Bird in flight at Lake Griffin State Park
Bird in flight at Lake Griffin State Park
The fifth largest live oak tree in the State of Florida

Lake Griffin State Park is located less than an hour's drive from Orlando and all the big theme parks in that area. Lake Griffin State Park is home to the Mammoth Oak Tree, the fifth largest live oak tree in Florida.

Lake Griffin is the eighth largest lake in Florida and the park is actually connected to it by a mile-long canal (the Dead River). The fishing for bluegill, catfish, speckled perch and largemouth bass are supposed to be excellent but swimming is not allowed anywhere as the lake also supports a healthy population of alligators.

The concrete doublewide boat ramp at Lake Griffin State Park can accommodate trailers up to 25-feet long. Average depth of the boat basin is three-to-four feet. If you want to launch your boat before 8 am, you'll need to purchase an annual recreation permit so you can get 24-hour access. The boat ramp is on the Dead River, a canal that meanders through a basin swamp to reach Lake Griffin and the Oklawaha River. From there, there is a series of locks and canals that allow access to the Harris Chain of Lakes. If you are entering Lake Griffin State Park from the Dead River, there is a 250-foot long concrete dock and you'll need to pay a docking fee.

Lake Griffin State Park offers a full-facility campground with 40 campsites. The sites can accommodate tents, trailers and RVs, seven sites are pull-throughs and three are universally accessible. Most campsites are shaded and well-buffered. Each campsite also offers water and electric hookups, picnic tables and campfire grills. An RV dump station is located nearby and in the center of the campground are full restrooms with shower and laundry facilities. Two of the restrooms are universally accessible. Maximum RV length: 40 feet.

The park also offers canoe rentals with a canoe launch that gives access to the Dead River and the southwestern shoreline of Lake Griffin. The lake is about a one-mile paddle from the launch site. Fishermen: be aware that Lake Griffin is a designated fish management area so the canoe pole rule does not apply. This also applies to all waters in the park.

The park offers one 10-table picnic pavilion with water and electric incuded in the rental fee (either pay the fee and reserve in advance or available first-come, first-served). Restrooms and a children's playground are located nearby. The pavilion area also sports three large cooking grills and a volleyball court with two horseshoe pits close by.

The only hiking trail available is the one-half mile nature trail near the park entrance that crosses part of the basin swamp and leads to the Mammoth Oak Tree.

For day-users, Lake Griffin State Park is open from 8 am to sunset every day of the year. To get there: Lake Griffin State Park is located about 30 miles south of Ocala and about 2 miles north of Leesburg, just off US Highways 27 & 441.