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Best State Park For The Whole Family

Updated on October 30, 2015

What's Fun About The Park?

O'leno, has something for the whole family. The park is located on the Santa Fe River, which is a tributary of the Suwannee River. O'leno is 6 miles North of High Springs on U.S. 441.

After visiting O'leno, stop in High Springs and visit the town with numerous shops full of antiques, store after store. People come from all over the country.

The river continues underground near High Springs.It reemerges over three mile away in River Rise State park. The River Rise Trail is 4.25 miles. The area is sometimes called the "Natural Land Bridge". This was the way for the first explorers. O'leno State Park has 61 campsites. The campsites are good with easy access in and out with water and electric. There are 2 camping areas, Magnolia, and Dogwood. I like Magnolia the best it is closer to the river.

There are 5 different trails for the hikers to take. If you follow the 6 mile one it will take you to a lake. The shortest trail is .63 mile.

The kids will love the Nature Center. The Center has turtles and a building with live snakes. The snake handler will let you pet some of them.

There is great fishing for the whole family. Fresh Brim are fun to catch and eat. There are several easy to get to fishing spots. There is a section marked for swimming. The kids love to swim. It is well marked where to swim for the kids.

If you want to see wildlife up close you can rent or bring your canoe. I have found this the best way to spot wildlife and see the beautiful scenery. Rowing the canoe is also excellent exercise for the upper arms. We always bring our own canoe.

There is also a cell phone tour which you can see the number in the photo below. I did not dial it as I would rather see everything up close. If you can't walk I suppose this is helpful.

Near the Nature Center is a Time Capsule that will be open 70 years from now. We won't be here but I am sure there are some interesting items.

O'Leno Camp

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The Town Of Leno

The town was founded in the 1800s, and was on the Santa Fe River. It was called Leno. The Grist Mill seen above was one of the towns important features. The first telegraph passed through the town. This was a good pioneer town, until in 1896 the railroad bypassed the town and it died. The first name was called Keno and served as a gambling town.Communities existed later for the business needs of the Florida farmers.

Not much remains of the town today except the wire roads and mill dams. It was finally acquired by the CCC in 1930, and the CCC boys made the park.

Activities For The Whole Family

  1. Fishing with numerous good spots for bank fishing.
  2. Hiking is my favorite and I can take my dogs.
  3. Swimming is great for the whole family.
  4. Bicycling is something I like doing this with my granddaughters.
  5. Horseback riding is fun for the family. At River Rise there are 20 miles of trails and you may camp with your horse.There is a 20 stall horse barn that is first come basis at River Rise Preserve.
  6. Canoeing is fun and canoes can be rented at the Ranger Station.
  7. Visit the Suspended Bridge, Nature Center,Grist Mill, Historical Center, and Time Capsule.
  8. Playground
  9. Wildlife There are gopher,grayfox,deer,turkey,alligator,and birdwatching.
  10. Camping We found our site very adequate.

The Nature Center

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Nature Center has live animals. Photo Stella Vadakin
Nature Center has live animals. Photo Stella Vadakin

What I liked Best

I liked the suspended bridge that crosses over the Santa Fe River. The Santa Fe is a tributary of the Suwannee River. O'Leno was developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. The bridge was built by the CCC. When I walked across the bridge, I could see where the shallow rapids started. It took awhile but I finally got my granddaughter to cross the bridge. It will wobble a little and it you want you can make it move. It is fun and it doesn't bother me if some ornery kids way at the other end make it move. The bridge is constructed out of cypress beams and it is very well built. I have no idea how the beams were lifted that high because they are so big and heavy and this was in 1936.

The second thing I found interesting was the Historical Center. A slice from the one of the oldest cypress trees.Events in history show that the tree is more than 800 years old. Several photos and memorabilia from Roosevelt and his ties to the CCC.Roosevelt started these projects to get the people back to work. The CCC was run like the Army and worked and served the people.It was a great idea to get people working again.

The Historical Center also has a display of Indian artifacts that were found along the river.

I get so much peace when I go camping and hiking. Its almost like the Lord is taking to me and showing me all his radiant beauty.

Suspension Bridge

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O'leno State Park

A
410 SE Oleno Park Road, High Springs Fl. 32643:
High Springs, FL, USA

get directions

Park is off of hy 44I

Camping and Hiking

Do you like to camp and hike?

See results

Best Fishing Spots

The first day we were there we all went fishing, We caught enough fish for supper. Fried brim are good eating. The grandkids cleaned them and I fried the fish. I like to fry the fish when they are fresh. My daughter caught a nice catfish. It took only about 1 1/2 hours to catch our supper. It was a great first day. Other fish in this part of the river are Catfish and Bass.

The park is open 365 days a year. Pets are permitted. Fires are allowed in certain areas of the park. The park cost $12.50 for camping, an an entrance fee of $5.00.

Great Fishing Spots

Past the swimming pier is some great fishing. If you look real close you can see 2 people over there.
Past the swimming pier is some great fishing. If you look real close you can see 2 people over there. | Source
This is a great spot for catching brim.
This is a great spot for catching brim. | Source

What To Bring

Camping
Day Use
Fishing
hiking boots.
sneakers, boots
water shoes.
hat
hat
hat
tick spray
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"
Sunglasses
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Sunblock
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"
Water
"
"
cell phone
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"
fishing pole
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"
Flip Flops for shower
 
 
If you go to any park near the river never forget the tick spray. Most all of the parks that are fresh water you will need tick spray.

What Do You Need To Hike?

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My Rating For O'leno

5 stars for O'leno State Park

Book Now

I tried to get 3 days at O'leno State Park this week but could not, as it was booked. The parks I called are all booked. I would suggest that you try and book at least 6 - 11 months ahead of time. Winter time in Florida is the big season. I ended up taking my 3 day trip to another park.

Helpful Information


call Reserve America to make a reservation

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • ladyguitarpicker profile imageAUTHOR

    stella vadakin 

    3 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

    Adventuretravels, I would love to just travel all year long. Thanks for the visit, and have a blessed day.

  • Adventuretravels profile image

    Giovanna 

    3 years ago from UK

    I'd love to go to this park. Sound like the perfect place for my family. Alas I'm in the UK!

  • ladyguitarpicker profile imageAUTHOR

    stella vadakin 

    3 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

    Billybuc, the CCC was busy and that was a good thing. thanks for stopping and the comment. Stella

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    3 years ago from Olympia, WA

    Thanks for the tour. I've never been to Florida, so this may be the only time I ever "see" this park. :) The CCC sure was busy during the Great Depression, wasn't it? :)

  • ladyguitarpicker profile imageAUTHOR

    stella vadakin 

    3 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

    Thank you, I hope you get to visit.

  • thumbi7 profile image

    JR Krishna 

    3 years ago from India

    Wow! These photos look georgeous. I wish I could go there one day

    Voted up and shared

  • ladyguitarpicker profile imageAUTHOR

    stella vadakin 

    3 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

    Larry, thanks for the comment. My whole family loves State Parks and camping. We will all be camping on the beach next month.

  • Larry Rankin profile image

    Larry Rankin 

    3 years ago from Oklahoma

    I love a good state park, and this looks like a wonderful bit of fun.

    Great read!

  • pstraubie48 profile image

    Patricia Scott 

    3 years ago from sunny Florida

    Great review of one of Florida's best. I was there recently and fall in love with it all over again every time I go. It is filled with the beauty that I adore of this amazing state.

    We are so blessed in Florida to have so many spectacular parks to visit and enjoy.

    Voted up+++

  • Suhail and my dog profile image

    Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 

    3 years ago from Mississauga, ON

    Got it, Stella. Snakes are beautiful, but I think K2 is not trained to deal with snakes and porcupines yet, but he has to be. We have water snakes in here that are not poisonous, but we do have a very poisonous Massassauga Rattler in Ontario.

  • ladyguitarpicker profile imageAUTHOR

    stella vadakin 

    3 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

    Suhail, There are snakes everywhere in Florida. I see less in the northern part. Most won't hurt exceptions being the rattlesnakes and water moccasins, these are poisonous and you will need to find a doctor fast. The coral snake is another poisonous snake. I hate the coachwhip although, it is not poisonous it is long some 10 to 13 feet, and they chase you.

  • Suhail and my dog profile image

    Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 

    3 years ago from Mississauga, ON

    Do you have snakes in the park?I am not afraid of snakes at all, but was just wondering.

  • ladyguitarpicker profile imageAUTHOR

    stella vadakin 

    3 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

    Suhail and my dog, I am sure your family would like the trails to hike. My dogs love it and so do my grandkids. Thanks for the comments, stella

  • ladyguitarpicker profile imageAUTHOR

    stella vadakin 

    3 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

    Torrilynn,Hi and thank you for taking time to read my hub. We really enjoyed this park. Have a blessed day.

  • ladyguitarpicker profile imageAUTHOR

    stella vadakin 

    3 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

    Mel, it is a very good park with lots to do as you say before it gets so hot. It is very nice now especially in the mornings. I leave in July and August, thanks for your comments. Have a great day, Stella

  • torrilynn profile image

    torrilynn 

    3 years ago

    I like state parks i think that they are fun and that they provide a lot of activities for families to enjoy. great information and great hub overall. best of wishes.

  • Suhail and my dog profile image

    Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 

    3 years ago from Mississauga, ON

    It seems a park tailor-made for my family, our dog and myself. It has water and canoeing is a summer activity we really enjoy.

    Stella, thanks for sharing a hub on the family friendly park.

  • Mel Carriere profile image

    Mel Carriere 

    3 years ago from San Diego California

    It does indeed sound like God's country, and this would be the right time of the year to visit, before it gets ungodly hot. Beautiful place, and great hub!

  • ladyguitarpicker profile imageAUTHOR

    stella vadakin 

    3 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

    Vellur, thanks for reading and your comment. Hope someday you will get to visit. Stella

  • Vellur profile image

    Nithya Venkat 

    3 years ago from Dubai

    O'leno park seems to be a great place for outdoor activities. So many things to do and see. One day I would love to visit the park. Great photos, enjoyed reading. Voted up.

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