Blackwater River State Park
While Florida is certainly known for its beaches, it also has some truly magnificent inland sites. One of those is Blackwater River State Park. Open from 8 a.m. through sundown each day of the year, this stunning state park offers RVers a cozy spot to park and thrilling explorations in one of Florida’s ecological wonders.
History of the Park
The name Blackwater River is kind of misleading. The water isn’t black at all! In fact, it is a beautiful golden tint that is enhanced by Florida’s pure white sands. The name comes from the Muscogee word for ‘water black’, Oka-lusa. The river is known for having one of the cleanest sand-bottoms in the entire United States. The park was established all the way back in 1967 and opened to the public in November of 1968. In 1980, the park was certified as being a Registered State Natural Feature. Two years later, one of the park’s Atlantic white cedar trees was recognized for being one of the oldest and strongest of its species, earning it the title of a Florida Champion Tree.
Those coming for a day of fun or staying for some RV camping can enjoy canoeing or kayak down the river. Bring your tube and float down the river! Your paddling trip will end at Deacon Bridge, as there is no river access beyond that point. Bring your fishing gear and suit up for a day of wrangling in some Largemouth Bass, catfish, and panfish. There are plenty of them swimming the river, and the best areas to find them are the ones without swimmers.
Into geocaching? This outdoor GPS-based game is an affordable treasure hunt that uses location coordinates. Caches range in difficulty from easy to challenging. Geocaches should always be eco-friendly, and you can find several of them throughout the park.
Take a hike along one of the three trails that span about 4.5 miles of land. The first and second trails are easy to navigate, but the third has a lot of exposed roots and earthy steps. Remember to wear your hiking boots or tennis shoes with a lot of grip in the soles. Other park activities include picnicking, swimming, and wildlife viewing.
Camping for RVers
Take your pick of thirty different campsites lodged among the beautiful trees. 02, 30, and 50-amp electrical service is available at each site, as are RV sewer hook-ups, potable water connections, a fire ring and grill, and a picnic table. RVs are limited to a maximum length of 50 feet. Anything shorter than 50 feet will fit easily into any site, and all sites are spacious enough for a few tents. There is a playground for children that can be seen from most sites. Also, the Juniper Lake Trail stems from the camping area to the river. A restroom can be found between the two trail loops and has showers. You can make reservations up to 11 months in advance through the Reserve America website.
What You Need to Know Before You Go
Before you go, there are a few things you should know. First, well-behaved pets are welcome as long as they’re kept on a six-foot leash, and they aren’t allowed on the beach. Second, there are pavilions available with charcoal grills for cooking. Pavilions don’t have to be rented, but it is recommended if you have a large group. Third, there are wheelchair accessible areas throughout the park. There is a boardwalk that is accessible as well as three camping sites with wheelchair accessibility. Finally, note that there is a $20 per night camping fee that also includes tax. Additionally, there is a $6.70 reservation fee that cannot be refunded. Floridians 65 and older or who have a certified social security disability award receive 50% off campsite base fees.
RV camping at Blackwater is a great way to unwind and experience Florida’s ecosystem at its finest. The river is anything but black, so don’t let the name fool you. This state park is fun for people of all ages. Hike the trails, catch some fish, take a canoe down the river, and then end the day with a cookout on the grill and a warm fire. Just be sure you book in advance since this park can fill up quickly in the “in” season!
For more information, please go to the Blackwater River State Park page or call 850.983.5363.