Visiting Florida's state parks and beyond in our Roadtrek. This is how we saw it all. Hopefully, the posts will give you some useful information. Questions and comments are welcome.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Weekend at Florida's Highlands Hammock State Park

This park is known for its hiking trails, which range in distance from 975 feet to over 3,000 feet.  Eight of the nine trails are located on the loop drive, and visitors can easily extend their walks as several connect via a bridge or catwalk. Trails run through hydric hammock, cypress swamp, hardwood swamp, and pine flatwoods. 

Our campsite has its utilities on the "wrong" side so we pulled in nose first in order to reach them with the water hose and electric cord and still not be too close to the firepit.  A little inconvenient as it puts the awning on the wrong side.  But, as shady as it was it wasn't needed.  The sites are 50/50 undefined haphazard relative to other parks we have been too.  Not really a problem.  Nice place.

It's New Year's Eve and the campground was full.  Really full.  There was a Casita travel trailer group so a lot of them and a lot of tents in addition to motorhomes of all sizes.  Great weather.

Where the camp site loop road makes the turn there is a playground with pavilions, picnic tables, and grills for the family.  The other two are located in the picnic area and at the recreation hall. 

This is a Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) park and like most 9 CCC parks in Florida there is an area in the park dedicated to the CCC workers that includes a small museum. Very interesting.

 An original grader used in the park construction stands in front of the park museum.

The method of payment for work done.
An old carbide lantern used during construction.

 This weekend there was a small table of items on exhibit from the park.


Just outside of the campground is the first of many boardwalks that traverse the wetland part of the park.

A three-mile paved loop drive through the hammock offers nature study and is ideal for bicycling, roller blading and roller skating. There is also a 6-mile off road trail ideally suited for mountain bikes.

But, be aware.  Alligators may also share the road.  This one was in a ditch only 5 feet from the road looking very protective.

 And here's why.  In the lower left of the photo you can see the carcass of a wild pig.  The gator is not in a sharing mood.

The view from one of the trail boardwalks.

Even in the park there are decisions required.  One can always come back and take the other trail.  Both are great trails.


On one of the dry trails.

Another dry trail.

Along Fern Trail

 Cypress and ferns.

Cool reflections.

Along the catwalk.

And, into the hammock.

 Single lane traffic on this boardwalk.  The tree is encroaching on the walk space.

Reflection among the lily pads.

Cypress reflection.

Mother Nature's art in the form of a decaying root system.

American Beautyberry

Red Maple showing its brightest reds.

Looks like a character in a cartoon show on TV I once surfed by.

Dahoon Holly

White egret sharing the marsh with a nearby gator.

And finally, back to the campsite and a snack and campfire on New Year's Eve after a day of hiking.  Although fireworks are prohibited in Florida State Parks, after dark a few found there way in.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Weekend at Florida's Lake Louisa State Park

Just a little south of Clermont on SR27, this park has lakes for fishing and boating, hiking trails, cabins and a day park with a swimming area, beach and picnic area besides an excellent campground.

The sites are well defined level gravel with 50 amp service, water, fire pit and picnic table.  Some have a sewer hookup. There is very little shade in this campground as it is a rather young campground and trees planted are still small.  Good side privacy at most sites.  Our site is #48 at the end of loop C.  Strange, though, there are two loop Cs.  No loop B.

There are three loops with a clean bathhouses and close access to two lakes and a lengthy hiking trail.  The loop road is paved.  There are 11 pull-throughs.
While there is no swimming allowed in the two lakes surrounding the campground, there are three piers to fish from.  At one pier there is a boat launch and picnic area. This is the pier to Hammond Lake.  The pier on Dixie Lake is similar.

The Dixie Lake shoreline off the pier.


Hammond Lake shoreline.

The other direction on Hammond Lake.

Further around Dixie Lake another pier.  One can launch a canoe or kayak here.  There are rentals available.  There is also a pavilion with grill here.
Precautionary signs at Hammond Lake and Dixie Lake.  Not a swimming area.  But, there is a swimming area on Lake Louisa which is a good drive from the campground.  But, if you are into beach, picnicking and swimming it's the worth drive. Kinda long for hiking and biking.

 Another one to think about.

Things seen along the way:

Something going on the water's surface.

Exploding into cotton ball lookalikes.

The sunsets were nice this weekend.