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“Island Camping.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hontoon Island State Park

Hontoon Island State Park
2309 River Ridge Road, DeLand, FL 32720
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Ranked #6 of 53 attractions in DeLand
Type: State Parks
Attraction Details
Top Contributor
72 reviews 72 reviews
43 attraction reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
“Island Camping.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2014

Had an amazing time camping here!

A ferry takes you over to this island. A small museum, with an island store, await right off the ferry boat dock. On the ferry trip over, we saw several matinees. The museum will give information over the historical aspect of the island.

Several people will think, that the island is only a small fishing island with a playground, since this is what they see, as soon as they get got off the boat. The island has several trails and wildlife, off this small fishing/picnic area, so be sure to pick up a map.

Camping is pretty unique at this park. The last boat off the island leaves around 5pm, and after that, you have the whole island to roam, pretty much alone, since the campsite and cabins only hold, so many people. But that is also a warning, be sure you have all your supplies, and things to do for camping by this time. If not, the next boat back to the parking lot is around 8am, the next day. We actually camped during a pretty big thunderstorm, but even with the storm, we still had a blast. A few hours of cards in the tent, and back out to the campfire when the storm, finally died off.

The camping store has several books and board games, you can check out for the evening. And if firewood is needed, they will deliver it to your camp ground. (This was a great touch!).

The rangers are AMAZING at this park. If you want to know anything, just ask. They are very well informed, and made our trip so much better. Anything we needed, we just asked, and they were right on it. Ron is pretty amazing, and will even whip out his camera to show you all the amazing pictures, he has taken around the location. (Including some bears at the campsites! lol) Yes bears! Really great!

A nice hike out to an Indian shell mound.

If you really want to get away, and feel like you have been dropped off on your own island for the evening, this is the place in FL!

We pretty much had the island to ourselves, with some great night hikes (for the brave.) We will deff be back! Thanks for all the great service, and the amazing time, at camp!

Visited January 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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62 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Liverpool, New York
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
19 attraction reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
74 helpful votes 74 helpful votes
“Day trip”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2014

I was looking forward to a scenic kayak paddle in this area and was sorely disappointed. $20 for a half day rental of a tandem sit-on-top kayak (even tho I was a single this is all they have). Very uncomfortable but I guess I'm used to better equipment. Difficult put-in and take-out from a dock. Not much to see - I paddled an hour in one direction and saw an assortment of birds and a couple turtles but nothing unique.

Visited January 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
“Real Florida for First-Time Campers”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2013

Three generations of non-campers in our family met at Hontoon for an overnight stay in mid-December. It was mid-week and we had the camping area to ourselves. I can see that there's not much privacy when the place is full; the cabins and tent area are pretty compact, but if that's part of the fun of the experience for you, there you go. We stayed in three of the cabins and the temp at night was chilly (45), with the inside of the cabins being colder than than outside, but it was bearable with sleeping bags and warm clothes, and the weather during the day was idyllic -- 75 and sunny. The bathroom is nearby, convenient except for in the middle of the night when it's really cold :-), but that's why God made the woods, innit? We enjoyed meals cooked on the campfire and several scenic walks; the kids loved the playground. Two of us made the hike to the shell mound -- definitely worth it to be immersed in the Florida hammock and imagine the Calusas centuries ago walking the trails. The park staff couldn't have been more helpful. We will definitely be back.

Visited December 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tampa, Florida, United States
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Great camping experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 13, 2013

My husband and I went camping on Hontoon Island Nov 2013 for our 1 year wedding anniversary. As new campers, we were worried about having to carry all our camping gear from the ferry to the camp site. Not a problem at all! Once we arrived on the island, we purchased firewood and ice, loaded all our camping gear into the park ranger's car, and he dropped us off with all our stuff at the camp site.

Tent camp sites are pretty close together and don't offer much privacy. However, it is a great place to go to meet new friends.Park ranger Ron was incredibly helpful and friendly. Really great staff!

Bathrooms were well-maintained and even included toilet paper!

The park store sells all kinds of "opps! I forgot X" items from tent tarps and fire starters to hot coffee in the morning. We had a wonderful time walking the trails, meeting new friends, and enjoying the quiet beauty of nature. Can't wait to go back again!

Visited November 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
19 attraction reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
78 helpful votes 78 helpful votes
“Back to nature gem, great day trip or camping experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

Back for a longer visit at Hontoon Island State Park, we decided to camp in one of the 12 cabins over the labor day weekend.
The campground is about 4 tenths of a mile from the main landing area, nice for quiet and privacy from the day users but not too far. Each has a screened porch, lights, place to plugin your phones chargers, simple overhead fans, mattress on bunk beds, fire ring/grill on the ground outside, water tap, rustic but decent. The screened porch is great for sitting in the cool evening. The bathhouses were OK, warm not hot water showers. The paperwork said check in at 4:00 but we had no trouble checking in when we arrived before 2:00, shutting across on the free electric ferry.

Note: if you have a large party and arrive at a busy time it can take a while to get to the island, they can only take 6 people per trip. The biggest cabins accommodate up to 6 people. Also be aware that the last ferry back leaves at 7:00 PM, you're on the island for the night after that unless you came in by your own boat. There is resident staff on the island in case of any issues. They do have wheelbarrows to lend to the campers to help you carry your gear, firewood etc and they offer van rides for you and your stuff if you don't mind waiting a few minutes to get up to the campground.
The walking trail to the cabins was pretty damp and some mud after heavy rains and we saw a pygmy rattler there. The ranger came and relocated it with a loop stick after we reported it as we didn't want kids to come across it.

We had no issues with noise or rowdiness at the camping area despite the holiday weekend and the large group from nearby Stetson University, nice, polite, peace and quiet all around. There was plenty of staff, almost everyone went out of their way to be friendly and helpful, you felt very well cared for, a small park, almost family feel.

We didn't do the Indian mound trail this trip or fish, both popular activities, but you won't run out of things to do. The kids playground down at the main landing area is small but nice, a huge grassy lawn and many tables and the very small but nice museum all bear a visit.

Too bad we missed seeing the black bear that visited the cabin area during the night.

We rented a kayak, deciding to just go a little ways rather than the 3 1/2 hour trip around the island the ranger suggested. We say numerous birds, turtles, a good sized gator sunning itself from a distance, Would have appreciated a better seat on the kayak but great otherwise. They had a special half price, $10 for 2 hours canoe or kayak, $20 for all day, very reasonable.

Highly recommended for both day trip (completely free) and camping (very reasonable fee).

Visited September 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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