Space Coast Backcountry Camping

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Jump to Michelle Thatcher's 500 mile solo journey on the St Johns River

For those who like to spend nights off the beaten path, the Space Coast has a great variety of designated primitive backcountry campsites managed by various agencies. They include Islands in the Indian River Lagoon as well as camping platforms and sites along the St. John's River, which are available only by water-craft. Along some of our hiking and biking trails designated campsites have been established while a few of our County Parks offer undeveloped rustic camping sites you can drive to. In addition, the North District of Canaveral National offers limited beach camping providing a unique opportunity to sleep under the stars serenaded by the sound of ocean waves breaking on the shoreline.

There are more backcountry camping opportunities along our Space Coast than most people realize, even among our more avid outdoorsy locals, but the fact remains it is there and in most cases free. Many you can hike to or ride a mountain bike to while others can only be accessed by boat.

In the northern part of our coverage area is probably the most publicised island camping opportunities available, the Shipyard Island Canoe Trail managed by the Canaveral National Seashore. Located within the north district of the seashore, these are by boat access only and there is a Backcountry camping fee associated with these island sites. But there are many other islands to camp on, especially those associated with the Indian River Lagoon Spoil Island Project. In addition Camping is available for kayakers or padders withn the middle section of the Econlockhatchee River.

For land based campers willing to hike in or bike in, places like Buck Lake Conservation Area, Seminole Ranch, Tosohatchee, and Hal Scott Preserve offer backcountry sites accessible by trail


Michelle Thatcher, Alligator Princess of America's Nile

Michelle Thatcher on Puzzle Lake, St Johns River West of Titusville.

Photo by Bill Belleville, Author, "River of Lakes, A Journey on the St. Johns"

During the Spring and Winter of 2008, Michelle Thatcher undertook the incredible task of paddling the St. Johns River from its headwaters in the south near Fort Drum Conservation area all the way north to the mouth of the river at Jacksonville, a journey of over 300 miles. Add the side creeks and tributaries she has paddled over 500 miles of the St. Johns River ecosystem, all while documenting her journey on high definition video. Today she She still continues to explore and film the the tributary creeks and sidewaters of America's Nile while a documentary, "Alligator Princess of America's Nile" is currenly under production. Links to her website and a four minute trailer are just below.

Above photo of Michelle Thatcher by Kirk Marsh,