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Author Topic:   Best place to boat and pitch a tent in SC, GA or FL
David Jenkins posted 11-19-2003 02:16 PM ET (US)   Profile for David Jenkins   Send Email to David Jenkins  
Could someone please refer me to a good campground that is on the water in South Carolina, Georgia or Florida? Ideally, I'd like to find a campground where I could anchor the Whaler right at the campsite. Also, there needs to be activities for the kids to enjoy, like 72+ degree water for swimming or a beach or walking trails or a museum.

I've camped at Manatee Springs State Park outside of Chiefland, Florida. The springs going into the Suwannee River are cold but crystal clear and 20' deep, but the park ranger does not allow you to keep your boat in the water overnight.

I've camped at Hontoon Island State Park on the St Johns River. That was fun but there was not a lot for the kids to do and the mosquitos were fierce.

Any other ideas? As an alternative, how about inexpensive hotels that are on the water and have a dock for the boat?

Maybe one night at the Holiday Inn in Palatka and one night at Hontoon Island? Has anyone done that?

Bigshot posted 11-19-2003 03:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Mac Rae's in Homasassa. Right on the water, nice clean rooms about $60/night. Boat ramp and overnight boat parking if not too crowded. They also rent boats. Great area and much more fun than Crystal river which is only 10 miles away or so. When you coming down? I love that place and may join ya.
David Jenkins posted 11-19-2003 03:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
I'm heading out this Saturday, November 22.

Homasassa may be the ticket. We have stayed at the Plantation Inn on the Crystal River and that was fun but the "no-see-ums" ate us up at sunset. The kids would love to see a manatee, though. Is there any beach for them to play on? What fun activities do they have? Can you get to a watering hole by boat? Live music?

Bigshot posted 11-19-2003 04:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
You will NOT use your car once you launch. There are about a dozen good restaurants and bars on the river including Mac Rae's($1 drafts), next door with Monkey island, and a nice joint across the river. At the east end of the river is the Manatee park and EVERYONE anchors in waist deep crystal clear sandy bottomed water and you can see the manatees about 20' away or closer. Monkey Island is a small island with about 6 monkeys that live on it. They escaped during a Tarzan movie years ago and these are the ancestors. They also have blue crab(MD style by the dozen) and clams etc, good food. The river is not that long and there are some beaches at the end where people camp by boat. I have never had a bug problem the few times I have been there.
bwmenemsha posted 11-19-2003 05:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for bwmenemsha    
Wife and l did (Arrowhead Campsites Marianna, Florida (RV Campground)(l wish l could hot link it for you)last year and just loved it.Water is crystal clear down to about 30'and fishing was great,it is part of
Lake Seminole. They have campsites and rv spaces all with fire-rings,water and electric for nominal prices. Toward the rear of the park there is a small boat ramp adjacent to 2 or 3 campsites (l mean spitting distance)and l left my whaler in water 10' away without any problem. As l recall there was multitude of kids activities on premises.Marianna is also the location of large caves/caverns complexes that are accessible thru the state park there. Marianna is about 60 miles north of panama city and 100 miles east of pensacola. Tho this is fla, this part of it(panhandle)is more seasonal than Bigshots part so water sports may be somewhat limited. Hope you find what you are lQQking for!!! Bob
David Jenkins posted 11-19-2003 05:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
Great ideas! Thanks for the tip, bwmenemsha. Caves would be fantastic. But if had to chose between the two, I'd rather be connected to the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean rather than be in a lake that was landlocked. We will be in a hotel or a campsite Saturday night through Tuesday night and I'd like to be able to get out and explore.

I cannot find a telephone number or website for Mac Rae's. Do you have any contact information, Nick?

Jamber posted 11-19-2003 09:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jamber  Send Email to Jamber     

Cayo Costa in Southwest Florida is pretty nice, they have cabins for $25 a night. I think they have docks for your Whaler aswell. Get all the info here:
and more here:

or info about all FL State Parks here:

Have fun!

AllanR posted 11-20-2003 01:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for AllanR  Send Email to AllanR     
I second Jamber. A few years back I trailered the Montauk from Miami to Bokeelia on Pine Island (Just north of the Fort Myers area) and took the boat over to Cayo Costa State Park. It was beautiful, we beached the boat and were all by ourselves on the beach. Then went up on the inside and around Captiva and Sanibel Island. Also beautiful. Saw many dolphins in the area as they played around and under the boat.

Also, Pine Island is like going back in time. It is very laid back and quiet. They roll up the sidewalks at 9PM. Also saw a speed limit sign. 9MPH max. Very un-Miami like. Nice sunsets too.

David Jenkins posted 11-20-2003 06:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
I'll call them today. Thanks, Jamber and Allan.
Smitty posted 11-20-2003 06:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for Smitty  Send Email to Smitty     
Here's a link to Macrae's Have fun!Smitty
Bill C posted 11-20-2003 07:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bill C  Send Email to Bill C     

Homosassa is great. I go there 3-4 times a year. As Bigshot said there is plenty to do at reasonable prices and the car stays parked. MacRaes is the best place to stay. Put your cheapie prop on as the bottom is hard limestone. The locals do not run stainless props on their fishing boats. If you run out to the gulf STAY in the channel. Best bet is to follow someone out. Keep the depth sounder on. Water depth is very shallow even 2-3 miles offshore. The islands are limestone so take decent shoes if you want to walk on any of them.

Kingsteven18 posted 11-20-2003 08:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for Kingsteven18  Send Email to Kingsteven18     
Between the prop/bottom problems and the Manatees, Homosassa sounds like the perfect place to have a BW Rage (that so many people ridicule on these forums). You've convinced me to bring mine down there for a nice vacation this winter. Thanks!
Bigshot posted 11-20-2003 10:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Come on down....we'll rendezvous. I don't need much arm twisting to go to that place but could not live there if ya know what I mean. I run my SS prop and just stay in the channel water is plenty deep in the river.
David Jenkins posted 11-20-2003 12:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
Bigshot, if you can make it, meet us at the Tiki Bar next to MacRae's at 3:00 PM Saturday. Dinner is on us as a way to say "thank you" for all of the past advice on engines, etc. My wife can't make the trip and I will have my two daughters with me, but they like boats and seafood and live music. The name of my boat is the Anna Jane and we will be monitoring channel 16.

If others want to join us, that would be great. But I'm only treating Bigshot and his wife to dinner!

At 11:00 AM on Sunday we will haul out and head down to Cayo Costa where we will camp for 3 nights. Thanks again to Jamber and Allan for that recommendation.

Bigshot posted 11-20-2003 02:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
I am running a Chili cookoff and motorcycle show this saturday, been 6 months in the making but thanks for the offer. If ya want, swing by on Sunday and we can do a run in Tampa Bay being I am about midway bewtween Homa and Cayo.
David Jenkins posted 11-20-2003 02:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
We'll get together in 2004, Bigshot.

Is it possible to go by water from Homosassa to Ft Pierce in a day? It looks to be about 120 water miles. Has anyone does this trip? Is there a protected waterway (ICW) or do you have to go outside?

Kingsteven18 posted 11-20-2003 05:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Kingsteven18  Send Email to Kingsteven18     
Bigshot: You're into bikes too? I just ordered a 2004 HD Sportster Roadster. Maybe we should have a BW / Biker club.
Bigshot posted 11-21-2003 11:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
120 miles by Whaler.....tow it.

I had a 1995 Sporty and traded up to a Kawasaki;) Actually I liked the bike but had nobody to ride with so I sold it in 2000 with 4500 miles and bought a used Ninja and tiled my house. Then all my friends bought bikes so I got a ZRX1100 last year which is a new style KZ1000 Eddie Lawson replica.....bad ass bike. My brother-in-law has a 2003 883R and I bust his chops by calling it "the moped".

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