When I think of camping, I look back at the days when I was in high school and college and a group of us would get together and ride up to the mountains and enjoy a weekend of hiking and laughing around the campfire. We would have our tents set up and the girls would get scared once the sun went down. Those were good times! I haven’t been camping since. Well, until recently.
We love the outdoors and traveling, so we try to do it as often as possible. Lately, as the weather has began to “cool” down, we talked about taking a quick camping trip. Florida is known for having a lot amazing state parks and springs. Unfortunately, due to the wildlife, a lot of these places do not allow pets. And we all know that William has to be by my side! Luckily, we found a campsite just two hours south of Jacksonville that is pet friendly and has a lot of great amenities. Now, camping usually entails driving into a secluded area and setting up your tents and perhaps bumping into a bear. However, we went to a campsite that has designated camp areas with running water and electricity. I know, I know, it’s not “traditional” camping, but I do like having a shower and our designated grill and table. It was perfect!
The state park we visited is called Paynes Prairie and it’s in the small town of Micanopy, FL. I fell in love with this place! The drive from Jacksonville to Micanopy was beautiful. We stopped by several little towns and snacked on boiled peanuts and before we knew it, we were driving through downtown Micanopy. We had never heard of this town, but now we’ll be returning very soon. If you know where Gainesville is, Micanopy is about 20 minutes south of there.
When we arrived to our campsite, we quickly set up our canopy and placed everything under it just in case it began to rain. Second, we covered ourselves in mosquito repellent because holy cow are they brutal out there! After that, it was time to relax and enjoy the outdoors. We had music playing, William rolled around in his blanket, and we sipped on cold beer as we looked through the trail map. We walked a short trail to a large pond where we met a few people and watched others kayak. A while later, we returned to our camp and setup for dinner. Time goes by very slow when there’s not much to do, but I love these moments because it reminds me to enjoy my life and relax.
The following day we woke up, cooked breakfast, and prepared everything for our next hike. This hike was much longer and it was through very swampy terrain. At first, I didn’t want William to get muddy and wet, but that was inevitable and he didn’t seem to mind anyway. It began to rain, but it felt good on our skin. We bumped into a few large puddles that were too scary to walk in. The last thing I wanted to do was step on an alligator. We eventually made our way back and thankfully we did because it began to storm!
It was a quick trip, yet it felt like we were there for several days. I wish all vacations felt that way! I’m looking forward to planning another camping trip again soon. Where’s your favorite camping spot?