My camping equipment

My camping equipment
Campsite setup

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Spring Trip 2023, Lake Louisa State Park

Lake Louisa State Park 

(All the links in this post are purple)

Lake Louisa

Located just south of Clermont, Florida just off of Highway 27. Lake Louisa is home to two other lakes, Lake Hammond and Lake Dixie. The campground is between Hammond and Dixie with access to Lake Hammond on the grounds for paddlers. There is a concession at entrance to the campground with rentals available providing access to kayaks, canoes and bikes for visitors. The park has 7 miles of paved roads and over 20 miles of unpaved multi-use trails. The campground has two bathhouses, tow fishing piers and a small pavilion. 

Kayak rentals

My campsite at Lake Louisa

Fishing Pier

In addition to the campground there is also a equestrian primitive camp with five horse paddocks, fire rings, a pavilion, grills and a self-composting toilet. The park has a stable in this area with access to guided trail rides. There is access to glamping camping with luxury tent sites in the campground and eco tent sites near the Equestrian area. 

The Cabin Rentals at Lake Louisa are available for visitors to enjoy the park for a number of days and nights. At $120 a night, this option is a reasonable alternative for those who are not into camping.  

Cabins located on the shoreline of Lake Dixie

During my visit to Lake Louisa I was able to get out for a paddle on Lake Hammond. Just the evening before there was a series of showers that came in at night. This created a lovely Lilly pad blossoming event on the Lake the next morning which a real treat to witness. I felt blessed with my timing while enjoying a early morning paddle around the lake.

I plan on going back to Lake Louisa in the future as it is close to my home and has a variety of outdoor activities that I enjoy. I am certain you will feel the same after a visit to this beautiful state Park. During the season, (late fall, winter, & early spring) the state park system is often booked up so if you want to reserve a site you must reserve it eleven months in advance for 2024. Next year Florida residents will be able to book 12 months out for 2025. That gives FL residents an opening to get a site as the one month opening is only for Florida residents. That is good news for a long term Florida resident like me. 

Friday, May 19, 2023

Spring Trip 2023, Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

A note from the author; 

The links in this post are colored purple, They will provide further information related to the subjects I discuss in my narrative. Enjoy.

Located just south of Gainesville, Florida Paynes Prairie stands out as a diamond in the ruff. At first glance one would assume that the park is located on a open plain with few trees and not much more. Do not be fouled by the name, the park is a oasis of nature from it's highland forests, abundant lakes, nature trails and views of the prairie that are vast and compelling.

The 50 foot observation tower

Buffalo roaming the Prairie 

From the observation tower you can look out over the vast expanse of the prairie and spot the herds of Buffalo or wild horses feeding off the lush vegetation. The landscape is unique with bodies of water that are part of a giant fresh water sink that feeds the Florida limestone aquifer with abundant fresh water. The level of the water in the area goes up and down depending on how much rainfall from tropical storms during the summer leave in the area during the rainy season.

Views of Prairie from the observation tower

Puc Puggy Campground is located in a area of dense trees with sites that our spacious and private. I was able to set up my Clam and still have lots of room to enjoy the surroundings.

The two bathhouses have showers and our well kept by the parks staff. The campground is in walking distance to a large picnic area and the boat ramp with access to Lake Wauburg. There are two one way loops with 49 campsites of which 19 to 33 are walk in tent only. Each campsite has a table, fire ring and grill.

Lovely Lake Wauburg is a lovely and accessible by car or foot for those who would like to enjoy a outing on the water. I enjoyed a paddle on the lake with my Wilderness Tarpon 140 kayak which I have had for a number of years. On the north shore of the lake is the Lake Wauburg Recreational Facility, dedicated to the alumni of Florida State University in Gainesville, FL. I saw several paddle boats and kayakers from the facility who were enjoying the afternoon on the lake. There is a fishing pier near the boat ramp within walking distance from the campground. It is a great place to catch some of the lakes abundant fish for those who enjoy angling.

Fishing pier 

University of Florida Reactional Facility on the north shore of Lake Wauburg

Paynes Prairie Visitors Center is one of the best interpretive centers in the state. You will find many exhibits that chronicle the wildlife, plant life and the abundant bird population. The center has a comfortable theater with an interpretive film of the seasonal changes that create the unique character of the park. A lovely nature trail brings you to the center from the parking lot. Once at the visitors center there is a paved trail to the 50 foot observation tower with views of the south rim of the prairie. The entrance to the lovely paved WacahootaTrail is adjacent to the tower, great for seeing the parks extensive bio diversity. 

Paynes Prairie Visitors Center

Back viewing deck of the prairie's south rim
Path leading out to the south rim of prairie from the visitors center

Wild Horses on the prairie taken from the observation tower

Paynes Prairie is a jewel in ruff. Even if you not a camper a stop to enjoy the park is well worth it if you enjoy nature in all it's many forms. It is not far from Interstate 75 just south of Gainesville, FL. You many even catch a glimpse of some of the parks abundant wildlife wondering on the prairie including the parks extensive bird population.