Camping in Baker County FL
Primitive camping is allowed anywhere in the Osceola National Forest with the exception of Olustee Beach. For avid backpackers, nearby access to the Florida National Scenic Trail provides miles to explore with camping shelters and basic facilities located along the trails. These campsites are available on a first come, first serve basis. Hunting is a very popular activity in the park and primitive camping is restricted to designated hunt camps during the season. A total of nine hunt camps including Hog Pen Landing, Cobb, Wiggins, West Tower, Seventeen Mile, East Tower, Big Camp, Sandhill and Ocean Pond are open to the public year round. Two of the hunt camps have toilet and water facilities, and portable toilets are provided at the remaining seven camps throughout the park's hunting season.
Ocean Pond Campground
Located on the north shore of the 1760-acre natural Florida lake is the Ocean Pond Campground. Sixty-seven campsites are available for tents, trailers or motor homes. Ocean Pond provides a variety of recreational amenities such as:
- boat launch
- hot showers
- beach area
- drinking water
- lantern posts
- kid's playground
- swimming area
- flush toilets
- fire pits
- sewage dump station
- electrical hookups
- picnic areas
Available by reservation only, The Landing is a secluded private group area that can accommodate up to 50 people. Recreational activities include swimming, boating, camping, fishing, canoeing, water skiing, and a covered picnic area for your private party. Group campsite facilities include a white-sand beach, boat launch for small boats, picnic shelter, large group grill, and restrooms with showers.
Reservation can be made by calling the Osceola Ranger District Office at (386) 752-2577. Daily fees for Ocean Pond Campground vary from $8.00 up to $18.00. The Landing's group campsite fee is $50.00 per 24-hour period.
St. Marys Shoals - John M. Bethea State Forest
These public properties provide a natural corridor between the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and Osceola National Forest including several miles of frontage along the banks of the tea-stained St. Marys River. Sections along the riverfront were acquired under the Conservation and Recreation Lands program and the Save Our Rivers program designed to protect the area's natural watershed.
The John M. Bethea State Forest established 37,736 acres of northern Baker County and the St. Marys Shoals Park added an additional 2568 acres of emerging natural communities. Park visitors can experience wild Florida every day with distinct communities that include tannin-stained river frontage, white sandbar islands, black water streams, basin swamps, dome swamps, floodplain forests, and wetlands as well as bottomland and mesic flatwoods.
In addition to primitive camping, park areas along the Georgia/Florida border are popular recreational spots for canoeing, hiking, fishing, horseback riding and ATV off-roading. John M. Bethea State Forest is open during hunting season in cooperation with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The St. Marys Shoals Park features active recreation facilities with a pavilion, restrooms and water access for excellent canoe or kayak paddling trips.