Dan X.

Pro

St. Petersburg, FL

Joined November 2020

Monkeys y'all

Spacey sites, though tent campers run the risk of RV generators in your ear as per most Florida state park sites.

Took me two days to see monkeys. I'd recommend staying 3 days if this is your primary reason for visiting the park. The Swamp and River trails (both trailheads are near the campground) are your best bet for seeing them on foot, but I only saw them by boat.

If you have your own boat or paddleboard, you can launch from the ramp half a mile off the River trail ($2 launch fee) and paddle upriver, then float down in the hopes of seeing monkeys.  You can also launch from Ray Wayside Park and paddle all the way up (6 miles, get wrecked).

In addition to a troop of rhesus macaques I saw gators, cormorants, anhinga, hella fish, great blue heron, red bellied cooters, and one otter!

Caves, caves, caves!

The campground is standard fair, firepit/grill, lots of room. I've been up a few times and never had anyone next to our site given how remote it is. Great Nat'l Monument to visit during the winter because the caves stay the virtually the same temperature year round.

Explore the largest concentration of lava tubes in the whole world? Yes please!

Headlamp and helmet are musts. Gloves and kneepads recommended if you're planning on crawling around.

Nice hikes and petroglyphs to check out if you want some sunlight.

Great for RV/ATV/dirtbikes ... not so much if you prefer primitive tent

Ended up here after our first choice was flooded out.

Pros:

Lots of amenities and a camp store. Even if you're 'primitive' camping, there are amenities at the entrance of the property.

Close to Peace River for fossil hunting - we found LOTS and the camp store sells all the gear you need.

Cons:

Loud vehicles at all times goin' real fast with shiny lights and various Toby Keith songs bumpin' (no shade on Toby Keith, but I'd rather not hear Red Solo Cup at 1am when I'm camping)

Best stopover on the Black Canyon River Trail

NPS allows about 2 dozen outfitters to rent you kayaks or canoes for guided or self-guided tours down Black Canyon south of Lake Mead (see NPS website for more info). Permits and boat costs differ by vender.

Do a 2-3 day from Hoover Dam to Willow Beach or longer to Placer Cove.

Arizona Hotsprings (about a mile down the river) is a popular place to camp on this river route, but I'd check out Moonscape first! There was a big-ish group right off the river where there is a clearing big enough for 10 and we hiked about a half mile past them toward Moonscape Hotsprings where there is another clear campsite with a fire-ring to the left. Totally secluded & closer to the hot springs!

River levels change a LOT so make sure to tie your boats down to something before exploring any canyons / hot springs.

You *can* get to this site without a boat but only with some solid nav and rappelling skills and gear. We saw a small group who had rapped in with tiny inflatable boats and floated out. Very cool, also looked exhausting.

BYO everything - including firewood - and pack EVERYTHING out (including poop and no ground fires allowed, so bring a big wok or baking pan).

First to Review
Excellent remote-ish campground!

Stayed for two nights with a group of friends. Super nice camp host, good fishing on the river. We had 2 cars so we were able to float down the river in an inflatable raft for a day trip and drive back up w/the second car. Site has water, bathrooms, wood for sale and is super close to town if you need to pick something up at the store, but still feels far enough away to be a nice retreat.

Not much else to do other than fish and float (no close hikes).

good spot for desert hooligans

Easy access to the hot springs and no services to speak of. Basically a patch of dirt you can occupy for $10 a night. Loved it.

A whole lotta nothin' around

Which I loved!

Pit toilets, no water, a little cell service with ATT. Half the sites were full but with quiet folks. There's a little hike from the campground and an abandoned cabin to check out nearby.

2WD can make it just fine, but probably good to have a AWD/4WD after a heavy rain.

So close yet seems so remote!

Basically no one there when we stayed. Some excellent hikes and good climbing if you're into that.

This park is such a treat!

Stayed a couple of days in the big forested campsites. The geothermal features are unique (especially if you haven't been to Yellowstone). There are rental kayaks nearby and plenty of hikes. We did a really interesting cindercone hike.

Plenty of space in the woods

Stopped over on my cross country drive and pitched a tent before a thunderstorm -- dicey! Did not die and the facilities were solid.

Summer windstorms

Stayed here on my cross country drive. Real calm at dusk on this reservoir, it picked up real fast into a certified windstorm by 2AM when I felt like my tent was about to be blown away into oblivion. LOTS of RVs.

BIG sites near lots of hiking

Had a group of 10 in the fall. Plenty of space for tents, cars, and anything else you'd want to haul in. Close to a lot of nice hikes, near the AT.

Nice sites, crammed in wall to wall

Really beautiful area. Sites w/grills that can fit 2 cars. Foliage between sites so they are visually private but can get loud depending on your neighbors. Plenty of space for hammocks.

Camp store on site has firewood, bug spray, sunscreen, all the basics.

We tent camped in July and it was truly the hottest I've ever been. Character building.

Remote site with great fishing

Did some car camping here in March and it was already hot and full of mosquitos. The sites are huge and far from each other. Big dock with heavy day (and evening and early morning) use from serious fisherman.

Only 1 other site was occupied.

Walk in primitive sites, as swampy as it gets

There are normal drive in sites and primitive hike-in sites.

Hiked in the mile or so to the primitive sites -- pack everything you need in. HELLA skeeters in the woods, bring high DEET spray. We went after it had rained and about a quarter of the trail was basically a mudpit. We were the only ones out there, which was great!

Canoe or kayak down the river is a must do! Gators, turtles, lots of birds and all downstream so pretty lowkey paddle.

A last minute tent option

Not so much camping as much as a place you can pay to pitch a tent for a night if you need to in a pinch. Basically staying in an RV park near the water.

Nice little lake

Started a 4 day kayak trip around LBL (41 miles from Energy Lake to Fenton Self Service Campground) from Energy Lake. Nice spot, lots of skeeters in the summer.

Best access to big cave

The campground is standard run of fair, pretty spacious & woodsy. THE CAVE IS VERY BIG AND COOL. Reserve the all day guided tour with crawling about in small spaces for the best experience. Make sure your boots have enough tread or you won't be allowed to do the tour!

Cabins, group sites, hike ins on the AT

We hosted group camping trips here for years. Excellent spot! The lodge has bathrooms and a small store. You can rent kayaks and canoes and swimming is allowed on Catfish Pond -- plenty of fish, snapping turtles, and other wildlife. If you're there in the summer, I'd recommend taking a kayak around the lake and filling it with wild blueberries. Lots of hiking options as well.

Tent sites are either on the ground have wooden platforms. Cabins come in various sizes.

Nice bike ride to the beach

Did a weekend bikepacking trip from New Brunswick to Allaire. Big sites that you can hear the highway from. A really nice bike ride to Ocean Grove and other beach towns. There are outlets in the bathroom and someone put a fullass drip coffee machine in one of the sinks. I did not refuse a fresh cup of brew.