We (husband/wife, young daughter and puppy) spent a couple nights tent camping at the park just after New Years. I had read all the other reviews and researched the park so I was pretty sure I knew what to expect. There were no real surprises. It's a nice North FL park albeit un-spectacular (if that's a word).
The campground was well laid out (we were in the Magnolia campground) and fairly spacious. Most of the campsites are set up for trailers or campers, but there were quite a few tent campers anyway. Having access to power and water at the site was a nice bonus for tent camping. We found most of the other campers to be relatively quiet despite ot being a holiday weekend. The bathroom facilities have gotten a lot of flak on here and I will say they were VERY old and definitely in need of an update (scheduled for Feb 2014), but were kept fairly clean. They just didn't look it because the paint was chipping, the water fixtures were corroded and pitting and the stalls look like they were made by hand back in the 70's.
TICKS - a lot of people spoke of ticks so we asked a lot of questions and prepared by treating our dog for ticks before we went. We are hikers and hit most of the trails, which were easy to follow and well laid out. We found two ticks on clothing during our hikes. HOWEVER - on the last day, right before leaving, we went off trail to observe an armadillo. The area was sparsely wooded with no real grass, just a floor of leaves so I wasn't worried. All of a sudden I looked at my ankles and there was a SWARM of ticks crawling up my legs. I ran off the trail, ripped off my socks and shoes finding 70-100 tick on me. I spent the next two hours and another hour later that night picking ticks off me. My wife and daughter each found a handful also, but my dog had NONE!
SO there are ticks there, but our only problem came after hiking off-trail. Be mindful, wear light colored socks and clothing and check after hiking.
We did not swim the springs since 72 degrees is cold to us, but the water looked beautiful. We did see plenty of deer (especially on the edge of the campground each morning) and other wildlife, especially birds. We saw two manatees off the boardwalk and numerous fish in the springs and river.
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