We headed north from Savanna’s Recreation area to spend four days at Tomoka State Park located just north of Ormond Beach on the Atlantic. This park is noted for its live oak hammock with arching limbs covered in beautiful Spanish moss. The Tomoka and Halifax Rivers meet at the north end of the park to form a natural peninsula. The Halifax River is the Intercoastal Waterway. There are 2000 acres in the park with 12 miles of shoreline.
The campground has 100 sites and we got a very nice site by luck of the draw. The third time we checked for reservations we took the only site available for the four nights that was open. When we checked in the ranger told us it was a great site and they had had to kick the occupant out of our site because he didn’t want to leave!
When we made the reservations, the reservation system warned that Daytona Bike Week was approaching and that there may be a lot of motorcycles at the park. We did see tons of Harley’s and there were lots of interesting camping units.
Most of the cyclists had dining or e-z up tarps over their motorcycles. The campground was pretty quiet though and we had no problems.
The park was known for good fishing and had two fishing piers.
This gentleman was fishing and was catching a lot – of crabs! He would pull them in and take a picture. He told us he performed CPR on the fish when we asked if he kept them. Catch, Photograph and Release! He pulled up quite a few crabs while we were there.
There is a general store called the Tomoka Outpost that sold camp items, had a brew pub and rented canoes and kayaks.
This was a nice place to sit out and have a snack or enjoy a brew while the sun went down.
Near the outpost we saw all of these bags of oyster shells. We weren’t sure what they are used for and never got a chance to ask anyone about it.
We wanted to rent kayaks but both days we went to the store the winds were up and we were discouraged by the park staff so we didn’t get out.
All those kayaks just waiting for us!
We explored the area by going on a 39 mile scenic drive.
We stopped at Bulow Creek State Park to see the famous Fairchild Oak Tree. The park protects the largest remaining stands of southern live oak forest along Florida’s east coast. The Fairchild Oak is one of the largest live oak trees in the south and it is over 400 years old!
You can get an idea of the size of this tree that has withstood the test of times during hurricanes, droughts, fires and wars.
We also toured Merritt Island and drove the Black Point Wildlife Drive. It is a 7 mile one way drive that follows a dike road around shallow marsh impoundments and through pine flatwoods. It is a great place to see birds and alligators.
We saw numerous alligators – this guy was the biggest.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service control the water level in the various dikes to control the mosquito population and to provide specific habitat areas for various species. There are control valves and water channels at each dike.
We also toured Canaveral National Seashore. It is totally uninhabited with the exception of the Visitor Center. There are northern and southern sections which have to be accessed from different parts of the mainland.
We toured up and down the coast from Flagler Beach to Merritt Island.
The town of New Smyrna Beach had driving on the beach but due to the high swells beach access had been closed most of the winter.
We toured around Flagler Beach and visited a kite shop and got an ice cream cone.
The next stop was Titusville and we visited a kite shop there called the Kite Stop. We talked with John the owner and had a nice visit.
If you’re in the area, make sure you stop at Dixie Crossroads!
Then we went to a great restaurant called Dixie Crossroads and had red and rock shrimp for lunch. Linda had been there years ago when she was working at Cape Canaveral AFB. We had a great lunch. Dixie Crossroads is famous for their corn fritters and they were yummy. We were so excited about eating them that we forgot to take a picture of our main dishes!
We enjoyed it so much and had a wonderful time at Tomoka State Park. This is definitely a park we would come back to!