Imagine sitting around a small fire, sticks in hand, marshmallows pierced on the ends, the smell of melting sugar permeating the cricket’s continuous song. Camping opportunities are abundant in Chiefland. From tent camping to full-facility and RV camping, this area is perfect for an outdoor adventure.

Manatee Springs State Park, with its gorgeous springs and natural scenery, has more than 94 campsites within its boundaries. These sites come fully equipped with grills, tables, and drinking water. For those looking for modern comforts, electricity is another available amenity. Visit the park concession for food, drinks, gifts, camper supplies and canoe rentals.

Manatee Springs State park offers full facility camping with electricity and water in each site. These sites are available for tent or RV use. There are comfort stations centrally located in each of the loops. Comfort stations provide hot showers, toilets and sink facilities. Sites 26-39 and site number 48 are for tent camping only. Located in the Magnolia 1 camping area, these sites allow park visitors to camp in a more rustic setting. Pets are allowed in all camping areas.

The park also offers a youth camping area, organized groups of six or more can camp in the Primitive Youth Camp Area. These facilities offer drinking water and an outdoor shower. These areas are reserved for non-profit, organized groups.

Reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance for camping by calling Reserve America at 1-800-326-3521.
For more information about the parks camping opportunities and facilities, be sure to contact Manatee Springs State Park.

For R.V. lovers, Breezy Acres Campground and Market Place R.V. Park offer great campgrounds.

Goethe State Forest, amidst all its lush vegetation and diverse wildlife, nature trails and creeks and lakes, offers visitors the opportunity to camp the good old-fashioned way. With a State Forest Use permit, campers can pitch the old tent and spend a night or two beneath the stars. These permits can be obtained at the Goethe State Forest office.

Wherever you decide to camp, let nature take you away from the hustle and bustle of modern city life and return you to a more tranquil state of mind.

Just remember: Certain guidelines should be followed when primitive camping to ensure camper safety and park preservation.

• Register with the correct state agency that supervises the parks and campsites. Be sure to contact them at least   two weeks before your planned trip to obtain necessary permits.
• Always let someone know where you are going and how long you plan to be gone
• Before starting your camping adventure, conduct a safety check of all equipment and supplies.
• Check weather forecasts and advisories during your trip.
• Only camp in established campsite areas. Only build fires where permitted and within pre-determined fire circles.
• Use small branches or sticks already on the ground for kindling and instead of cutting dead or living trees. Even   lightweight gas stoves could be more appropriate than a fire.
• Dig latrines and cat-holes at least 200 feet from campsites, trails and water sources. Before breaking camp, be sure   to cover these thoroughly.
• Do not litter. Always bring a trash bag with you and pack out your garbage-NEVER bury or leave it.
• Do not mar shrubs, trees, and other vegetation, or dig ditches around your tent.
• To sum up, primitive campers, LEAVE NO TRACE.

For more information about:

• Manatee Springs State Park, call (352) 493-6072
• Goethe State Forest, call (352) 465-8585
• Yellow Jacket Campground, call (352) 542-8365
• Chiefland RV Park, call (352) 493-1493
• Shell Mound, call (352) 493-0238
• Breezy Acres Campground, call (352) 493-7602
• Market Place R.V. Park, call (352) 317-0968