Experience Camping in Florida
by Bob Carter

Just think. You could visit two of Florida's state parks a week for a year and not see them all. Let your compass guide you to any of Florida's 141 state parks and take full advantage of the diversity they offer. Any time is a good time to visit. There couldn't be a better time to camp than now. Here are a few ideas to get you started on a family camping experience you'll long remember.

TOP BEACHES. Visit four of the top ten beaches in the U.S.--all located in Florida. St. Andrews State Recreation Area, Caladesi Island State Park, St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, and Bill Baggs Cape Florida Recreation Area were all voted in the top ten by Stephen Leatherman in his fifth annual "Best Beach" survey.

PRIMITIVE CAMPING. Leave the modern world behind and get back to nature. Consider St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, a bird-watchers paradise, or O'Leno State Park where the Santa Fe River flows underground for more than three miles.

BOAT CAMPING. Let the gentle rocking of your boat lull you into a peaceful slumber. Consider Hontoon Island State Park and gain a different perspective on life from the eight-foot observation tower, or Caladesi Island State Park, one of the few remaining undeveloped barrier islands on Florida's Gulf Coast.

COASTAL CAMPING. Fall asleep to the sounds of nearby waves. Consider Anastasia State Recreation Area with its miles of white, sandy beaches and lots of feathered friends. Or, check out Johathan Dickinson State Park, on Florida's only designated national wild and scenic river.

INLAND CAMPING. Camp under towering oaks that let the stars peek through. Consider Highlands Hammock State Park, home to abundant wildlife, or Stephen Foster State Folk Culture Center, side of the Florida Folk Festival.

CABINS. Pamper yourself while still enjoying the natural side of life. Consider Gold Head Branch State Park and St. Joseph Peninsula State Park with waterfront cabins, or Blue Spring State Park with family vacation cabins.

Camping fees vary throughout the state according to the season, site, extra persons, use of electricity, and extra vehicles. Year-round reservations are accepted in person or by telephone at many of Florida's state parks. Complimentary copies of "Florida State Parks...the Real Florida," "Florida State Parks Festivals & Events," "Florida State Parks" map and detailed descriptions, and the "Florida State Parks Fee Schedule" are available free by calling or writing: Florida Park Service, 3900 Commonwealth Boulevard, MS 535, Tallahassee, FL 32399-3000, 904-488-9872.

For more information on any of Florida's state parks, call 800-529-5329. Have your fax number ready and request document number 500. The information will be sent to you at no charge within two to five minutes.

Florida State Parks


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