Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

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Alafia River State Park, and blueberries

Saturday April 7, 2012
Lithia Springs Site #38



Friday was treatment day so that meant a trip to Brandon. 

The appointment was scheduled for mid morning to avoid the ‘going to work traffic’ that clogs the main road we have to take.   But today apparently lots of folks have Good Friday off and they were all out shopping.  Hard to tell there is anything amiss in the economy based on the people on the roads and in the parking lots of the stores.

David was on the computer the rest of the day and I was outside reading on the patio.  It was a lovely breezy day.  Rain had been predicted but it never happened.  Rain is really needed here.  We have only been able to get out in the kayaks once in the past two weeks because the water is so low.


The Holiday Week-end Officially Begins.

Saturday morning weather was also very pleasant and I could see the park gearing up for the holiday week-end crowds as I did my run.  None of the water fowl were out but the leaf blowerS (two this time) and the food vendor with his mighty generator were hard at work disturbing the peace.  :-)

David did his 20 minute walk and we both did a regimen of exercises, stretches and weight lifting.  WHEW….enough. 


After showers and breakfast we made a few phone calls.

Our cell phone plan gives us 700 minutes and we have been known to get close to running over with all of David’s medical calls.  So we try to do our other calling on the week-end when our calls are free.  I checked on my 92 year old father to make sure that the transportation I had arranged for him to get to an eye appointment at the Bay Pines Veterans Admin Medical Center on Wednesday had gone well.  It had.  We talked to Carrie about her week and week-end and to a friend in Virginia.  


We decide to check out Alafia River State Park.

David made up a picnic lunch and we set out for the state park only about 12 miles from us to check it out as a possible “vacation spot”.  As the weather gets warmer and moves into HOT we are trying to make sure wherever we go has shaded sites and some sort of swimmable water.  Any suggestions within 160 miles of Tampa would be welcome.


We quickly learned that this park is primarily for equestrians and mountain bikers.  

So we told the ranger at the gate that we weren’t going to stay but just wanted to check out the campground.  She kindly let us bypass the $5 admission.

The campground has 2 loops.

The equestrian loop has paddocks and watering tanks.
Level Pull through sites for your horse trailer.

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The 17 sites in the second loop are non-equestrian, all level but no shade.

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There is a very large power line going down one side and lots of the
towers have osprey platforms and each one has a nest.   Even those without platforms have nests.

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Not a vacation site for us.

All the park’s trails are equestrian or mountain bike and although the park is on the Alafia River there is no kayak put in at the main park.  You have to drive down river to put in.  No swimming, little shade, no on site kayaking…….nope, this park will not be a “vacation spot” for us,  But it would be very nice for anyone with horses or mountain bikes as their love.


Could we kayak from one of the off site put ins??

Because the park is fairly close to Lithia Springs and Medard, we went to check out the off site kayak put in.  To the south, we found a very natural nothin’ fancy put in.  Just the kind we like.  And the river looked lovely.  But it also looked VERY shallow.   Don’t think this will be good kayaking until some serious rains happen.

These pictures are looking both ways from the bridge over the river which is right next to the put in.  Lovely but low.

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Ok, that would work, after some rains; what about possibility #2 to the North?

We drove to the other end of the park where there is also a kayak put in not to the river but to a small lake.

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This was a lovely spot that I would definitely come back to.  But, sorry, no swimming here either.  :-(

Well some folks are permitted in the water, just not us.

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Think it’s time for lunch.

By this time we were hungry so we picked what looked like the nicest picnic table and had our lunch.

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Of course once we were finished and checked out the entire area we found some really sweet picnic sites which were all taken up by the fisher folks who actually arrived after we did but knew what they were doing.  Maybe next time.

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No hiking for us.

The equine trails take off from here and go to the park and back or vice versa.  Nice map.   Of course you can hike the equine trails if you don’t mind “watching your step” constantly.  We thought about trying one of the trails but the sun was very hot and the trails were all out in the open and required keeping your eyes on the ground.  So we passed.


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Alafia River State Park seems to be an excellent place if you have horses or mountain bikes.  But not a place I would chose for “vacation”.


What about that sign for Pick your own Blueberries?

Since we hadn’t found a place to swim or hike, we had time left over so we stopped for some early in the season pick your own blueberries which took up pretty much the entire backyard of these folks’ home.

They are only open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday but they must have some big crowds to need a porta potty in their front yard.


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18 LONG rows with 2650 total plants.

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It was really early in the season.  Next week-end would have been better but we won’t be here then so we  spent the time to look through the berries that mostly looked like this. 

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Pretty hefty price for pick-your-own.

Actually I think two week-ends from now and you’d be able to fill the bucket in less than 10 minutes.   But with diligent searching, we managed to find a pound, paid our $5 which is about $2 a pound more than I have paid for organic berries picked for me in the past.  On second thought I think I’ll pass on a repeat visit.


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It was a lovely breezy day today.  Very nice temperature unless you were directly in the sun which we were for the picking.   Then it felt like serious Florida.


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Back home for dinner at our own picnic table overlooking the river after which we began the take down from our two weeks at Lithia Springs.  We’ll be off to Koreshan tomorrow for a “vacation” week.


  1. Sure glad it is not me towing a horse around. Wyoming looked like a much better place to have a horse.

    Loving the blueberries!

  2. I'm thinking you need to install little wheels on the bottoms of your kayaks to get you over those too many shallow spots.

    What is it with organic foods anymore, they don'e use any fertlizers or additives, yet they cost so much more? It's hard to eat healthy and be able to put fuel in the gas tank. :c(

    Keep looking for thatperfect campsite, it's out there!

  3. Seeing all of those blueberry bushes brought back memories! My childhood home had a big garden bordered with about 20 bushes. I don't know how many bushels I've picked in my early life time. They sure were good in a cobbler or pie. :-) I bet you're eating pie right now, aren't you?

  4. I'm looking forward to all the 'pick your own' places for fresh fruit. The blueberries I buy at the local grocery just don't cut it :)

  5. You may want to check out Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring-east of you about 80 miles. Great park. And of course if you consider private parks, we;ve wintered at Rock Crusher Canyon RV Park up here in Crystal River-great area. It's about 90 north of you. We actually lived and worked in that area you are in -Valrico.

  6. Love blueberries, but if I have to pick my own at $5/pound. . . not so much.

  7. Thanks for the tour of Alfia. We were looking at that SP and your tour took it off our list.

    However, the organic blueberries at $5 a pound actually sounded very reasonable. Can't touch 6-8 ounces of regular blueberries in the stores for less than $3 per pound!!

  8. We try to stay off horse trails because of the "look down" factor ... no fun watching out for poop while the scenery passes us by.

  9. I never knew there was a u pick place for blueberries. I did however have a spectacular bike wreck at Alfia RSP.

  10. Near Tallahassee we used to pay $10 for a gallon bucket of u-pick blueberries.

    How about Rainbow River SP? Silver River SP, Suwanee River SP, Stephen Foster Folk CC SP, Wekiva River SP, Ichetucknee River SP? All have nice rivers and are the kind of places you prefer.

  11. Looks like you both had a great day out and about, sorry that you weren't able to find a suitable "vaction place" at that park, but it still looked pretty none the less.

    Yep, those were expensive blueberries. We prefer the small wild ones better, there are just much harder to pick.

    Kevin and Ruth

  12. You guys have the yummiest looking meals on the table! Wish you were the chef around here! Good for David for keeping up with his exercise regimen, and you, too, Sherry!

  13. I wouldn't mind paying $5 a pound if they were nice and big and juicy but I've gotten spoiled here in Texas. Fruit is really, really less expensive than any other place I've been. I'm going to miss it :)

  14. Nice overview of the park. Definitely clear that you need rain! I'm sure even the allegators are thinking that these days :) Mmmm blueberries - makes me think of blueberry cobbler - yum, yum, yum! I anticipated a "these are over-priced"comment even before it came - I know you well, Mama :)


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