Florida Keys

Florida Keys
Florida Keys September 2014

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Biking the Nature Coast Bike Trail

Location: Fanning Springs, Fl
GPS Coordinates:
29.591828, -82.930342
Date: 8/26/2012

We rode the Nature Coast State Trail starting at the Fanning Springs trail head. We traveled through Old Town and continued on to Cross City which is northwest of the starting location. At around three miles from the start the trail crosses the Suwannee River using an old railway bridge. This location gives you a very good view of the river, both upriver and downstream.
Since the bike trail was built on an old railroad bed, there’s just about no elevation change along the trail (no hills!!). The trail is wide and well maintained and they have covered benches at about every 2 miles along the trail. All trail heads have parking and bathrooms. Many sections of the trail run through areas with many trees which give good shade, however both ends of this section of the trail are fairly open and sunny.
As a note, there is a hole in the wall BBQ place right next to the Fanning Springs train head. This makes a good place to visit after a long, tiring bike ride. Also, in Cross City there was a Dairy Queen right next to the trail. We didn’t stop, but sure crossed my mind!
Information on this trail can be found at: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/gwt/state/nat/default.htm
Old railroad bridge crossing over the Suwannee River
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Looking north upriver at the Suwannee
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Julie taking a water break and checking out the view,
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This is the hole in the wall BBQ place that is right next to the trail head. It’s got some pretty tasty BBQ and sure hit the spot after riding 27 miles.
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Here is the GPS track of our bike ride.
Nature Coast Bike Trail at EveryTrail

Friday, August 3, 2012

Camping weekend at Lithia Springs

Date: 8/3/12 – 8/5/12
Location: Lithia, Fl
GPS Coordinates: 27.869287, –82.224526

We found this campground that is real close to our oldest daughters new home. Lithia Springs is a Hillsborough County park. The campground is nice with a few of the sites sitting next to the Alafia River. The main draw to this park is the large spring with a beach area surrounding it. We were there in early August, so the weather was still warm and as a result the springs were packed with day visitors. If you want to claim a spot near the spring for the day, then get there early. I’ve read other blogs about this park during the cooler weather and it sounds like things are much calmer during the cool months.
There’s not much hiking at this park, but there is a canoe and kayak launch if you want to do some paddling on the Alafia River. This is a quirky campground in some of the site layouts. Some of the sites are very unlevel and many  have their water and power on the wrong sides or far away from where you would park your camper.
Here is our Review of this campground:
Campground: Lithia Springs Campground
Website: http://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/facilities.aspx
Site Number: 25
Price: $24 night
Date visited: 8/03/2012 - 8/05/2012
Rating (1 = low, 5 = high)
Campsite size: 3 (varies by campground loop chosen)
Campsite space between sites: 3 (varies by site)
Campsite privacy between sites: 3 (varies by site)
Campsite level: 2. Most sites not very level. Also, some of the water and power hookups are not well placed
Campsite parking: dirt
Campfire permitted: yes. Fire ring on each site
Campsite picnic table: Yes
Campground Facilities: 3.5
Campground access to hiking: 1. No defined hiking trails
Campground access to water (kayaking, fishing, swimming, etc): 4. A large spring for swimming and a river for canoe/kayaking
Campground access to biking: 3
Overall Campground rating: 3. A nice park, but a little quirky in places!

Our site, #25, was very large and nobody close by!
Hanging out at the camp site
Looking at our site from the road