Looking to "ruff" it with your pooch on your next getaway? Enjoy bare-bones camping at the Ross Prairie Primitive Campsite. This facility is a tent-only, walk-in property with a nightly fee of $10. The campground has picnic tables and fire rings for your use, but there are no restrooms or running water available in the camp. Here, you're in the pawfect position to explore the 3,532-acre state forest -- but note you'll need to obtain a free State Forest Use permit to spend the night.
You can park near the Holly Hammock Trailhead in the northwestern corner of the forest, where you can use the restroom and grab some water before you head to the campsite. From here, you'll have to hike on the pathway to reach the primitive site. Head through the oak hammocks, longleaf pine forest, and scrub areas. In summer, you'll be able to see orchids among the ferns, and a carpet of wildflowers comes out in the spring and fall.
Hound-dog hikers will love the park's network of trails for hiking and horseback riding. Wander through the basin marsh and wetland grasses as you pass under oak hammocks. The Ross Prairie Trail takes you around the edge of the preserve. Along the way, you'll travel between the wetland and sandhill ecosystems, and be sure to watch out for wading birds, deer, turkey, bobcats, and other wildlife on your journey. You're likely to see more activity if you come during the wet season. Hunters can also use this property -- make sure you know if it's open season during your stay.
You're welcome to share this furrific spot with your special pal. The forest will let you bring leashed dogs with you to camp and hike here. Don't leave Fido unattended, and pick up their waste.
The Ross Prairie Primitive Campsite offers a backcountry atmosphere. Pack your tent and supplies in from the parking area and enjoy the solitude and natural beauty of these wetlands. Spend your days investigating the woods and grasses with your pooch before relaxing by the fire ring at night. Remember to store your supplies in sealed containers to avoid attracting alligators.