Welcome to Camp Chowenwaw Park:


Nature's Calendar

Spring (March-May)
Despite some cold, wet weather this winter our Florida reputation as a year-round nature paradise did not disappoint. The witch-hazel blossoms made a brief appearance in late January. A local birdwatcher recorded 30 species one early February morning, including overwintering Hooded Merganser, Hermit Thrush and Ring-billed Gull. With March starting out very spring-like, the landscape will be changing quickly. Yellow jessamine, bluets, and laurel-cherries are already blooming, with blackberries and wild azaleas soon to follow. Mourning Doves and Northern Cardinals are already well into nesting activity. White-tailed deer will soon deliver their fawns. Peninsular cooter hatchlings will dig out of their nests. Swallow-tailed kites and osprey will return from their more southern wintering grounds.

So you missed the merganser and the witch-hazel? Dust off those boots, bring out those cameras and binoculars. Visit early and often. You could still be the first to spot the rain-lilies or silverbell blooming, welcome back the first Summer Tanager or Great-crested Flycatcher, witness the first illuminated flight of fireflies, hear the first chorus of Southern leopard frogs, bid Bon Voyage to the season’s last American Robin. Be sure to check the sightings book in the park office and record what you see. Yes, You can be first! The race is on!!

Pool Opens and Swim Lessons Begin on May 3!
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Click here for Pool brochure.

Now Recruiting Volunteers for Camp Chowenwaw Park:

Opportunities for Camp Chowenwaw Park volunteers include leading environmental education programs, helping with our museum, and general park maintenance projects.

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Adobe icon Education Programs
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Special Events and Public Programs:

Adobe icon The next Nature Center Open House will be April 12th
Adobe icon  Museum Open House will be April 19th
Adobe icon Join local photographer Ed Martin for a morning workshop May 31st

Camp Chowenwaw Park is a 150 – acre site that Clay County purchased in the Spring of 2006 from the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council. The Girl Scouts operated the camp for more than 70 years before deciding to relocate. The parcel has 100 acres of wetlands and 50 acres of uplands, and is located at the mouth of Black Creek. This relatively pristine site contains predominantly undisturbed upland and wetland natural communities. Camp Chowenwaw Park is located on 1.5 miles of shoreline on Black Creek and Peters Creek and provides a habitat for many water birds. The aquatic vegetation provides foraging areas for the St. Johns River manatee population as well as an ideal habitat for many fish species. Bald eagles, river otters, white tailed deer, turkeys, alligators, foxes, raccoons, migrating songbirds, as well as frogs, lizards, snakes, and turtles are just a few of the creatures you might see while visiting Camp Chowenwaw Park.


Recreational activities include camping, picnicking, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, fishing, bird watching, wildlife viewing, outdoor photography, and hiking.  Our trail systems through the uplands and the wetlands offer scenic tracts for the hiking enthusiast.  Camping facilities include 15 tent sites, two lodges with bunk beds sleeping 16 people per cabin, 9 tree house cabins, each accommodating 4 people, and 7 cabins with bunk beds sleeping 4 – 8 people.  Each campsite has a bathhouse with full restroom accommodations, and a unit house with electricity, including a stove and refrigerator.  Located throughout the park, and at each campsite, are picnic tables and grills for use by campers and park visitors.  To minimize impacts on our natural resources and to protect our plant and wildlife communities, vehicle access is limited.  Camping sites and cabins are accessed by walking trails.  The park is ideally suited as a natural outdoor environmental education facility when you consider the setting, location, and proximity of diverse upland and wetland ecosystems.  Classes and naturalist programs for organized groups and the public will be available in outdoor and indoor classrooms.  The natural outdoor laboratory will allow an opportunity for all conservation minded organizations to become involved with projects to promote protection and conservation enhancement of aquatic, terrestrial habitat, and wildlife in St. Johns watersheds.


Stop by for a picnic or a scenic nature hike, attend one of our naturalist programs, or stay for a day or two in one of our tree house cabins.  Enjoy a bird’s eye view overlooking the Peters Creek floodplain surrounded by spectacular forested wetland communities of mature cypress and hardwoods.  We have it all for the outdoor enthusiast.


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