Camping and Adventure at Clearwater Lake Recreation Area

With a forecast of cooler weekend weather, we decided to book a campsite at Clearwater Lake Recreation Area in Ocala National Forest and get away for a couple of days of relaxation and adventure.

As it typically turns out, the week leading up to our adventure was jammed-packed with work and other volunteer commitments, and the usual meticulous camping preparation turned into a grab anything that looks like camping gear and throw it into the car a couple of hours before our scheduled departure.

After an excruciating slow roll through Orlando Friday afternoon traffic, followed by a mad dash through the aisles of the last grocery store before entering Ocala National Forest territory, we found ourselves within the peaceful confines of the Clearwater Lake Recreation Area campsite.

After setting up our new tent and the rest of our usual camp necessities, we ate a quick dinner than walked down to the lake to see the last bit of the sunset.

Sunset on Clearwater Lake.

We were pretty tired from the week, and things get dark quickly in the forest, so we retired to our tents early in hopes for a good night’s sleep.

One thing I like about this campground is that it’s fairly quiet.  Since there is no electricity you typically have little or no RVs, and generally the only sounds you here are other tent campers and the occasional vehicle on C.R. 42.

The morning started with cooler temps and  a cup or two of coffee while exploring the lake shore, watching the mist rise off the warm water into the cooler air.

Wading in the clear waters of Clearwater Lake on a cool, fall morning.

Once the sun rose above the trees I hopped onto the paddle board to venture out into the lake in hopes of snapping a sunrise photo or two.

The sun rises over Clearwater Lake.

Photography was followed by short fishing expedition to see if the bass were biting.

Ready for a morning of fishing at Clearwater Lake Recreation Area.

With the bass not cooperating, it was time to setup paddle board lessons for the family.

Paddleboarding on Clearwater Lake.

Everyone had the opportunity to take a turn, and all of us were amazed at the clarity of the water.  The water is clear enough to allow you to see the bottom all around the lake.

After a full day of swimming, fishing and paddleboarding, we returned to the campsite to rest and get ready for dinner.  I also took the opportunity to wander around the campsite and practice some photography.

A golden orbweaver highlighted by the afternoon sun.
Ripe beautyberries.
Abstract view of the grass growing along the lake shore.
Paddleboards at rest at Clearwater Lake Recreation Area.
A wildflower along the shores of Clearwater Lake.

Dinner consisted of grilled BBQ chicken, corn on the cob and of course, beans!  There’s just something about food cooked in the woods that always tastes better.

Chicken and corn for dinner while camping at Clearwater Lake Recreation Area.

After dinner we decided to head back down to the lake for some more paddling before the sunset.

Paddleboarding at Sunset on Clearwater Lake.
Paddleboarding at Sunset on Clearwater Lake.
Paddleboarding at Sunset on Clearwater Lake.

Paddleboarding was followed by the traditional roasting of marshmallows and campfire songs.

Playing the ukulele around the campfire.
Coleman lantern illuminates the campsite.
Playing the ukulele around the campfire.

After a good night’s sleep, we woke up, enjoyed one more campfire, coffee and view of the lake before breaking down camp and returning to civilization with refreshed souls.

Calm winds and reflections on the lake.