Originally Posted by Tinstaafl
Thanks everyone. I've thought about Ocala NF, but just aren't familiar enough with it to pick a place. Are you allowed to make a campfire anywhere you choose to camp?
That 'floridahikes' site looks like a good resource.
Check the Ocala alerts and notices page
for any fire bans before you go. Also, another good resource is the Florida Forest Service wildfires page
. As of right now, yes, you can build a fire where you camp--as long as you use LNT methods for it (a mound fire) or an established fire ring (most of the common campsites in the forest have one).
It's general gun season right now in Ocala, so be careful of where you camp. From now until January 20th, you need to camp either at a designated site or in a designated wilderness area. Fortunately, one of the nicest spots in Ocala, Hidden Pond, is located in the middle of the Juniper Prairie Wilderness Area. We did an hang there back in October
(link is to trip report), and the spot is absolutely beautiful. It's an easy three-and-an-half-mile hike in from the Pat's Island trail head along the Florida Trail (follow the orange blazes).
On the weekends, that spot might be a bit busy, though, so be prepared to share the site with others. Don't worry, though; there's plenty of room to spread out.
Hope it helps!