2018 Shasta Oasis
2018 Shasta Oasis
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Got your sights set on Florida for your next RV camping trip? Explore the wonders tucked away inside Florida Caverns, adjacent to the Chipola River. The caves are part of Florida Caverns State Park, which is just minutes away from the town of Marianna, the seat of Jackson County.
Not only does the park protect 1,319 acres of majestic wilderness that began forming 38 million years ago, but it also features geological wonders like stalagmites, flowstones, and stalactites. The park is also convenient to Florida's famous metropolitan destinations. Panama City Beach is 66 miles away, and Tallahassee is a little further afield at 85 miles, making the park a convenient stopover for RV road trippers.
Don't have your own rig? Search for an RV in Jackson County and check out what Florida Caverns State Park has to offer. Attend ranger programs and learn about the park’s heritage and geology, walk along the hiking trails, fish from the banks of Chipola River, or simply get some shut-eye after a long journey in your rental RV.
Unsurprisingly, the dazzling caves are the main attraction at Florida Caverns State Park. Cave tours allow visitors to descend down the slippery walkways into dimly lit cave rooms. Don’t get startled if you encounter bats, spiders, mice, or salamanders, as these cave dwellers are harmless and curious to see who's roaming through their humble abode.
If you'd prefer to steer clear of the creepy-crawlies hiding in the dark caverns, picnicking is another fan favorite here. Make sure you arrive early, as the picnic tables and grills at the park's six picnic areas are available on first-come, first-served basis.
Water-based activities abound here as well. Anglers can also cast a line in search of sunfish, catfish, and bass from the boat ramp on the Chipola River. Small boats are welcome to explore the river, but certain safety restrictions apply due to water conditions. Check for any boating alerts when planning your RV camping trip.
Prefer to stay on dry land? Florida Caverns State Park isn't exactly a haven for hikers, but two nature trails offer stunning vistas of the park's unique ecosystem. Be sure to pack sturdy hiking boots in your rental RV, as certain sections of these trails are strenuous. Additional multi-use trails are open to cyclists and horseback riders.
Florida Caverns State Park offers 35 sites to tent and RV campers complete with electric and water hookups. Sites accommodate vehicles up to 45 feet long. Amenities for guests camping in an RV at Florida Caverns State Park include showers (located at the nearby Blue Hole day-use area), flush restrooms, and playgrounds.
All sites are pet-friendly, while some even allow horses. Three equestrian sites welcome guests traveling with larger four-legged friends. Florida Caverns State Park's campground also offers convenient access to the park's multi-use trail network and picnic areas.
If you've got little ones in your camping crew, take the drive to Panama City to visit Zoo World. This is a prime place for a hands-on encounter with exotic wildlife. Feed the gators, pet sloths and lemurs, or simply admire the lions and giraffes. The zoo is also a stone's throw from the beach, so you can relax and enjoy a little sunbathing afterward.
Camping at Florida Caverns State Park provides the perfect opportunity to explore the Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail. This half-mile path offers access to the Upper Chipola Wildlife Management Area and showcases some of Florida's rarest plant species. Plus, local legend has it that the trail's namesake bridge is haunted. During certain times of year, visitors can take a ghost tour of the bridge to learn more about the spirits which are said to linger here.
Boating enthusiasts will want to set a course for Chattahoochee, home to the Apalachicola Maritime Museum. In addition to its watercraft exhibits, the museum offers a variety of boat tours and trips as well as educational programs on the area's three rivers. Book a sunset cruise or a kayak trip to see these stunning waters up close and learn more about their diverse ecosystem.
Those planning to camp in an RV near Marianna will be relieved to know that gas stations and stores are within a short distance of the park. Marianna is also home to a variety of dining options, including fast food, Asian, Mexican, and Greek cuisine. When you're all done RV camping at Florida Caverns State Park, hit I-10 just a few miles south of the park to continue your road trip through sunny Florida.