Best Campgrounds in Chiefland, Florida and Cedar Key
Most RVers and campers come to Chiefland for its nearby Manatee Springs State Park or because of the attractions found in the Gulf resort community of Cedar Key (about 30 miles SW). While Cedar Key does have 4 RV parks, they are mostly filled with seasonal, long-stay campers. What few spaces might be available will come at high price tag. So most Cedar Key short-stay RVers find the camping in the Chiefland area a much better option.
Google Maps list 6 campgrounds for Chiefland, Florida. Two of these six have no website and are primarily occupied by full-time or seasonal campers and in our opinion are unsuitable for vacation visitors to the area. Our favorite RV park-campground is Strawberry Fields, but there are three other very good options for tent and rv campers, which we will profile below.
Strawberry Fields RV Park
Opened in 2019, Strawberry Fields is still expanding its number of sites and amenities. It currently offers almost 200 full-service pull-through sites (with more being plotted) with water, electricity, and sewage service. All of the present sites are paved and spot-on level; all roads throughout the campground are paved. There is a generous grassy segment separating each RV site.
Park amenities include bathrooms suites, laundry cabin, library and recreation room, and a picnic pavilion. It is family run – Tim and Ana West, who live onsite. We think the site price is fair for the quality of the facility and its amenities. 2021 rates are $35 a day; $200 a week.
—See our full Strawberry Fields Campsite Review and Profile here.
Manatee Springs State Park
We’ve stayed several times at Manatee Springs State Park. In the Chiefland area, it is the primary choice for tent campers and those with pop-up rigs with less than full onboard facilities. It also is the best choice for families with children. Almost all of the sites provide water and electricity and offer adequate site access for RV’s and the wooded area provides good privacy screening between the sites. The main park road is paved, but the satellite camping section roads and the camping and RV sites are sand-covered.
The main park attraction is its first magnitude spring that offers swimming, snorkeling, and diving as well as the opportunity to view some manatees. Other park amenities several hiking and biking trails, canoe and kayak rentals, and fishing. The spring-side concession stand offers sandwiches, beer, several picnic tables and a free wi-fi connection.
—See our complete review of Manatee Springs Campground here.
Southern Leisure RV Resort
Southern Leisure is also a recent addition to Chiefland area campgrounds. It opened in 2018 and currently offers almost 500 sites. I view it as Strawberry Fields on steroids. Like Strawberry Fields, all its roads are paved and all sites are paved and quite level. Unlike Strawberry Fields, it advertises itself as a gated community so there is restricted overnight access. Its overall emphasis is as a second-home community for RVers, but single day stays are possible.
The park’s amenities are many and they include a clubhouse, an Olympic size swimming pool, bathhouse, laundry facilities, and its own post office. More recent additions are more comfort stations, dog grooming, salon, a library, card room, sewing and quilting room, billiards room, and more. The outdoor recreation area includes a large picnic pavilion with a kitchen for barbequing, grilling, dining, and entertaining, and facilities for Pickleball, Bocce Ball, Shuffleboard, and Horseshoes.
Southern Leisure aims to create an ongoing RV community for seniors. My impression is that most rigs there are long-stay, a month or longer. However in our drive-through we found several open RV sites so short-stay travelers are welcome. 2021 Daily Rates are $62 for back-in sites; $72 for pull-through sites.
Breezy Acres RV Park and Campground
Breezy Acres is an adults-only park located in a quiet semi-wooded rural setting 7 miles east of Chiefland. Sites are grass covered and the park roads are sand/gravel. There are 50 RV sites, most with full hookups, and a few sites for tents. Amenities include wi-fi, a laundry facility and a recreation building. They also offer RV and boat storage and covered storage sheds. On our drive-through the park appears to be well-maintained. Google reviews compliment the new owners on cleanliness and maintenance. Most campers appeared to be seasonal or long-stay although there were one or two open campsites.
Cedar Key Campgrounds and RV Parks
A campground and RV park near Cedar Key we’ve often stayed at is the Shell Mound Park and Campground in the Cedar Key Wildlife Sancturary. It is located about 25 miles SouthWest of Chiefland and about 8 miles from the Gulf beach town of Cedar Key. It has gravel pad sites with both electric and water and grassy sites with only electricity. No restrictions on type of RV nor are their prohibitions on tenting. There’s a small play area for kids and a bath/shower facility and a dump site for RVs.
Other campgrounds or RV sites located near or in Cedar Key are often filled with seasonal campers. And if you are lucky enough to find one that has a vacancy you will pay quite a premium price for being closer to the action in Cedar Key! Here’s a listing of Cedar Key Campgrounds from the town website. Of those listed on the town website, by far the most reasonably priced one is Shady Oaks Campground, about a half-hour drive from Cedar Key on Hwy 24.
Chiefland Florida Visitor Attractions
In addition to camping and RV parks, Chiefland, Florida offers a number of other interesting things to see and do for the area visitor.
Clear Warm Water Springs
One section of this paved bike trail runs North from the old Chiefland Railroad depot through Fanning Springs where it connects to the second section that runs East and West between Trenton and Cross City.
The Train Depot Museum at the Chiefland Welcome Center offers several exhibits on the history of the Chiefland area. “The Welcome Center’s hours are generally 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday – Friday. It is best to call ahead if you plan to visit. 352-493-1849. We have maps and plenty of area brochures and info if you are visiting or moving to the area.”
Levy County Quilt Museum
The Chiefland Levy County Quilt Museum offers several exhibits of antique quilts and quilting machines as well as lots of locally created quilts, fiber crafts, fabrics and quilting supplies for sale. An interesting visit even if you know little about quilting. They have a generous size parking area that will accommodate RVs.
Our favorite is the Treasure Camp (see our review and video) located 14 miles South on the banks of the Suwannee River. Other popular restaurants in the main part of town include The Garden Patch Café, Bubbacues BBQ, and Bar-BQ Bills. Stop in the chamber welcome center for more recommendations.
Shopping and Other Services
Among the conveniences and services for Chiefland visitors is a Walmart Super Center, a Regional Shopping Mall, Days Inn and Quality Inn Hotels, Wilson Gas RV propane service, an O’Reilly Auto parts store, a large Ace Hardware store, and a mobile RV repair service. Chiefland is big enough to have any service a traveler might need but not so big you encounter big city traffic getting around town.
Cedar Key Gulf Beach Town
The regions favorite Gulf beach town is Cedar Key (see our story), an attractive, yet low key resort town with lots of neat restaurants, artisan shops, and interesting things to see and do. It is less than 30 miles away and an easy drive.
Hiking and Nature Trails
The nearby Cedar Keys Wildlife Refuge (see our article) and Lower Suwannee River Wildlife Refuge offer a number of interesting hiking and nature trails. The Suwannee River unit also has a nature drive.
Florida Gulf Coast Scenic Drives
- Florida Gulf Scenic Drive – Pensacola to Destin
- Scenic Highway 30A Destin to Rosemary Beach
- Gulf Coast Scenic Drive Rosemary Beach to Apalachicola
- Scenic Drive 98 Apalachicola to Cedar Key
Your Scenic Travel Guide: Ross Reinhold