If you and your pooch are looking for a peaceful, outdoor Floridian getaway, you’d be barking mad not to consider camping at Clearwater Lake Recreation Area! Situated on the edge of the pine-scrub Ocala National Forest, this US Forest Service campground doesn’t have all the amenities of the RV resorts in the area -- you won’t find any electricity or RV hookups. You and your pooch won’t need to "ruff" it too much, however, as there are flush toilets, hot showers and importantly, bear-proof bins on-site. And with the charming town of Paisley just a mile away from camp, there’s no need to waste precious luggage space on provisions!
Not to mention that the location might be worth sacrificing a few mod cons for! The sites are well shaded by a combination of mature pines and tropical palms, and many spots have fabulous views of the water. Clearwater is pretty paw-pular year round, so it’s best to make your reservation early, particularly if you’ll need to stay at one of the campground’s accessible sites. There’s a $5.50 entrance fee to the recreation area, and a night’s stay will set you back $22.50.
While non-furry family members might appreciate the swimming and kayaking opportunities afforded by the lake, your pup will need to stay out of the swimming areas and on dry land (probably for the best -- Clearwater Lake is home to a significant population of alligators). You and your buddy are still sure to sniff out something to do, though! For your woofer's daily walk, paw on over to the stretch of the Florida Scenic Trail that runs through the recreation area. There's also a trail around the lake, but furry friends aren't allowed to explore it. If your buddy is longing to lose the leash, you can take the 25-minute drive into the nearby community of Mt. Dora, where you’ll find a dog park as well as some Fido-friendly eateries.
WiFi isn’t available at Clearwater Lake, but all cellular networks should receive at least some coverage. Campfires are permitted, and you’ll find drinking water available at the campground. Remember to bring waste bags for your doggo, and have a furrific vacation!