Camping at Highlands Hammock State Park, Sebring, Florida

March 19, 2024  •  1 Comment

Recently we joined the world of RVs!  Yep, we bought a small camper trailer - the Bushwhacker Plus 17FD.  It's a large teardrop style camper (pull behind trailer).  As you read through our blog posts on travels with our Bushwhacker, we will share experiences with you.  This blog post is about our first campground experience.  We travelled over to Sebring, Florida and camped for several days at Highlands Hammock State Park.  This is our RV.

The Bushwhacker Plus is 17 feet in length (https://www.braxtoncreek.com/model/bushwhacker-teardrop).  As you can see from the photograph, it is a single axle - but it has full size 'rugged' tires and travels well on the roads and thus far has done very well on the dirt roads we have travelled as well (most of the dirt roads in Florida have some lime based/shells are part of the mixture for the roads).  There is a single stair to enter and my dogs were having a little issue using it so I purchased a camco carpet cover for the stair and they are much more comfortable with it (instead of bare metal). https://www.amazon.com/Camco-Protects-Unwanted-Tracked-Electrical/dp/B001U7FT9E

We had a smaller RV campsite - but the wonderful shade of all the trees, mostly oaks with some pine, made it shady and much more comfortable.  For reference, we were in campsite #25 near the entrance to the campground.

This campsite comes with 30amp electrical service, city water hookup and a picnic table.  They have a dump station (for gray and black water) at the entrance to the campground.  Our campsite was large enough for our 17 foot camper, a 10x10 screen room, picnic table and full size pickup truck.  The ground is primarily leaves and dirt - since it is March, my guess is the leaves may not be there year round, but it was nice to have them covering some of the dirt.  Other areas of the campground are not as shady as our site - some are much larger for the bigger RVs and there are a lot of sites to choose from.  

In addition, they have several bath houses/restrooms through out the campground.  It's good to check where they are and the cleaning schedule so that you know which one to go to depending on the time of day.  Each of the buildings has a few restrooms and showers.  I never noticed that any of them were full with a line and there were very few campsites unoccupied.  The bath houses were clean and functional.  Some would be concerned about them being older, but for me it's all about whether it is clean and functional - which they were.

Highlands Hammock State Park - what is there to do?

  • Hiking on the trails
  • Biking on trails (the hiking and biking trails are NOT shared)
  • Take a tram tour (see parts of the park you can't otherwise or if it you aren't able to do a lot of walking)
  • Visit the CCC museum
  • Visit the campstore
  • Playground for the young
  • Relax!

We travel with our dogs, as such, several of the above options were not available to us but we did hike some of the trails.  All of the trails are short, most are .5 miles or less.  They were created back in the days of the CCC (think 1930s) and are still very nice and well maintained.  They are also shaded which is a plus as the temperatures get warmer - but remember bug spray as the temperatures rise.

Richard Lieber Memorial Trail

Our first hike we choose this trail.  We choose this trail based on the brochure description the park provided quote -  ".4 mile loop trail/25 minute walk. At the beginning of the trail is one of the largest Live Oaks. This oak shows remnants of a tree surgery done in the mid-1930s to preserve it.  This trail leads to a narrow boardwalk through Hardwood Swamp.  The dirt path connects to Fern Garden Trail."

This huge old tree trunk is at the entrance to this trail.  If you look at this closely, you will notice that some concrete pieces are embedded in the trunk.  They used to fill areas of the tree with concrete to help preserve it.

We started down the trail which contains a lot of natural Florida landscape, not much different than what we have near our home in west Florida.

A mixture of ferns, oaks, pine and various other natural plants for this area.  Many of the trails are dirt, watch you step to ensure you don't trip on roots.  In other areas, some of the trails have bridges over water areas or boardwalks over swampy areas.  Please note that dogs are not allowed on boardwalk trails and unfortunately the brochure provided by the park does not indicate which trails are boardwalks.

This trail hooks up with the Fern Garden trail.  Left or Right?  Jim and Ollie pointing to the possible directions we can take.

We choose right in case you're wondering.  Eventually we ended up back on the main road.  The Fern Garden trail has another section that is boardwalk and you guessed it "No Dogs"....so the dogs and I went another direction while Jim took in the Fern Garden trail that is boardwalk.

Wild Orange Grove Trail

Our second hike took us on this trail - per the brochure, this trail is .5 mile linear trail (aka not a loop) taking approximately 30 minutes to walk. Unfortunately, we didn't see any 'live' orange trees although I believe I saw several that were no longer alive.  This trail was before the drivable loop where many of the trails are located.  We started down this trail and continued through the woods, coming across a few bridges, a few muddy areas and eventually ended up behind the 'camp store' located in the park.  Ah, well since we are here, let's stop and get some ice cream.  Then Rue (one of the small dogs) and I walked back to get the truck while the others waited and talked with our campground neighbors who were also relaxing in front of the store.

If you take the tram tour, the camp store is where you catch it. (sorry, didn't take a photo of the camp store).


Cypress Swamp Trail

Our last day at the park, after talking with some other campers from Wisconsin, we decided this was a 'must see' before we headed out.  Who knows whether we will be back again and this is suppose to be the 'best trail' if you want to see a beautiful swamp.

Per the brochure, the beginning of an ADA accessible boardwalk through the Charlie Bowlegs Creek until the historic "catwalk" portion is reached.  For us, we were not able to do any of the catwalk portion of the trail because it is currently being renovated.

This little critter was the only thing I saw while I took my early walk down this trail (Jim and the dogs were waiting in the parking area).  I wasn't able to get this raccoon to look up, to busy looking for breakfast.

The famous catwalk - you can view it, but it is currently blocked off from walking.

For more photographs from Highlands Hammock State Park, please visit this link https://www.vpshoots.com/highlandshammock

 

 

 


Comments

Beth(non-registered)
We visited Highlands Hammock well over a decade ago, so this blog w/photos really gives us a good idea what to expect if we want to "camp" there now. Helpful!
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