Cross Florida Greenway

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About Cross Florida Greenway

At 110 miles, the Cross Florida Greenway of central Florida is remarkably the same length as one of the longest countries in the entire world!! Chile! Granted that Chile is one of the longest north to south, whereas we are concerned with Chile’s east to west length… but who cares? The point is that this corridor of hiking, biking and horseback trail is really freakin’ long! Stretching from the Gulf of Mexico all the way to the St. Johns River, this barge canal pathway also has many spots to enjoy it’s flowing streams, by canoeing, kayaking, paddling and fishing these watery channels. With soaring birds as your guides and vibrant wildflowers, forested ferns and the occasional campground lining your way - think you’ve got what it takes to go the distance? We’re a bit skeptical. Guess you’ll just have to go out and prove us wrong now won’t you?

Campgrounds in Cross Florida Greenway

Rodman Campground

1. Rodman Campground

Former Chicago Bulls NBA All-Star and unofficial ambassador to North Korea, this site is named after the eccentric Mr. Dennis Rodman! Except not,...

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Ross Prairie Campground

2. Ross Prairie Campground

88% Recommend (4 Responses)

When you stay at Ross Prairie Campground -- chances are your campsite neighhh-bors will be horses (not that that’s a bad thing). The 15 campsites...

Julie Ann
Julie Ann: Upon arrival we met Bob, our camp host, who was very friendly and helpful. He gave us a map of the area and showed us around a...
Shangri-La Campground

3. Shangri-La Campground

The grounds where they serve free sangria all day long!! Not quite. . . (that would be a heck of an attraction though!) This 24-site pull-thru...

Julie Ann
Julie Ann: There is kayaking and tubing nearby!
Santos Campground

4. Santos Campground

Get a good night’s rest before a full day of biking or horseback riding at the Santos Campground. Each of the 24 campsites has water, electricity,...

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Cross Florida Greenway
hipcamper
June 5th, 2015
Cross Florida Greenway
hipcamper
March 18th, 2017
Cross Florida Greenway
hipcamper
March 18th, 2017
Cross Florida Greenway
hipcamper
March 18th, 2017
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Cross Florida Greenway
Cross Florida Greenway
Cross Florida Greenway
Cross Florida Greenway

3 Reviews

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Hipcamper Julie Ann

Upon arrival we met Bob, our camp host, who was very friendly and helpful. He gave us a map of the area and showed us around a bit. The following are some bullet points of what to expect:

-Very open and close to the highway. Expect to hear traffic throughout your stay.
-Clean bathrooms and great showers. Property is also clean and well maintained.
-Great spot for horse trail riding, Mountain Bikers, and thru-hikers
-Very little insects in Mid march
-Well lit at night (which kept us from seeing the beautiful clear sky)

Overall it was a perfect stay for one night, though not our ideal spot!

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Hipcamper Julie Ann

We camped here for one night and it was beautiful. What made it so great were all of the horses that were on the campsite. We didn't know much about the area prior to camping, so we would do some things differently next time. You drive through a suburban area to get to the grounds and our space felt like it was literally in someones back yard. When we woke in the morning the household started playing loud music and it definitely took away from being out in nature. My advice would be to pick a spot on the other end, though its further from the restrooms. It is primitive camping so there is no electricity or or water besides the gathering areas. This town is great for horseback riding and tubing down the river on a hot summer day!

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History of Cross Florida Greenway

The idea of such a canal was first proposed by Philip II of Spain in 1567. It was repeatedly considered over the years but found to be economically unviable. Secretary of War John C. Calhoun once again proposed a canal in 1818 in order to solve the losses due to shipwrecks and piracy. The Florida Railroad, finished on March 1, 1861, served a similar purpose, connecting the Atlantic Ocean at Fernandina to the Gulf of Mexico at Cedar Key.

In the 1930s, regional politicians lobbied the federal government to fund canal construction as an economic recovery program, including the creation of the Canal Authority of the State of Florida in May 1933. President Franklin D. Roosevelt allocated $5 million in emergency funds in 1935. Local opponents of the canal protested that the canal would deplete Florida's aquifers, and work was stopped a year later.

Work was reauthorized in 1942 as a national defense project, with dams and locks to protect the underground water supply. Support for the project from Washington was sporadic, and funds were never allocated to USACE to actually start construction.
Planning was once again given the go-ahead in 1963 with support from president John F. Kennedy, who allocated one million dollars to the project. The next year, Lyndon Johnson set off the explosives that started construction. It was hoped that the canal, along with the St. Johns-Indian River Barge Canal, would provide a quicker and safer route across Florida by 1971.

Opponents subsequently campaigned against the canal on environmental grounds, and the project halted again on January 19, 1971 by President Richard Nixon's signing of an executive order. Approximately $74 million had been spent on the project up until the 1971 cessation of activities. It was officially cancelled in 1991. In 1998, the right-of-way was turned over to the state and became the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway, named in honor of Marjorie Harris Carr, who had led opposition to the canal. Carr had died the prior year at age 82.