Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park


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It’s always a good thing when a vacation includes the opportunity to enjoy pristine wilderness and an educational opportunity too. And that’s just what you’ll get on your next trip to the Old South and a weekend stay at Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park. Located inside the Osceola National Forest in northeastern Florida, about 50 miles west of Jacksonville and very close to the small town of Olustee, the park was the site of a major Civil War battle in 1864, the largest battle fought in the state. The battle is considered to be the second bloodiest battle of the war in terms of percentage of casualties and resulted in a victory for Confederate forces. It’s also credited with discouraging further Union campaigns in Florida, which was considered not important enough militarily to justify such losses.

The park offers visitors a mile long hiking trail with interactive learning displays along the route, an interpretive center with Civil War relics and displays, plenty of spots for picnicking and communing with the natural surroundings and a separate visitor’s center. Pets and kids are welcome, although they do need to be kept on a Olustee-Battlefield-690x473leash (the pets, not the kids :) ) The park also features an impressive monument to the fallen soldiers sponsored by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and erected in 1912. A great time to visit would be during the annual three-day Expo held one weekend every February (check website for dates) which includes a flea market and other exhibitions as well a a battle re-enactment.

The Osceola National Forest, named after the famous Seminole war leader, comprises 200,000 acres of pine and cypress forests and swamps. including the huge Big Gum Swamp Wilderness. There are tons of hiking and horseback trails for visitors to enjoy. Campers and RV’ers are welcomed at three large campsite areas including the Ocean Pond Camp aptly located in the shores of 1,760 acre Ocean Pond. The camp features 67 sites for tents, RV’s and trailers and has modern showering and restroom facilities. There’s also a beach and a boat ramp and visitors can enjoy fishing, swimming, water skiing, bird watching, and more. Also available is the Landing Group Area, which is more private and requires advance reservations. It’s also located on the pond, offers 50 sites, and similar activities. For those who prefer primitive camping, there are four different sites called Hog Pen Landing,Wiggins, Cobb, East Tower and West Tower camps respectively.

A visit to Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park offers a chance to experience northern Florida’s unique natural habitat and a fascinating historical learning opportunity and should be on everyone’s to-visit list.

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2 comments
  1. PeteD

    May 6, 2017 at 12:03

    Florida State Parks does not show any camping for this state park on their website.

    Reply
    • MS

      May 9, 2017 at 12:03

      This is a national historical park and national forest.

      Reply

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