One of the first state parks in Florida, Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park was established in the 1930s and developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps. All these years later, it continues to offer a wonderful spot for visitors to relax, indulge in a host of recreational activities, and enjoy pet-friendly camping vacations.
Located halfway between Gainesville and Jacksonville, this 2,000-acre park boasts a diverse landscape of marshes, lake, scrub, and the steephead ravine with seepage springs for which the park is named.
If you like hiking, Gold Head has multiple hiking and nature trails to explore, with the Loblolly Loop a highlight for nature lovers. More than five miles of the Florida National Scenic Trail also passes through the park for those looking for something a little more challenging.
If aquatic recreation is more your speed, why not go for a swim or cast a line in Little Lake Johnson? The lake's clear, still waters are also perfect for canoeing, and there are eight canoes available for rent.
Gold Head is also popular with bird lovers and wildlife watchers, and it also features multiple picnic areas if you're looking for a scenic spot to sit down for lunch.
If you're staying the night, the park's 73 sites are spread across three campground loops. Sites are suitable for tents, trailers, and motorized campers, and pets are more than welcome.
A $5 vehicle entry fee applies, and make sure you remember to check overnight camping fees when booking your site. There are also 16 cabins available for overnight stays, but pets are not welcome in these structures.
If visiting with your pet, stick to those areas designated as pet-friendly and keep your pet leashed at all times. Don't forget to clean up after your dog whenever necessary.
Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park may be something of a mouthful to say, but it's a park that's well worth visiting. With a long list of experiences to enjoy, you and your dog won't want to leave!