Camel Lake Recreation Area
The Apalachicola National Forest is the largest U.S. National Forest in Florida. It encompasses 632,890 acres (988.89 sq. mi.) and is the only National Forest located in the Florida Panhandle. The forest provides water- and land-based outdoors activities such as off-road biking, hiking, swimming, boating, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, and off-road ATV usage. The Camel Lake Recreational Area includes a one mile hike on the Florida National Scenic Trail, including a campground, restroom facilities, picnic areas, and benches with a view of Camel Lake, a spring-fed lake which is very popular in warm months.
Lake Seminole – Jim Woodruff Lock & Dam
The Lake Seminole project, originally authorized as the Jim Woodruff Lock & Dam Project by the River and Harbor Act of 1946, was the first of three locks and dams constructed for navigation, hydro-power, recreation, and related purposes on the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee, and Flint River systems. Construction of this muti-purpose project began in 1947 and was completed in 1957. Lake Seminole borders both Georgia and Florida and has 37,500 acres of water and over 18,000 acres of surrounding land. It is named in honor of James W. Woodruff, Sr., a Georgia businessman who spearheaded the development of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint Project.
The lake and its facilities are maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and are used for navigation, hydroelectric production, and recreation.
Lake Seminole Park
Technically in Georgia, this major tourism resource is in Chattahoochee’s backyard and should not be missed! Bordering several miles of shoreline along Booster Club Road, Lake Seminole Park has four major facilities in close proximity. One can drive out to the dam for a great view, then stop by the following sites: East Bank Campground with public boat ramp, restrooms, and picnic shelter; Chattahoochee Park with public boat ramp, picnic area, shelter, restrooms, and trails; River Junction Landing with public boat ramp, picnic area, restrooms, and trails; and River Junction Landing Campground with public boat ramp, restrooms, and picnic shelter. The park is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Trophy Largemouth Bass are taken annually in the spring and early summer from this 130-acre Fish Management Area. The impounded lake is also productive for Channel Catfish, and for Bluegill (Bream) and Redear (Shellcracker) from mid-May to July. The Landing offers a picturesque view of the lake, a short boardwalk, and dock.
At Sneads Park on Lake Seminole, you can camp, ski, swim, or just have fun. The waters are always calm and peaceful. Lake Seminole is known nationally as one of the best sites for sports fishing in America. Extensive stump and grass beds provide abundant cover where anglers battle Lunker Largemouth, Scrappy Hybrid, Striped, and White Bass. Sizable populations of Catfish, Crappie, and Bream are also present. All in all, over 79 species of fish have been identified. The lake has 376 acres of shoreline that extends into both Florida and Georgia. It is named for the Seminole Indians, the last Native American Tribe to occupy the area before Andrew Jackson’s troops forced them into Central Florida.
Where Florida meets the southwest corner of Georgia, the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers converge to form Lake Seminole, the setting for this peaceful park. Hiking through forested hills of pine and mixed hardwoods, visitors may catch sight of Fox Squirrels, White-Tailed Deer, Gray Foxes, or many species of native and migratory birds. Anglers can launch from a boat ramp to enjoy some of the best freshwater fishing in the state, or fish from a 100-foot pier in the camping area. A shady picnic area, with tables and grills, overlooks the lake. For large gatherings, a picnic pavilion that seats up to 60 people is available for rental. Overnight visitors can stay in a full-facility campground next to the lake or enjoy the comforts of a modern cabin. Pine and hardwood forests dominate the 686 acres of uplands found in the park. These woods of rolling hills and steep ravines are different from the natural communities of south and central Florida. The steep slopes along the shore of Lake Seminole provide a “microclimate,” significantly cooler and moister than the surrounding areas. The conditions found along these slopes are home to a variety of trees, wildflowers, and herbaceous plants. In the springtime, these slope forests are covered with the blooms of thousands of Trilliums and White Lilies. These are joined soon after by the tubular red flowers of Red Buckeye, which catch the attention of both people and hummingbirds.
This is probably the most photographed coastal dune lake with a backdrop of tall spindly Slash Pines. Dune lakes are found in only a few locations worldwide. They are intimately connected to the sea through an inflow/outflow channel. However, the outflow does not exchange water all of the time; the actions of sand, wind, and tides cyclically close off the outflow while rainfall and ground seepage increase the fresh water. Eventually, high water forces open the channel again and a more tidal exchange begins to take place. Western Lake has constant seawater seepage and remains brackish most of the time. At 214 acres, Western Lake is one of the larger dune lakes. These waterways have the highest occurrences of rare wildlife species in the state, some of which are found nowhere else in the world. Grayton Beach State Park offers canoe rentals for direct access to Western Lake.
From Hickory Landing, 101-A leads to Wright Lake with camping, picnic tables, trailer space and dump station, restrooms, showers, fishing, swimming, hiking, and nature trails. Wright Lake is handicapped accessible and both facilities have entrance fees.