Kara C.
Winter Garden , FL
Joined May 2019
Great for kids

While we only stayed overnight I could see how, with all of the amenities such as the pool and giant slide, bounce pad, mini golf, etc., this would be a good stop for families. It is right off I-95 so the road noise is ever-present but it does diminish the further back you go. There are a variety of sites offered—some are gravel with a cute patio set while others are just grass. They are all pull throughs. The sewer hookup at our site (C14) was at an angle which made it difficult to keep the hose in when emptying our tanks, so poor design there.

Beautiful views

The campsites along the lake offer fantastic views. You can canoe/kayak on there 2 lakes. The hiking trail could be better maintained and it offers very little shade.

One of our “go-tos”

We love stopping here when passing through Georgia. The campground is quiet and the sites are well-maintained.

Need to check it out again

We didn’t spend a lot of time here but we liked what we saw while here. The staff was friendly when checking in. Our site faced the small pond and was quiet.

Keep going back

This campground offers wildlife and great views. We were able to go hiking and kayaking at this park and saw deer while at our campsite in the evenings. We’ve stayed twice now and enjoyed it both times in different sites.

Great hiking views!

The West Rim offered a few pull through sites with electric and water hookup as well as back in sites. We were able to walk right into the trails from the campground during the day and enjoy the lightning bug show in the evening!

A peaceful experience

This park is quiet and calm even when it’s busy. There are sites near the salt marshes that offer little to no shade and there are sites away from them that have more shade. The bathrooms are clean and nice with laundry facilities. All sites are pull through with full hook-ups for RVs/trailers. The campground has a short walking trail through the woods while there is another back at the main park. You can also launch boats and kayaks directly from the campground but beware of strong currents and winds if kayaking (be sure to get tidal charts and a map from the checkin desk if you’re adventurous enough to go exploring far). Staying at the campground offers you half price admission to the Fort and museum which is worth visiting. We saw several deer roaming around the campground as well.

Would come back again and again.

NOTE: We stayed at the Live Oak campground so my evaluation is only for that location, not the beach campground. The sites were surrounded by vegetation and with quite a few of the sites you essentially share a site location with another site. The sites vary greatly in size and a I recommend bringing a long freshwater hose with you if you are RVing. I also recommend having your freshwater tank full before arriving for drinking purposes as the water here has a salty taste to it (the rangers inform you of that upon checkin and apparently it’s a thing across the island). The park itself was quiet and you have relative privacy (except for noted above). The bugs weren’t too bad but be aware of ticks. While staying at the Live Oak campground you are also able to access the state park’s daytime beach access for free. The beaches here are nice and sandy and the beach access form the park was less crowded in the morning than the public access areas.

NOTE: we did drive through the beach campground while at the other location and noticed a lack of shaded sites compared to the Live Oak Campground.

Lack of privacy and more

Several things turn me off of this campground. First, the campsites offer absolutely no privacy or separation. Second, we paid for a premium site, however, our site (#65) flooded and became clay-muddy when it rained. It was also difficult to find due to poor labeling. Third, many of the sites did t take advantage of the view of the lake by having the hookups on the “wrong” side of the site.

Okay sites, could be better?

We stayed at the Big Brook Loop which offers full hookups. These sites do not offer anything in the way of privacy but do offer lots of shade and gravel sites. Access to hiking trails is easy as is the cute, quaint town of Helen. We were staying July 4th week so it was, of course, busier, as it normally would be during the summer peak months. Comfort station is mediocre. There is supposed to be laundry at this loop but there are no washer or dryer in the laundry room. (I didn’t check the other areas that are stated as such on the campground map)

Well-maintained Park

Stayed in our RV several days over the course of a weekend. We were in the loop (1) that did not have sewer hookup but there was a dump station available for when we left. The newer Loop (2) has nicer bathrooms and showers and laundry as well as sites with sewer hookup. Some sites have more shade than others, we were at site 9 which was very shaded. Great kayaking available and rentals are available as well. Good hiking trails, too.

Spectacular views

Our site (#7) was right on the lake, as many of them are at this campground. We have an RV and even though they say they are 50 amp, they must have recently updated them and added 30 amp. We were able to launch our kayaks right from our campsite and saw several others launch boats from theirs. Serene views everywhere we looked. We were there during the week and it was very quiet.

Choose campsite wisely

We came during the week in the summer and the campgrounds were peaceful. There were lots of deer roaming the camps but I think that was due to the fact that people were feeding them which is disturbing. Our campsite (#11) was a dirt site which was not good when it rained (and it did). They have some gravel sites and a few concrete sites available as well. The hookups for the sites are not very well thought out. The hookup for the sewage was well far forward of any traditional RV or trailer’s setup. In addition, our site required us to dump UP HILL!! Gravity said otherwise. Would I stay again? Probably, but I would be more particular about which site I chose. Manatee Springs itself has great swimming in a small area and is a good spot for kayaking in the Suwannee River. The map they give you at the Ranger station is not to scale, everything is much closer together than it appears. A con is that we had no cell service in the campground. There was WiFi provided at the concession stand at the Springs but it was poor. Additionally, there is only one dumpster for the campgrounds at it is at the RV dump station which is a bit of a walk if you don’t have a car with you.