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Anclote Key Preserve State Park Beach

Camping in West Florida: Anclote Key Preserve State Park

We had the opportunity to speak with Pete about Anclote Key Preserve State park camping, the most popular activities in the park and about the great fishing off the north end of the island.

Anclote Key Preserve State Park Camping, Florida

Camp Florida: I’m talking to Pete Krulder today. We’re going to talk about Anclote Key Preserve State Park, in Florida. How’s it going today, Pete?

Pete: Oh, it’s going great. Another beautiful day out here in paradise.

CF: So, where in Florida is Anclote Key Preserve State Park located and how it get its start?

Pete: Anclote Key Preserve State Park is located about three miles off the shore of Tarpon Springs, Florida. It’s one of the northern most Barrier Islands in the chain of Barrier Islands that are on the West Coast of Florida. And the State, in the 1960s, made a swap for property in Ding Darling with the US Official Wildlife Service to gain Anclote Key Preserve.

CF: Cool. Now, I’m looking on the website here and I’m about to ask you what the most popular activities are, and I guess one of them is just laying on the beach, not doing anything.

Anclote_Key_Preserve_Beach
Pete: That’s it. Laying on the beach, not doing anything. It’s great. It’s a great place for beach combing. Also, fishing. Really good fishing up there. The camping – there are some primitive sites that are on the very northern end of the Island. The only amenity that we do have out there, if you’re coming out to the Island, is a compostable toilet. You need to bring everything else with you and you need to pack everything out when you leave. There are no real visitor facilities on the Island, minus that compostable toilet.

CF: Sure. Now, sometimes what’s nice – I tend to go for the primitive camping myself and one reason I like that is that it tends to keep the numbers down a little bit, because not everybody wants that. How popular is the primitive camping there, in that spot?

Pete: You may hit on a busy week day, when the weather is nice, eight or ten people that are camping out there. One of the things that keeps it down during the summertime is the mosquitoes and noseeums. They’ll run folks off. I don’t know how many times our rangers have recovered tents with nobody there because people have come out in the summertime and figured: “Oh, we’re going to spend a night out here,” only to be run off by the bugs. And then they’ll come back the following day to retreat their stuff.

CF: Sure. Sure.

Pete: Yeah.

CF: Hey, you know, just out of curiosity, I’m a big fan of the ThermaCELL devices for keeping bugs away. Do you use those ever?

Pete: I’ve tried them. You know, some folks say they work pretty good. You would have to get the Industrial Grade for it to work out here.

CF: That’s actually the one that my wife and I have. It’s the larger one. There’s the Solo one that I’ve never had much luck with, but they make a bigger one that does seem to do a pretty good job.

Pete: Yeah, you just have to stay real close by with it.

CF: So, what are some of the other attractions in the area that people like to check out?

Anclote_Key_Lighthouse
Pete: Well, at Anclote Key, if you wanted to go to the mainland, you do have the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks that are in the area. We also, to the south, have Honeymoon Island State Park and Caladesi Island State Park; are located within ten miles of Anclote Key.

CF: Okay. And what’s your favorite spot around there to hang out at if you’ve got a little downtime?

Pete: If I was going to spend some time out at Anclote Key, I really like the north end of the Island just because the fishing is so good out there.

CF: Oh, okay. And are you a guy who goes for the primitive camping?

Pete: I love to do primitive. I love to do all kinds of camping. Anything that’ll keep me outdoors and out of the office is a good thing.

CF: Now, is the camping there first come, first serve? I’m assuming.

Pete: First come, first serve.

CF: And is there generally enough space where you’re probably going to be able to find a spot?

Pete: Oh yeah, I don’t think we ever turn anybody away.

CF: All right. Well, hey, thanks for taking a little time to chat with us about Anclote Key Preserve State Park, Pete. Much appreciated.

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