Mini-Tour of Central Florida – Juniper Springs State Park

Like I said recently, this mini-tour camping around central Florida started with a pit stop in Gainesville to visit an old friend, but then I was off to the first state park.

Juniper Springs Recreational Area, to be exact.

I booked this trip about a month in advance so the anticipation was killing me, especially as I drove in to find my campsite.

Site 011, to be exact.

I felt like such a newby. A lot like the time I took a Suzuki cruiser for a test ride on a real road. Like this: Does anyone know I have no idea what I’m doing? I ended up buying the motorcycle and I feel just as fresh now, camping alone in my own travel trailer for the first time. Such a newby.

If the guard at the gate could tell I was brand new to camping, at least he didn’t show it. He probably knew after I asked about 17 questions. He gave me the rundown of what to do, where to go, all that jazz. They’re very particular about parking on the blacktop. As in, not the soft ground. Also as in, not pavement. I said, “OK, I need to park on the pavement.” He said, “Park on the blacktop.” Very interesting how much they like using the term: blacktop.

I arrived at site 011 and parked… guess where? On the grass. Kidding, I’m not that much of a rebel. Here I am… on the blacktop.

I was just about to bust with excitement, knowing I’d be seeing the springs as soon as I got settled and got the dogs situated. At this campground, there are two main springs… one where people can swim, and one where people can get eaten by gators (so…. no swimming).

I was curious about both but went with the “no swimming” location first. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and you might not believe it either. I won’t spoil the surprise but just to not freak anyone out unnecessarily, it WASN’T a swimmer getting eaten by an alligator.

It was just as natural, though, but beautiful (I threw a “but” in there because while someone becoming a gator snack IS natural, it’s not beautiful (unless you’re the gator, I guess?). Ok, this is going a direction I didn’t plan.

For this naturally occurring beautiful thing I saw, come back soon. I post every day at 1pm Central. I hope I’m building up the anticipation because you won’t be disappointed. Until then, here are a few photos of the springs.

-Out of the Wilderness

Published by Ben Wilder

Since 2005, I've called Nashville home. I'm the leader of the pack, which includes an 13-year-old beagle and an 11-year-old blue heeler mix. My days include writing, video editing, and other fun activities. Thanks for checking out my blog, I hope you enjoy it!

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