Crescent City Campground (Crescent City, FL)
Our first stop in Florida was at an inland location called Crescent City Campground, which is aptly named, being right outside of Crescent City, FL. We went back and forth trying to decide whether to go to Jekyll Island (Georgia), Jacksonville, or St. Augustine. Finally, we picked Crescent City because it is close to Ocala National Forest where we thought the hiking might be good. We actually considered camping in Ocala National Forest, but bears are active in the area and we aren’t yet prepared with bear spray, so we decided not to tempt fate.
Crescent City Campground is located on US-17 just outside of Crescent City, about 30 minutes to 1.5 hours from Ocala National Forest (depending on where you go in Ocala). Basically, it’s in the middle of nowhere. There aren’t any big cities around, but it’s no more than 10 minutes from Crescent Lake, about 15 minutes from multiple farmers markets, and right next door to a Winn-Dixie.
It’s not quite camping on the beach like in Edisto Beach State Park, but overall, it’s not a bad location if you’re goal is to chill out at the campsite or do some hiking at the various nearby lakes, forests, and preserves. If actually going to the beach is on your agenda, you’re an hour away from Daytona, so it’s not really a good location for that.
Each site has electric and water and the water was actually drinkable. The campground also has wi-fi, though it borders on unusable. We were right next to an access point and websites that weren’t media-heavy regularly timed out or took minutes to load. Downloading podcasts was an effort in futility and could take up to an hour. So we skipped doing much of anything online and opted to grab a Redbox movie to watch on the laptops in the tent.
Nevertheless, having water and electric just steps away with at least partially usable wi-fi makes for a pretty easy camping experience.
For campground bathrooms, these aren’t bad at all. The women’s bathroom is bright, almost blinding, lavender. The men’s bathroom is normally colored, thankfully. But they are clean, brightly lit, and very lightly used. Crescent City Campground is primarily an RV campground and some retired folks actually live there. So they use the bathrooms in their RVs.
The shower heads are pretty horrid and you have to jump around to get wet, but the water is hot. One good point is that the bathrooms retain heat well, so you don’t have to worry about getting out of your hot shower into a cold bathroom. Unfortunately, that also means they don’t ventilate well, so a certain person’s exceptionally steamy hot showers fogged up the bathroom for hours.
This campground actually has nice laundry facilities for only $1.25 per load ($2.50 when you figure washing and drying). There is a large table for folding/sorting clothes right next to the washers and dryers, and everything is under cover. It was even nicer that they were only a 30 second walk from our campsite, right next to the bathrooms.
Instead of allowing individual campsites to have their own fires (unless you bring your own fire pit that sits up off the ground), Crescent City has a community campfire at the top of the hill. We didn’t actually visit it though.
Along with that, they have a big pool table and nightly card games, which again, we didn’t join in on. It’s basically a retirement community with activities to keep the people that live there involved.
The campground doesn’t allow campsites to have their own fires and everyone around us was in RVs, so we really didn’t see anyone else. Unlike other campgrounds we’ve been to, we didn’t have to worry about hearing other people’s conversations or snoring (yes, this has happened, more to come on that later!).
A site runs $39/night, which is a tad higher than other places we’ve camped, but you have to keep in mind that it’s Florida. The temperature was in the 60s and 70s in December and the campgrounds stay full. All that considered, it’s pretty hard to argue with the price. You are near hiking/biking trails and have an internet connection, despite how poorly the internet actually works.