Osceola National Forest

Ocean Pond
Ocean Pond in Osceola National Forest

Camping in Florida during the winter, should be reclassified as “Combat Camping”. These retirees are damn competitive when it comes to claiming campsites, and they give no quarter.
The system is not set up for a guy like me, who likes to avoid crowds, fly by the seat of his pants, and pay as little as possible for the opportunity.

Florida State Forests require campers to get a permit two weeks prior to camping. They are automatically ruled out due to my schedule. National Forests are wonderful, but they are located across the northern part of the state. After picking up my car, I finally had the opportunity to visit one.

Located north of Orlando, Osceola is an absolute gem. A beautiful park, with a ton of trails, and no shortage of camping possibilities. The official sites have competition to stay overnight, but some seem to go almost unnoticed too.

Olustee Depot
Olustee Depot

I started at the historic Olustee Depot, to get the lay of the forest. The depot has a huge history, although firm dates seem to be a tad evasive. Officially, the freight depot was built in 1888. Although part of the structure, or possibly a predecessor was in use during the Civil War. The waiting rooms were added on in the 1920’s.
Inside, one gets some great information of the area’s two main exports: timber and turpentine. At one point, Florida supplied 20% of the world’s turpentine.
The depot is a great place to start, the staff was wonderful and full of information. Plus, I loved the old building and its construction.

About icefogger

Just a basic, down to Earth, laid back type of guy here, who loves the outdoors, the indoors, jazz on the turntable, a fire in the woodstove, the northern lights blazing across the sky, and the company of good friends. View all posts by icefogger

2 responses to “Osceola National Forest

  • Larry

    Question–why so much turpentine???

  • Globing Bianca

    Hi there, I have done a little bit of research on the Florida Trail (hoping to do it end to end one day soon!) and my understanding is that you’re allowed to camp anywhere along it as long as you’re 100 feet away from the trail. Maybe a nice alternative to the winter crowds wanting a shower and potty with their campsite!

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