There are two RV camps at JDSP. The older River campground is quite a drive back into the rather mundane pine scrub environment of the state park. It's an enlongated oval loop set back in scrub and situated near the river. As with all Florida parks, when it rains the mosquitos will be difficult and the river area is no exception. However, it is close to the boat ramp and docks/concession/canoe rental area that also features a playground, picnic area, trail access and the newly built civic center. In the river area: we felt spots 92-102 were the best but pretty small. Pay attention to the max length the sites can accommodate and width is a big concern as there are small pines in inconvenient places. If you have a big rig, the front camp is best. The River camp DOES NOT HAVE SEWER, but it is more "woodsy." The new front area is great for hanging out on a longer time frame. It's sparse tree wise but well organized with bordered pea gravel sites and full hook ups including sewer. The bathrooms are new and well kept. There is a nice playground and pavilion nearby. The front camp area is not what you think of a normal state park setup carved in the woods. It's more an open, KOA type setup except the sites aren't rowed ornately: more twisting, turning loops which breaks up the appearance. US 1 is just on the other side of the dune so traffic noise is present, but one gets used to it. Beware the sand flies or "no-seeums" in the wetter months at the front camp. Lots of sand for them to live in, and two ponds nearby ensure a steady supply of mosquitoes, but in the winter both are minimal. There is ample shopping, bars, and restaurants near JDSP as well as beautiful Atlantic beaches. Juno Beach is a well known off leash dog beach for all sizes and a real treat for your best friend. Parking is easy roadside with stairs and wash stations and doggie bags/garbage cans for picking up after your dog.
KPPSP is a remote place, so bring what you need because the nearest decent grocery or big box store is a 45 minute ride. There is a small country store not far from the entrance but good for only the basics. The entrance to the park can fool you as looking like the office. It's not. Get on the long white road and keep on going for awhile! The seclusion of the park is its main attraction with the journey there finding you kicking up dust on long unpaved roads (good foundation though) and being drawn to the yawning expanse of Florida style prairie. This park is also perfect for star gazers and amateur astronomers as there is little nearby homes or development. There are two camping areas. The family area is first encountered and this is a well used, tight camp loop with 16 RV sites. The sites from 1-14 are mostly shaded under live oak hammock. The best sites are 18 and 20 which offer direct views over the prairie which is quite beautiful in the dawn light. The next camp area is rarely used and a little overgrown with weeds as it centers around a horse corral. KPPSP is widely known for its miles of trails for both biking and hiking and for bird watching. This is a remote place where you have a complete sense of isolation when out on the trails. Otherwise there is not much to do for kids. There is no playground and only a small ranger station/office near the family campground. If you do bring kids, its a good place for them to bike as it's easy to keep an eye on them in the small camping loop. Like all Florida parks, beware the bugs as the rains begin after there winter dry spell. There is a slough right behind the camping loop which is mosquito heaven. The bathrooms are new and fairly well kept with a washer and dryer. Otherwise, this SP is a unusual outpost of nothingness. It's wandering expanse givens one time to amble slowly on trails and have a sense of ownership of the space around you.
The area is beautiful if you like old growth live oak forests and the river is OK, but certainly not as scenic as rivers farther north. The camping area is nicely wooded and shaded and typical of the quality one would expect out of Florida State Parks. There are some paved sites for disabled access but we didn't see any true "pull thru" sites but perhaps we missed something. They all seemed to be back ins. The showers and bathrooms were nice and clean and well maintained. The sites are nice and again typical of Florida State Parks with sand and dirt base with a fire ring and picnic table. Almost all the sites are nicely shaded and cool although squirrels have fun dropping stuff on your camper from time to time. BEWARE the sewer hookups are way at the front of the site and YOU WILL NEED extra sewer hose to reach them! Overall, this a lovely state park with all the seclusion and untouched beauty one should expect out of north Florida.
The combo package (camping/park entry) is a good deal and if staying here, definitely locate the coupon on the Lion Country website. This place is a typical KOA, with usual tight sites and few trees and plethora of rules and signs reminding you that your more in a compound rather than a campground. All the rules and signs are a bit of a turn off, but that's how some like it. The big drawback to this place is what flies around the campground and to be fair to the owners, it's hard to control the flying nasties when your camping next to a game preserve. But be prepared. First, the mosquitoes are huge and really hurt. Even if there is no rain there will be mosquitoes due to the wading pools the animals use in the game preserve nearby. We think you can minimize it by staying on the otherside of the campground away from the animals. Second, there are the wasps and hornets to contend with. Mosquitoes at night and wasps during the day. Hundreds of them, we were not sure where they were coming from but suspected the dumpster nearby to be as big magnet for them. Also, there are trailers and equipment parked in plain sight of many sites which border the animal park. It's rather unsightly and annoying to stare at a rusting car carrier parked in the middle of a campsite. This KOA is ok for kids for a weekend, but we won't be going back due to the aforementioned reasons.
Believe the ratings on this place. It is the best campground in Townsend in our opinion. We really looked for major flaws in the place but couldn't come up with anything substantial. The range of sites is great with everything from primitive tent sites to big rig pull throughs and in between. The foliage is gorgeous and the river sites, particularly towards the National Park side, are just great for wading right in and cooling off, although it was very cold right now. The playground is one of the best we have ever seen and the amenities including the camp store and restaurant were top notch. Wi-Fi worked in most of the park although near the river the signal started to get a bit weak but it worked. The staff was very friendly and helpful. We wont even look for another spot in Townsend. Doubt it could get any better than this.
This park is basically good for an overnight. Don't expect much else but a basic roadside KOA. People were friendly enough but would not recommend the park for long stays. IF YOU NEED WI-FI, stay up front as the signal only reaches a few spots around the office. Train tracks on one side and a repair shop on the other side boost the noise from I-75 but if your tired enough it won't matter. There is no gas or restaurants at the stop also. A stop a few miles north has the usual roadside fare and many gas stations.
Long Key SP is for die hard campers who want the full on out door experience. It's a State Park after all, so to stay here and complain about the bugs and seaweed smell is a little untoward in our opinion. The sites are typical state parish, with no paving and usually sand or crushed coral stone backing literally right up to the water. Most sites have sea grape trees or palm trees on them or between sites. Some sites are close together and some allowing some privacy. Its a place you have to stay to find your preferred sites first. Yes the seaweed does smell, especially at low tide but welcome to camping on the ocean! Complainers are more then welcome to find a nice manicured, environmentally controlled campsite elsewhere. The water is very shallow going out and if you bring a boat, plan on a hike out rafting your gear. The nearest boat ramp is a mile or so up the road and its private and they charge. There are fire pits and YOU WILL LIKELY NEED EXTRA WATER HOSE AND ELECTRICAL CABLE to hookup, also some boards for your jacks because of powdery sand. The bugs can be an issue as well so be prepared. However kayak rentals are available and wading through the shallow waters is enjoyable as well as the fishing by kayak. Otherwise one can wander the beaches, however swimming is not generally enjoyable unless one walks out a ways and finds a sandy area. This is a SP suited to fishermen, kayakers and those who have boats to get out on the reefs a few miles out. If you are looking for a swimming destination for the kids then focus on Curry Hammock or Bahia Honda SP, both of which have lovely beaches, particularly Bahia Honda. Certainly be prepared to camp on the slightly rough side at Long Key. This is not a place for the faint of heart looking for a sterile, concrete campsite, however it is the Florida Keys unabashed and ruggedly unmodified only to allow campers to literally back right up to the water and get the full force of the sights and smells of the beautiful Florida Keys.
Great state park with the usual professional rangers but there are some important things to note about Long Key SP that one should definitely consider during the summer. Like most state parks during the summer bugs (no seeums, mosquitoes, and horse flies) can be a major problem for some. We found the bugs to be really excessive, but that's what one would expect in a state park in the summer, but just be aware. You need a very long water hose and power cord hookups. Some sites share power and water off the same box, and our site required a 50 foot capability to hookup. If we only had 25 feet, we couldn't have stayed. Dogs are not allowed in the water or on the beach. This is a standard thing I think at most state park's with beaches, but it was a bummer for our Lab to have to look at the water and not go in. The seaweed on the beaches at Florida Keys State Parks in the summer can pile up and smell something awful. When the south breezes blow, the seaweed can literally make beaches unusable sometimes.
Honestly this is a model campground. It is the best place we have been in the Keys. The place is super clean and professionally organized. The new pool is great with chilled water at the perfect temperature. The waterfront sites have great views of the bay and are worth every penny. We look forward to many returns.