O'leno State Park is one of the oldest state parks in the state and is a great RV getaway destination for those who love outdoor recreation. Located on the Santa Fe River around six miles north of High Springs, O'leno State Park has some fascinating geology. The park is made up of hardwood hammocks, river swamps, sinkholes and sandhills. One of the cool natural features in the park is that the Santa Fe River runs through the park but disappears into a sinkhole and re-appears around three and a half miles away, forming a natural land bridge.
The park started to take shape when in 1935 the Florida Forest Service purchased the property. The site of the current day park was initially chosen as the location of a Florida Forest Service camp with the aim of providing forestry training and education. After operating as a Forest Service camp the park was officially opened in 1940 as one of the original nine state parks in the Florida Park Service.
O'leno State Park is known for having an abundance of outdoor recreational activities available, including swimming, fishing, hiking, bike riding, geo-seeking, paddling and picnicking. The park also offers some great camping opportunities to RV lovers. In total there are two camping loops (Magnolia and Dogwood) that have a combined 61 campsites that offer electric and water hookups. O'leno State Park is open all year round and peak season is during the summertime.
RV Rentals in O'leno State Park
Transportation in O'leno State Park
O'leno State Park is located in Columbia County, Florida around six miles north of High Springs on U.S. 41. The park is located in northern Florida and is near numerous small towns, including Fort White (around eight miles away), Traxler (around 13 miles away) and Alachua (around 13 and a half miles away). The closest major city to O'leno State Park is Gainsville, which can be found around 35 miles to the south-east of the park.
There is one access road to the park that you will find off U.S 41 and it is in good condition. Once this road reaches the campground you will notice a difference. The road becomes quite tight, narrow and contains the odd potholes. You should also be aware that there are low hanging trees that may damage your RV if you are not careful. If you have a larger RV we recommend the Magnolia campground as it will be easier for you to navigate. Despite the old road the park will still be accessible to those in an RV up to 50 feet in length but just remember to err on the side of caution and to take it slow.
If you are concerned about weather conditions during your planned trip you can call ahead to the park office to confirm that the park will be open during this time.
There is plenty of parking available at O'leno State Park
Unfortunately there are no public transportation options for visitors to O'leno State Park.
Campgrounds and parking in O'leno State Park
Campsites in O'leno State Park
The Dogwood Campground within O'leno State Park is the main campground of choice for those visiting the park who have smaller RV's or who are tent camping. The campground has 27 sites in total and all of them have either 30 or 50 amp electrical connections along with a water hookup. You will also be able to use the in-ground grill and picnic table that come with all camp sites in the campground. Other amenities in the campground include a centrally located bathhouse and access to a dump station and dumpsters.
You should be able to get cell service on all of the major networks if you are in the Dogwood Campground. Pets are also permitted but they must be leashed on all times. A maximum of two vehicles in addition to the camping unit are allowed on each site and quiet hours start at 11PM. Reservations are available up to 11 months in advance and the campground is open all year round.
The Magnolia Campground within O'leno State Park is the main campground of choice for those visiting the park who have larger RV's. The campground has 27 sites in total and all of them have either 30 or 50 amp electrical connections along with a water hookup. You will also be able to use the in-ground grill and picnic table that come with all camp sites in the campground. Other amenities in the campground include a centrally located bathhouse, playground and access to a dump station and dumpsters.
You should be able to get cell service on all of the major networks if you are in the Magnolia Campground. Pets are also permitted but they must be leashed on all times. A maximum of two vehicles in addition to the camping unit are allowed on each site and quiet hours start at 11PM. Reservations are available up to 11 months in advance and the campground is open all year round.
Seasonal activities in O'leno State Park
There is nothing better than enjoying a summer day than by having a relaxing picnic in O'leno State Park. The park has a designated picnic area overlooking the Santa Fe River, along with picnic tables being supplied at each campsite in the park. The covered shelters in the picnic area are available on a first-come, first-served basis and can't be reserved, so make sure that you arrive early if you must use one of the covered shelters.
Another great recreational activity to do during the summertime within O'leno State Park is to explore the Santa Fe River by canoe. If you are to go canoeing you must paddle up the river, as canoeing down the river is not allowed due to the location of the swimming area and the environmental sensitivity of the River Sink. If you don't have a canoe you have the option to rent one from the park office per hour or per day.
Love to swim? During the summer months at O'leno State Park you can enjoy a refreshing dip in the swimming area, which is located on a portion of the Santa Fe River. The water has a unique tea color due to the natural tannins but don't worry as the water is fresh and clean. One thing to be aware of is that water levels in the Santa Fe River occasionally cause the swimming area to be closed if the water is too low or too high.
If you are interested in riding a bike you are able to do so within the park. The main riding area for those looking for a relaxing ride can be found along the park's main drive. If you are looking for a more adventurous ride you can try take on one of the park’s nature trail in which there are 11 miles that you can use. Call ahead to the park to see if there are bike rentals if you don't have your own.
O’Leno State Park is one of the best birding locations in the area and the park is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail. You will have ample opportunities to bird watch throughout the park and some of the species that have been seen include migrant songbirds, eastern wild turkey, northern bobwhite, barred owl, red-headed woodpecker and Bachman’s sparrows. If you want more information on the birding opportunities in the park contact the park office during your stay.
Hiking lovers will enjoy their stay at O’Leno State Park as there are many trails available for you to use during your stay. The trails vary in length and the three most popular hiking trails include the River Trail, the Limestone Trail and Parener’s Branch. If you are pressed for time we recommend The River Trail. This trail is around one and a half miles and it takes you along the Santa Fe River to the "River Sink" where the river disappears underground.