A Miami Girl's Guide To Camping

After two solid years of refusing to step foot near a campsite, I finally caved in. As much as I would love to say I am an outdoorsy girl, I am not. This place is for the stereotypical: I do not want to be near bugs; I can admire nature from afar; restrooms and showers are a dealbreaker for me; please tell me we're not sleeping in there; Miami girls. 

Ocala, Florida: Alexander Springs

Image by Rachel Rodriguez

 

Florida has multiple places to visit for camping, but if you want the authentic experience just with some available restrooms, this is the one. Alexander Springs is a rather large campground that is divided into small slots for campers to rent. There are multiple restrooms with shower stalls around the park and have easily accessible water. The spring itself is isolated from the lake with mesh. Right by the spring, one can rent out canoes and kayaks for the trail. One can find anything from regular lizards, to gators and even bears around the campground. The wildlife is showcased on the small trail around the lake which is separated by a wooden path. 

 

Preparing To Camp

Image by Rachel Rodriguez

 

In our van, we took:

  • Tents, air mattresses, electric pumps (our van had plugs), pillows, sheets, and blankets
  • Stove, table for "kitchen" set up, pans, pots, spatula, knives, aluminum foil, and mugs
  • Toilet paper, gas, and wood
  • Bug spray... a lot of bug spray

Personal bag:

  • Long sleeve and short sleeve shirts, a hoodie, leggings, shorts, PJ's, shoes, socks, sandals, underwear, and swimsuits
  • Toothpaste, toothbrush, hairbrush, perfume, deodorant, lotion, extra scrunchies, shampoo, and conditioner 

Purchased once we arrived:

  • Paper towels, plastic plates, plastic forks, spoons, and knives
  • Burgers, hot dogs, different styles of bread, steak, bacon, cereal, milk, pancake mix, butter, salt, chili, and coffee
  • Hot chocolate, marshmallows, marshmallow sticks, crackers, chocolates, cinnamon buns, gallons of water, sodas, and alcohol

 

Making The Most Out of Your Visit

Image by Rachel Rodriguez

 

Whether you want to rough it or camp in style, visiting the spring is a must! The temperature might seem intimidating at first, but the water leaves your body feeling brand new. The area has a small sand section in the front mimicking a beach, and the water is clear as day. Right next to the spring, there is a section to rent canoes and kayaks by the hour or a flat all day fee. The trail is painstakingly long, so if you wish to complete it, the all-day fee is the right choice for you. Along the ride, you will encounter all sorts of animals. My trail was full of baby gators, pretty cool birds and even an otter family.   

                                  

Image by Rachel Rodriguez

 

Surviving nature

The weekend was surprisingly pleasant and full of laughter. Taking the whole "roughing it" vibe and merging it with certain convenient amenities. If you're a city girl and cannot bear the thought of sleeping in the outdoors, Alexander Springs is the place for you. The one thing that you cannot forget when going camping is to take a large group of people. The whole experience will make you forget about the number of spiders that surround you and sneak into your tent at night. Always remember to keep your tents closed!