The Drive: Night #1 (FL)

Camping in Florida

We gave ourselves 2 ½ weeks to travel – and what a gift that turned out to be.  Our initial intent was just to avoid the crazy rush of “civilized” travel and not be confined to a schedule.  Plus, we wanted to allow time for car repair (hoping and praying it wouldn’t be necessary).  With two old cars with lots of miles on them, better safe than sorry!

For our first night, I’d picked a spot that was only 5 hours drive away.  I wanted something that would be quiet and cheap.  We camped at a small private campground near Ichetucknee Springs State Park, FL.  It couldn’t have been more perfect.  Since it was mid-week, we practically had the place to ourselves.  The campsites were wooded, with lots of space between them (so you didn’t have to listen to your neighbor snoring!), had a fire rings and picnic tables.  The campground itself had clean bathrooms, hot showers, a game room with tv (which we didn’t use), firewood for sale, floating tubes for rent, and a friendly campground host.   The nightly rate for primitive camping (no water or electricity at the campsite) was only $15.

camping at ichetucknee state park

It also happened to be the end of a very, very hot and humid summer.  So much so that the ocean at home felt like bath-water and provided no relief.  The thought of soaking in cool fresh water springs (without alligators) was more enticing than you can imagine.

Although, Ichetucknee Springs State Park turned out to be not quite what we thought it would be.  Still, it was worth the visit.  The “Blue Hole” spring was very small with limited access.  Unfortunately, there was a small group of college-age boys there who were boisterously dominating the pool at the access point, and didn’t seem particularly interested in sharing.  But the other headspring, while small, was lovely and much easier to access.  You can also rent tubes and float the cool water river, but soaking was enough for us that day.


After an afternoon of soaking in the cool water, we settled into our campsite.  This was our first night camping in the van.  After living in a noisy area with neighbors so close you could hear their conversations, that first night of sleeping in the forest was pure bliss.

The next day, we enjoyed an extended lazy morning of coffee and breakfast prepared on the camp stove.  While a lazy camp breakfast is always relaxing, this one was downright decadent, as we savored our newfound freedom.


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