Florida has widely diverse wildlife, landform, and all-around atmosphere that opens up many different choices for campers. Whether you want to go beach camping or just admire the foliage in the fall, the options are endless.
You can explore historic hiking trails, stay in the marshy wetlands, pitch your tent on a sandy shore, go canoeing at sunrise, or spot gators and other wildlife. Given that there are many campsites in Florida, we’ve made a list of the best ones and what each one can offer.
There are a lot of important things that you need to bring when you’re going camping. Because of that, packing can get a bit overwhelming. We listed all the camping items you’ll need for the great outdoors to help you make sure that you have everything that you need for your camping trip.
The Best Campsites in Florida
1. Paynes Prairie, Micanopy
This secluded area located in the Florida wilderness is a dream come true for anyone with an adventurous spirit. This is the place to go to if you want an old Florida camping experience and real-life interactions with the wildlife in their natural habitat.
This is a good place for anyone looking for a rugged camping experience while staying near civilization. It consists of a 21,000-acre park located in north Florida, just a few miles south of Gainesville. There are many nature and equestrian trails that will keep you occupied for hours. You can also canoe along the 300-acre Lake Wauburg.
The campsites are located along the Chacala trail and can welcome 20 people. They have two grills, a hand-operated pitcher pump with non-drinkable water, a waterless restroom, and a horse hitching area. It is also advised to purchase firewood instead of gathering it.
2. Ichetucknee, Fort White
Ichetucknee is the ideal family campground as it offers all the activities of a nearby recreation center. It also has a complete package of wildlife, crystal-clear turquoise water, cleanliness, ease of transportation, and rentals.
During the summer at Ichetucknee, you can spend your time floating down the river in a raft or tube, and during springtime, you can scuba dive through the Blue hole if you are a certified diver. You can also rent a kayak or canoe and paddle down the river to meet the otters, manatees, and more.
The shuttle service will make going back and forth down the river effortless. On chilly nights, the management will bring you bundles of wood for a $5 fee.
3. Wekiwa Springs State Park, Apopka
This secluded area is away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city. It is located at the headwaters of the Wekiva River, and up to this day, the area will still give you that feeling of being amongst the Timucua tribe.
You can take a dip at the beautiful spring, which is 72°F all year long, as well as bike, hike, or ride along 13 miles of trails or paddle along the Rock Springs Run or Wekiva River. If you did not bring your own kayak, the area’s concessionaire will provide one for you.
Furthermore, the park has a full facility and primitive campgrounds that are both peaceful and accommodating.
4. Bahia Honda State Park, Big Pine Key
This park is located not far from Marathon. It was discovered on the way to Henry Flagler’s railroad, which goes from Miami to Key West. If you are a certified diver or avid snorkeler, you will love the underwater views and turquoise waters at this park.
The Sand and Sea Nature Center will introduce you to the local wildlife and educate you on their habitat. Snorkel gear, canoes, and kayaks can be rented on site. Plus, you can take a swim, have a picnic, and just relax while being surrounded by nature.
Bahia Honda State Park is popular due to the cleanliness of the area and wonderful views of the ocean when you are at the large and private campsites. The campsites in Bahia Honda State Park are close to the beach and will allow you to have entertaining days and tranquil nights listening to the sounds of nature and crashing waves.
5. Fort De Soto, St. Petersburg
If you are looking for a beach to camp on, Fort De Soto is the best-rated one, according to TripAdvisor and Dr. Beach. The campground has over 7 miles of waterfront and stunning white-sand beaches. You can keep yourself entertained by kayaking down the edge of the still water, canoeing down a 2.25-mile recreational canoe trail, or just exploring the soldier’s hole area nature trail.
The 1,136-acre Fort De Soto Park is made up of five connected islands and is naturally landscaped with the Florida Foliage we all love, which includes wetlands, mangroves, hardwood, palm hammocks, and native plants. Additionally, there are more than 328 bird species in the area for birdwatchers to appreciate.
There is also a boat launching facility in this park, which is large enough for recreational water vessels. Lastly, lifeguards are available in designated areas.
6. Ocala National Forest, Ocala
This forest campsite located in North Florida offers plenty of wildlife, scenic views, springs, and a lot more. The Ocala National Forest offers a campsite for any type of camper.
For anyone that isn’t too fond of primitive-style camping, they have full-service sites. However, there are also primitive, walk-in, tent camping sites. Finally, for groups or families, there are also cabins available.
The park provides miles of freshwater lakes and activities like skiing, boating, fishing, canoeing, air-boating, kayaking, and more to keep you entertained. It’s also home to three of Florida’s top natural springs, namely Juniper Spring, Alexander Springs, and Silver Glen Springs.
7. Alafia River State Park, Lithia
Expert cyclists looking for a new challenge will surely love the Alafia River State Park as it is popular for its off-road bicycling trails. Since this area was a phosphate mine before, it has a unique topography with massive shifts in elevation, which is unusual in Florida but makes it ideal for cyclists.
Equestrians and hikers will surely enjoy the hardwood forests in the 20-mile hike and horse trails. This is the best place to enjoy peace and tranquility in the wilderness. Select sites offer electricity and equestrian amenities.
8. Long Key State Park, Layton
This is a 965-acre State Park located in Layton that provides wonderful natural views and numerous ideal camping spot options. The Atlantic’s ocean breeze and cool water will allow you to cool down and rinse off.
The campsites are equipped with fire circles, nature trails for hiking, and a canoeing and kayaking launching area. There are many activities you can do thanks to the area’s proximity to the beach. You can spend your day swimming, fishing, snorkeling, geo seeking, or just wildlife viewing.
Depending on your desire to connect with nature, camping exists in multiple forms, namely backcountry and frontcountry camping. So what’s the difference between backcountry and frontcountry camping, and why pick one over the other? What gear should we consider for each type? Read our article to find out more.
9. Florida Caverns State Park, Marianna
The Florida Caverns State Park is the only place to offer dry cave tours in the state and is also among the only few in existence. You can admire stalagmites, stalactites, flowstones, soda straws, and draperies there. This will allow you to have a very unique experience, not to mention the beauty of the park itself, which is adorned with flora and fauna.
The area holds 35 campsites, all of which have water and electric hookups for tent and RV camping. Furthermore, they have stables onsite for horses and pets.
10. Suwannee River State Park, Live Oak
If you love historic sites, you will enjoy what Suwannee River National Park has to offer. The park includes the state’s oldest cemeteries, mounds of earthworks built to guard against the Union Navy’s gunboats during the civil war, and a paddle-wheel shaft from a steamboat used during the 19th century.
There are also numerous nature trails in the area, and the campground is not far from the river. This campground is comfortable and offers water, picnic tables, fire rings, electricity, and oak-shaded sites. There is a dump station for RVs and campers, and the bathrooms and showers are only a short walk away. If you plan on bringing your pet, keep them on a 6-foot leash.
11. Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Martin County
Located in Martin County, north of the Late Burt Reynolds’ estate is the Jonathan Dickinson State Park, which holds 16 stunning natural communities.
You can also find the Loxahatchee River that is edged by mangroves and shaded by cypress trees, which makes canoeing and kayaking popular activities at this park. However, you have to be careful due to the presence of alligators and turtles around the area.
Two campgrounds are available for reservation: Pine Grove, which is located on the east side, and the River campground, located four miles from the park’s entrance. Both provide access to water, tables, a grill, electricity, and sewer hookups in the case of Pine Grove. For equestrians, there are also five campsites that can accommodate horses.
12. Anastasia State Park, St. Augustine
This is another campground associated with deep history. It is located in northeast Florida and allows campers to hike along the Ancient Dunes Nature Trail loop.
The park has 123 wooded campsites, 80 of which have RV-friendly hookups. The area also provides lots of privacy. Plus, there is an uncrowded beach nearby and St. Augustine’s historic area.
13. Rainbow Springs State Park, Dunnellon
If you love snorkeling, the Rainbow River provides an opportunity for you to dive deep into Florida History. Rainbow Springs State Park was first visited by humans over 10,000 years ago, and the river is one of their major sources of sustenance.
The park offers three trailer or RV-only sites, 44 sites for RV or tents, and 7 tent-only sites. For tent campers, it is best to bring a ground tarp and sleeping pads for extra cushion as the sites are covered with gravel. If you need a picnic table, fire ring, and electric/water hookups, these are available at the RV and tent-only sites.
14. Crooked River Campground, Brooksville
Nestled in a forest of oak, pine, hickory, and magnolia are primitive campsites of the Crooked River. Keep yourself entertained in the nature trail and boardwalk in the Withlacoochee Forest. River canoe trails range from 3 to 14.4 miles and are accessible from the campground.
Sites here provide a gate or grill, a fire ring, picnic tables, restrooms, and shoes. These are primitive sites so campers should bring their own supplies of food, water, and others.
15. Blackwater River State Park
You might already know this, but if not, Blackwater River is one of the purest sand-bottom rivers in the world. But the river is not only the most special geographical feature in the area because the State Park also holds one of the oldest and largest Atlantic white cedars.
To fully enjoy your time there, you can kayak, float, tube, or canoe down the darn tannic water and camp along the shorelines of white sand at one of the 27 campsites, 26 of which can accommodate RVs.
Where can you camp on the beach in Florida?
As mentioned above, you can camp on the beach at Bahia Honda State Park and Fort De Soto County Park. However, there are many more beach camping sites in Florida, and we’ve listed down some of them for you:
- Biscayne National Park
- Long Key State Park
- Curry Hammock State Park
- Sebastian Inlet State Park
- North Beach Camp Resort
- Canaveral National Seashore
- Cayo Costa Island State Park
- Red Coconut RV Resort
- Johnson Beach
- Big Lagoon State Park
- Fort Pickens St. George Island State Park
- Emerald Beach RV Park
- Grayton Beach State Park
- Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area
- Destin West RV Resort
Before you embark on your camping trip, remember to do your research and plan ahead to simplify your life and make your camping experience enjoyable and memorable. Reserve in advance through Reserve America and research the location you want to go to so that you can determine what you need to pack. To avoid possible fines, make sure to follow the rules and regulations of your camping location.
Florida will give you a lot of camping options. Whether you are there for a luxurious glamping trip, primitive camping, or just feel like pitching a tent, the state will keep you busy. If you’re still looking for a place to visit for your next camping trip, why not give Florida a try?