March Madness in Florida means many things. For most, it is watching a favorite NCAA team score during this third month of 2018, along with St. Patrick’s Day parades and parties, green beer and shamrock shakes. Spring Breakers are clogging up malls and movie theaters and making a simple trek to the beach seem like a wait in Christmas day Disney World traffic. And, the first day of Spring arrives in March, signifying “spring cleaning” for some and a renewed interest in working out to prepare for swimsuit season for others. Our snowbird friends will begin fluttering north just a bit toward the end of March and we will be able to reclaim our roadways and restaurants.
The other magical thing that transpires in March is the slow passing of “winter’s” air in favor of the soupy humid heat that make summers trying. You all know that point in summer where you just cannot stand to sweat one more drop, and would stand naked in a RaceTrac walk-in cooler if you were only alone. You long for the sweet-spot in Florida weather where you can be comfortable out in nature. Well, fellow Sarasota County friends, this is THAT time. Feeling the cool, crisp nip in the Florida air in March, where zero humidity and orange blossoms sing to your senses when you walk outside is heavenly. As you don your hoodie and stuff your feet in fuzzy socks before plowing them into your flip-flops, you know the bittersweet stings of a hot summer are coming. It is time to get outdoors and spend a night under the stars, camp chairs perched around a roaring fire as you see who can build the largest smore. Are you ready? Let’s go!
Sarasota County provides a beautiful backdrop for RV and tent camping. From gorgeous parks like Myakka State Park to unique beachscape locations such as Turtle Beach Campground, there are many unique and beautiful places to camp. But camping under the stars in a tent is something all families should try. Sometimes it’s fun to get off the beaten path and explore a primitive camping site where communing with nature is an experience that will change your perspective on the everyday mundane details of life. I recently had the pleasure of camping with my husband, kids and a few of their friends at Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, a Sarasota County park located in North Port.
If you’re looking for a true “bond with nature” experience you must pack your brood and head to this hidden gem located in the North Port Estates. Surrounded by a lush tropical forest and meandering clear-water creek, Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park is a perfect place to host a campout. Mowed fields are ideal for football games and scavenger hunts, and when the kids tire of that action they can enjoy fishing in shallow creeks or exploring hiking trails. Enjoy a cookout beneath pavilions scattered throughout the park and enjoy the specter of horses as they trot on by and say hello with a swish of a tail.
Camping under the stars must include a good fire and at this park, a 15-foot fire pit serves as ground zero for scary stories, roasting smores, and telling fish tales. The fire pit is surrounding by a perfectly circular set of benches, so, the more the merrier. The campsites accommodate a maximum of 12 campers per Sarasota County guidelines, and huge oak trees work well to shade picnic tables and grills. There is plenty of room to set up tents, so you can be close and cozy or enjoy separate, secluded campsites. Be prepared though for a four to five-minute walk to the camp bathroom and bring your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer/wipes, as there is no running water. This is, after all, primitive camping! The cost is a mere $5 per person and well worth the small camping fee and a few essential outdoor groceries-hot dogs, watermelon, smores, and plenty of Gatorades and waters for kids who had no problem ditching the electronics in favor of some good old-fashioned football, capture the flag, and baseball.
Time to dust off the tent and get your family out in nature; talking, laughing, and doing all the things you did as a kid. Contact Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources at (941) 861-7275 to reserve this great camping site or inquire about other parks in the area. By all means, don’t let this moment of supreme weather pass you by without seeing what camping in Florida is all about. There is a certain peace that accompanies spending a night under the stars with those whom you love. For more information about camping in Sarasota County, please visit:
Photos courtesy of Sarasota County Parks website and Facebook Camping & Hiking page & Deposit Photos.