Whether you’re a Florida resident or planning a vacay to the sunshine state, you probably need the lowdown on the camping situation. What stands out most about camping in Florida when compared with other states is the weather. People think of Florida as being hot and humid, but this state gets more seasons than summer, especially in the north. And if you’ve ever spent any amount of time in Florida, you know that the weather can change at the drop of a dime. Table Of Contents
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So if you’re looking for the best camping in Florida, there are a few things to keep in mind. But don’t worry. We’re going to cover everything you need to know about finding the best camping in Florida hotspots.
What You Should Know About Camping In Florida
If this is your first time camping in Florida, especially if you’re from out of state, there are some things you need to know.
First and most importantly, there are two seasons in Florida: Dry and wet.
Winter is the dry season and it comes with mild and sunny days. This is a great time to go camping. Now, of course, this doesn’t mean the forecast will be for sunshine every moment. It’s possible that it’ll rain for a little while every day during your week-long winter camping trip. But the chances of extreme rain are much less likely in the winter.
If you’re camping during this time, pack warm clothes and blankets. You can expect warm (or even hot) temps during the day, but it can drop to the 30s at night. If you’re near the Georgia border, it may even get colder. Layers are a great idea, but don’t forget the outerwear and chunky sweaters.
In the summer, it’s hot and humid. This is the wet season. You should expect that temps will remain above 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, but the extreme humidity can make it feel much hotter.
Summer isn’t typically a great time for camping, and for more reasons than the heat and humidity. This is known as the wet season for a reason. Afternoon showers are almost a given, and it often rains all day. And as you can imagine, all that rain, heat and humidity is breeding heaven for mosquitoes and other insects. But we’re mostly worried about the mosquitoes. If you must camp in Florida during the summer, bring gallons of mosquito repellent and be prepared to get soaked. Hey, at least the mosquito’s won’t be biting when it’s raining.
So now that we’ve covered when to camp (and more importantly, when not to), let’s start planning that trip. From free campsites to beach camping, we’ve got the lowdown on the best places to camp in Florida.
Free Camping in Florida
Many people camp to save money, so you may be relieved to learn that there’s plenty of free camping in Florida.
Camping in Florida – Potts Preserve
There are up to 15 campsites at this primitive park. Campsites have picnic tables and fire rings with access to restrooms.
Address: 2988 N Hooty Point, Inverness, FL 34453
Camping in Florida – Flying Eagle Preserve
Separate sites available for equestrian and primitive camping. Sites have picnic tables and fire rings or grills. Although it’s free, a reservation is required.
Address: 11080 E Moccasin Slough Rd, Inverness, FL 34450
Phone: (352) 287-1200
Camping in Florida – Serenova Tract
Equestrian and primitive campsites. Sites have picnic tables, fire rings or grills. Although it’s free, a reservation is required.
14900 FL-52, Land O Lakes, FL 34638
Phone: (352) 796-7211
Camping in Florida – Cypress Creek Preserve
Sites have picnic tables, fire rings and/or grills. Reservations are required.
Address: 18000 Lizards Tail Rd, Tampa, FL 33647
Phone: (800) 423-1476
Camping in Florida – Cumpressco Campground
Backcountry, equestrian and primitive campsites available. Equestrian and primitive campsites have picnic tables, fire rings and/or grills. Reservations required.
Address: 28057 State Route 471, Webster, FL 33597
Phone: (352) 796-7211
RV Camping in Florida
If you have an RV, you may not be able to land in any old state park. This is when a little advanced planning comes in handy. But RV camping in Florida is more pleasant than you might expect. Also, if you insist on summer camping, an RV is definitely the best way to go.
But before we get to the best RV-friendly campsites, you may want to set your expectations. Many RV parks here have age restrictions. If you’re unsure, call ahead.
Many of Florida’s private RV parks have restrictions that would prevent you from bringing children. And as you might expect from a state that was once dubbed the retirement capital of the country, some RV parks require that at least one camper must be 55 or older.
Camping In Florida – Pelican Cay RV Park
You’ll find this tent and RV-friendly campground (and marina) along the 18-mile stretch at the North end of the keys. It’s the absolute ideal place to soak up the sun and have a relaxing yet affordable beach vacation. If you’re looking for some adventure, you can meander down the breathtaking Mangrove shoreline to canoeing and kayaking. These are included in the $35/per night rate, so you can paddle to your heart’s content in the beautiful crystal-blue water. Keep your eye out for dolphins and sea turtles!
Address: 299 Morris Ave Key Largo, FL 33037
Camping In Florida – Fiesta Key RV Resort
In the heart of the Florida Keys, you can find some of the best camping. This RV resort offers a centrally-located spot to explore the keys while taking in some amazing scenery at the campgrounds. Fiesta Key RV resort sit on 28-acres that rest on –get this—a private island. With jaw-droppingly beautiful views of the Gulf of Mexico, you may never want to leave the park. Hook up your RV at this full-service RV resort and feel the relaxation wash over you like an ocean wave. Rates start at $35/night.
Address: 70001 Overseas Hwy Layton, FL 33001
San Pedro RV Resort & Marina
Drive a mere two hours from Miami and you’ll get to San Pedro RV Resort and Marina. Here, you’ll find some exciting activities to keep you busy, or you can simply relax on the beach. If you’re feeling feisty, you can swim with the dolphins, go fishing, boating and more. Let’s just say that no one will be bored with a trip to the full-service San Pedro RV Resort and Marina. And when you’re bored of all the fun and relaxation within walking distance, pack up the fam and head to the nearby Theater of the Sea Marine Mammal Adventure park.
Address: Address: 87401 Old Hwy, Islamorada, FL 33036
Phone: Phone: (305) 289-0011
Tent Camping in Florida
For some campers, tent camping is the only way to go. If that sounds like you, you’re in for a treat. There is some amazing and diverse tent camping in Florida, from the panhandle to the Florida keys.
Camping In Florida – Blackwater River State Park
When you’re camping in the Panhandle, Blackwater River State Park is your best bet. The campground sits right along picturesque Blackwater River, which is open to canoeing, swimming, kayaking and fishing. There are 30 campsites, and each one includes a picnic table and fire ring.
This campsite does also welcome RVs, but there’s plenty of greenery between the RV camping and the tent camping to maintain privacy.
Address: 7720 Deaton Bridge Rd, Holt, FL 32564
Phone: (850) 983-5363
Camping In Florida – Anastasia State Park
Overlooking Atlantic Beach, Anastasia may well be Florida’s most beautiful tent camping experience. This state park features over 100 campsites in a dense forest of oak, magnolia and palm trees. All campsites include electricity, picnic tables and campfire rings. And since it’s a Florida state park, you can expect to be near a drinking water source and restroom. While you’re camping here, you may want to check out Manatee Springs State Park to catch a glimpse of one of these massive ocean creatures.
Address: 300 Anastasia Park Rd, St. Augustine, FL 32080
Florida Juniper Springs Campground
Juniper Springs is one of the oldest campsites on the east coast, so camping here comes with a sort of nostalgia for days gone by. But there’s more to this campsite than history. There’s swimming, picnic tables, trails and bubbling springs. You’ll find multiple springs along the creek, and many people enjoy canoeing through the 7-mile journey. There is a small entrance fee and dogs are allowed at this campsite.
Address: 26701 East Highway 40, Silver Springs, Fl 34488
Phone: (352) 625-3147
Camping In Florida – Bear Island
If you’re looking for a campsite that’s off the beaten path, Bear Island is your destination. This rustic campground is in a remote and very rugged spot, but that’s part of its appeal for many campers.
This is a perfect spot for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts as you can have about as much of a challenge as your heart desires. There are 39 campsites on Bear Island with picnic tables, fire rings lantern posts and vault toilets. You must bring your own water. Fees are $10 per night.
Address: Ochopee, FL 34141
Phone: (239) 695-2000
Camping in the Florida Keys
When you want to get away from the world, camping in the Florida Keys is a great start. This is the best place in the continental US to get a Caribbean-inspired camping vibe, with crystal blue waters and drinks served out of coconuts.
The following are a few of the best campsites in the Florida Keys.
Florida Keys camping – Long Key State Park
Long Key State Park offers a locale that allows you to explore the middle keys. You’ll find this campsite between Islamorada and Marathon, which means you’ll also have full access to some of the best fishing the keys have to offer. At Long Key State Park, you’ll find 60 campsites that include picnic tables, grills, water and electricity.
67400 Overseas Highway, Long Key
Florida Keys Camping – Sugarloaf KOA
Sugarloaf KOA sits about a half-hour north of Key West, and it’s an outstanding spot for tents or RVs. Here, it’s the location that really stands out. From Sugarloaf, you can explore Key West and the Middle Keys. And there are some cool amenities too, like bike rentals and an interactive dog park. You can even rent an air-stream trailer, if you decide that tent camping isn’t exactly your thing.
251 State Road 939, Sugarloaf Key
Florida Keys Camping – Boyd’s Key West Campground
Boyd’s Key West is by far the most cost effective way to explore this popular Key. This campsite is located just mere minutes from Duval Street where you’ll probably start your Key West adventures. Although you can have a true camping experience here, this isn’t exactly roughing it in the wild. They offer free WiFi, oceanfront camping and boat ramps and docks. You can even hop on the city bus directly from the campgrounds.
6401 Maloney Ave., Key West
Best Camping in South Florida
Okay, so what if you’re more Miami than Florida Keys? No worries. There are plenty of camping options in south Florida that don’t require crossing the ocean. You’ve got a lot of options here too. There are at least 25 campgrounds within a two-hour drive of Miami. Here’s the best of the best:
South Florida Camping – Oleta River State Park
If you haven’t heard of this park yet, you’re probably going to be surprised by its location. Oleta River State Park is Florida’s largest urban park, and it’s right on Biscayne Bay in the bustling Miami metro area. But even though you’re right in Miami, you might be tempted to spend your days in the park. There are miles of off-road biking trails, a breathtaking mangrove forest, canoeing and kayaking, and more. You can camp by tent or rent a cabin for $55 a night.
3400 NE 163rd St
North Miami Beach, FL 33160
South Florida Camping – Carlos Arboleya Campground
This is one campground that comes with an interesting history, as you may have guessed from the name (most campgrounds aren’t named after people). So who is this Carlos Arboleya? Well, Carlos is one of those rare folks who take a stand for what they believe in. By himself, he campaigned against a group that had plans to level the campground and turn it into a velodrome. Somewhat miraculously, Carlos won the battle. And that’s how you and I have the opportunity to stay at Carlos Arboleya Campground today. What stands out most about this low-key campground is its location. With a Miami address, it’s a perfect spot for resting your head (without spending a fortune) after a day of fun in the Miami sun. It’s about a 20-minute drive to downtown Miami, and about 30 to 35 minutes to South Beach.
Address: 7025 West Flagler Street, Miami, Florida
South Florida camping – Easterlin Park
Where do you go when you’re a little bit country with an urban flair? How about a campsite that offers the best of both worlds? Easterlin Park sits on nearly 47 acres of Designated Urban Wilderness Area. This mixed cypress forest holds trees that are centuries old and some reach about 100-feet tall. Expect some exceptional views of the forest from the scenic lake, and then check out the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. This campsite is an unexpected respite in a developed urban area. So you can expect peace, quiet and a true outdoor adventure. But you’re only about 15-minutes away from the nearest Walmart. Easterlin Park has 45 full-hookup sites and 6 sites with partial hookups. You’ll find a picnic table and barbecue grill at each site, and there are 2 restroom facilities with showers on the grounds.
Address: 1000 NW 38th St, Oakland Park, FL 33309
Phone: (954) 357-5190
Florida State Parks Camping
Even though about half of the year is less than hospitable for camping in most of the state, Florida state parks are quite the opposite. Most state parks here are extremely hospitable for campers. They often offer restrooms, electricity, RV hookups, fire pits (or grills), and picnic tables.
And if you’re planning on taking advantage of Florida state parks camping, you should know:
- Most state parks are open from 8 am to sundown, 365 days a year.
- Many state parks offer tent camping and cabins, and you can make reservations up to 11 months in advance. This is awesome for people who like to plan in advance because you’re almost guaranteed a spot if you book almost a year in advance.
- You can reserve a campsite at any of Florida’s state parks by calling 1-800-326-3521 or TDD (888) 433-0287 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. EST, or by going online to ReserveAmerica.
Best Beach Camping in Florida
Some of the best beach camping in Florida can be found in the Florida Keys and south Florida. Check out those sections above to find the best campsites for your Florida beach vacation. There are so many great ones to choose from!
As you’re planning, don’t forget the sunscreen and mosquito repellent. And be sure to pack layers. Regardless of the daytime temperature, nights can get chilly by the ocean.
Overview on Florida Campgrounds
Camping is a cost-effective way to vacation in Florida, and it’s especially pleasant in the winter months. From beach camping to exploring the Panhandle, you’re sure to find the perfect experience. Figure out where you wan to go and check out our picks for the best camping in Florida by region.
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