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Camping in Central Florida: Lake Griffin State Park

Camp Florida caught up with Doug Watson from Lake Griffin State Park for a quick interview. He gave us some insight on the parks proximity to Disney, where to park an RV, and where he’d spend a single night in the park. Listen to our full interview here:

Camping Lake Griffin State Park, Florida

Camp Florida: I’m talking to Doug Watson today, down in Lake Griffin State Park, Florida. How are you doing, Doug?

Doug Watson: Very good. How are you doing today?

CF: Good. So, let’s start with how long Lake Griffin State Park has been there and how it got started.

Doug Watson: Well, the park opened in 1963, and the park was built here to accommodate the recreational fishing activities here on the Harris chain of lakes.

CF: Okay. And what are the most popular activities in the park?

Photo courtesy of Ebyabe
Photo courtesy of Ebyabe

Doug Watson: Well, most of all of our activities are water-based. It’s about a mile from the park boat rink out to Lake Griffin itself. We rent canoes and kayaks. People can launch their own boats on the doublewide boat sprint. And during the summer months, people are just out, leisurely use of the lake.

CF: Okay. Now, if I were staying there for the weekend and I wanted to venture out and check out some other things, what are some of the other popular activities in that area?

Doug Watson: Well, we’re kind of almost in the middle of town. The area is developed up all around us. A lot of folks like to go local flea markets. There is just other activities. We’re probably about 40 miles from Disney, Orlando area.

CF: Oh, that’s pretty nice. So, someone could kind of have the sort of rustic feel of camping, which, personally, I would like that to offset. I’ve been to Disney World, and it’s a little bit crazy there, so camping might be a nice change of pace if you’re there for the weekend.

Doug Watson: Yes. We have 40 campsites, both tent and RV. Water, electric and heat site.

CF: Okay. Now, what’s one of your favorite attractions in the area if you have a weekend off? Not inside the park. I’ll have that question for you in a little bit.

Doug Watson: Well, there’s a local tractor museum. Paquette’s Tractor Museum, which is in Leesburg. That’s something a lot of folks come to visit here just to see that. There’s a carriage museum up North of the park, in Lady Lake area. It’s kind of an interesting spot to go to if you’re interested in historical horse-drawn carriages.

CF: Cool. Very cool. Now, if you could spend just one hour in Lake Griffin State Park, how would you spend your time there?

Photo courtesy of Ebyabe
Photo courtesy of Ebyabe

Doug Watson: Well, we have a short nature trail that takes you about 30 to 45 minutes to walk. And we’re also home of the second largest live oak in Florida. So, that’s a favorite spot on the trail to stop and take in the beauty of her. Mammoth live oak tree.

CF: Sure. And how tall is that thing?

Doug Watson: Well, we get the second largest designation. They factor in a lot of things. Girth, height, and sprint. It’s about 120-feet tall.

CF: Wow. And last question for you: if you could spend just one night in Lake Griffin State Park, which specific campsite would you choose and why?

Doug Watson: Well, most of our sites are kind of small, but we accomodate larger rigs than some of the sites we’ve kind of crafted here in the last few years. But my specific sites that I like the best are 17, 18, and 19. They have the most privacy and they’re the longest sites.

CF: Nice. All right, well, thanks for taking a little bit of time out of your morning to talk to us about Lake Griffin State Park. We’ll get this information out to our visitors.

Doug Watson: You’re welcome.

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