Today’s video is about all things related to the Sandpiper Cove Experience, so grab your flippy floppies, and let us just dive into it. What is going on, this is Andrew with the Emerald
So Much to Do at Blackwater River State Park Florida | Experience the FUN!
Dated: June 4 2021
You are moving to the beautiful Emerald Coast and you are wondering, well there has to be more than just the beach and boat life in the area, right? Well, you are definitely correct, let us talk about it!
What is going on, this is Andrew with the Emerald Group right here on the Emerald Coast. If this is your first time on our website and you want to know everything about our entire area here in the Panhandle of Florida, well we do lots of blogs and videos about everything you need to know!
Honestly, we get so many phone calls, emails, and texts every single day of people moving to the Emerald Coast and we absolutely love it! If you are thinking about moving or relocating, make sure you reach out to us, give us a call, send a text, shoot us an email or send that carrier pigeon our way. However, you would like to get a hold of us, we have your back when moving to the Emerald Coast!
In today’s video, we are bringing you right into the heart of the action at Blackwater River State Park. We will discuss everything from entering the park to camping, kayaking, tubing, and more. You are not going to want to miss the live-action we caught while we are out there, stick around!
Blackwater River State Park is filled with many amenities and things to do, I will try and touch on anything and everything involved that I can think of but be sure that this park has so much going on that there is a chance I may miss something. First, let us go over the many amenities they have then we will talk about the experiences you can cover at Black River State Park.
Blackwater River State Park has made their park accessible to as many visitors as possible and has made it part of their plan to include the following accessible features:
• A boardwalk from the pavilion parking lot to restrooms and picnic facilities.
• Outdoor showers so you can wash off after playing in the water or cool down from hiking
• Access to the beach and river
• Three accessible campsites with concrete pads, picnic tables, ground grill, and a restroom nearby. Each of the sites also has electric, water, and sewer connections
• Multiple picnic areas with tables and grills
• Service animals are of course welcome here in Blackwater River State Park as well as any other areas of Florida State Parks
Campgrounds are abundant all across the park as well in fact there are over 30 different camping sites scattered across the park. There is a playground nearby that you can see from most of the campsites that are available along Magnolia Loop. The campsites will range in the amount of cover they provide so if you prefer a sunny campsite or a shaded one, they have you covered.
• Each campsite will have a 20, 30, and 50-amp electric service, water connections, RV sewer hookup, a picnic table, fire pit, and a grilling area. You can choose to camp in a tent, all the way up to 50-foot RV’s, your choice - Max RV length will be limited to 50 feet, though
• From the campsites on Magnolia Loop, you can head south down the Juniper Lake Trail to get to Juniper Lake or to go visit the Blackwater River. Whether you want to go hiking, do a little fishing, or relaxing on one of the river beaches, this will be the quickest way to get there from the campsites
• There are designated areas for pets and they are very welcomed so long as they stay in the designated areas – pets are not allowed on the beaches or in the water
• There is a dump station located on the campgrounds road so there is no excuse for leaving any trash at your campsite, which they do sometimes see
There are also multiple nature trails running throughout the park
• In fact, three main trails total almost 4.5 miles, keep in mind that due to our area and the random bouts of rain we get, that the trails are sometimes wet so choose your hiking gear wisely
• The largest trail is just south of the bridge parking area, this 1.75-mile loop will start in the forest of the Blackwater River and will wind down to the oxbow lakes where the river used to route through. Be careful as you go, though, as the trail is riddled with exposed root and can be slippery and muddy after a rain
• The northern area of the bridge parking will have a 1-mile section of the Juniper Creek trail passed right through Blackwater River State Park and this is the gateway into the Blackwater River State Forest. There is a sidewalk available from the parking area to the restrooms and you can follow the blue-blazed trail on the right, just past the picnic tables and this trail will lead you through the swamp and over a narrow catwalk bridge. Be mindful though, that this route does not loop back around and it will continue for about 7 to 8 miles through the forest.
• The last and shortest trail is about ¾ of a mile and this one links back to the pavilion area from the campground
• Juniper Lake Trail can also be accessed using the pavilion boardwalk system, from the pavilion parking lot just take the boardwalk toward pavilion number 23. You will see a set of stairs that will lead you down to the trail. If you continue to follow the trail you will see the amazing views of the Blackwater River itself
When it comes to parking there are three main paved parking lots with river access and one dirt parking lot available. Parking will be 4 dollars per vehicle and be sure to get there early, especially on weekends and holidays in the summertime because they fill up very quickly.
As briefly mentioned before, pets are welcome at the Park as long as they are kept on a six-foot handheld leash and are well behaved and under your control at all times. Bear in mind, pets are not permitted on the beaches or in the water.
If you need a quick break or decide to have yourself a little picnic there are two large pavilions at Blackwater River State Park. They feature charcoal grills, picnic tables, and each facility can hold up to 75 people and they are both a short walk to the restrooms. Be mindful that if you’d like to ensure privacy you will want to reserve the pavilions, I suggest this during weekends, holidays, and large groups if you want to make sure your event or family/friend get-together isn’t a struggle to compete for grills and seats.
Multiple restrooms are strategically placed around the Park as well.
Now for some of the things you can do and experience here at Blackwater River State Park.
Bicycling of all kinds can be found here. If you are looking for plenty of biking along the roads of the park, just keep a watchful eye for vehicles around you. You can also take your bikes on the nature paths as well.
If you enjoy a little birdwatching, well you have that option out here also.
We spoke about camping at length but we didn’t mention the fishing, yet. Obviously, this is a very popular activity along the Blackwater River and in the lakes.
• There are lots of options of fish in the area but the most common to catch are largemouth bass, panfish, and catfish. The best places to fish will be where the current is not as strong or even still water where you can find it.
• multiple lakes in the area also offer fishing and just like with the fishing in the river, areas, where there are not as many swimmers, will generally yield a better chance of catching something
• Remember that all the fishing that is done in the mark must conform to the rules and regulations when it comes to their size, number, and the way you capture the fish as well as the season involved at the time you are fishing
• A license may be required and are fairly easy to obtain online or you can contact the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission
Geo-Seeking is another up-and-coming activity that we are seeing more and more lately and it is not lost here in Blackwater River State Park either. Geocaching as it is known by and this activity or game use GPS to ‘treasure hunt’ in the area. You will use certain coordinates to find certain hidden caches of goodies. A lot of geocaching will involve hunting down the caches which range from very easy to very difficult to find and often people will find the cache and get an item from there, the intent is to replace it with something or of course, just find the stash and leave it be for the next person. On top of the standard Geo-Seeking that you can do, the Florida Park Service also announced that it has launched the Operation Recreation Kids Geo Tour. If you have kids that would like to participate and plan to visit multiple parks, then while on the hunt be sure to look out for one of six Nature Cards that are available. Each one has one of six different species so simply record the name of the State Park that you find each of the species on the Kids Official Tracking Sheet and once all six are found, they will win the ORGT Kids Geo Tour GeoCoin.
Swimming is undoubtedly a popular activity in the area and with good reason – the water is everywhere. Make sure to bring sun protection, water, and food if you plan to stay awhile, the sun will take it out of most people faster than they realize. Also, make note that there are no lifeguards on duty anywhere in the park, if you are not a confident swimmer, they suggest using a flotation device for safety.
Lastly, the activity that we like to do the most is tubing or kayaking the river. I personally prefer the tubing myself, it has no skill involved, pulls behind a cooler of cold drinks and snacks, and enjoys your friends or the quiet of nature around you.
Our experience typically involves one of two different companies in the area that offer the experience and their systems are down pat. You will start by running inside the convenience store and paying for your adventure, at the time of this shooting the tubes were 18 dollars per tube and a tube designed to carry additional stuff, such as a cooler, was 9 dollars. You will then drive about a mile or so up the road, depending on which parking lot has space – do not worry the staff at the tubing and kayaking company will tell you exactly where to go. Once there, they will direct you where to park and you can start getting yourself ready.
Throw the sunblock on, make sure the cooler is filled up, any floats are filled up, and go to grab a life jacket if you are kayaking. For tubing, a life jacket is not required but don’t be ashamed to grab one of you feel more comfortable with one with you. The water rarely moves faster than a slow crawl so doesn’t go in expecting to be white water tubing here. This is more of a relax, do not run into fallen shrubbery sort of experience. They will start calling the batches of names to get on the bus, so bring your larger items to the back of the bus to load up and jump inside.
They will give you a quick brief before the bus takes off and once everyone is on board, they will take you to a designated area to get into the water. The ride is bumpy the last mile or two and they are typically done in old school busses to be prepared for that. Once you are at your destination, take your time or rush into the water to beat the crowds and let the floating begin!
Thanks so much for visiting, see ya!
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