Top 5 Camping Sites In Florida

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,641
    Floridian and Outdoorsman Chad Crawford compiles his list for the top 5 camping experiences you can have in Florida.

    Chad Crawford: I am Chad Crawford and today, we are counting down how to do Florida's top five Florida camping adventures. Let's get started.

    Coming in at number five, we pack up the kids, tent and the chuck box and head to Ocala National Forest for some good old fashioned family car camping.

    It's camping for dummies as we travel to one of Florida's true gems, the Ocala National Forest for a family camping trip at Alexander Springs. Camping is all about the list, you got to work the list, okay. If it's not on the list, then, it is not going to go in the car and it's not going to be on the camp side.

    When you first arrive, here are some things to keep in mind. Pick a camp side with some shade, especially during the summer. Look for a side on a relatively high ground, pick a spot in close proximity to a water supply and bathroom.

    The spring was just a short walk from a camp side and the kids were dying to get in the water, so we jumped in and began canoeing down the spring's basin. And let me tell you, it was gorgeous.

    Studies show that children who are regularly exposed to the outdoors show less signs in anxiety and stress. And that does wonders for their parents too. And family car camping in the Ocala National Forest was a perfect way to experience the real Florida.

    Coming in at number four, we are going primitive as we head to Florida's intracoastal waterways to pitch our tent in one of the gorgeous uninhabited Spoil Island of the Indian River Lagoon System.

    Every year my dad and I try to get away on a father and son trip.

    Alright, get all the stuff from here into the boat, right.

    Male Speaker: Yeah.

    Chad Crawford: Our destination would be Spoil Island camp site number BC 47 which is just a few miles north of Sebastian Inlet.

    Prime real estate. Spoil island camping is lot of work, believe me, it's worth it.

    Look for a shady spot when considering where to setup your tent.

    You sure you got this thing on right?

    Male Speaker: Yup.

    Chad Crawford: It's a little wobbly. Home.

    Male Speaker: You are ready to catch some bait.

    Male Speaker: Yeah, I just saw some out there.

    Chad Crawford: Where.

    Male Speaker: Right over here, perfect size. Dont miss them.

    Chad Crawford: I won't mess them.

    After dinner we watched a beautiful Florida sunset and then it was time for the main event. Night fishing in the Sebastian Inlet.

    Great thing about island camping is just being so close to such a really great fishing.

    Oh yeah.

    Male Speaker: What was it?

    Chad Crawford: Oh it's the lady fish.

    Male Speaker: Like real tarpons.

    Chad Crawford: Real fun fish.

    I was after a snooker red fish. But a school of lady fish kept sucking up all of my bait.

    Male Speaker: Nice being out here.

    Chad Crawford: It was.

    So make Spoil Island camping your newest Florida Family Tradition.

    And number three in the countdown we're saddling up and moving out to show you how to do horse back camping Florida cracker style.

    The sunshine state's version of cowboy was known as a Florida cracker because of the loud cracking whip he used to drive his cattle. We headed over to Forever Florida's Crescent J Ranch. We saddled up and headed out for our three hour tour of natural Florida in its purest form. At last we made it to king of the cracker.

    Woo! Moon, got me here.

    This may be an old Florida experience, but the camping is not primitive. It comes equipped with modern conveniences like bathrooms, showers and hot water. Finally it was time to sit down in front of a roaring campfire and eat some cowboy vittles.

    After having our fill of steak and potatoes we kicked back as we watched the night sky light up with stars like I had never seen before.

    Here is how to be the captain of your domain as we show you how to do houseboat camping.

    Right in the middle of the 310 miles St. John's River lies a place untouched by time and progress. This is River Country and you could immerse yourself in this spectacular place as your own houseboat captain.

    We drove the houseboat up to the sandbar and dropped anchor in the clear sparkling water. The only thing left to do was dive in and enjoy Florida. The water was spectacular.

    Male Speaker: Ooh! I got one daddy, I got one.

    Chad Crawford: House-boating is all about charting your own course and creating a personal island oasis wherever you choose. And at the end of the day, it was time to fire up the girl. We got ignition. And get some houseboat burgers going.

    And then we bowed our heads and gave thanks for this time as a family in one of the most special places on earth.

    And now gliding down the Suwannee River and into our number one slot on our countdown, it's truly the trip of a lifetime. This is the one I will never forget and the one you have got to try. So sit back and take it in as we show you how to do canoe camping.

    The black water of the Suwannee River whines through jagged limestone cliffs and past high bluffs topped with ancient oaks. There is no better way to experience this primitive beauty than by venturing out on a canoe camping trip.

    This is like a good about to camp.

    Male Speaker: Looks like a awesome spot.

    Chad Crawford: When setting up camp your priority is always shelter, believe me you dont want to be setting up your tent in the dark.

    Chili or stew makes for a great canoe camping meal. It's easy to pack and hardy enough to fill you up. We ate dinner next to the fire, watched the moon, listened to the wildlife, but mostly we just enjoyed the moment.

    It's beautiful out here at night, ain't it?

    At first light with a gentle mist rising over the black water, it was time for a hot breakfast ham and eggs and dont forget coffee.

    Someway we got to pack up and get on the river.

    When you get down to it, it's really what canoe camping is all about, a journey. It's paddling down a beautiful river, taking in the amazing scenery and stopping to check out something that looks like fun, just because you can.