Beyond Destin: Three Rivers State Park
Destin has a lot to offer, and although its beaches are world-famous and its seafood delicious, there are hundreds of hidden treasures in the surrounding area of Northwest Florida that yield for fun adventures, day trips and weekend getaways. This column which will be featured once a month, will follow the wanderings of reporter, Savannah Vasquez, and explore the many opportunities in Destin’s surrounding area. I invite you to explore with me Beyond Destin.
It’s October, and every Floridian knows what that means; the best weather for being outdoors. For my husband and I, the warm days and cool evenings mean it’s perfect weather for our annual camping trip and this year we chose Three Rivers State Park as our destination of choice.
Three Rivers State Park is about two and a half hours northeast of Destin near the Florida-Georgia border. The park offers 30 campsites and one cabin along Lake Seminole as well as hiking, boating and fishing. Every campsite at the family campground includes electricity, water-spigot, fire pit, picnic table and easy access to a climate controlled bathroom and shower house. We were personally excited to find out that opposed to last year’s uncomfortable gravel-site adventure, the ground at Three Rivers was dirt and thus more conducive to tent camping.
After greeting our neighboring campers and pitching our tent we decided to take our kayak out for a spin in Lake Seminole. The park actually gets its name from the two rivers that flow into Lake Seminole, the Chattahoochee River and the Flint River, and a third river, the mighty Apalachicola that flows out from the lake.
We found the freshwater lake to be picturesque with giant lily-pads and grass-like hydrilla plants growing underneath the water’s surface. Cristian, my sister Trinity and I began exploring the wonders of the lake in our kayak and after discovering that hydrilla is not good to paddle through (it kept getting stuck on the paddles) we saw our first two alligators.
At first we thought the gators were just logs in the water, but when they disappeared as we got closer, we knew they were the famous Floridian reptiles! As we paddled further, we saw plenty of bird life such as diving ducks, white heron, and bald eagles. Later we tried our hand at fishing for largemouth bass, but had no luck.
For those who do not own their own vessel, the campground offers canoe and kayak rentals and has two boat launch sites, one for day-users of the park, and another in the campsite for easy access to registered campers. Also for children wanting to try fishing, the park offers cane poles free of charge.
Evening activities for us included barbequing chicken and corn-on-the-cob over the fire pit, playing card games in the tent and roasting marshmallows. One tip we learned for next time is to make sure to bring enough kindling and firewood, as we actually ran low and it was only thanks to our generous neighbors that we were able to roast our marshmallows.
When night fell, we enjoyed the clear night sky and star gazed on the dock by Lake Seminole. The late summer night allowed for sighting a few fireflies and a great view of the Milky Way.
In the morning we were greeted by a view of the sunrise over the lake followed by a hearty breakfast we cooked over the fire. We then decided to go for a hike and took the Dry Creek Trail to the connecting Eagle Trail as we were told we could view a giant eagles nest. We did not find the numbers we were told marked the trail so, needless to say, we did not find the nest, but we did spot 13 deer prancing about in the forest.
All in all we found Three Rivers State Park to be ideal for camping, and marked it on our list of favorite stays in the state of Florida.
Three Rivers State Park is located at 7908 Three Rivers Park Road in Sneads, Florida. For more information visit www.floridastateparks.org or call 482-9006.