CROOM ATV PARK, A NEW SIDE OF FLORIDA BACKCOUNTRY
Whether you’re an off-roading expert or someone who is just starting out on their back road adventure, Florida has a home away from home for you in the Croom ATV Park.
You likely have some questions. Where can you go as a beginner to learn the ropes? Where can an experienced rider test their mettle? What do you need to stock up on before heading out the door?
Before you hook up your trailer, check out our handy Croom ATV Park guide to make the most of your off-roading adventure.
If you have only experienced the urban side of Florida, then you are missing out on the state’s wild and wonderful backcountry. This is a far cry from the congested cities and muggy swamps that you may be used to: this slice of wilderness has been primed for those wanting to try the unbeaten path, and thanks to park staff, you can ride this path in style.
Deep in the heart of the Withlacoochee State Forest, a muddy wonderland of 2,600 acres awaits new and seasoned riders alike. This is Croom ATV Park, home to miles and miles of ATV and dirt bike riding trails that are prime territory for off-roading fun.
These trails are as varied as they are long. There are tons of textures to explore and play in, from hardwood hammocks, scrubland, and even some jump areas made from mining pits! You won’t have the chance to be bored with the berms, jumps, and whoops at every turn.
Don’t forget about the sugar sand! This texture is unique to Croom, and with its soft and versatile texture, it’s great for practice. After some rain, these conditions allow for hours of off-roading fun.
For a more niche riding experience, the Croom Motorcycle Area also has some specific trails that are designated for BMX and mountain biking. You can check out the pit for some great motocross action.
These are not your everyday trails. These spacious yet winding trails are true to the spirit of Withlacoochee State Forest, which the World Wildlife Fund has named one of their “Coolest Places You’ve Never Seen in North America”. Along with hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, and paddling, these trails are also the only state-fun property dedicated exclusively to off-highway vehicles (OHVs).
If you are just looking to spend a day out on the trails, Croom ATV Park has areas built specifically to meet your needs! Check out the Croom Motorcycle Area, which offers two Day Use areas: Hammock and Sand Hill.
Withlacoochee State Forest also has a plethora of day-use facilities available that you can check out for your backcountry needs, from fishing to hiking and even viewing wildlife. These often connect to the Croom Motorcycle Area, which in addition to the 2,600 acres of off-road trails, also offers a campground with picnic facilities and restrooms to meet all of your needs during your stay.
If you want to spend some more quality time in the great outdoors, then there are also great options to lengthen your stay.
One of the best options is the Buttgenbach Campground. This facility is located right within the Croom Motorcycle Area in Hernando County (right near Brooksville). It has a wide array of services available. Whether you prefer the down-and-dirty tent camping style or a more comfortable RV option, Buttgenbach Campground has you covered, with group camping, 51 water and electric sites, 30 and 50 amp hook-ups, 2 bathhouses, and a wash station for your ATV or dirt bike located in the campground.
In addition to the amenities, Buttgenbach also has an unbeatable location. Where else can you finish your morning coffee and then zip right over to the offroading trails? This can cut down your travel time and really optimize every second you have outdoors.
If you are new to off-roading, the whole idea of it can be kind of intimidating. Luckily, Croom is designed to welcome new and experienced enthusiasts alike! They offer training areas and young rider areas that are specifically designed to ease newcomers into the craft.
For young enthusiasts, there is a kid’s beginner and intermediate riding and training area. This lets your younger riders get used to the controls and work on their coordination in a safe, visible manner. You can even rent the large training pavilion for more in-depth practice.
ATV riding doesn’t have to just be an adult’s game. These kid-friendly areas keep Croom ATV park family-friendly and great for vacations for families of all sizes. Before buying a bike or ATV, rent one for the kiddos:
Of course, sometimes enthusiastic riders will want more of a challenge. In addition to the motocross, trails, and kid’s motocross areas, you can check out the technical riding area on certain days of the week (usually Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).
Riders who are learning the finer techniques can play in the sugar sand to their hearts’ content. The miles of trails that go deep into Withlacoochee offer hours of adventure with lots to explore, all with a scenic view.
Whether you prefer to ride on a dirt bike, motorcycle, ATV, UTV, OHV, or anything in between, there are three facts that are true across the board:
The last two tend to be sticking points for riders on a budget who want to own one, especially new riders that are just exploring the activity for the first time. That can be a big investment, and for those who aren’t even sure if they like off-roading just yet, that can be a big hurdle that dissuades even the most wild-hearted rider-to-be.
This where atv rental options can be a huge benefit. Whether you’re an expert or a newcomer, Croom ATV rentals and Croom motorcycle rentals are a perfect way to dip your toe in the sugar sand. This isn’t just an extra step: renting your equipment can actually streamline your trip in five main ways.
This is a big one. Off-roading is immensely fun, but it is also immensely expensive. The vehicles themselves cost a pretty penny. The average ATV tends to sell for over $1,000 each, which adds up if you want to ride with some buddies or with your family. (This doesn’t even include the cost of the trailer!)
New riders are more likely to try it out when renting equipment. Rental rates can sometimes take people by surprise (depending on the vendor, it can be a few hundred dollars). But compare that to the outright cost of the vehicle, along with how many times you intend to ride each year. If you only ride once or twice a year, you can save hundreds of dollars right off the bat, which can make your trip a bit easier on your wallet.
Notice anything missing from that initial cost from the previous section? Owning an offroading vehicle comes with a whole plethora of maintenance costs. Oil changes, gas refills, winter storage fees, and repairs (and trust me, there will be repairs) increase that actual cost of ownership exponentially. This costs more than just money, too–it costs quite a bit of your own time, which is precious in its own right.
If you don’t want to commit that chunk of your time and income to this activity just yet, then renting your equipment puts that burden on the vendor.
If you thought maintaining the vehicle was a pain, wait until you actually have to transport the thing, sometimes across the country! Transporting your own equipment involves latching it to the trailer, hitching it to your vehicle, then navigating through agonizing traffic the whole way to your destination. This doesn’t even account for tricky dirt roads, the additional stress on your vehicle, gas, insurance, and everything else in between.
Renting your equipment significantly lightens this load. Just show up, park, and pick up your ATV, sometimes right next to the trails! Then when you’re done, no need to pack up your equipment and start the whole process over again–just park and head home, no extra steps required.
Any time you save on the road is more time that you can spend on the trails having fun. Offroading already lets you see things that your typical city tourist counterparts won’t–you might as well dedicate as much time as you can! With the “arrive and drive” procedures, your time is spent on the things that matter, not the time-sucking logistics behind the scenes.
Another benefit to renting is the variety. Maybe you want to try riding an ATV this time, but what about a UTV, dirt bike, or OHV? You definitely don’t want to buy one of each for your own personal use right off the bat, and no matter how much research you do, you’ll never truly know which one you like more until you actually try. Renting gives you the option to do so at a reasonable cost, which opens up a whole new world of offroading possibilities.
Rental companies are often run by offroading enthusiasts who are eager to show new people how to ride. This is especially important if you do not have any riding experience whatsoever. Many rental companies go hand-in-hand with pre-ride instruction in terms of lessons, guidance, and sometimes even self-guided tours!
This is a great way to help yourself ease into the riding experience while still having a good support system. These companies can also help you select which vehicle works best for you, and of course, keep you safe. The end result is a more satisfying, less stressful, and overall more fulfilling trip.
Not all riding areas are built alike. Some are a hodgepodge of textures, and some are for a particular riding technique. Croom ATV Park shares features of many of these. The types of areas you can take your rental includes:
Public riding areas: Think of these like wide, open sandboxes. These are generally open areas (like parks or beaches) that give riders plenty of room to play. You’ll generally find rental companies nearby.
Public designated trails: These are trails often maintained as part of local, state, or federal natural areas. They will be marked, and you’ll need to follow the rules of the road, but you can explore a larger area this way. ATV rental companies are sometimes located near the trailheads.
Private park and trails: While public parks are subject to more restrictions, private parks and trails can serve more niche rider tastes. They can include open areas, marked trails, and sometimes even more challenging features like mud pits, rock climbs, and more. Check with the park for their ATV rental company recommendations–they may partner with a certain one.
Resort: A resort adds the element of on-site food and lodging to the features of a private park. This all-inclusive approach can be great for those who want to maximize their experience. Check out the available packages to find a rental to fit your needs.
Guided tour: If you’re looking to explore, a guided tour is a great way to get used to life behind the handlebars. Your ATV rental company may offer different guided tours to check out a new area or just get comfortable riding. Some companies may even require a tour guide as part of your package, so make sure to take advantage of this resource when available.
Costs can be variable for your actual rental package–depending on location, time, vehicle, etc–, but there are a few common elements that should stay the same. The rates are often broken down as follows:
Hourly: If you’re checking out a single area or only sight-seeing for a short time, there are hourly rate options for your vehicle rental. However, this is not always the most economic option, and can actually be the most expensive for your time. You still need to pay the same insurance rates and deposits, often at the same rates as rentals for the entire day, so make sure this fits your schedule best if you go this route.
Half day: If you want to commit a single morning or a single afternoon, half day rates can be a better option compared to hourly. (Keep in mind that the rate may not be cleanly half of the full day rate, so really deliberate on whether you want to limit yourself to half a day.)
Full day: While it can be the highest sticker price, a full day rate can actually be your best bargain. You can often find discounts for full days or even multiple-day rentals. It’s easy to lose track of time while you’re having fun in the park, so if you want the most time flexibility, this is definitely the way to go.
This can be the hardest question since it really depends on a lot of factors, including the actual model of the ATV or UTV, the length of the rental, distance to the park, etc. On average, though, you should see rates in the following range:
ATV: Basic rates for ATVs generally range between $200-$500 for a full day rate. This can be the most economic option, but make sure to pay attention to the model. Some are best for sporty trails, some are better for tough terrain, and some are built smaller for children.
UTVs: These tend to be bigger and more expensive, but can sometimes hold more than one rider. The rates averaged between $300 and $700, depending on whether it was a mid-size or full-size UTV.
Dirt bikes: Depending on the model, the rates for dirt bike rentals averaged between $149 and $250.
Damage deposits: This can be an easy one to miss, but make sure to calculate damage deposits into your rental costs. Some can be as low as $150, but for high-level models and bigger vehicles like UTVs, these can skyrocket to $1500 or even $2000!
For atv guided tours however, there is typically no security deposit required due to the supervision that comes along with the tour guide.
If you remain thorough before your offroading trip actually begins, you can minimize your stress during the actual experience. There are a few key points to ask about before you get into the driver’s seat.
While there are many things that you will need to do to prep for your offroading trip, if you are renting, there are two big ones that make a huge difference. Those are:
You won’t need to get a title for your bike or ATV, but you absolutely need your permit. These can be renewed on an annual or single day basis, depending on your needs. A single-day pass costs about $25, and an annual permit costs $100 for out-of-state residents. Keep in mind that some permits are time sensitive (for example, the OHV permit is valid from July 1st to June 30th each year). You will need to show your driver’s license for your permit, which you will put on the outside of your rental vehicle.
Even out in the wilderness, there are rules. By following the rules at Croom, all riders can coexist responsibility while still enjoying themselves. Some of the rules are common sense, but some may surprise you, so make sure to familiarize yourself with them.
Some of those rules include:
With this guide, we hope that you are itching to get out on the path and explore the outdoors, whether it’s something you’ve done hundreds of times before or if it would be your first time!
What tips would you have for ATV rentals or incoming riders? Let us know in the comments!
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