Florida's 160th state park, Colt Creek State Park, is situated in the Green Swamp Wilderness Area and surrounded by forests, rivers, creeks, and small lakes. Located squarely between Tampa and Orlando, this stunning park and is only a short drive from both - the perfect option for your next RV getaway.
The land the park sits on was used for a variety of purposes in the past, including as a cattle ranch, logging camp, and mining operation. Water-filled pits from these endeavors eventually became lakes that offer habitat to a variety of different birds, plants, and wildlife today. Colt Creek State Park is actually a fairly new state park. In 2006, the 5,067-acre parcel of land was bought from the long time owners, the Overstreet family. The park continues to be an important part of the Green Swamp Area. Plus, water from the park flows into several Flordia rivers, including the Peace, Ocklawaha, Hillsborough, and Withlacoochee.
When you visit the park, you can enjoy horseback riding, hiking, and biking through the surrounding habitats, as well as fishing and kayaking along the lake. The park is home to a variety of wildlife like otters, bald eagles, alligators, a host of different birds and butterflies, as well as more threatened species like Sherman's fox squirrel.
If you decide to stay on for a couple of days, your accommodation options include RV and tent campsites with electrical hookups, tent-only campsites with electrical hookups, primitive equestrian sites, and backpack-in primitive sites. Be sure to pack a variety of clothes to adapt to Florida's constantly changing weather.
You'll find Colt Creek State Park a short distance off the US-98. The short stretch from the US-98 to the park is especially scenic with lush forests and swamp areas on your left and right as you drive. RVers traveling to the park from Orlando or Tampa won't encounter any challenging road conditions or height restrictions. Only 13.5 miles from the park, Zephyrhills is the closest city to the park where you can find groceries, supplies, or a place to eat.
The roads within the park differ between gravel and paved, but are spacious and easy to navigate. Be sure to adjust your speed when you enter and keep an eye out for pedestrians and cyclists. Campers can go right ahead and check in at their sites before heading out to explore the park and the activities available. The campground loop has a couple of tight turns, so be aware of that when driving. The park is not too large, so visitors can easily get around on foot or by bike.
Although this is a smaller park, there is enough parking available. You can find suitable parking at the two day-use area parking lots. The spots can accommodate RVs and other smaller vehicles.
Colt Creek State Park Campground features 24 RV and tent sites with 50- and 30-amp electrical and water hookups and six tent-only sites with similar hookups. This is a pet-friendly campground and campers are welcome to bring along their domestic pets on their camping trip. You must just make sure your pet is on a hand-held leash at all times.
The RV sites vary between back-in and pull-through and can accommodate rigs varying from 68 feet up to 93 feet long. If you have a larger rig, then you'll want to try and reserve sites 3, 12, 24, 25, and 27. RV visitors needing ADA-accessible sites should book sites 2 and 6. Tent campers needing ADA-accessible sites should reserve sites 13 and 14.
The campsites can all sleep eight people each and feature the same amenities, which include a picnic table and a grill with a fire pit. A restroom with flushing toilets and showers is centrally located in the campground and is only a short walk from your site.
If you've come camping at the park with your equestrian friends, then you'll need to camp at the equestrian campgrounds. You may want to reserve a spot in advance to ensure that you have a site for the night. The sites are equipped with a portable toilet, a fire pit, water, a mounting block, and troughs for your horses.
These sites are classed as primitive sites, but you can still bring along your RV or trailer if tent camping doesn't agree with you. You might get a better night's sleep in a rig, and be refreshed for another day out on the trails.
These campsites ring true to their name, backpack-in. There are two backpack-in primitive sites at the park, and they can only be reached by horseback, mountain bike, or foot. Its roughly a two-mile trek from the parking area to the sties. The sites are quite basic and don't have water, electricity, or restrooms. Make sure to carry everything you are going to need for that night, while still packing light, as you'll have to carry it all.
Campers will need to book these sites in advance and register at least an hour before sunset to be allowed to make the journey to the site. You can also bring along your domestic pet if you want. This is a perfect option for campers looking to really rough it.
Groups of campers looking to enjoy a weekend away together can make use of the park's primitive group campsite. This site is for organized groups and can sleep up to 60 people a night. It is situated in an oak hammock and features quite a bit of shade.
Like the backpack-in sites, these sites are very basic, but you'll have access to picnic tables, a portable toilet, and a fire ring. Unfortunately, this is not a pet-friendly campsite. The park dictates that for every 10 children, one adult chaperone of 21 years or older is needed. This site needs to be reserved in advance and can be booked for up to 60 days for youth groups.
Bring along your kayak, canoe, or jon boat when you visit Colt Creek State Park in your motorhome. Two of the park's lakes, Middle Lake and Mac Lake, are perfect for paddling and boating. Visitors should note that gas-powered motors are not allowed and only electric trolling motors are permitted.
If you don't have a canoe or kayak, then you can always rent one at the ranger station in the park. These should be returned at least one hour before sunset. A boat ramp is available for visitors to use for easy launching into the lake.
Horseback Riders are also allowed to enjoy the 15 miles of multi-use trails available. You will need to provide a negative Coggins test for each horse you bring along, but once it is confirmed, you are free to explore the park and enjoy your visit.
The trails are hard-packed and meander through the park's forests, pastureland, and rivers. Along your rides, you might be able to sight fox squirrel, white-tailed deer, and different species of birds. You can also find water troughs and mounting blocks for your use near the day-use area. If you plan on spending a couple of days, the equestrian campsite can be found nearby.
Pack those fishing rods along when you visit Colt Creek State Park on your next RV road trip. You can choose between the three different lakes available, all differing in size and depth when you cast your line from the shore. There is also a fishing dock at the Mac Lake, which is ADA-accessible as well. At the park, you'll be able to try your hand at catching catfish, bream, largemouth bass, shell cracker, and bluegill. Be sure to know the fishing regulations applicable at the park, and it's best to have a valid Florida fishing license on hand, in case you need it.
The park offers more than 15 miles of multi-use trails for bikers and hikers to use when they visit the park, and both are sure to have the time of their lives. The terrain is mostly grass-covered and hard-packed, but there are some areas that are muddy or have soft sand, so its best to bring along a mountain bike or sturdy hiking shoes. Visitors who struggle with mobility can enjoy the Mac Lake nature trail near one of the day-use areas, which is suitable for assistance devices, like wheelchairs.
Its always a good idea to bike or hike with a buddy, but if you go by yourself, be sure to let someone know where you are going and when to expect you back. As per Florida law, all bikers under the age of 17 will need to wear helmets when biking, so remember to bring one along! Be sure to pick up a trail map at the park before heading out on to the trails, so you know where you are.
The park is full of different species of wildlife ranging from birds to alligators to deer, and these can often be seen during the day. It's a good idea to bring along those binoculars and cameras when you visit Colt Creek State Park so you can hone in on the wildlife and capture some snaps of your time away. Birders visiting the park can print out a birding checklist to keep track of how many different species they see. This is an amazing pastime, which everyone is sure to enjoy.
If you would like to explore the park in a fun, exciting way then try to find the caches hidden around the park. Geocaching is a modern version of a treasure hunt and is suitable for the whole family. If you're game, you'll need a GPS-capable device, some trinkets and treasures to trade along the way, and snacks and water to keep you going. When you find a cache, you can trade one of your trinkets for the one in the cache. Remember to leave the cache exactly as you found it so that others after you can enjoy the hunt.