The Ocala National Forest, located north of Orlando, is the southernmost forest in the continental United States and protects the world’s largest contiguous sand pine scrub forest.
The forest has more than 600 lakes, rivers and springs, including three first-magnitude springs where visitors can swim, snorkel and dive in crystalline waters year round. Ocala offers an accommodating climate for year-round recreation. The mild winters are fine for family camping while a summer canoe trip down a palm-lined stream is a cool way to spend an August day.
A notable spot for stargazing is The Hopkins Prairie campground. Booking one of the 21 camping sites at the ground will guarantee you the best view of the stars, with very little light pollution. “It’s so dark, the stars light up the sky!”
Chelynne Campion is a Production/ Sales Assistant for EarthSky. Her family just purchased a telescope, and she's now learning to be a stargazer!