On the internet I have seen this campground variously referred to as:
1) St. Lucie South Recreation Area
2) Port St. Lucie Recreation Area and Campground
3) St. Lucie South Locks and Dam Recreation Area
Regardless of what name others use, you’ll call it “fabulous!”
To be clear about which campground we’re talking about, the one in this post is located at GPS coordinates (27.111,-80.284).
Located, literally, next door to the much larger Phipps Park Campground, St. Lucie Lock Recreation Area Campground has a very different personality.
Here is the sign you’ll see as you enter the area:
Many of the sites are beautifully situated directly on the water. While most of them are much closer together than at neighboring Phipps park, every site is meticulously maintained making this campground feel polished and intimate. The different personalities between the two neighboring parks mean that visitors to this area can almost assuredly find the perfect site for their style of camping.
Some sites are first come/first served, but most can be reserved on reserveamerica.com. Four mooring sites are available, as well, for boaters who wish to overnight here.
I think that the tent sites, at $20/night, are a little pricey— especially considering that they don’t offer any hookups. They’ve got million dollar views, however, so that helps take away some of the sting when you make your payment.
The RV and mooring sites are $24/night, which seems reasonable considering that each site offers water and electric.
Here is one of the tent sites:
Parking is available for the tent sites just on the other side of the road, only a few feet away:
A water spigot is located just as conveniently:
The interior RV sites are nice, if a bit close together:
Water and electric are located at the rear corner of the pad. There are no sewer hookups:
Here’s a closer look at the electrical pedestal:
The premium RV sites are located right on the water. As you might imagine they’re very popular and typically have to be booked 5-6 months in advance:
The view of the Okeechobee Waterway and the lock is breathtaking:
The bathroom is nicely situated:
The commodes are modern and clean:
The showers are nicely maintained, as well:
This sink is located just outside the bathroom and should help discourage people from washing things in the bathroom sink:
The dump station is located near the bathroom:
Information and regulations can be found near the dump station:
The playground should easily keep small children entertained and the fence will help keep them away from the water:
There are a number of waterfront day use sites available, as well:
The boat launch is well located and easily accessible:
I was impressed that they had “loaner” life jackets available that anyone is welcome to borrow:
The day use sites all have stunning views. If you’re staying at an interior campsite you can still get your fill of beautiful waterfront views by walking over to one of these locations.
Here is one day use site:
Isn’t that incredible?
Here is another:
The recreation area also includes interpretive signage and access to the lock area where visitors are welcome to watch boats pass through and learn about the Okeechobee Waterway:
This lock works on an as-needed basis rather than a set schedule. The boat, pictured, is getting ready to be lowered down to the level of the St. Lucie River so that it can continue toward Palm City and out to the Atlantic Ocean:
In the distance you can see a boat that’s traveling in the opposite direction. Once the boat in the previous photo has exited the lock a traffic signal will change from red to green indicating that this boat may proceed into the lock and on to Lake Okeechobee:
The interpretive signage is very interesting and educational:
As you can see, the Okeechobee Waterway provides a shortcut between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, saving boaters from having to travel all the way down and around the tip of Florida:
More interpretive signage at the lock:
You simply must drop by the Visitor’s Center while you’re there:
A wonderful education lies beyond those doors:
St. Lucie Lock Recreation Area is very accommodating to pets and the Visitor’s Center even provides a hitching post for your critter:
My favorite exhibit is the lock simulator. If you don’t exactly understand how a lock works this interactive demonstration will help turn you into a junior lock operator:
I’ll bet you didn’t know this:
This is a good primer for kids:
I found the non-native plant and animal exhibit to be interesting:
This display will help you figure out what’s hanging off of your fishing hook:
A timeline exhibit chronicals the major events in the life of the Okeechobee Waterway:
Manatees can steal anyone’s heart. This exhibit shares some information you might not know:
There’s even a butterfly garden just outside the Visitor’s Center. When the plants are blooming you can treat your eyes to yet another kind of beauty:
This deck is located at the rear of the Visitor’s Center and offers probably the prettiest view of the St. Lucie River. The photo doesn’t even begin to do justice to it.
Bring a sandwich or a cup of coffee and plan to spend a few minutes drinking in the symphony of blue and green that will greet you here:
The St. Lucie Lock Recreation Area is a must see as you travel through this part of Florida. Located just a half mile off of I-95, at exit 101, it’s the perfect place to stop even if you can’t stay.
Simply pick up some fast food when you exit the interstate or bring some charcoal and brats to grill while you enjoy the view and the Visitor’s Center.
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