Timothy B.

Orlando, FL

Joined March 2019

Lifetime camper but recent graduate to travel trailer life. Getting too old for crawling in and out of a tent but will always have fond memories of camping from Florida to California and many places in between over my lifetime. Documentary filmmaker with my wife of 34 years with retirement on the horizon.

Urban Oasis

So this park has been so encroached upon by urban sprawl that there's a rather constant drone of traffic from the two-lane road used to access the State Park and all the neighborhoods that have been built right up to the parks boundaries. The traffic is only really audible from the campground not so much farther into the park near the spring swimming area. Even more remote is paddling down the river that flows from the spring boil. This is a busy place on summer weekends so busy the park reaches capacity sometimes as early as 10:00am as with all Fl. state parks use Reserve America for camping reservations. I give it 5 stars because the springs are phnomenal and the river is perfect. Bring 'em if you got 'em: kayaks,bikes,lawn chairs,fishing rods,bug spray but that last one is a given anywhere in Florida. Pro tip: if you have your own watercraft they will allow you to chain it up near the canoe launch which is advisable as it's quite a hike from the parking lot to the river.

Hikers dream!

With 40 miles of trails it’ll take us many visits to hike them all. We had six nights in March 2020 and managed ten miles of the Pine Mountain Trail’s 25 miles. Wolf Den Loop trail has five waterfalls within five miles of the Pine Mountain Trail and the loop is completed with 2.4 miles White Candle Trail. That was a full day for us the next day we did Dowdell’s Knob Loop that has some beautiful vistas and a memorial to the parks namesake. When you’re worn out from hiking the Liberty Bell pool offers great relief a strikingly beautiful pool with a flagstone bottom. Nearby is the towns of Pine Mountain and Warm Springs. I recommend Chipley’s Chicken in Pine Mountain and the Little White House and FDR museum in Warm Springs. A little farther afield is Plains Ga. where President Jimmy Carter grew up and lives to this day. The small farm he grew up on has been made into a National Historic site with recorded narration by the President. The Plains High School has also been turned into a museum.

Orange County Fl. Parks Rool!

My phone/camera failed this trip hence only one photo. For a park so close to an urban setting exceptionally wild. Deer, fox squirrels, wild pigs, alligators,waterfowl,jet airliners. So that last item would be the one of two negatives. The park sits in the flight path of Orlando International Airport. Air traffic slows down around 10pm. Another negative the aforementioned alligators. Moss park used to have a lake swimming area until someone was bitten by said gator. Nice hiking trail through Split Oak Preserve, the Preserve is under threat by developers right now so hurry while nature lasts! Pro-tip Orange County parks have their own reservation website, they don’t show up on aggregators like Reserve America. This is a shame as the website is ridiculously clunky and hard to navigate, but each of the four parks have their own staff and phone number.

Georgia State Parks Rock!

Having only two nights here left a great impression. One of F D Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps masterworks so important to this parks existence that they have a museum on site describing in great detail the transformation of this particular valley. As with all of the Ga. state parks I’ve had the pleasure to visit the campground is immaculate. Lots for the kiddos here with a man made lake and paddle boats and canoes for rent, a miniature golf course, and a creek that runs through the campground that seemed the biggest attraction for a great many of the kids. Hiking trails are exceptional for the adults. We chose a very strenuous trail that delivered on the promise of a beautiful vista looking down on the park and campground. We were there in the last week of July 2019 before Covid so much I describe might be in shutdown mode right now.

Private campground with a state park feel

Located directly off Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 324.8 Spruce Pine N.C. Site are level well shaded with a little separation from neighboring sites. Full hookups including sewer, which was a first for us, and clean bathhouse. The only real knocks I would give it are the gas powered golf carts they rent to those that want them. Noisy and smelly with kids behind the wheel just joyriding not really going anywhere but back and forth by our campsite. Proximity to all the Parkway has to offer is it’s greatest asset. Within minutes of a u-pick apple orchard, Linville Falls, Grandfather Mtn., The towns of Banner Elk, Boone, and Blowing Rock. Our site overlooked a heavily wooded valley that lit up every night with fireflies. It was hard for me to find any negatives.

Needs some TLC

This park has so much to offer and comes through on most, but (you knew this was coming) it needs an infusion of money to update and upgrade the campground. We had to request a site change as the site we had reserved was under water when we arrived. Rangers were more than accommodating and in fairness to them a tropical storm had just made a pass of the state in the Gulf of Mexico. Also because of Covid the pool was closed. We did take a very cautious dip in the river but it’s Florida and gators are present. Bring a kayak, biking is limited, for us it was restricted to the park as we were uncomfortable with the county roads with no shoulder outside the park. Not much to see in nearest town Zephryhills but good for restocking the pantry and if you want it fast food.

Perfection!

So in reading earlier reviews let me start by saying this is Florida and as a native I’ve come to terms with bugs, no where in the state to completely avoid them, so I embrace the “suck”:)The park has changed from when I was a child and tent camped there many Easter weekends. A1A used to bisect the park and separated the campground from the beach making for a game of “Frogger” to go for a swim. That has changed and for many years now that section of road is a dead end park road that only park visitors can use. The other change is the St. Augustine Ampitheater used to be an attraction called “The Sword and the Cross.” Both these changes have been an improvement. The beach has something all Florida beaches should have, a wheelchair path across the sugar sand, making it accessible for all. Sooo many sites here all look very inviting with lots of shade and yet very hard to get reservations which should tell you something about how beloved this park is to so many. Pro tip if there is a band playing that you like but can’t get a ticket the proximity to the campground is such you can take a beach chair and a can of bug spray and listen to the concert. That concert though may be why there will be no availability in the campground. Bring bikes as it’s an easy ride into St.Augustine and much less stressful to navigate the narrow streets and scarce parking. Lighthouse is a landmark on that bike ride worth the slight detour.

Hidden Gem

This is a State Park I grew up in, camping illegally dodging park rangers, so I’m somewhat biased but become more lawful. Campground sits in an oak hammock on Myrtle Creek salt marsh directly across A1A from the ranger station and one of the most pristine beaches in Florida. The best sites afford a view the salt marsh but they are limited in number and accessibility. The whole campground is very tight and big rigs will find it impossible. Follow the guidelines on size allowance on the booking site. Things to bring: beach gear, bikes, kayaks, fishing gear. Big Talbot Island is just to the north and has a bike trail that can be ridden all the way to Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach a great foodie and shopping town with history. The bike trail is mostly well off A1A and shaded there is one bridge crossing from Big Talbot to Amelia that you’re forced to use the shoulder of A1A. I concur with an earlier review that 38 is THE site 39 is also a great view but they have the power on the correct side and water far away and on the wrong (passenger) side. we had to go into town and buy a second hose to make water connection.