Because Hotels Are Overrated: Camping In South Florida
Travelling is one of the most important things you can do to increase your understanding of people and the areas they live in. By visiting new places, you experience a wealth of emotions while also gaining a deeper respect for humans as individuals. The differences you examine, in turn, will lead you to becoming a more rounded person and foster empathy. In the same vein, the outdoors offers you the chance to connect with your fellow campers as well as with nature. So next time you need to get away, forget the idea of staying in a hotel and plan a road trip to camp in South Florida.
When was the last time you had a campfire or enjoyed the stars in a hotel room? Hopefully never, but those are just two activities helping prove the argument that hotels are way overrated. Anyone from novice enthusiasts to lifetime campers will find a stay at a Florida State Park enjoyable. There are dozens of State Parks spread all throughout Florida offering a wide enough variety of activities to satisfy the needs of any outdoors lover. Because of Florida’s large size and geographical location, there are many natural communities ranging from temperate to tropical regions. As a result, Florida State Parks afford you opportunities ranging from hiking through a barren pine scrub forest to snorkeling over a coral reef. For the sake of space, only two parks in South Florida will be highlighted in this article.
One is the wild and somewhat secluded Jonathan Dickinson State Park, located north of West Palm Beach, Florida. The park offers camping within two full-facility campgrounds, Pine Grove and River Sites, as well as primitive camping for the more adventurous souls. If you prefer the full-facility route, a stay in the River Sites section will put you closer to the swimming area and other park activities. In addition, because the River Sites are deep within the park, you will not have as much light pollution and the stargazing is incredible.
Jonathan Dickinson is also a great place to mountain bike and the park has a solid variety of trails to explore. Bike rentals, however, are not available so you will have to bring your own. Canoe and kayak rentals, on the other hand, are available for rent and a day spent paddling on the Loxahatchee River with an overstuffed cooler is always a good time. If biking or water sports are not your thing, the park has a network of trails for the hiking enthusiasts. For the serious and experienced campers, the park’s primitive campsites offer added seclusion from the general population. Overall, Jonathan Dickinson is a great park worth checking out.
The second park is Bahia Honda State Park, located roughly thirty-seven miles north of Key West in the Florida Keys. This is one of the most beautiful places you will ever camp. Although Jonathan Dickinson offers a significant amount of activities in a rural, river setting, Bahia Honda’s beauty and close proximity to the ocean will leave you speechless. The park offers a variety of camping options including waterfront sites and a wide array of activities are available. Spend your days lounging oceanfront and make sure you watch at least one sunrise and sunset during your stay. Take advantage of the guided snorkeling trips to Looe Key Reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary departing daily from the park. You will have the opportunity to swim with tropical fish, giant rays, and possibly even a shark if you are “lucky.” Bahia Honda is also close enough to Key West for a day trip if you manage to pull yourself away from the park.
With so much excitement to offer, camping at a Florida State Park is always a good idea. Many people feel the same way, however, and make sure to plan your trip well in advance if you want to get the most out of your outdoor adventure. Always bring your bug spray and sunscreen no matter what time of the year, and get ready for some of the best camping opportunities in the southeast. With so much variety and uniqueness, Florida’s State Parks will hopefully capture your heart and increase your respect for Mother Nature. Because hotels are overrated, next time you travel, spend your nights the way nature intended: Outdoors.
By: Gordon Alford