Mike Roess Goldhead Branch State Park

Goldhead State Park is one of the originals created during World War II under Franklin Roosevelt and the CCC. The lakes were big with lots of fish and the cabins were rustic. Now the lakes are almost dried up and the cabins have been renovated with aluminum siding and air conditioning. We were able to stay in the park for 3 weeks as they were not really busy except during the holiday weekend. There are three separate camping areas. One is designated for tents and smaller travel trailers called Sandhill and two for larger travel trailers and RVs called Turkey Oak and Lakeview. Sandhill and Turkey Oak are located next to each other in the middle of the park. Lakeview is situated around Lake Johnson just past the cabins. There isn’t a lot left of Big Lake Johnson just a lot of grass and in the center a small pond. Needless to say, the boat ramp is no longer utilized.

We stayed at the Lakeview Camping area for our entire visit. It has a large bathhouse with fair showers, one washer and dryer and a coke machine that wasn’t even plugged in. The bath house could use a little renovation and the hot water was sporadic at best with just so-so water pressure. The amphitheater area is in disrepair and probably not used anymore. Most of the sites in this area are shady and wide with water and electric only. There is only one dump station for all three camping areas that are located at the beginning of the cabins area. This is not very convenient for those staying in Turkey Oak or Sandhill. As with most State Parks, you have to wind through the entire park to get to the camping area which is okay because you get to see almost the entire park on the way in but kind of an inconvenient when you need to get supplies.

We were told that you can fish from shore in the day use area but that the fishing was not very good these days. We could see that what water was left in Little Lake Johnson where the swimming, playground and picnic area is located doesn’t really entice you to swim or even fish. You can still canoe or kayak on the lake. While we were there we saw a deer, a rabbit, a baby rattler, a gopher turtle crossing the road and an eagle flying over the camping area every morning.

The park is trying to restore Sheeler Lake which is located near the park’s entrance and across from the Ravine Trail. You have to hike down a long path to get to this lake however, you cannot fish or swim there. Funny enough that is the only place we saw any fish. It is a pretty spot to sit on the white sand and spend a little time enjoying the breeze and mother nature. You can hike around the lake and take pictures but that is about it. They do not have any picnic tables or restroom facilities in this area. I guess they don’t want to encourage anyone to stay there very long.

All in all, we would say that this park could really use some help with renovations and perhaps find a way to get the water back into the lakes. This used to be THE PLACE to visit during the summer vacations hiking, swimming, fishing, and camping. Without the lake to draw more people in it may die a quiet death. So, any of you water engineers out there and environmental experts if you know how to bring the water back to these lakes they could use your help. We will go back there again because it is still a pretty nice place to visit and it is close to home.

Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park
6239 State Road 21
Keystone Heights, Florida 32656
(352) 473-4701


Admission Fee:

$5.00 per vehicle. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle.
$4.00 Single Occupant Vehicle.
$2.00 Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in the vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.

Camping Fee:

$20.00 per night, plus tax. Includes water and electricity. Maximum of 8 people or one single family.

Florida residents who are 65 years of age or older or who hold a social security disability award certificate or a 100 percent disability award certificate from the Federal Government are permitted to receive a 50 percent discount on current base campsite fees.Proof of eligibility

Cabin Rental

$65.00 per night, plus tax, rustic cabins.
$425.00 per week, plus tax, rustic cabins.
$75.00 per night, plus tax, Block cabins.
$490.00 per week, plus tax, Block cabins.
$100.00 per night, plus tax, ADA-accessible cabins.
$650.00 per week, plus tax, ADA-accessible cabins.

Primitive Camping Fee:

$5.00/person per night.

Group Camping Fee:

$1.00 per person, per night for youth 18 and younger.
$5.00 per person, per night for adults/chaperone 18 years and older.

Organized Youth and Adult Group Camping:

$1.00 per person, per night for youth 18 and younger.
$5.00 per person, per night for adults/chaperone 18 years and older.

Picnic Pavilion Fee:

$35.00 to $70.00 per day. There are eight (8) covered shelters available. They vary in size and can accommodate 16 to 100 people. All picnic pavilions have tables and grills. They are available on a first come first served basis or can be reserved up to 11 months in advance by calling the park or in person.

Recreation Building:

$125.00 per day.


****only 3 sites have 50AMP (2 are 36 feet and 1 is 45 feet)*****

25 Back-in Up to 30Amp – 7
30 Back-in Up to 30Amp – 4
36 Back-in Up to 30Amp – 6
40 Back-In Up to 30Amp – 3
45 Back-In Up to 30Amp – 13
45 Pull-through Up to 30Amp – 3



Kangaroo Express
6835 Florida 21
Keystone Heights, Fl 32656
(352) 473-7240

Highway 100
Keystone Heights, FL 32656
(352) 473-5539


Hitchcock’s Markets
7380 Hwy 100
Keystone Heights, Fl 32656
(352) 473-4982


7401 Florida 21
Keystone Heights, Fl 32656
(352) 473-7745

Domino’s Pizza
7403 Florida 21
Keystone Heights, Fl 32656
(352) 473-7070

Pizza Hut
7380 Hwy 100
Keystone Heights, Fl 32656
(352) 473-5444

210 W Walker Dr
Keystone Heights, Fl 32656
(352) 473-3636

7380 Hwy 100
Keystone Heights, Fl 32656
(352) 473-0130

7370 Hwy 100
Keystone Heights, Fl 32656
(352) 473-2288


Shands at Starke
922 E Call Street
Starke, Fl 32091
(904) 368-2300

Kindred Hospital North Florida
801 Oak Street
Green Cove Springs, Fl 32043
(904) 284-9230


Wal-Mart Supercenter
14500 U.S. 301
Starke, FL 32091
(904) 964-3286


KOA Starke
1475 South Walnut Street
Starke, Fl 32091
(904) 964-8484




We hope you will take some time out of your schedule to view the video we created of our visit at Goldhead State Park. It is rather longer than any of the other videos we have done so far. I don’t know if that is because we stayed so long or if we took more pictures than usual. In any case, we hope you enjoy it.

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