Friday, January 4, 2019

Bear Lake Campground

I am writing this entry on January 4th from South Central Florida. We have been enjoying some quiet camping time and some hot temperatures. Most days have been in the 80's. We even went to the beach on Sanibel Island yesterday, but I am getting ahead of myself. This entry is back almost a month ago...

We left Gulf Shores, Alabama on Monday, December 3rd. It felt good to leave the busy area and move north and a bit east to the Northern Panhandle of Florida. We left the busy area around Pensacola and then entered the Blackwater Wildlife Management area. This is a pine forest that has very little population. We drove a total of about 80 miles and arrived and a pretty little campground right on a lake. It was very quiet on this weekday. We really liked the vibe of this place.

Here is a shot of our campsite from the other side of the lake
After getting set up, we took a walk around and found a number of things that we wanted to do while we were there. There is a 4 mile trail that goes all the way around the lake that looked very pretty and secluded. Paddling on the lake was also on the list, but the main thing we wanted to do was enjoy the peace and quiet and do some reading. We had no cell signal with Verizon, the camp host had one bar with AT&T. We did have OTA TV, but it was going to be a quiet week. We paid for 7 days.

Here is a shot from the dam, looking down Bear lake.
The first morning I decided to take on that 4 mile hike. It was a very well established trail with a few bridges built over streams feeding the lake. The bridges were needed because of all of the recent rain. There was one area that the water covered the toes of my boots, but that still had a solid bottom.

Very well established trail

Nice views of the lake and some birds.
It is a great hike and was almost totally flat. A great way to start the day in my book.

We were enjoying our peace and quiet until well after dark on the second night we were at Bear Lake. About 8:30 a vehicle pulled into the spot next to ours. We are used to the noise made by other campers, but this was more than normal, but we just kept doing what we were doing. They did quiet down nicely about an hour after arriving, so all was well for sleeping.

We were a bit surprised the next morning to see some make shift tents and rain flies. and after a while we counted 8 children ranging in age from about 15 to 2. They were very well behaved and friendly, but they were our very close neighbors the rest of the time we were there. They were quiet and in bed by 8, but were up with the sun at about 7. So much for the peace and quiet.

Family of 10, next door.
I never talked Kim into doing the hike around the lake, but I did it a couple more times.

One of the many brides along the hike

I did encounter this garter snake on one of my hikes.
I was successful talking Kim into going for a paddle on the lake. We had a great time going all around the lake on mostly glassy water.

Not a real exciting entry, but it was still a pretty great week. We really liked the campground that is run by the Florida State Forest. There are other campgrounds in this part of the state that are also State Forest Service campgrounds. This could be a great stopping point if you are traveling along the gulf coast and are looking for something different that the coastal route that you have done a number of times as we have.

We were heading to Orlando and our date with Disney, but first we had some time to kill. Come back to see what other new campgrounds we find along our travels.


  1. That's a lot of kids in tents! At least they were well behaved, otherwise it could have been a miserable stay. Looks like some really nice hiking in that area.

    1. Kind of a strange deal. Those kids should have been in school. I am sure they are home schooling, but I did not see any of that going on while we were there. The father said they had been "camping" for 2 months.