Camping at Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park, Keystone, FL

One of our Florida trips took us to Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park in Keystone Heights, Florida.  This park is in Central Florida—about 30 miles Northeast of Gainesville. This is one of the first state parks that was developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.  Mike Roess is also registered on the National Register of Historic Places.

campsite at Mike RoessBack of our site #69

Our site was on the Lake Loop.  We had water and electric hookup.  It was beautiful, but there was no water access, just a great view!  The ground was sandy and, unfortunately, there weren’t too many trees on our site. Overall, we enjoyed our visit to this park.  We also loved exploring around the area. We drove to Gainesville to explore the city. Very nice!

We decided to go bike riding at Barr Hammock Preserve.  That is close to the campground. It was lots of fun!  We got to see a little armadillo on our bike trail and met a horse whose owner was trying to get him used to being around people and being outside on a trail.  We got to pet him and feed him.  That was an unexpected treat!

Barr Hammock PreserveBarr Hammock Preserve
armadilloArmadillo on trail

We also visited Owens-Illinois Park in Gainesville, Florida. This park is great for picnicking, fishing, and boating.  You can’t swim there because of the gators.  We decided to go kayaking.  It was a beautiful day and we got to see some turtles and birds.  The weather was perfect, and the water was very calm.  It was quiet and peaceful!  We went on a wonderful paddle and saw some of the most beautiful trees around the area. I was disappointed we didn’t see any gators on that trip! 

Overall, I would recommend camping at Mike Roess State Park and exploring the area.  It is beautiful!

KayakingMe kayaking in Owen-Illinois Park
birdBird at Owen-Illinois Park