SP Campground Review – Alafia River State Park, Lithia, FL
A very relaxing and beautifully green stop, with some the best mountain biking in the entire State of Florida! Located ~45 mins SE of Tampa in Lithia, FL.
NOTE/ Review has been UPDATED as of last stay Nov 2016
- Site Quality = 4.5/5
This is one of FL’s newer park and the sites reflect that. They’re all beautifully long, paved flat sites with nice grass, and super spacious “sitting areas” containing picnic table & fire-pit. Lots of green with very good separation and privacy throughout. There are 30 total sites with 50Amp/water (NO sewer which is the only ding) which are equally split between back-ins (all outer-loop-facing sites) and pull-throughs (all inner-loop-facing sites = our preferred sites). They are arranged in 2 small loops both of which are very nice:
- Southern Loop (“Lonesone Lake Campground” #1-12) has 12 sites, 11 of which are equipped for horse campers (Note/ you *can* book these sites even if you are not a horse camper). There is less brush between campsites here so slightly less privacy, but sites are very nicely separated. Plus three of the sites here (specifically #4, #5, #6) have slices of lake view. The only sites we *don’t* really like in this loop are sites #1 & #11 since they face each other with no real privacy.
- Northern Loop (“Alafia Lake Campground” #13-30) has 18 sites and is usually our preferred spot to stay since it provides slightly better privacy than the southern loop. Lots of natural green brush and trees which means you don’t really see your neighbor, especially in the pull-through sites (definitely our preferred). No real lake views here however.
Note/ There is also a large stable and horse-corral area for horse campers, both of which are first-come-first-serve and a short walk from the southern camping loop.
- Facilities = 4.5/5
NOTE/ Facilites were being re-built when we came back here in Nov 2016, so I’ve not updated this section of the review since our last visit in 2010. I imagine they’ll be even better once they’re re-done.
Review from 2010 -> The facilities are spacious, brand new and cleaned daily so they’re very nice. Their only ding is that they only built one shower per restroom (one men’s and one women’s) so if it’s occupied you’re out of luck to get clean. There’s also on-site dump station and potable water.
- Location = 3.5/5
Lithia is kind of in the middle of nowhere so it’s not exactly a “destination” location, but the park itself has plenty of activity to keep you busy. Within the park there is a playground, picnic pavilion, grassy play area, lakes, over 20 miles of horse/hiking trails, and over 17 miles of mountain biking trails. Plus you do have access to grocery shopping, coffee and even a very good BBQ within ~20 mins of the park. Great place to just hang and enjoy nature.
- Pet Friendliness = 5/5
A fabulously pet-friendly location. Lots of space in the campground, plus over 20 miles of dog-friendly hiking in the surrounding area (trails can be accessed directly from end of Lonesome Lake view). Polly loved it here!
Overall Rating = 4.4
BONUS ALERT = Bike some of the raddest mountain bike trails in FL!
Video Overview: Want to see it in living color? Check out our short ~7 min overview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mK1ZQn5O7A
Summary: We first camped here in 2010 to see one of Paul’s old buddies and liked it so much that it was the very first FL campground we booked when we made our plans to come back East in 2016. This is a newer FL campground located ~45 mins SE of Tampa on 6,000 acres of reclaimed phosphate mine land with over 20 miles of horse-trails, hiking, fishing, kayaking and ~17 miles of Florida’s most challenging/interesting mountain bike terrain (as accredited by the International Mountain Biking Association). There are a total of 30 camping sites laid-out in two simple loops and they’re all very nice indeed. All sites are large, flat, paved sites with 50Amp/water, generous “sitting areas” and very nice separation between campers. Most sites have an open view of the natural green brush & trees plus a select few (#4, 5, 6 specifically) have slices of lake views. The southern loop sites (Lonesome Lake Loop #1-#12) are also equipped for horse campers, plus there is a lovely stable and horse corals on-grounds too (Note/ you *can* book these sites even if you’re not a horse camper). There’s also a lovely lake and playground area in the middle of the two camping loops as well as a separate area with horse stable & corrals for horse-campers. Lithia is not exactly a destination location (not much in the way of sightseeing here), but the green/hiking/biking at the park is wonderful, the wildlife is fabulous (we’ve seen gators, wild boar and lots of birds) and it’s just SUCH a relaxing and green place to stay. Plus there is decent access to groceries/shopping nearby and you are only 45 mins from Tampa for any “big city” stuff you want to do. We’ve loved this park everytime we’ve visited and plan to return everytime we travel through the area.
Note/ This campground is fully reservable up to 11 months ahead of time and, like all FL state parks, it is solidly booked in the popular winter months. So, if you want to stay here in winter be sure to book well ahead.
Extra Info: Solid Verizon signal (3-4 bars LTE), but somewhat variable ATT (it varies 1-2 bars between 4G & LTE). Sites are reservable online, $22/night for 50Amp electric/water (half price for FL senior residents). On-site dump station.SPONSORED LINK:
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