We spoke with Rob Lacey, who’s the Park Manager at the Econfina River State Park. It’s situated in a isolated section of Florida, and provides its guests with serenity and tranquility – perfect for those looking for a remote getaway without venturing too far off the beaten path. Sounds alright to us. Listen to the full interview here:
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Camping Econfina River State Park Florida
Camp Florida: I’m talking with Rob Lacey today. He’s the Park Manager at Econfina River State Park in Florida. How’s it going, Rob?
Rob Lacey: All right.
CF: So, why don’t we start with long Econfina River State Park has been there and how it got started?
Rob Lacey: Okay. Econfina River was preserved. The property was preserved under the Save Our Coast Act, and it was the opportunity to buy coastal properties to preserve marshes and sea grass beds, and then the uplands area along the Gulf Coast.
CF: Okay. And what are the most popular activities there for Park guests?
Rob Lacey: Boating and fishing.
CF: Yeah, everything on lake.
Rob Lacey: No, it’s on the river with quick access to the golf.
CF: Oh, you can, okay.
Rob Lacey: Yeah. And we do have equestrian use and hiking and bicycling, but by far of what drives visitation is how good the fishing is and the golf.
CF: Oh, okay. Now, what are people usually fishing for right around there?
Rob Lacey: Most of the time it’ll be whatever is in season. Saltwater fish, so red drum, sea bass, trout, sea trout, and another saltwater species.
CF: Okay. Well, first let’s talk about the camping setup there. What do you guys have for options for people who want to stay there?
Rob Lacey: Okay. Camping in the park: Econfina River State Park is located along the Florida Gulf Paddling Trail, and we have a campsite, which is primitive campsite. People can paddle right up to it. And it is a platform with a fire ring on the side of it, so it’s primitive camping. And it’s free of charge. And let’s see.
CF: And that’s first come, first served.
Rob Lacey: First come, first serve, yeah. And then we also have what we refer to as a cabin, but it’s more like two different efficiency motel rooms that are located there at the Park.
Rob Lacey: And that’s the extent of our camping. There is a campground for RVs right outside of the State Park. Private campground.
CF: Okay. Now, if I were staying at the Park for the weekend and I wanted to venture out and check out a few other things, what are some attractions in the area that I might check out?
Rob Lacey: Econfina by the Sea and the Econfina State Park are in an isolated location. You’re about 30 miles from Wakulla Springs State Park and about the same distance to Perry, Florida. Perry is the closest town. Tallahassee is the next closest town, and that’s where the attractions would be.
CF: Okay, so a little bit more isolated. If somebody comes to stay there, maybe they’re not looking to head out and do a lot of tourism in terms of your traditional type of tourist activities. They kind of want to more get down to basics.
Rob Lacey: Right.
CF: Okay, two more questions for you. If you could spend just one hour in Econfina River State Park, what would you do with your time?
Rob Lacey: I would take my kayak and I would launch and go in either direction. Either upstream on the river, where we have high bluffs and rocky outcroppings, and head down river to the Gulf.
Rob Lacey: Make a nice little trip to where, on the Gulf side, the river opens up and you’ve got these great vistas of marsh grasses and little pine islands that are really cool to see.
CF: How is the paddling upstream at the river there? Is it doable or does it take a ton of effort?
Rob Lacey: It’s according to how much rain we’ve had recently. It’s an aggressive paddle if rain has been prevalent, like it has this past summer, but it’s an easy paddle if not.
CF: Okay. And one more question. If you could spend just one night in Econfina River State Park, which specific place would you stay at and why?
Rob Lacey: Let’s see. I’d stay in our Fishing Sea Cabin, because you’ll stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and it’s great access. It’s right by the boat ramp, so you can either paddle or boat and fish. And on the other side, a great access to our trails through the interior of the Park.
CF: Okay. And that’s reservable?
Rob Lacey: Yes.
CF: Okay, perfect. Sounds like a great place to come and spend the weekend.
Rob Lacey: And those efficiencies are actually rented through our concessionaire, so let me share her contact information.
CCF: Yeah, please do.
Rob Lacey: Okay, it’s Bonnie’s Concession, and it’s (850) 223-1504.
CF: Perfect, that’ll show our visitors exactly what to do if they want to come down there and stay.
Rob Lacey: Excellent.
CF: All right. Well, thanks for taking some time out of your day, Rob, to chat with us about Econfina River State Park, and we’ll get this information right out to our visitors.
Rob Lacey: All right, thank you very much.