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Hontoon Island State Park
Ranked #3 of 78 things to do in DeLand
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed March 10, 2013

Recently visited the park for a one night camping trip. Upon arrival we were taken over to the island by ferry by a park ranger (could have been staff or volunteer). This ranger was nice and helpful. The day went fairly well, until night set and more campers arrived. Quiet time is meant to be 11 pm, and when we arrived the ranger gave us a paper telling us that if there were any issues to call either number on the paper for help. So heres the issues, our neighbors decided to invite 2 other campsite's members to their site to "hang out". Little did we know this would be a disaster. They were talking extremely loud and drinking within 4 feet of our tent and urinating outside on the trees surrounding our tent. The neighbors also had two dogs, who should've been kept on a leash but were not and kept running off and stepping all over our tent and the owner didn't even bother to call them back to their site. This loud obnoxious behavior went on for 5 hours, three of those hours being after the so called "quiet time". We called the park manager and ranger station several times and left a message, although no one answered. Eventually we went to the "campground host" site and woke him up to come over and talk to the neighbors. He did so 2x's, the noise quieted for about 15 minutes each time, during which our neighbors made rude comments about the campground host and us and made plans to make the next night a big "party night". We were trapped, as there is no way off the island till 8 am and we were certainly not going to put ourselves in danger by confronting these people.
We slept for about 4 hours, got up packed up and left, probably never to return again. Its too bad too, as this park has a neat concept and a clean campground, although not much to do.
Here's some issues with this park, all of the 3 phone numbers we called had no response, that is what they told us to call if there was an emergency or problem! What if there had been an emergency? What if these neighbors decided to seek revenge on us for "telling" on them. When we got to the rangers office in the morning, it was before 8 (before the first ferry runs) so we waited, the ranger was extremely rude to us, we wanted to tell him about all the issues of the night before but he was not approachable. He took us back to the car, not even bothering to hook the ferry to the dock, parking crooked and told us to "go ahead". WOW. glad I didn't fall in.
It's very scary to be in a situation like this, where everyone around you has no common courtesy and are just rude, and you can't just pack up and walk away, because you're stuck till someone gets there to take you home. Beware of this. They need to get this park in order.

13  Thank pizzaguy34172
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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173 - 177 of 208 reviews

Reviewed February 24, 2013

A nice, quiet little place. Quick, free ferry ride - just stand on the dock, and when the captain sees you from the other side, he'll come right over. Tiny, but nice, museum. Did one short hike. I was there in February and didn't see much wildlife - except for a great blue heron right next to the dock on shore. I was there on a windy, chilly day so didn't stay long, but would like to go back and explore.

2  Thank Hawk1951
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 2, 2013

Its beautiful in the fall and winter - no skeeters! You can fish from shore - watch alligators from shore and hike in the woods - great for birdwatching and there is a great play area for children. Just a fun afternoon after a ride on the ferry over to the Island!

1  Thank jeanninemr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 30, 2013 via mobile

The island is only 1650 acres. I kayaked around it. It's 10 miles. You'll see lots of birds, gators, snakes (if you're lucky) and manatees swimming around you if it's cooler at night.
The tent sights are somewhat close but are nice and restrooms and showers are close. There are water spigots that has good tasting portable water! Mosquitos are present during the warmer months.
The cabins are rustic. Some sleep 4 and others 6. They all have a screened porch with sealing fans inside and out.
They will give you one ride to and one from your camp site which is .4 of a mile from the Ranger Station. The picnic and playground area is surround on three sides by water (The St.Johns River) two Great Blue Herons are nesting on the edge of the play ground now.
The little museum is good. Lots of stuff for kids to see.
Folks fish from the banks.
The ferry is a pontoon boat...that still makes it a ferry!
The entrance and ferry ride is free but they do take donations.
There is an island store and a coke machine.
There is over 5 miles of trails. Some are service roads. The nature trail is 1.5 miles one way then the same distance back on the same trail. It's not a loop but it all looks different on the way back :-)
When you get to the end of the nature walk you'll be on top of a very large Indian mound (midden) and you'll see quite possibly the largest live oak tree ever!!
They rent canoes and kayaks and if you arrive by boat they have a marina to park in.

It's a small quite island with not too much to do but it's quiet and peaceful and worth the visit!

5  Thank RonR66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2013

The ferry boat service for pedestrians is easy and pleasant. The Hammock Trail is interesting but not wildlife at all, No birds etc. It is something to do, but we wouldn't recommend it if you had younger kids (under 12) since they would probably find the trail long and boring. There are camping facilities and the like but we can't make any comments about them. Donations are welcome to help finance the park system.

This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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