Panhandle And Big Bend
White-sand beaches and laid-back beach towns fringe the Gulf of Mexico in Floridaâs north-western county. Panama City, Destin, and Pensacola are gateways to the Panhandle, where you can pitch your tent right on the beach along the Gulf Islands National Seashore or check into an RV resort at one of the seaside state parks. The Apalachicola National Forest, just outside Tallahassee, is another favorite for campers, with everything from primitive tent sites to RV sites with electric hookups.
Is It Legal To Sleep On The Beach In Florida
Unfortunately, no, it is not legal to sleep on the beach in Florida! Many residents live directly on the beach. So of course they dont want you camping in their backyard! Even in the daytime, setting up an enclosed tent is prohibited on many beaches.
Under Florida law, nighttime beach sleeping is considered trespassing. This means youll be slapped with a third-degree misdemeanor. You might even rack up a $500 fine and spend up to 60 days in jail.
There are exceptions of course! With a permit, you can camp overnight on many Florida beaches that are designated camping sites! Keep in mind, some of these areas are heavily restricted. The campsites are actually found just behind the dunes of the beach.
If you want to sleep directly on the sand, there are a few places where beach camping in Florida is completely unrestricted. Anclote Key and Shell Key are both in Pinellas County and dont require any reservations. Another favorite is Keewaydin Island between Naples and Marco Island. Keep in mind you will need a boat to get there!
Camping Packing List For Florida
Now that youve seen whats on offer, your Florida camping excursion is halfway there. Maybe youre set on primitive camping, or youve bookmarked one of those campsites for future reference. Heck, maybe you just feel like living it up and glamping in Florida.
Whatever you choose to do, theres just one thing in the way and thats packing.
Packing for a camping trip is kind of different from a hotel stay. No tiny bottles of shampoo and miniature bars of soap here. Youll have to remember everything you need to stay safe in the wilderness.
And trust us nothing is quite as annoying as forgetting something essential when youre in the middle of nowhere, miles away from any store that could save your bacon.
Thats why having your Florida packing list down is so crucial on a camping trip. To give you some inspiration , weve come up with a list of things that you should absolutely 100% bring with you
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Pensacola Beach Rv Resort Pensacola
Mixology isnt a typical campground feature, but at Pensacola Beach RV Resort, cocktails connect the campground to its past. The resort is located on what was formerly Sheas Tiki House Motel. Though hurricanes destroyed the property, new owners revived the tiki legacy when they opened the resort in 2012, augmenting their RV sites with a tiki shop, swimming pool , playgrounds, and the Sneaky Tiki Bar, a tropical watering hole located right on the sand, open March 1 through November 1. Along with about 70 RV sites, the campground offers tiki-themed accommodations for rent, like the Tiki Hut trailer and the Tiki Room, with a queen bed, bathroom, kitchenette, and private patio.
Little Lake Bryant Primitive Camp
Little Lake Bryant Primitive Camp offers free camping in Florida with a 4-day maximum stay in the Ocala National Forest. There are six primitive, lakeside tent sites under live oaks with available parking and a boat ramp. Fishing in the lake is free as well, although a permit is required. No facilities, but the towns of Forest Corners and Moss Bluffs are nearby for gas, groceries, and restaurants.
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Why Youll Love St George Island State Park
Along with the beautiful sandy beaches, St. George Island is a great place for fishing, swimming, shelling, and even stargazing. Being located on an island, its the perfect place for a getaway when you need a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. This is one of the best all around parks in Florida.
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Santa Rosa
The Gregory E. Moore RV resort of the park is home to 156 RV campsites. The white quarry sand beaches with emerald water of the Gulf of Mexico will give you an excitement of tram running towards the beach.
The park also showcases two rare coastal dune lakes, Morris and Campbell lakes. You can expect to find lots of unique attractions at Topsail Hill Reserve Park.
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Can You Camp Anywhere In Florida
The Sunshine State actually provides many opportunities for camping in Florida: state parks, national parks, city parks, beaches, recreational areas, and even private campgrounds. It is important, however, to do your homework before just walking around and setting up a tent!
In most cases, you need a permit. Research how long in advance you will need to obtain that permit for each campsite, as they may be different. Some campsites require you to obtain a permit up to a week in advance, others just a day before you go.
When selecting your campsite, make sure your preferred mode of shelter is allowed! About half of the campgrounds in Florida prohibit tents. Other conversely do not have RV accessibility. Some campgrounds are even accessible by boat!
Lion Country Safari Koa Loxahatchee
At Lion Country KOA, you will hear lion roars from your campsite, making it an extraordinary RV park in Florida.
You get the chance to easily access the Lion Country Safari where thousands of animals live, from your campground which is just situated halfway between the eastern shore of Lake Okeechobee and West Palm Beach.
Dont miss this African Safari-likeexperience during your camping! Whats best is that you enjoy the huge pool, a basketball and volleyball court, shuffleboard and playground plus the dog park where you can let your pets play freely.
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Wood Lake Recreation Area
Wood Lake Recreation Area offers free primitive tent camping in the Apalachicola National Forest of the central Florida Panhandle, southwest of Tallahassee. It offers picnic tables, restrooms, and drinking water, as well as parking and a boat ramps onto the Ochlockonee River. Small motorboats, canoes, and kayaks welcome at all boat launches. The site is also used as a hunting camp for small game hunting during general gun season.
Best Campsites In Florida
The primitive camping options in Florida may sound cool to some people, but they may also sound pretty not cool to others. If thats you, no sweat. There are plenty of other campgrounds throughout the state that boast some pretty top-notch facilities and some certifiably awesome locations.
To give you some inspiration and a good idea of what to expect, weve put together a list of our favorite ever campsites in Florida. Some of them are easily accessible, and others can only be reached by boat. Some sites are more basic than others, whereas some are amazingly well-maintained. Whatever you fancy, youll be sure to find it here.
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Best Camping In Florida: Kelly Park/rock Spring
Kelly Park is a favorite recreation area and park with the beautiful free-flowing natural Rock Springs and a swift, clear creek at its center. Rock Springs is a stunning spring of clear 68°F water that cascades from a vertical rock bluff and attracts swimmers, tubers, and water-lovers from around the state. Kelly Park features tent and RV camping with shady spots, picnic pavilions, and a playground for children as well as a full-service concession. Kelly Park also features Camp Joy for group camping with dormitory-style or tent camping accommodations, a dining hall with kitchen, a meeting hall, picnic pavilions, and an array of recreational activities such as swimming, basketball, and horseshoe pitching. Other activities in and around the park include hiking, mountain biking, swimming, snorkeling, tubing, canoeing/kayaking, and wildlife viewing.
400 E Kelly Park Rd, Apopka, FL 32712, Phone: 407-254-1902
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Rv Camping In Florida
RV camping is massively popular in Flordia, in fact, Florida is the biggest state for RVing in the US. If you dont have an RV, dont worry, you can always rent one. Check out our guide on Renting a Camper or RV where we show you all the ins and outs of renting a motorhome or travel trailer or head to our Camper Rental page and see hundreds of campers for rent.
If you plan on purchasing an RV in the near future, make sure to check out our RV Buyers Guide for more info on purchasing your own RV.
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Cayo Costa Island State Park
Accessible only by boat or kayak, Cayo Costa Island State Park features nine miles of unobstructed beachfront paradise. Perfect for fishing, swimming, snorkeling and shelling, Cayo Costa is the epitome of Florida camping. With cabins and campsites lining the store, it doesnt get any more picturesque than this.
Ichetucknee Springs Fort White
Swimming in freshwater in Florida is usually a no-no , but Ichetucknee Springs is the rare exception. This is thanks to the parks crystal-clear turquoise springs, which are almost entirely gator-free thanks to cooler water temperatures . The campground, nestled in a lush forest of soaring oak trees that provide each campsite with shade and privacy, is a go-to for families thanks to its arcade room, community bonfires, and movie nights. They also provide tube rentals, which theyll tie to your vehicle so you can drive five minutes to Ichetucknee Springs to float or swim. Year-round camping includes primitive tent sites with no electric or water hookups, tent camping with electricity, and RVs.
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Nehalem Bay State Park
Located near the communities of Nehalem and Manzanita on the four-mile-long Nehalem Spit, Nehalem Bay State Park has a lovely campground bordered by rolling dunes and shore pines that is within a short walk from the beach.
The campground has 265 electrical sites with water, 18 yurts, nine of which are pet-friendly, an equestrian camp with 17 primitive sites, and a fly-in camp with a 2,400-foot airstrip. The park boasts a forested 1.8-mile-long hiking and biking trail that runs along the coastline offering breathtaking views and offers activities such as kayaking, crabbing, clamming, fishing, and beachcombing.
Two-day-use areas provide access to the ocean and have modern restrooms and picnic areas with fire rings.
34600 Gary St, Nehalem, OR 97131, Phone: 551-6949
The Jetty Park Campground
Jetty Park Campground is located in Port Canaveral Florida, where giant cruise ships arrive and depart throughout the day. In addition, submarines can also be spotted docking there. And from the park itself, rocket launches from the Kennedy Space Center and Canaveral Air Force Station can easily be seen.
The Jetty Park Campground has rustic spots with no amenities , semi-improved sites with water and electricity , and improved sites with water, electricity, and sewer . There is a free dump station.
With no reservations at the end of February, we were able to snag a Jetty Park Campground spot with water and electricity, a grill, and a very weathered wooden picnic table. There was plenty of room and it was relatively flat. The beach is gorgeous.
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Hontoon Island State Parkdeland
Camp at an island on the St. Johns River, accessible only by park ferry or private boat. Primitive campsites, boat campsites, and cabins are available. Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities such as hiking and nature trails, kayaking, fishing, campfires, a playground, and picnic pavilions. Ranger-led programs are also offered on select dates. There is a museum and concession stand on the island as well.
Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
In Micanopy, just south of Gainesville, it actually feels like fall in Florida! The prairies are filled with wild flowers, wild horses, and bison. A taste of the midwest, Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park has some of the best campgrounds in Florida.
At Paynes Prairie Preserve, youll find 49 campsites next to scenic Lake Wauberg. With waterfront views and multi-use access, this is one of the best RV parks in Florida. First thing in the morning, kayak and canoe right on the lake as the sun rises.
28 of the campsites have water and electric hookups . Campsites 19-33 are tent-only sites. However, every campsite has a picnic table, fire ring, and grill. Amenities included drinking water, flush toilets, hot showers, and an RV dump station.
With one of the lowest prices in the state, camping at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is only $18 per night. Water and electric are included and built into the price.
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Caladesi Island State Park
Caladesi Island State Park is one of the few remaining untouched areas of the Gulf Coast, and the locals take it seriously enough that the park is only accessible by boat. You cant bring your noise or pollution here. Its a protected place.
Once you arrive, however, youll realize that the effort was worth it. You can go swimming, boating, and paddling in crystal-clear waters that stretch for miles. You can take scenic nature hikes among flowers and curious critters. You can even get married on the beach if youre looking for a beautiful wedding destination!
Consider a visit to Caladesi Island State Park if you want to have a good time in Florida without any of the crowds or garbage heaps that plague other tourist destinations.
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Santa Rosa Beach
Hook up at one of 156 big-rig friendly sites at Gregory E. Moore RV Resort and take a tram down to one of the most unbelievable beaches in the state. Hiking trails showcase Morris and Campbell Lakes, two ultra rare coastal dune lakes that can only be found in a handful of places in the entire world.
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Florida State Park Camping: Caladesi Island State Park
Set on one of the Gulf Coasts few completely natural islands, Caladesi Island State Park offers a spectacular spot for camping, with a variety of activities to enjoy such as swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing along the white sandy beaches. The park also provides excellent fishing, wonderful hiking trails, fantastic bird and wildlife watching opportunities, and canoeing and kayaking adventures. The park is home to a marina and offers boat camping, with electric and water hookups, a snack bar, and gift shop, and there are picnic tables, shelters, and picnic pavilions near the beach. Caladesi Island State Park is only accessible by boat or the ferry, which departs from Honeymoon Island State Park.
Offshore Island, Dunedin, FL 34698, 727-469-5918
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Cape Lookout State Park Campground
Nestled in a dense coastal forest on a sand spit between Netarts Bay and the Pacific Ocean, Cape Lookout State Park is an outdoor lovers paradise that boasts a harmonious blend of nature and recreation.
A popular destination for hikers, campers, beachcombers, and sightseers, Cape Lookout State Park features a large campground with 35 full campsites with water, electricity, and sewerage hookups, as well as restrooms with flush toilets, showers, and a dump station.
The campground also has over 170 tent sites with water nearby, one electrical site with water, 13 rustic yurts, six of which are pet-friendly, six deluxe cabins, and two group tent camping areas. Two campsites and one cabin are wheelchair accessible.
13000 Whiskey CR RD W, Tillamook, OR 97141, Phone Number: 842-4981
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What People Are Saying About The Waves Rv Resort
This is the second time we have stayed at The Waves. We stayed two months. We found Lisa Annette and Kim to be awesome. Zeman, new owners at the park, have made so many improvements. The Waves at Naples is a great place to spend a few months in the winter. Fun activities and you meet some very nice people. We look forward to going again. sandra huisman, Google Reviews
- Tiki Lounge
Final Thoughts Before Rving In Northern Florida
RVing in Northern Florida is probably one of the best outdoor activities a person can choose to do. With so many campsites, parks, and resorts with amazing facilities and great activities, people who do not want to spend too much will find these RV parks to be a great idea. You can settle for an extended stay at one of these parks, or you can stay a day or two, ride off, then spend a day or two somewhere else.
An RV comes in handy for things like that, as they are literally a small house on wheels. They are able to be taken from one place to another and are good for cross country trips and other outdoor activities. So if you want to have fun on a budget and from the comfort of your own home, give RV parks a try.
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