Sandy camping at Gilchrist Blue Springs near Gainesville, Florida

Camping comes in all shapes and sizes when you’re going to as many state parks as you can! My most recent adventure is Ruth B. Kirby Gilchrist State Park in Florida. This is the second of a double-header, if you will, after camping in Manatee Springs with my parents, sisters, brother-in-law, and four nieces. Manatee Springs was a sandy experience… sandy roads, sandy sites, and sand everywhere basically. So as I made my way 40 miles northeast to Gilchrist, I was trying to be positive and hoping this state park had gravel or asphalt.

Soooooooooo I’ll just stick with the positive! The spring is beautiful. It’s safe (lots of kids and families enjoying the cool waters), so not really any snakes or alligators to worry about unless you kayak out to the Santa Fe River. My summation of this park is that it would be great for a day visit, as many people do here. With only 17 (sandy, there I said it) sites, the entire RV camping area is smaller than the parking lot of the day visitors. In the back furthest away from the spring are the tent sites, which definitely offer more seclusion.

I also have great neighbors, so that has been a highlight of the trip! The staff members are attentive and helpful.

So just to briefly touch on a few areas that I don’t love– my hounds keep finding little snacks and chicken bones here and there (mostly in and around the picnic areas), bathrooms could use TLC (especially showers), the dishwashing station doesn’t have hot water (on purpose, which is weird to me). There aren’t sewer hookups which would be fine if they had a dump station (which they don’t). What I didn’t enjoy the most was the sand. Gosh doggit I was trying not to be negative. But if you like sand, it’s not a negative at all, I guess? If you visit this park with an overnight stay, bring a bucket or tray to dip your feet/flip flops in before entering your rig. I didn’t do that and I wish I had.

With all that said, I was able to take a few pictures that I like a lot! My top 3 favorites are the apple snail eggs, the woodpecker, and the intertwined trees. Something about those trees is just so loving, lovely, and heart-warming.

tent camping at the park
one big honking Cypress tree
tiny apple snail eggs on a cypress knee
Two inseparable trees
smaller than the picture makes it look
this is also smaller than the picture makes it look
dragonfly is bigger than the picture makes it look

Thanks for dropping in…

-Out of the Wilderness

Published by Ben Wilder

Since 2005, I've called Nashville home. I'm the leader of the pack, which includes a 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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