I find myself torn between four and five stars on this campground. It turned out being everything we expected and more. As an camper with northern roots, I have found it hard to camp in Florida. This campground helped me relieve those worries.
I will start by saying that this campground is south of St. Pete and north of Ana Maria Island. We drove down from Orlando and it took us under two hours. We hit some traffic on 275 and the Parkway, but it is expected. There are two tolls (1.00 and .75) before you hit the park. One thing we learned and a good pointer is that if you intend on going into the park (which you probably will), you should go in and register BEFORE you go to the beach, even if before check in time. By paying for your site, they provide you a beach pass for two vehicles, which saves $5 each on parking.
The check in process was very simple. We arrived about an hour early and got everything set up. We were told to stop back between 12:30 and 1 (Advise that check in is at 1pm, so getting in early is not a guaranteed or expected result). The parking lot is a bit awkward, as the camper/trailer line blocks views and actual spots for cars..but it is trivial.
We had rented site 28 (mostly because it was one of the only ones available and best of the litter). There are three loops, and we were in the 1-86 loop. There are no pets and no RV's allowed, which was perfect for us. Most of the outer side of the loop has some sort of water. Water does not mean access. It seemed that the higher numbers (40+) had less access to water and more of a mangrove area. Depths of sites also varied widely. We must have done the camping gods some good, because we hit the site karma. Our site was nice and deep, with a weird little island (former tree/stump) in the middle. This actually made us divide the tent area up into two sides, which worked out well. The site has plenty of options for both clothes lines and hammocks. We opted to put the "kitchen" towards the back of the site with the water view, and fire bin (rented for $3 from the campground office). We had neighbors on both sides and across (this places always sells out) and it was still fairly secluded. They did a great job at keeping a lot of natural growth to maintain privacy and a true tropical feel. There was plenty of shade, but also plenty of sunshine when you wanted it. This site also gets direct sunlight after about 9am (based on mid october), so plan accordingly. It gets toasty :) We have an inflatable raft that we took out in the water. We were greeted by dolphins, sting rays and manatees.
The bath house is pretty central and literally across the road from our site. We had expected a much further walk based on the map, but it was just a 1 minute walk. They were ample, but nothing to write home about. They clean them daily, so they are not bad. The showers leave a lot to be desired with water pressure and privacy. They share a common area with stalls and cheap liners that offer little privacy. Again, it is camping so this isn't a complaint, but a warning. Also, bring your own toilet paper.
There is a playground with good swings and also a sturdy playground that offered plenty of opportunity for my four year old to blow off some steam. The ground is all recycled rubber, which I love as a parent.
The campground store is nice and good for essentials if you don't want to take the 15/20 minute drive to publix or 7 minute drive to 7-11. Firewood is a bit overpriced at $9 per bundle and the fire buckets are cheap at $3 per night. They also have basic food and camping supplies. Note that there is no alcohol allowed in the park, including the campground. All I can say is that you should use common sense. This is a family friendly place. They also rent bikes and kayaks.
The site was just a 10 minute drive to north beach, which is our favorite. There is plenty to do in the area. Overall, I love this place and look forward to coming back many times in the future. Note that they do start booking 6 months out and open up 10% of the sites for the weekend each friday at 7am if you want to try and get lucky.
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.
The campground here is very nice! The bathrooms are well kept and clean. The park itself is very nice, with some hikes and kayak rentals! You can kayak in the river, which is really neat to do. The campground is also not far from some big cities, such as Tampa and st pete, which is convenient.
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.
We take our RV once a year to Fort De Soto. We have a dog so we stay in the dog section right on the water. It is beautiful, shaded and we have access to the water on our kayaks from our back yard. Love this place. Too hot in Summer so head north but awesome in the winter.
This park/campground is beautiful. The grounds are kept immaculate. The camp sites are large and most provide shade and privacy. What I love about this park is the pristine beaches. There is a fort which is very impressive. If you like to bike, this park has plenty of area to ride.
Anclote Key Review There is only 1 way to get to Anclote Key and that is by boat. Whether you take the few hours and kayak the 3 miles over from Tarpon or motor in from one of the many docks in the area that is the only way you can get here.
“Ferry services do not drop visitors off for overnight camping. You must have your own transportation to stay overnight. Dogs are allowed only on North Anclote Bar.”
This seldom used camping area is wonderful after the sun sets and day visitors leave the island.
There four islands that combined make up the state park- There is a nice primitive camping area on the island not far from the lighthouse. Once you arrive take time to explore each area- Anclote Key, North Anclote Bar, South Anclote Bar and Three Rooker Island. There are over 11,000 acres full of migrating and native shorebirds and other creatures that have made their way to the island. Last count of bird species I believe was over 40! The 1887 lighthouse stands as a historical reminder on the southern end of the island. Occasionally tours can be made available by contacting the onsite ranger.
Spend your day swimming and sunbathing at the beach or kayaking around the island. If you arrived by motor boat try a bit of flats fishing but stay in designated areas and remember most area around the island in NO WAKE. Fire up the grill but make sure you leave no charcoal or burned wood pieces on the beach! EVERYTHING- and they mean everything you bring on the island must be taken off with you! There are no bathroom facilities and all human waste must be buried well and paper take in trash..
Enjoy a night of primitive camping under the stars without a sound except insects and lapping waves on the beach. There are no provisions offered on the island, so be prepared to bring your own water and supplies. Make sure all food is secured (we anchored our boat with provisions on board a bit off shore and swam in to no risk raccoons getting into gear as it was a calm night with clear weather). Usually it is quite windy so plan ahead.
A Florida Saltwater Fishing license is required to fish.
Reservations MUST be made in advance and the island does close during bad weather not allowing visitors to stay overnight.
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.
Fort De Soto Park is amazing. It offers something for everyone whether you are there camping or simply for the day. The beaches are amazing with TONS and TONS of parking. Great cycling, paddling, walking, exploring, fishing, kiting, or anything you want to do. It can get busy in season but the area is designed to accommodate the crowds except for the one lane road to and from so plan your visit according to your threshold for traffic and crowds.
I'm a Florida local from Sarasota and have visited many times but never to camp. We came with a small travel trailer and were lucky enough to get a site right on the water as many are which by itself is rare. Great weekend and honestly one of the nicest parks I have ever been to.
Its great that possibly the most valuable real estate in all of Florida's Gulf Coast was reserved for a county park in lieu of private condos and resorts. The park has a no alcohol policy which honestly is fine. Being such an urban destination I could imagine things getting way out of hand there to the detriment of more chill folks without the ban. Even though I like a cocktail as much as the next guy, i'll take the pleasant environment over the beer any day.
Thanks Pinellas Parks for such a great place for locals and guests to visit.
I was a regular at Caladesi for 6 yrs,we liked it there cause we could visit and have get togethers in the evening ,eat, play games, sit by a nice fire . The last two years there were hell, starting with no clotheslines, put your wet towel and suits from the pool on your camper! Clothesline just encouraged people not to use HIS washer and dryers . ( so he said) Then no fires (what? It's a campground!) last year was just the worst, no flags to be flown in his ground. No walking around to visit with a open container, he drives around all hrs of the night like a prison guard watching was putting notes on good peoples doors evicting them cause he thinks they are too comfortable! He is a nut who will yell in the middle of the night and throw rocks at your camper if he doesn't want you there . This year more than half of the snow birds got out and moved to other places and I can tell you that they are all much happier, all the new places that we all found were very reasonable , he raised the rent and said another substantial raise was coming so what he quotes you can change by the time you get there . He will tell you that he does not care about any one so do as he says at that moment or hit the road,
The only good thing about this place is location. There are more great locations that are much better and cheaper. Chris, the crazy manager makes people uncomfortable and stalks them if he doesn’t like them. He was caught banging and throwing rocks at someone’s RV at 3am because he wanted her to leave. He has turned people’s water off if he thinks they use too much. He has trapped many pets on site and disposed of them if he doesn’t know who’s it is. He is a spiteful person who throws a fit if he doesn’t get his way. The park is old and most of it is falling apart. He rents out moldy, leaking and way out of code RVs. He chased out most of the full time RV owners because he wants people he can charge more for. I went through there the other day and it’s just as crappy as ever. It looks like he is allowing new full time people in there after he raised the rent. Don’t use water, clean your unit or car. Don’t use power tools to work on anything or he will yell and tell you it’s against the rules. They do and will change the rules day by day as he sees fit. It’s just better to go elsewhere to avoid the conflict. Chris does drugs, and has regular sellers in the park. Has an extensive police records and is know well by the police. His wife even told people that he assaulted her before. He supposed to be disabled (he has a disabled tag in his car) but it’s obvious he has no disability other than anger and he thinks he is the “King of Tarpon Springs) along with other thoughts of grandeur. We have had out RV and our property damaged by him or people he hired and he doesn’t care at all. He said it’s my problem. I can go on and on but you get the point. Stay away!
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.
I typically avoid tent camping here in the summer months– early summer the trails are heavy with mosquitoes and summer rains bring a large amount of flooding. Though in the fall winter and spring this park is AMAZING. We were very lucky on this trip to have snagged spot at the high part of the riverside loop. Sites 20 and 21 typically stay dry enough for tents. Sites along the river side of loops are prone to flooding some holding as much as 4-6 inches of water.
This trip was a short overnight to get rid of some pent up cabin fever. We loaded up a tent and the bikes, praying for dry weather. The mosquitoes were not bad, almost none, the the river was near flood stage and inches from overflowing its bank near the campground.
The 2.5 mile loop from main entrance is perfect for biking, be careful near the pool area that is VERY crowded in the summer as many locals visit and it will reach capacity early in the day. You can rent bikes and canoes at the concession area near the stand if you did not bring your own. The grounds are beautifully kept, campground hosts are helpful, bathrooms clean and playground areas are plentiful. There are very nice pavilions and one air conditioned building available for rent for special events. If you are visiting in the summer call to make sure the site you booked is dry.
We did see where one person got his travel trailer stuck on the mud trying to get into his site. There are very few tent campers in the summer so be prepared if you are tent camping to hear neighbors a/c running all night.
I get products to test from time to time- today I am testing the INNO INH540 Bike Rack On first impression upon receiving– this is a heavy duty rack! Shipping weight is nearly 50lbs. and came fully assembled. This bike rack will fit both 1.25 and 2 inch receivers. We first tried to mount on my Jeep Liberty but we need to get a receiver extension as our spare tire prevented installation. So we mounted on our Dodge 1500 truck. I had to have my husband help me slip it into the receiver(was a bit awkward for me to do on my own).
I was very pleased to find the unit came with a hitch lock that was keyed the same as the cable lock for the bikes. Rack came with 2 keys so we each have a key on our ring and can access without looking for it.
The bars are adjustable and the rotating upper and lower cradles are well designed. The support bars also fold down when not in use. Another nice feature is locking pivot at base that will allow you to tilt the rack out of the way of tailgate to enable access without removing the entire rack.
The rack will hold 4 bikes up to 35 lbs each or a total of 140 lbs. We have mountain bikes with less space on crossbars of frame so was a bit tight to get loaded. Loading was much easier once we did it a couple times and got used to where we needed to place the cradles. Street bikes load with no issues,(we borrowed the neighbors bikes to test and to show off our new INNO bike rack– they were jealous)!
Order yours today from https://www.innoracks.com/ You will not be disappointed!
Fort De Soto is a beautiful campground. Many sites are right on the water. The sites are very well maintained and mostly separated from others by trees. The bathhouses are good. I absolutely love the general store, it has everything that you may need. I have camped here over 5 times and will certainly continue going.
This park is less than a five minute drive from me and for that reason alone, I've spent a lot of time there. Overall, the park needs a lot of TLC. The roads that are paved are in terrible shape as they are riddled with pot holes. During the rainy season, half of the park is closed off due to the road being flooded. I'm told you can access the other side form a nother entrance, but I've never found it and could never get good directions. There are some amenities available for peaople such as restrooms that are actually pretty decent, a park type are for kids, a gazibo that overlooks a lake, and picnic areas equipped with standard public grills. I have seen some grounds keepers keeping up the property, but aside from keeping it clean, which it is, they can't do much about pot holes or the closed of dangerous areas that get flooded. It has an archery range which is cool, but I believe its a bring your own equipment kind of affair, they don't rent gear out. I could be wrong, but that's what it appeared to be. I would recomend this place if you just want to grill out or generally be in nature for a few hours. Maybe they'll offer more in the future.
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.
Caladesi has boat in camp sites (i.e. you sleep on your boat.) It does not have tent camping sites.
If you can deal with that… It's a beautiful Island. One of the last undeveloped barrier islands in Florida. It's around 650 acres with tons of boardwalks and hiking.
Starkey Park campground is clean, rustic, and has lots of firewood for campers. There are many hiking, bike trails, and 2 playgrounds within mere steps of your tent or cabin.
I’ve camped here with my 4/5 year old boys and our Cub Scout pack.
The bathrooms are clean and easily accessible. There are also 3 primitive campsites available out on the trails.
We come down for a week in the summer to various places in FL and after a great experience last year, we gave this one a try again. Once again this rv park has been outstanding. It is pet friendly and everyone seems to clean up after their pets. The pool is clean and clear and that works for me. Also, the manager is always around greeting people and doing things around the park so the grounds are nice and tidy and the full time residents are friendly also. The grounds are decorated with native plants and there is one resident that checks and waters these plants/ flower beds daily to keep them looking nice. She does a great job and it makes the place look great. We can see them while walking to the ice cream shop right next door and it is nice. The restroom/shower house is ALWAYS clean. We don't always want to shower in our rv so this us important to us. It is located close to Honeymoon Island SP and has several local restaurants close by that give us that local atmosphere. This is a very pleasant place to be and when we leave we miss it and can't wait for our next stay! Ron& Gina from Locust Grove, GA