If you and your buddy are planning an outdoor getaway in Florida’s newest state forest, you’d be barking mad not to consider camping at one of the Charles H. Bronson State Forest Primitive Sites, not least because they’re the only sites in the forest. You and your pooch should prepare to "ruff" it! All three sites are hike-in and tent only, there are no showers or electricity, and there aren’t even any restrooms -- you and your buddy will have to make like a bear.
However, those comfortable with a true wilderness experience will find themselves sleeping surrounded by some of the most stunning scenery the state has to offer! Two of the sites, Fern and Joshua Creek, sit along the Florida Scenic Trail, and Joshua Creek has views of the water. Another site, Country Line, is just off the White Trail and can be accessed by the Blue Connector route from the Florida Scenic Trail. There’s only space for one tent at each site, so this is not the place for a group vacation! Because sites are so sparse, early reservation is essential. There’s a $2 entrance fee to the forest, a site will set you back $8.89, and you’ll need to contact the Florida Forest Service to pick up a permit before you camp.
You and your doggo are sure to sniff out something to do during your stay! Hound-dog hikers will certainly want to take a walk on the 8 miles of the Florida Scenic Trail that the forest boasts, meandering past mature hardwoods, over boardwalks in ecologically diverse wetlands, around palmettos, and by Floridian wildflowers. You’ll also cross several creeks, and while the fishing might not be great in the streams, the stretch of the St. John’s River contained in the forest is a furrific place to catch crappie and bluegill. Avid birders might want to keep an eye out for sandbill cranes, owls, and even the occasional bald eagle! Just be sure to bring plenty of bug spray, or you and your fur-ball will soon be itching with more than just the urge to explore.
As you can imagine, WiFi isn’t available at the sites, and cellular coverage varies from network to network. Fires are permitted in designated rings, but there’s no drinking water -- you’ll have to bring your own bottle. Watch out for hunters and gators, and have a pawesome time!