This Camper’s Life: Winter Camping in Florida
Camping in Florida in winter is a great experience! We still had some cool days, but, overall, our week was quite nice. For the first half of our trip, we stayed in one of our favorite campgrounds, Tomoka State Park. Tomoka is in Ormond Beach. We love the greenery around our site. It gives you privacy and allows you to really get out in nature. Because of that, we encountered a few interesting critters that wanted to visit our campsite–namely a raccoon! He came through the site while we were finishing dinner in front of the campfire. He looked at me for a few seconds then ran off. That took me by surprise! He came through again a few minutes later and did the same thing In the morning we noticed his footprints on our tablecloth outside. These wildlife encounters are one of the true joys of the camping life.
Tomoka is a great location because it is close to Daytona Beach and, of course, Ormond Beach. We had a chance to explore around the area. It was a little too cool to go into the water, but we did get some kayaking in during that week at Owen Illinois Park.
We visited Ponce Inlet and rode our bikes around the area. We got this good shot of the lighthouse. So beautiful. The highlight of the trip was our visit to Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, Florida. It is a manatee sanctuary from November to February. This picture is of a momma and her baby! The manatees hang out there during those months because the water is a consistent temperature of 73 degrees because of the warm springs. Manatees do not like cold water! During the winter months, no boats or water sports are allowed within a certain area of the springs so the manatees can roam freely. You can observe the manatees from wooden platforms on the shore. What an awesome sight! Many of these magnificent creatures had large scars on their back which were caused by motorboats. Sad to see, but now they are very safe in Blue Spring since no boats are allowed. I loved watching them interact with each other and swimming around. It was interesting to see their reactions when they had smaller fish attaching themselves to their backs. They just rolled in the water to get the tiny fish off!
The springs are so clear that you can see the manatees easily as well as other species of fish that live in the waters. I recommend Blue Spring State Park if you ever find yourself in Florida during the winter! You can easily spend hours watching the manatees frolicking in the springs!! Great times! Love This Camping Life. Stay tuned for our next adventure.