The REAL Florida at Mike Roess State Park

May 28, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

We spent a night at a little gem very close to home, camping at Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park in Keystone, FL. It was a refreshing little getaway, and depicts what REAL Florida looks like! No, we're not all sandy beaches and palm trees.

This little park has rolling hills, tall pines, boardwalks down inside spring fed crevices, and winding hiking trails along wetlands thriving with wildlife. We went out to watch the Sun rise over one of their small lakes and it was quite something. The air was soft and relaxing with a thin veil of fog lifting in the distance. Morning sounds of frogs and songbirds floated through the plains, and to gaze out over the water made me feel like I was in a Monet painting surrounded by lily pads. It was sublime, recharging in fact.

After the Sun rose, on our way back to camp, I noticed some deer off in the distance in the water and made sure to stop to capture it with my 600mm lens. It wasn't until looking through the lens that I realized just how special this place was. I couldn't believe all the wildlife I was seeing! In this one image, there are AT LEAST 15 different animals between the deer, the water foul and who knows what else. Can you see them all?  I'll make it easier and circle the ones I was able to see, just scroll to the bottom of this post for that photo. I can only imagine what else was out there that I wasn't seeing. This place is like a mini Paynes Prairie, just amazing!

I could almost hear the deer slurping as they dunked their head to pluck off lily pads and munch them down. They must have been pretty tasty for them to brave the possibility of a gator preying on them. Just when I thought I'd seen them all, another head popped up in the distant brush. They were all waking up to go graze for breakfast. 

Take a look!

Mike Roess State ParkMike Roess Goldhead Branch State Park

Mike Roess State Park SunriseMike Roess Goldhead Branch State Park Sunrise

Mike Roess State Park animalsMike Roess State Park animals


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