely go when there's no moon, as this is a dark sky area so you can see the milky way during the right time of year. We were there in mid October, so just right at the end of the milky way season.
I've already booked a return trip.
The campground is well kept and clean. The staff is friendly. Great camp store which is not overpriced. Nature trails have plaques with historical info throughout. Lots of wildlife to enjoy. Primitive campsites do not have many trees and are close together (no privacy). Each campsite has a picnic table and firepit.
I stayed in late November of 2020 for two nights. All the sites were full during the first night and a little over half were full on the second night. The dirt road on the way to the campground was very smooth. Definitely bring everything that you need because there is nothing around for many miles. I brought my own firewood but they did have wood for sale at $7 per bundle. The night sky was pretty dark but I couldn’t see the Milky Way (there was a half moon during my stay). I must be spoiled by the night sky out west. Lots of wildlife around… deer, turkeys, gators, lots of birds and I could hear coyotes off in the distance at night. Bathrooms were very nice and cleaned daily. Parts of the hiking trails were flooded and muddy. Overall a very well maintained campground with lots of wildlife and a nice dark sky.