There are a lot of places to go camping and backpacking in Central Florida. The problem is that some places can feel too close to civilization. If you are willing to drive outside of Orlando you can go to a state park where you will feel more out in the wilderness. Lake Louisa State Park is located in Clermont, FL and definitely gives you the feeling of being further outdoors. Whether you are looking for a place to go backpacking or need a full-facility site, Lake Louisa State Park has what you are looking for.
What Makes It Great
The main attraction in Lake Louisa State Park is of course the lake itself. Lake Louisa has been designated as an "Outstanding Florida Waterway." Make sure you plan your hike around Lake Louisa and stop by for some pictures. Keep your eyes open for wildlife, especially deer, turkey, quail, gopher and tortoises which are common in the area. If you are camping at the Wilderness Point campsite you will only need to go a short distance before you arrive at the lake.
If you are looking for primitive camping, Lake Louisa State Park includes two campsites; Wilderness Point and Pine Point. Both sites are accessible by hiking trails and can accommodate 6 people. Also, both sites include a fire ring and picnic table. Each site is located at different sections of the park with Wilderness Point being slightly more secluded. Keep in mind that pets are not permitted at the primitive sites and both require reservations.
If you are planning on backpacking to one of the primitive campsites make sure you give yourself enough time to hike in before it gets dark. Ideally you would arrive early in the day to give yourself enough time to explore the 23 miles of trails before setting up camp. The 23 miles are broken up into 9 trails which range in distance from the .5 mile, Dude’s Loop to the 5.5 mile, Bronson Loop. With this variety of trails you can pick and choose what sections you want to tackle before heading to your campsite. Keep in mind that these trails are multi-use so you will encounter bicyclists and people on horseback along your hike.
If full-facility (car camping) is more your style, Lake Louisa State Park includes 60 campsites with electricity and water. These campsites are located between Dixie Lake and Hammond Lake making them a convenient location for canoeing, kayaking and fishing.
As with any camping in Florida remember to check the forecast before arriving. The primitive campsites are mostly open and can become very hot in the summer. Pack rain gear just in case and bring extra water during the summer months.
Who is Going to Love It
Lake Louisa State Park is a great location for primitive or full-facility camping. The park offers a variety of activities from hiking, biking, fishing, canoeing and kayaking which are sure to keep everyone in your group entertained. If you are interested in really seeing the area than backpacking is the way to go.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
When you first arrive at the park you will need to check in at the Ranger station. Depending on which campsite you reserved they will give you instructions on where to park. Remember there is no water at the primitive campsites, so make sure you bring your own water or fill up at one of the locations in the park before starting your hike in.