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Matlacha, FLORIDA

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Amazing!

This is a true gem in South Florida, a remote island paradise. Miles of beaches with very few people and great hiking/biking trails through the scrub. Pack lightly as you will need to load and unload all of your stuff on the ferry and then the tram and then carry it to the campsite. There is no electricity but cell service with AT&T was great (not that I wanted to use it much). The camp store sells souvenirs and necessities (snacks, cold drinks, firewood, ice, more insect repellant). Restrooms are clean and there is potable water available there, so no need to bring your own and waste plastic. I was glad I didn’t bring my kayak, as it would have been a lot to haul with me, and I rented one for $20 for a half day on the island. Although bikes are also available for rent, I would probably bring my own bike next time as it would be helpful to get around during the 4 days I was there and find more remote locations.

Insects are a serious issue, even in the fall and winter. Hope for a breeze to deter the no-see-ums. I used DEET spray and a thermacell and a permethrin-treated tent and still left with dozens of bites, and that was in November. Next time I would wear pants and long-sleeve shirts in the evenings. Fortunately I didn’t see any rats while I was there  

My campsite was #13 and it was one of the smaller ones but well-shaded and apart from the louder cabins. Some campsites have hammock posts and otherwise you are not allowed to hang hammocks on the trees, so plan accordingly.

Here for the winter months

This is a park with permanent sites, transient and seasonal people, with a the locals prominently making the social life active and fun. I have met families, retirees, and some are in RVs, some bought a place. It s declared full, yet lots of spaces have yet to be filled, so it is nice to be some of the first ones here for the season. My receipt declared this as an Encore resort.

Beautiful!

If you want peace and quiet with one of the cleanest campgrounds around this is a must go to spot. Lots to look at on the river as all the boats go by through the lock. Fishing is good. Sites are concrete and level. Another amazing Corp of Engineers federal park! We can’t wait to come back.

My first love.

I’m pretty sure this was the first campground I ever went to as a kid, and then every spring break following. Only recently stopped going with my family. As far as Florida camping goes though, this is probably my favorite.

Serenity On the Key

This is a quaint little campground located on Siesta Key. Direct access to the ocean where lots of shells can be found. The campground doesn’t allow fires and requires quiet time after 11:00 PM. Local trolley takes you to bars and restaurants. Overall an awesome experience.

An active place

My mother had a trailer there for a long time until her death. I am going to try to be the snowbird and stay a few months. With an active population and a transient one, many travelers and residents enjoy this old park. A big contingent from Canada also has a section they call their slice of Quebec. The RV section is mingled around some non mobiles, and the clubhouse and pool areas are nice and friendly as my mothers decades of ownership there will attest. Visiting several times I enjoy the atmosphere and friendly neighbors. There is also laundry and other services I will use this winter.

A beautiful campground on the river.

Deep Creek preserve is a beautiful campground under Spanish moss covered oak trees whith trails that cross creeks and lead to the majestic Peace River.

Nice quiet area

Went during the summer, half of the park was under water from unusually high levels of rains but the park itself is very quiet and out of the way. Perfect if you want to get away as cell phones don’t always work out there. They have a couple of tours you can take as well. The treetop walk was a really amazing view of the surrounding area. The dear were right out by the road not paying any attention to the people going by.

So spectacular

Amazing watch for rats and make sure your food is sealed tight- bathrooms were clean and campsite had frequent trams to the dock and back for gear . went with 14 ppl, got two campsites and had an incredible time!!!

Floral Bloom and an Alligator Pit

In the month of May a beautiful bloom erupts in the fields of Myakka River State Park. It is a must see! Also check out the short hike to the Alligator Pit. Permits must be obtained early in the morning.

Nice Florida camping!

This is a nice state park, with access to some hikes and also kayaking on the river. We saw some gators on the side of the road, which was cool! The campground is very nice, when the weather is good! The bathrooms are clean and well kept.

Great Hiking

Oscar Scherer State Park has a diverse range of things to do. Many beautiful hiking trails comprise the swampy scrub. Check out the Legacy Trail that slices it’s way through the park. Sign up for the Scrub Jay 5k that is hosted there every year. The outer camp ground loops are dog friendly, but sites on the river are not (however, beautiful!) Gators can be spotted on or in the river!! Check out both playgrounds and the butterfly nature walk.

Excellent spot

I stayed here for two nights on a quick trip to Florida, loved every second. It’s small an cozy but the views are amazing. Easy in and out and feat location. Stay here if you have the chance.

Very peaceful

Very friendly camp host, he was eager to greet me n my crew of moto riders and offer us a cooler with ice and a dozen bottles of water. Gave us a site away from the main area for some peace and quiet and a great view of the sky’s above. Definitely a nice place to search out for a nice nite star gazing.

The worst place I have ever stayed!!

Most sites are permanent residence. There is no drainage - it rained and I woke up to find my camper surrounded by 4" of water. Although most available sites are pull-through, very narrow roads make it difficult to get in and out of the campground sites. The laundry facilities appear that the buildings have not been cleaned in many years. The best thing was mango trees providing all the mangoes one could carry.

A True Jurassic Park Not To Miss!

Myakka River State Park is a not to miss Florida State Park. Don't let the proximity to Sarasota Fool You! It is very close to Sarasota which makes it a good stop if you are visiting the area or an outstanding stop if you are from out of town as you can enjoy a little bit of Surf and Turf. 

As a Sarasota local who loves the outdoors, I've visited most of Florida's State Parks and this is one of my favorites for sure. We tend to neglect what we can do and see everyday and this is no exception. I'm always amazed. 

This time we camped out for the weekend even though we live about 10 miles away and we have never felt so far from home while being so close. Probably my first"staycation". 

You can paddle, hike, ride or just chill in this really large state park. Super clean and well run. All the staff are really nice and you can tell they enjoy being there. 

This park is the real deal and you will feel you are in another world. Get out and explore! 

Sidebar: A lot of people ask me why I share my favorite"secret" places with total strangers and the answer is that the very best places everywhere are under tremendous pressure from growth, development and environmental pressure. Once you see a place like this you will forever be changed and hopefully become an advocate for preserving them wherever you may be.

Best primitive camping ever!

Took my best friends on their first camping trip. We walked 5 miles to our campground. We took many beer breaks but were able to see so much wild life on our walk there. It was in the middle of nowhere, quiet, green, and perfect for our needs. I loved it and will be returning every year for this biological recharge my soul and body needs.

Secluded in the city

It is located between Nokomis and Osprey, an urbanized area of Sarasota county, however when you enter the park, it feels like you are miles from civilization. The Legacy trail runs through the park. There is also kayak and canoe rentals.

Close to town with a little history

  We recently stayed at Koreshan Historic State Park because our son and his family moved to the Ostero area and this is very convenient to their house. We had heard of the park and took the chance to drive trough before staying there. The campground is pretty small with a total of 54 sites and only 42 open to RVs with the rest reserved for tent campers. There is one bath house for the entire campground. It is located closer to the front of the camping loop so campers in the sites towards the back will have longer to go. The sites are equipped with electric and water. The sites are narrow and quite close to each other. There is some under story in between but they are so close that it makes little difference. They are sandy sites which I imagine can get quite soft in the dry season. We stayed in July and the rain tends to keep things fairly easy to drive on but it sticks to everything. Be sure to bring leveling blocks for your RV. The sites are very uneven. The park is close to Tamiami Trail so you do hear some traffic noise at night. We stayed in site 28 which is near the back corner of the loop and the traffic noise was minimal. There is a path that runs behind the sites that leads to the bathroom facilities but the trail from our site to that path was overgrown and unusable. This was not the case on all the sites.

    The rest of the park is very nice with a newer picnic pavilion and nature trail along the Ostero River. There are canoes and kayaks to rent with a well maintained boat ramp. The nature trail runs from the picnic area through a large stand of bamboo to the historic site from which that park gets it's name. The Koreshan settlement was founded in the very early 1900s by a religious sect from the Chicago area. Many of the original buildings are still in the park and there are daily tours of the buildings and lots of information about the people who settled here.

   As I mentioned, this park is close to Tamiami Trail at the end of Corkscrew Rd.. You are minutes from grocery stores, hardware stores, restaurants and all kinds of retail shops. The Coconut Point Mall is right down the road. There is a movie theater, restaurants and the typical collection of upscale retailers you would find in a mall. The park's entrance is across an intersection from a good size strip mall with a Publix.

  Overall, we liked this park and found it a very convenient place to stay and hang out with our family. Not exactly "getting away from it all" but that's not why we came.

One of Florida's finest attractions

   Let me start by saying that I live very close to Myakka River Sate Park and it has been a place that four generations of my family have been enjoying for over 40 years. It is very large for a state park. You can spends days hiking the trails and paddling the river and lakes. The wildlife is everywhere! What would you like to see? Deer, wild hogs, alligators, birds of all kinds? You will probably see these and more at just about any time of year.

   There is a nice interpretive center, picnic grounds, boat tours, canoe and kayak rentals, and a tram tour through the park. Don't miss the canopy walk. It's a great way to see a part of the park's ecosystem that we normally only see from below. You also get a great view of the park in all directions from the top of the tower. Florida is flat and views like these are hard to come by. There is also a restaurant and store where you can get pretty good food with a view of the lake. My wife wants to make sure you know you can also get ice cream at the restaurant. 

    There are three camping areas for tents and RVs. The two older areas are called Big Flats and Old Prairie. The sites in these areas are close to each other and there is little or no under story between them. There is water and electric at each site with clean but older bathroom facilities. Both of the campgrounds are also close to the main road with some sites backing up to the road. There is a convenient dump station inside the park but no sewer hookups in these two campgrounds.

  The third and newest campground is called Palmetto Ridge. This one was obviously built primarily for large RVs with water, electric and sewer connections at every site. The bathroom facilities are more up to date and very nice. They are also not used as much by the campers because this area is mostly filled with huge motor coaches and fifth wheels that all have their own facilities and do not need to worry about their holding tanks because they have full hookups. The sites are pretty roomy and there is plenty of under story in between to keep you from feeling like you are right on top of your neighbors. There are quite a few pull trough sites in this area. They are improved gravel sites and most are very level. The sewer hookups are a little higher than you would expect. It will take some supports to keep a positive flow. If you know how much it rains here in the Summertime you will know why these must be kept above the flood stage level.

   A note about rain: Florida gets a lot of rain in the Summertime. It is not uncommon to get multiple inches of rain in a very short time and this can happen almost any day between June and the end of September. The river and lake do flood and large parts of the park are in their flood plain. the Big Flats campground can be shut down because it is the closest to the lake. This is not a reason to avoid Myakka in the Summertime. We have camped there in June and August and if you find someplace cool to hangout during the day you will be rewarded with very pleasant walks and paddles with lots of wildlife to see in the mornings and evenings. Pro tip: If you are staying in the park, get up really early to see the sunrise from the top of the canopy walk.

    There are two other ways to spend the night in Myakka River State Park. There are cabins available to rent and primitive camp sites in the hiking areas. The cabins have recently been rebuilt and I must admit I have not seen the new ones. We did stay in the original cabins before we got our RV and they were very nice for a family getaway. With a kitchen, bathroom and air conditioning they are a very comfortable way to spend some time in the park. The original cabins were built with palm logs by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps). The CCC was a program to create jobs and improve public facilities during and after the Great Depression. Some of that construction can still be seen at one of the picnic areas in the park. There is also a monument to the CCC inside the park. Backpackers can spend a few days hiking the trails and camping at the primitive sites. Haven't done that myself since I was a kid back in the 70s but they were great trips. No noise or light pollution. On a cool, clear night the star gazing in fantastic. My wife wants me to make sure you know that she won't be at the primitive campsites but hopes you enjoy yourself and not to forget about the ice cream.

   For native Sarasotans, Myakka River State Park is a beloved point of pride. Most people never leave the beach when they come here for a visit and miss what the rest of Florida looks like. It is well worth your time to spend a few nights away from the beach and see what else makes this such a special place. This is a very popular spot and the campsites and cabins book up early especially for the Winter months. Reservations can be made 11 months in advance on the reserve America website.

Great winter campground

We love this campground in the winter. We like to reserve 24 or 25 right across from the playground and close the hiking trails. It’s a great campground to bring the bicycles and enjoy the many many trails!

Very interesting historic park, near Naples

We first came to Koreshan ( core-resh-in) as a place to get near Naples to visit relatives. The campground is mainly two circles, one inside the other. Sites are small but manageable and have relatively good screening between sights. There’s kayaking on the river and a little bit of hiking. The main attraction is the historic Koreshan commune. It’s a short hike along the river. There’s lots of wildlife snakes, gopher tortoises, etc to see and some very cool giant bamboo from the original gardens. If it’s windy stop and listen to the bamboo! The historic buildings and information is very interesting, very odd beliefs and well kept.
There are frequent gatherings at the historic site such as vintage camper trailers when we were there.
Bathhouse is in serious need of renovating, but is kept clean. It’s located in the center of everything and sometimes quite a walk depending on your site. The campground stays pretty busy all year.

Small Park not far from civilization

Oscar Scherer is full of wildlife, not far from lots of big cities.   The campground itself is small but nice.  Lost of sites back up to a small river but those sites right on the river are not kid or pet friendly so be careful when you make reservations.   There are a lot of trails throughout the park. Many are scrub oak communities and consequently there’s a fair population of scrub jays.   We also saw otters, bobcat, raccoon and gopher tortoise.   The park is also adjacent to the Legacy bike trail.  A linear trail that runs from Sarasota to Venice, FL.  So there’s some long bike rides opportunities.   Bathhouses are ok maybe a 7/10.

Perfect!

WHATEVER YOU DO BRING BUG PROTECTION! I brought sawyers big lotion and 2 thermacell bug repellents and in 24 hours got 2 bug bites! Fire ants too are a big thing, aside from that the campgrounds are CLEAN. The bathrooms are brand new.

Peaceful & Perfect

We found the perfect campsite. Private, quiet. The campground, trails, and historic site are dog friendly, which is perfect for us. The bath house is clean. Campground is well kept. Love the farmers market every Sunday at the settlement.

Very nice

Growing up, this was one of our go-to campgrounds because we had jet skis and it was nice that they have their own boat ramp for guests to use. They do a lot of games and kid-friendly interactions on big weekends (holidays). The last time I was there, they expanded their sites, but all the new sites have absolutely no shade so I would not recommend that side during the hot summer months. The staff is very friendly and helpful. Very clean, pool is nice and they have a game room.

Depends on the weekend

My husband and I have camped here numerous times, I actually frequented this campground with my family growing up, and we have had more good experiences than bad (from what I can remember we only had 1 bad experience). It used to be more family oriented than it is now, but still family friendly (it’s nothing like the crazy parties at mud holes like RYC and those places). I feel they have started to nickel and dime the customers (IE - you have to pay extra per day to use your AC in your camper and you have to have a wristband to even ride and ATV/SXS/golf cart). It’s gets pretty crowded on holiday weekends, which could be fun or annoying, depends on the type of person you are. I like that they are staying to do events with live bands on the weekends to bring in more customers (look on their Facebook page), but like I said, we frequent this campground and overall, do and will continue to recommend to our friends and family. I think my favorite part about this campground is the site options. They have buddy sites that you can share with up to 4 campers. It’s great for when we bring friends with us, so we all share a concrete/brick pad but they do sell out fairly quickly so plan in advance if you’re going on a holiday weekend.

Simple place

If your looking for a weekend get away this is not the place. If you are looking for long term camper living this is the place for you. The sites dont have fire rings or bbq pits and they are very small and cramped together but what can you ask for. They do have a heated pool and are close to town since they are in the middle of it. Coin operated laundry and there is a day room

Nice park

Sites are a bit tight if you have a larger rig but they are big enough. My family and I enjoy this campground. Rent a canoe from the ranger station to go down the estero river and see manatees and dolphins or take a stroll in the historic living area. There are plenty of gopher tortoises and armadillos around to see and every trip we have taken here we have seen at least 1 giant Easter diamond back rattlesnake!