Freak Creek again

 

 

We went back to Freak Creek a few weekends ago to hangout and paddle board this time 😀

There were quite a few people there when we showed up, kids and adults…all of which were super friendly. The area was a lot cleaner than before, no beer cans or empty beer cases laying around. There is no garbage way out there along the forest roads so if no one takes out what they bring in then it stays there which is a shame because this time around I saw how much of a “family friendly” spot this actually is. Whereas my first impression when we camped was that it wasn’t simply due to what trash had been left behind. There were kids on the rope swings having a blast and my son got interested in trying at one point so I helped him with one that is on the shallow side of the creek and he kept coming back wanting to go again lol. I was watching one of the boys there continuously try landing on the kayak from the swing and luckily he missed every time :’)

Kids are so wild, it can be admirable sometimes… i’ve never been on a rope swing, now that i’m an adult and analyze all the potential risks i’m nervous to try it. Not that i won’t try, i’m just nervous to. You only live once, right ? One of the families there had a kayak and let him play in it, of course he still loved the slide that’s there, and we took our paddle board out going down stream for a bit.

Going down the creek there is another landing, this is a designated dispersed camping location. This means there is no fee to camp as well as no amenities. There are three sites there from what I have read online, I didn’t want to leave my paddle board very long to go looking but from what I saw there’s plenty of room. Lots of fish down stream, I saw a sunken boat as well.. kind of creepy. I would have paddled farther if it weren’t for the mosquitos and the fallen/underwater trees. My 11 ft. board can be hard to maneuver with branches sticking out of the water and I try really hard to avoid them because my board is an inflatable. I’m thinking next time we will paddle upstream towards Alexander Springs Recreation Area to see how the water changes, hopefully see some turtles again.

The fire ban has been lifted ! yay 🙂 Someone started a fire while we were there in hopes that the smoke would help but there is very limited fire wood out there (if any) so if you plan on camping and wanting a good campfire bring your own firewood. Even after a shower I still smelt like campfire the next day lol. Again, there are no amenities which means no fire rings either. We made a fire our first night out but that’s because we needed light lol, I have a lantern and portable stove now so I’m not sure if i’d start one up.

Little man really loves this spot though and I want to go camping again before school starts back up so maybe after seeing how family friendly it is I won’t take this spot off our places to camp list.

….It is a real list.

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River Bend Nature Park

 

River Bend Nature Park is located in Ormond and situated along the Tomoka river. It’s a small park but has the necessary things needed to be able to enjoy an hour or two. Very serene and the 3 times we have been only a few other people were there, this last time was our first time seeing other kids. I always want to paddle board on the river but when we go it’s windy so I haven’t been able to do that yet. The trail is an easy one with exercise stations scattered along it as well as a few benches here and there. There are a couple docks and a place where you could launch a kayak/canoe. This park is fairly close to Bulow Plantation Ruins State Park as well as Tomoka State Park.

Things offered at the park:

  • kayak launch
  • trail
  • bathroom
  • grills
  • picnic tables
  • fishing docks
  • exercise stations
  • playground

Accessibility-

There are no sidewalks but I would say that the trail is accessible because it is very flat. The handicap parking is located near the bathrooms as well.

Dames Caves and Peace Cave

Located near Brookesville in the Withlacoochee State Forest, this is a decent drive away from us but well worth it to explore dry caves. Yes, above ground caves in Florida ! They are gorgeous and so much fun. We went for the first time around September of last year but I knew we would be back eventually. It’s just such a different adventure than what we usually do and you really can get in there and explore depending on how dirty you’re willing to get and if you aren’t afraid of small spaces.

There are 4-5 caves to check out: some will have small spaces that you can walk through and it opens into a bigger den, some you can crawl back pretty far ( I didn’t go all the way but one of the kids did), there are a couple openings that look like cliff edges inside. You definitely want to have a flashlight to get the full exploring experience and ideally you’d want a headlamp so your hands are free. The cave is cool in temperature and can be very slick when climbing in and out of them. This last time we went the bottoms were muddy because of all the rain but they weren’t unmanageable and the trail leading up to them wasn’t bad either.

I think I slipped a few times and I know my friend did on the way going into one of them but no one got hurt and everyone left with a good bit of mud on them 😀

There aren’t any bathrooms at the entrance we used which is a parking area off the side of the road and not an official state forest entrance so there is no fee box. Unfortunately camping is prohibited but there are many other places within the forest that you can camp out at !