I can’t remember the last time I went camping before venturing out to the Alafia River State Park for a couple of days to experience something out of my comfort zone. I was born and raise in a city and only ever went “real camping” at summer camp with adult supervision long ago.

One thing I noticed about the Alafia Park right away, was how close each campsite was to one another. It wasn’t a negative thing, I just expected to be further from each other and deeper in the woods. Being close didn’t matter in the end anyways because we couldn’t see or hear the people next to us. One thing I was very grateful for was the wash room at the campsite. It wasn’t far from where I stayed on the camp ground and contained showers, sinks and toilets. One huge benefit was picking a camp ground next to the lake. Unfortunately, there was no swimming allowed, but it was always very pretty to look at.


Now, the trails.  I went hiking here my first morning and, oh my goodness, it was quite wonderful. One thing to really keep in mind about trails is footwear. It’s important to wear comfortable shoes when taking on long hiking journeys. I felt that I enjoyed my experience a lot more because I didn’t have constant pain in my feet. The trails themselves are reasonably easy to hike but if you find yourself off the red path, things become much harder. One commendable thing about the walking trail was the amount of shade because of the coverage of the many trees, making the summer walk way more bearable. Along with shade came gorgeous scenery, I’ll show you rather than tell you what I saw.

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While I was enjoying the park, I observed many different animals like rabbits, deer, fish, and birds. It was cool to be apart of nature for once and enjoy it up close and personal.

Mountain biking is also an option here if you are looking for something more exhilarating. They also have three categories of difficultly level for bike trail in order to meet everyones needs. The bike rentals are about $50 per hour, but you are also more then welcome to bring your own bike to explore as well.

One thing that is critical for camping is who you go with. You want to make sure your experience camping is enjoyable, so be mindful of the people you invite. Shoot for people who have an open mindset through hard times; people who persevere, people that like a challenge and people who have a positive outlook. These kinds of people make camping one to remember.

While camping, it is critical to have a positive and optimistic mindset through it all. In fact, while camping it rained profusely with lighting striking across the lake. Instead of getting upset that it was raining, I reflected about the positive situations that I liked. For example, rain drops falling hard onto the tent roof sounded like I needed a nap.