Please point me to any threads where this may already have been covered!
As a noob Jeep owner, I am looking forward to a whole new world of stuff to do!
Camping has really piqued my interest, and is something I want to get the family interested in (wife and 2 girls under six years old); I haven't camped out since I was wearing cammo in the USMC....but that's a whole different thing
I have identified a couple places from researching the 'net, but would like firsthand experiences and recommendations. I am confining myself to a day's drive from S. FL....the little ones aren't ready for a major roadtrip just yet....or rather, I am not ready to be cooped up with the little ones for more than a couple hours at a stretch
I really would love to find someplace one can drive on a beach and set up camp...Looks like there are a few good places in NC.
Also curious about backwoods/mountains in NC, GA, SC, or ?
I don't want the foo-foo camp resorts...I would like to have to go thru a little mud to get to the destination!~
Fishing is also a big plus for me! trout, bass, or saltwater....
I was fooling around on the internet this morning and came across your question. I don't usually have much to say, but I see no one has responded to you.
I live in Orlando. I've camped a few places that might interest you. You will need to search for more information using google or whatever. I will make a few assumptions about having young daughters, decent bathrooms, places to play, etc.
I bet there are lots of fun places associated with the Everglades, but I don't get down that way. So I don't have any suggestions. Winter would be the correct season to camp because of heat and bugs. That is generally true for all of Florida. But warm weather is fun if you want to add swimming to the mix. A tent with a large screen area will be necessary when mosquitoes are part of the party.
Sebastion Inlet state recreation area...state road A1A, just south of Melbourne is close to you. It has a popular campground just across the highway from the Atlantic Ocean. The inlet is a well known fishing area. Surfers like the way the waves break there. There wouldn't be any jeep trails though. And it's more of a RV or at least a "pop-up" camper type place.
Go to citrusjeepers.com and ask about the Withlacoochee state forest near Inverness, Fl. This is a little farther drive, but worth it. Ask about Holder Mine campground or Tillis Hill campground. I have camped at both. There are lots of easy miles of forest roads for jeep rides. You wouldn't have to worry about needing a hard core jeep. To get stuck, you'd have to try on purpose. There is a fun hike to limestone caves (about one mile walk) near the south end of the forest. Make sure to ask about hunting season. Jeep clubs frequently camp and/or ride in the area, often using Holder Mine campground as a meeting place.
The Ocala National Forest is my "local" destination. There are hundreds of miles of soft sand forest roads. A few are designated as jeep trails and get a little more overgrown. There are many campgrounds in the forest. Some are over used I would not recommend for a family weekend camp. Not that they are necessarily dangerous, but you can get some young folks just looking for a place to drink and raise cain. Again, hunting season will mean lots of pick-up trucks and dog runs, so you need to check with forestry for good advice. I recommend Juniper Springs campground. It's a very nice place in any season. It requires a reservation and has a on-duty forest ranger. It will be a safe base for leaving your camp gear to go for a jeep ride. Also Salt Springs campground for fishing Lake George, Alexander Springs campground, Hopkins Prarie campground. The Orlando Jeep Club frequently organizes rides and camping up that way. Go to orlandojeepclub.com and ask for some more information about any of the above.
I know you said you were interested in places close to home. I've lived in Florida all my life and there are many nice places to camp. But when you add jeep rides to the question, you run short of good options. I think its worth the trouble to drive to north Georgia. Of course the whole country has beautiful places to visit, but north Georgia is a FULL DAYS DRIVE from Orlando, and that's enough effort for me. The Appalachian mountains provide beautiful camping locations with hiking trails, trout streams, and winding forest roads. Google "Lake Conasauga campground Chatsworth Geogia". In the Cohutta wilderness area north of Atlanta. One of my favorite places to hike and ride around.
Finally, the town of Dahlonegha, Georgia, about one hour north of Atlanta. I go there two or three times a year. You can drive there from Orlando in about 8-10 hours. They have a 24 hour walmart to pick up camping and grocery supplies. Nice small hotels if you want to get squared away before entering the mountains. I've camped and backpacked and jeep rode for many years up that way. Your family would love Amicalola State Park, or Vogel State Park, or Unicoi State Park. All are excellent camping choices. Great forest roads for driving with the top down. Try northgajeepers.com for local advice.
You don't know me...I don't know you or your family. Camping is a very subjective concept. My favorite way to camp is to backpack. But that's a lot of hard work to some people, requires gear, and not jeep related. I have to guess that with two small girls, you want a compromise with a little bit of civilization and a safe feeling. Take your girls to Tillis Hill campground in the Withlacoochee forest for a test weekend. It's designed as a horse owners campground, and I think you have to call to reserve a spot. I've camped there, but it was five or six years ago. Its clean and safe and reasonably close to the town of Inverness where they have stores, etc. You can back your jeep in to your tent site, cook on the grill, ride in the woods, maybe watch horses in the stables, hike around the campground.
If that goes well, take your girls to Amicalola State Park or Vogel State Park in north georgia. Great water falls, playgrounds, backpackers base camp, cabins for rent, fun jeep forest roads near by. Summers are crowded because the mountain weather is cooler. You have to call or go on-line to reserve a camp site. Reservations are good if you have to drive a long way and want to be sure your trip will go smooth. They're really a great place to camp.
steve in central florida
'98 TJ sport....33's with stuff to make them fit
Ocala florida here...In the ONF you'll find many places to camp. I'm not positive, but if hunting season isn't over, you may wanna hold off till after.
Having young kids. They'd have a great time, at a place like Juniper, Alexander, Rainbow, Salt Springs. All have camping, bathrooms showers, security. And if planning a trip during the spring/summer, have great places to swim, snorkel, tube and canoe.
Outside of Fl, as a kid my family and I went to Cherokee NC, and Gatlinburg TN, always had fun, enjoyed the white water rafting, it was always summer. Although you're girls are a bit to young for the rafting
But still tons of hiking, and camping and sight seeing to do.
Thank you very much for the detailed resposes!
Exacty the kind of info I was looking for.
I have camped out in the keys in my younger days..but that was in the the "raising cain" end of the spectrum Not really roughing it...more like a cheap place to set up a base camp for stomping around down there!
I grew up in PA, but have traveled and lived around the US...I used to do a lot of camping in my younger days...but in the last decade or so, my 'camping' has really been done on a boat...i.e. anchoring out in a cove and chillaxing or runing over to Bimini or to the Keys and docking up. Now that I have a jeep, I would like to get back to the woods.
I do think that the "family" campgrounds with amenities will be a great way to introduce the kids to camping, and if they take to it, then kick it down a notch.
I used to go to Sebastian when I was in my teens...(thirty-ish years ago)...we would spend the day wading around claming. That is a great suggestion...Will have to revisit!