A beautiful location for a day trip or even a few nights stay, you can't go wrong with Lake Griffin State Park. Located in central Florida, the park is the home of the second-largest oak tree in the state. Open 365 days a year, there are a variety of attractions from fishing, boating, and nature trails to geocaching and wildlife viewing. As one of Florida's best natural wonders, it is a must-visit for your next RV adventure.
Lake Griffin State Park was originally created to shelter recreational fishermen and it is still a favored fishing spot among anglers in the area. The 620-acre park is home to two majestic bodies of water, the mystifying Dead River and the massive Lake Griffin, which is the eighth largest lake in Florida. From ranger-led pontoon boat tours to kayaking and canoeing, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore the amazing ecosystem of the park, including its “floating islands.” Unfortunately, there is no swimming allowed due to the healthy population of alligators in the lake.
The swampy landscape of Dead River Marsh is a must-see for all RV visitors. All kinds of native critters besides alligators call these marshes home, including otters, raccoons, and turkeys. Birding enthusiasts will jump at the chance to spot herons, hawks, and snowy egrets. Lake Griffin State Park is only an hour away from Orlando, ensuring the weather is pleasant all year round. If you’re taking an RV vacation to Florida, this state park should be on the top of your list. There are 40 RV-friendly sites to choose from, some of which are equipped with full hookups.
Located just an hour from Orlando, Lake Griffin State Park is easy to access as it is directly off of US Highway 441. This makes it easy to access, even for those with big rigs. The town of Fruitland Park is just across the highway, giving you plenty of opportunities to stock up on supplies, gas up the RV, or grab a bite to eat before entering the park. Once inside, you will be able to get around easily on the paved roads throughout the park. If you’re towing a watercraft, you won't have to worry, as the boat ramp accommodates trailers up to 25 feet.
There are a variety of options for parking RVs throughout the park including pull-through and back-in locations. The ranger station is just past the entrance with very friendly and helpful staff to assist you throughout your stay. If you are not parking your RV at your campsite, you can park at the large parking lot near the boat ramp. Day visitors will want to arrive to the park plenty early to snag a parking spot, as the lot fills up quickly -- even during the winter.
A pet-friendly campground is open all year round for RV, trailer, and tent camping. There are 40 sites available with variations in amenities and accessibility. Seven of the sites are pull-through, while the rest are back-in. Each site includes water and electricity connections, as well as a picnic table and campfire grill. Some sites additionally offer sewer hookups. Three campsites are ADA-accessible as well. While some campers have complained of noise from the nearby highway, others praise the sites for being well-maintained and shaded.
You will enjoy the other campground amenities at this state park including showers, restrooms, laundry facilities, and a dump station. You’ll also be close to all the action of the park including a playground, the boat launch, and kayak and canoe rentals. There is even a small library of children’s books on-site. Reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance. RVs up to 40 feet long can be accommodated.
If not all of the sites have been reserved upon your arrival, you might be able to snag a spot on a first-come, first-served basis. However, without a reservation, you are not guaranteed a spot. Lake Griffin State Park's campground is equipped with a total of 40 campsites, all of which offer water and electric hookups. Some sites also offer sewer hookups, and three sites are ADA-accessible. Be sure to arrive at the park early to see if you can claim an unreserved site, as the campground fills up quickly -- even during the off-season!
If you couldn't snag one of the 40 campsites available at Lake Griffin State Park, don't fret. There are a variety of alternate options in the surrounding area, and whether you're looking for top-notch facilities with full hookups or a quiet campsite far from the city, you are sure to find what you need.
There are numerous private RV parks in and around Fruitland Park, many of which offer modern amenities like full hookups, seasonal swimming pools, and even equestrian-friendly campgrounds.
Wekiwa Springs State Park is another great option for RVers, located about an hour southeast of Lake Griffin. Overnight guests will have the option of full, partial, or no hookup sites -- 60 of which are available for RV camping.
Ocala National Forest is also less than an hour from Lake Giffin to the north. Those seeking overnight accommodation will find hundreds of RV-friendly sites here, some of which are even equipped with full hookups.
If you are a lover of fishing, you will be thrilled at the opportunity of seeing what you can catch at Lake Griffin. Whether you’re out on a boat or just casting from the shore, you'll want to bring your tackle and gear along in the travel trailer. Known for its bass fishing, there is also the possibility of hooking Crappie, Catfish, Bluegill, Speckled Perch, as well as many others. The Dead River is one of the best places to fish in this part of the state, and the massive Lake Griffin has also proved plentiful for anglers. Before you cast out, you will need a fishing license if you are from out-of-state.
When it comes to exploring the waterways during your RV trip to this beautiful state park, there are a variety of options available. Rent a kayak or canoe, enjoy a guided tour, or tag along on a paddle trip – there is something for everyone.
One of the most popular ways to enjoy the water is by taking a scenic paddle trip. This guided tour of the Dead River leads right to Lake Griffin. This is a great opportunity to relax, exercise, and spot some wildlife.
Boating tours are another exciting option the whole family can enjoy. Pontoon boat tours are operated seasonally and offer the chance to see the lake’s amazing wildlife, plus the unique habitat of the river marsh. You won't have to worry about anything as you soak everything in that this beautiful landscape has to offer.
If you aren't much of a water person, there is still a lot on offer. Lake Griffin State Park is home to one of the largest living oak trees in the state. It is estimated to be around 400 years old! You can follow a short walking trail that begins close to the ranger’s station to get an even closer look. If you have a stroller, it is wide enough for you to travel down the gravel path as long as you have thicker wheels.
There are also different hiking trails available. One of them is nearly two miles long that cuts across sections of the swamp basin. You can learn all about the unique and diverse ecosystems around you by reading interpretive signs that guide your way. If you want to hit any of these trails, don’t forget to pack sturdy hiking boots in your camper before you leave.
Whether you are out on the waterways, taking a walk on a trail, or just exploring the area, there is a plethora of wildlife to watch during your RV vacation at Lake Griffin. Some of the wildlife that you can usually spot include cormorant, anhingas, alligators, herons, turtles, and ospreys. If you tread lightly, you might even see raccoons, bobcats, coyotes, and bears. There are even guided hikes available for you to view the bountiful animals and plants that call this part of Florida home.
Lake Griffin is a great place to bring the family for a day or two. There is a beautiful picnic area covered by a canopy of oak trees. Not only that, but you get the chance to view the enchanting waters near the boat ramp. You can even play a round of volleyball or toss some horseshoes around -- equipment is available for rent if you didn’t pack any in your Airstream. If you're staying the night, you can always enjoy a picnic back at camp too, as each site is equipped with its own table and fire ring.
If you want a new and challenging way to explore the state park after you park the motorhome and set up camp, why not try your hand at geocaching? This is pretty much a treasure hunt for an item or a container with lots of items to find. You will need a GPS device so you can navigate your way to the hidden treasures, known as geocaches. This is a fun and free way to get the whole family out exploring and experiencing the great outdoors.