Who knows when we will all be able to go camping again? We camped at Jonathan Dickinson State Park for 2 luxurious weeks, and we left there on Friday, March 13th, just days before the campground was to be shutdown for 60 days. This post captures those fine memories, and hopefully, will be helpful to those who plan to visit Jonathan Dickinson once this virus slides down the S-curse, and we all arrive at a new normal, which hopefully will include lots of camping.
There are 2 campgrounds at JD state park. River Campground which is more rustic, and Pine Grove which is newer and offers full hook ups. Guess which one we picked? We were lucky enough to get 2 full weeks at Pine Grove; although, I did book it 11 months in advance.
The sites at Pine Grove are spacious, and Dan easily backed into ours. The sites are also fairly private; there aren’t many tall trees, but there are sea grape shrubs which provided privacy. Thanks to the dedicated volunteers, the bathrooms were spotless. And I mean spotless!! I very much appreciate all their hard work. Thank you! Thank you!
Watch out, though, for the “no-see-ums” which evidently are very tiny fleas which bite and then itch for days. I am especially sensitive to itchy bug bites. One night, we finished up our walk at dusk. We didn’t have bug spray on, but we didn’t feel anything biting us. We also slept that night with our 2 roof vents open. In the morning, we both had a number of bites which were very itchy. Going forward, we were in the camper by dusk, and closed up all vents and windows. We didn’t get any more new bites; otherwise, I may have gone crazy. We also had to fight the ants, spraying ant spray around the outside daily and some on the inside of our camper as well. This kept the ants under control. Once home, we did set off a bug bomb in our camper in case any of these little buggers had plans to move in with us.
Please don’t think the fleas and the ants detracted from our stay at Jonathan Dickinson. They were just a minor annoyance at an otherwise fabulous state park. We would stay there again in a heart beat (just with bug and ant spray, of course). There is so much to do in this park! This park is known for its miles of bike trails; many of which are for dirt bikes, off-road bikes, you know, the kind of biking for adventurous types. We are more “trail types”, and this state park accommodated us, too. There is a beautiful 2 mile (one way) paved trail which starts (or ends depending on your perspective) at the Visitor Center. We rode our bikes on this trail, and we also walked it.
In addition, there was a trail head for biking right near our campground. A short ride on the trail led to the Old Dixie Highway. No longer a road, it offered a paved path for biking, another option which we enjoyed; although, it was pretty bumpy.
We also hiked the Kitching Creek Trail – twice. The first time, we stayed right as indicated by the map, and we think we ended up on a service road. Eventually, we turned around as evidenced by my being here now. We did return to this trail a couple days later to get it right – by going left at this first unmarked turn. This trail comes with a brochure with enumerated points of interest, and we enjoyed the insights on our second, successful hike.
Another day, we went to the Hobe Mountain Observation Tower. Dan tickled me as before we arrived, he asked how much it cost and what time it closed. I am not sure what he pictured in his mind, but we enjoyed this short, but very windy excursion. The ocean can be seen in the largest picture below.
Jonathan Dickinson State Park also has a very nice Visitor Center. We always visit a park’s Visitor Center first, so we can make plans and get helpful tips. JD came through for us with trail info, suggestions for bike riding, and even where to find cheaper gas. Thanks to these volunteers, too! The Center also offers a movie about the park; however, it was not offered during our 2 week visit as the projector needed a new bulb. The Center did offer free WiFi inside the Center as well as on its front porch. The expansive porch offered Adirondack and rocking chairs to those wanting a rest or a spot to sit while surfing.
While there was WiFi at the Visitor Center, there was not at the campgrounds. So, no Roku or youtube TV for us. This turned out to be a good thing. Using our phones as hot spots, we could check email and even play Scrabble online without hitting the throttle thresholds on our unlimited data plans. However, we do have an antenna, and we were able to receive several channels over the air. We watched the news and Jeopardy most nights, and one night, we got caught up on an old 1953 western entitled, “The Lone Hand”. I’m not really a western fan, but I really enjoyed this film which is noted as one of Joel McCrea’s best.
There was so much in the park that we didn’t do. We didn’t see any alligators even though there was a viewing area near our Pine Grove campground. But also, there is horseback riding, wagon rides, a river with tours, kayak rentals, and programs offered by the Visitor Center. So even though I felt we enjoyed so much in this park, there are even more things to do.
While so much is offered in Jonathan Dickinson SP, its proximity to Jupiter and Hobe Sound allows for even more fun, close by activities, and those, dear reader, will be the subject of my next and final post about our trip to Jupiter, Florida.