Date of Stay: July, 2009
We just came back from camping at the newly renovated campground. I had never camped at the previous campground but have read the reviews. There are now three loops. Two of the loops are in the field that is south of the office or store. One of the loops is north of the store. There is very little shade anywhere in the campground. They have planted small trees and they will grow up someday. The roads have been paved and the sites are pea gravel. The people who designed the loops obviously do not camp. If you are on the back sides of the loops from the very nice restrooms, there are no paths to the front of the restrooms without walking all the way around the loop or cutting through other folks campsites. It is the same story for getting to the office or the river from the back sides of the loops. Folks don’t seem to want to walk all the way around the road and were constantly walking 3 feet or less away from the campers or tents while cutting through campsites. The bathrooms on the south loops were very nice and had large ceiling fans to help keep them cooler than the usual 4th of July temperature. The bathroom on the north loop was a single stall and shower compartment for each sex but folks could also use the restrooms by the swimming pool. All of the sites now have full hookups which is very convenient. This is a great campground for tubers. You park 2 miles south of the campground at the parking area, ride the concessionaire’s shuttle to the river launch and then tube back to your cars. I don’t know the cost. That being said, the concessionaire has made it extremely annoying and difficult for anyone who brings their own kayaks or canoes. They have blocked off the road to the river with a gate near the office which only the shuttle buses can drive through and anyone else must haul your kayaks or canoes down to the river with your own cart or borrow the one and only cart at the office. This distance is more than a little carry; it is about a quarter of a mile. I don't plan to go back until they make putting in a kayak or canoe more reasonable.
Date of Stay: December, 2008
This park has a lot going for it. There is now, just outside the park entrance, a paved bike trail that goes to a lake. Take your bicycles. Of course there are the manatees and the opportunity to canoe and kayak. The less than desirable qualities: the habitat is scrub oak, there is little to no shade. Most of the sites are not level, be sure to take plenty of boards. The main problem we and 3 other camping units had was the noise from the trains. They run during the night and blow their whistles next to the camp. Each night we were disturbed at least 7 times, the latest at 2:20 AM. Try to camp on the West side of the campground. I don't know if this is just a seasonal problem but it is a discouraging factor for what is otherwise a nice camping experience.