We enjoyed Manatee Springs State Park. As we arrived we quickly noticed the sites and roads to the camping area are sandy. They are well marked, however the sand creates dust. Our site was large and shady, we were comfortable with the distance between the sites. While we were there we had several deer wonder through our site and could see them throughout the campground. The bathhouse in the loop where we stayed was an older one, however the other loop has a new bathhouse. The park is a beautiful park that offers the opportunity to swim in a crystal clear fresh Florida spring; which we found to be cold (we were told it is 72 degrees all the time) but it was refreshing. Down by the spring there is a small store and concession stand. They offer canoe rentals and a boat tour. We enjoyed the beautiful boardwalk that goes down to the Swanee River. The park does have a large playground/picnic area.
Bicycling, boating, camping, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boards, fishing hiking, picnicking, snorkeling, and swimming.
Topsail State Park is absolutely beautiful! We loved this park and would highly recommend it. They offer so much for every age group. Where to start with this park is simple, the park is on the gorgeous white sandy beaches in North Florida. The campsites are not directly on the beach, but the park offers a tram that goes around frequently to provide a ride. We could tell those that had been to this campground as they had two things that we did not - bikes and tent campers had a wagon. I’ll share about that later.
The campground has lots of paths to explore on bikes as well as a large bike parking area right next to the beach. Now, the sites are large and each tent camping site is spaced apart well. The challenge with the tent camping is you actually can’t park on the site - there is a parking lot (for most sites it’s close) where you park, but then you carry everything to your site (the reason some had a wagon). The bathhouse here was very clean and up to date. This park has a lot of amenities such as a swimming pool, shuffle board, and a playground. The staff and volunteers were fantastic! We really enjoyed this park.
Bicycling, Birding, Paddling, Fishing, Geo-Seeking, Hiking, Picnicking, Swimming
A park with a very large picnic area is Davis Bayou State Park. This park is geared towards people who enjoy fishing; they offer a boat ramp launching area. We heard the fishing is good, but we did not have the opportunity to do so. The camp sites are small, but well maintained. The bathhouse was very clean.
Tickfaw State Park offers a lot of hiking trails. They do have a water pad play area for children. (While we were there the sign said the water area is closed on Mondays for maintenance). The camp sites are very nice and have lots of space between them. The bathhouse is very clean and air conditioned. In the same building they have a laundry facility; which worked great. (You must use quarters, so if you plan to do laundry be prepared.)The park offers canoe rentals, but please be aware of the swamps travel path - it does not make a circle so as far as you paddle, you have to paddle back. We enjoyed a walk to the swamp by way of the boardwalk instead of canoeing, and it was an easy walk as they have marked the path very well! The staff is very nice and helpful.
Lots of bike paths, hiking and fishing opportunities at South Toledo Bend State Park. This park is beautiful! The camp sites are clean, have shade and are well spaced. The bathhouse is very nice and has air-condition. They do have an area designated for swimming in the lake. The staff was very helpful. One thing to note, watch the signs as you travel to the park. They are marked, however if you are accessing the park from the east you will need to turn north for about 3/4 of a mile to reach the entrance - south will take you to Texas. There is a new restaurant, Indian Creek ( on the Texas side) which is only about a ten minute drive that was really good! The only other food option close is a country type store/restaurant.
Caddo Lake State Park has very nice sites, however the pads for tent camping are not completely cleaned and cleared. They are marked, but just had a lot of moss throughout the tent pad area. I can imagine in a swamp area it would be difficult to keep up with the overgrowth! The area where we camped must have been near a highway because we could hear some noise - truck traffic at night. There are many hiking paths. The park offers canoe rentals. There are also some local people that offer swamp boat tours, however they do require reservations so plan ahead. We did hear wonderful things about them. They have a boardwalk that overlooks the main swamp area in the campground. The new bathhouse was being built while we were there so it was a temporary one at the time. They do have a nice store where you check in.
An amazing state park in Oklahoma is Beavers Bend State Park! This park has so many amenities that people of all ages will enjoy. They offer things like kayaking, canoeing, horseback riding, hiking, a swimming area, lots of fishing and much more! We had a site that overlooked the river that was beautiful! The sites do not have natural buffers between them, however the sites are very spacious. This campground does offer a restaurant right on property which was good as well as a little store. We found one thing about this beautiful campground to be a surprise - the bathhouse, although clean, it is set up so you have to pay to shower - plan to bring quarters. Even with the “Pay to Shower” issue, we would highly recommend this park.
Hunting and digging for diamonds in Arkansas can be done at the Crater of Diamonds State Park. The park itself and the campsites are very nice and well maintained sites. The bathhouse was small, but clean. They do have a nice gift shop. There is a great water/splash area right next to the “Hunt/Dig for Diamonds Crater”, however it was not open while we were there so this would be something to check on prior to arrival. The staff was very nice and helpful.
Lake DeGray Resort State Park is a picturesque park on a very large lake. The campground offers many lake activities from swimming to boating. Some of the opportunities such as the sunset cruise and horseback riding are only offered certain days and times, so check if they will be running when you schedule your camping trip. The sunset over the lake is stunning! The sites are large and do have natural barriers between them. The bathhouses were clean. We would recommend DeGray Lake Resort Campground.
Lake D’Arbonne is a park that has a lot more than we realized when we first arrived. Take the time to explore this beautiful camping location! The sites are very nice and well maintained. They do offer row boats and canoes. We noticed they have a beautiful swimming pool and tennis courts to enjoy. Hiking is also an opportunity to participate in while at Lake D’Arbonne State Park. This state park offers clean bathhouses as well as a free air conditioned laundry facility. We enjoyed our stay at this park.
A large park that was difficult to find was Lake Bruin State Park. (Be careful to know the roads you need to travel to get there prior to scheduling this trip. Our GPS was not accurate - the park ranger, however was very helpful with directions). This park offers beautiful camping sites and they are spaced apart well. They do not really have natural barriers, but the sites are well maintained and fairly large. There is a nice splash pad as well as a swimming area. This park does not have any rental equipment for the lake, however we did learn that “in season” a few local places do have things for rent. The lake is gorgeous! The bathrooms were very clean. One important thing to note - there really are no stores close to this park, so plan ahead. There is one chicken place somewhat nearby and we must say it was fantastic chicken! (This place is attached to a gas station and convenience store on a corner, but it is the only thing for several miles.)
Paul B. Johnson State Park offers very nice camp sites. Most of them have a nice view of the lake. The lake is large and has multiple swimming areas. The splash pad is very nice, however has an additional fee and is only open on certain days. They have a very nice playground. This campground offers hiking trails. The bathrooms were very clean. One thing to note is there are very few stores and/or restaurants in close proximity to this campground. The city of Hattiesburg is about twenty minutes north of the park and does have restaurants and grocery stores.
We were surprised to find a hidden Florida gem on our travels -Blackwater River State Park. This park is fairly small in size, but well worth visiting. The camp sites do have a gravel type ground and are well maintained. Each site is spaced with natural barriers. The bathrooms are clean. This park has a nice boardwalk that leads down to the Blackwater River, which is gorgeous. This river does have a constant current, fairly clear water and a mostly sandy bottom. Up the road is a place that offers canoes and kayaks for rent and we found this to be a beautiful river to kayak. There is a small town about twenty minutes away that does offer restaurants and grocery stores.