The Greatest Tenting in Florida: 12 High Campgrounds

If the concept of falling asleep to the sound of waves lapping the shore beneath a sky scattered with stars, casting for fish in crystal-clear water whereas watching the dawn or paddling via tranquil tropical forests teeming with wildlife appears like a dream come true, you could give tenting in Florida a attempt. This southeastern state is chock-full of nationwide forests, state parks and wilderness areas that present campgrounds with entry to a few of the area’s most unusual ecosystems and scenic pure landscapes. From primitive seaside tenting to established RV resorts, this information provides you the lowdown on a few of the greatest locations to camp in Florida. With out of doors pursuits on the rise because the COVID-19 pandemic, superior reservations are extremely advisable for campsites. Vacationers could make a reservation on-line for a charge (campsites vary in price from $16 to $42 an evening) as much as 11 months prematurely for all Florida State Park websites. Though tenting in Florida does current some challenges like warmth, humidity and bugs, it is nothing {that a} dip within the water cannot repair.

Ocala Nationwide Forest

Kayaking Alexander Springs in Ocala National Forest.

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Journey down the 60-mile Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway via pine scrub forests towering over crystal-clear swimming pools to achieve this central Florida oasis, which options greater than 600 lakes, a whole lot of miles of trails and 14 developed campgrounds with designated campsites for each tents and RVs (full hookups can be found on the Salt Springs Recreation Space solely). The park, positioned about 70 miles north of Orlando, additionally manages two rustic rental cabins for teams of as much as 12 folks, one in all which overlooks a personal pure spring and offers canoes for visitor use. Vacationers applaud the cleanliness and scenic great thing about Ocala Nationwide Forest’s tenting facilities, which provide easy accessibility to actions like swimming, paddling, wildlife pictures and mountain biking. Backpackers can discover dispersed campsites within the Alexander Springs and Juniper Prairie wilderness areas, amongst different areas, nestled alongside the Florida Nationwide Scenic Path. This 1,500-mile path was first constructed in 1966 close to the park’s Clearwater Lake Recreation Space and it is now house to a shady lakefront campground and a 1.3-mile loop path, the place nature lovers can preserve their eyes peeled for indicators of black bears and scrub-jays (Ocala Nationwide Forest harbors the state’s largest inhabitants of those birds). Campsite charges begin at $31 per evening. Whereas some websites can be found on a first-come, first-served foundation, guests could make reservations prematurely on-line at

Bahia Honda State Park

A palm trees leans out over the water on the shores of Bahia Honda State Park. Florida Keys, Florida, USA.

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Positioned about 130 miles south of Miami en path to Key West on the well-known Abroad Freeway, this park flaunts an idyllic tropical panorama with pristine white sand seashores, turquoise sea views and an abundance of birds and wildlife. Vacationers say this park provides a few of the greatest seashores within the Florida Keys with calm, clear water good for swimming, snorkeling and paddling. Every day snorkeling excursions to offshore islands are offered by an on-site operator, which additionally provides kayak leases and a snack bar, for a good nearer take a look at a few of the most luxurious coral reefs on the planet. Three campgrounds with 80 campsites can be found to in a single day company, in addition to three absolutely stocked, waterfront rental cabins. Each the Buttonwood and Sandspur campgrounds provide electrical hookups for RVs, plus entry to a central loos and dump websites. Positioned on the north facet of the park, the extra distant Bayside campground doesn’t enable RVs, however does enable hammock tenting. All websites present picnic tables, grills and water. Campsites begin at $36 per evening, with further charges for RV utilities and an $8 entry charge per car. Moreover, boaters will discover an on-site marina with 19 rental slips and two boat ramps to suit their wants.

Collier-Seminole State Park

Massive land and water in Collier-Seminole State Park, Naples, Florida, USA.  The 7,271-acre Collier-Seminole State Park lies partly within the great mangrove swamp of southern Florida, one of the largest mangrove swamps in the world.

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For a recent perspective of Florida, attempt spending a couple of nights in one of many world’s largest mangrove swamps. You will not discover sandy seashores or ocean views on this expansive, inland park, however as a substitute can expertise a style of the Higher Everglades ecosystem, a area of subtropical wetlands distinctive to southern Florida the place a dizzying array of wildlife reside, together with many endangered species just like the Florida panther, West Indian manatee and the wooden stork. Take a hike or bike trip on one in all Collier-Seminole State Park’s 4 nature trails or paddle down the Blackwater River on a 13.5-mile canoe path for an opportunity to identify a few of these beauties. The park has one campground with 104 websites full with electrical energy, water, grills and picnic tables (some websites are designated as tent-only and a few enable hammock tenting.) Additionally obtainable on-site are a centralized bathe facility, laundry room and dump station, which vacationers applauded for being immaculate. The park – located about 15 miles south of Naples – options further actions like instructional ranger-led packages, canoe leases, historic landmarks and a kids’s playground. Charges embody a car cross beginning at $5, and a nightly tenting charge beginning at $22 (further utility charges apply for RV hookups).

Word: Collier-Seminole State Park is quickly closed after sustaining harm in the course of the 2022 hurricane season. Verify the park web site straight for its reopening standing earlier than planning a visit.

Faver-Dykes State Park

Water and dock at Faver-Dykes State Park.

(Courtesy of Florida State Parks)

Pellicer Creek is the crowning geographical function of this park – positioned on the previous website of a Spanish-occupied plantation round 20 miles south of St. Augustine – the place guests can take a straightforward canoe or kayak journey on its 6.7-mile paddling path via tidal marshes and estuaries or hike alongside paths via shady forests of hardwood hammock and noticed palmetto. Although seemingly nondescript, the location is acknowledged as a part of the Nice Florida Birding Path; it is also a Florida Designated Paddling Path and a part of the 1,500-mile Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Path, recognized for its rugged, pure magnificence. Faver-Dykes State Park’s full-facility campground has 30 campsites with hearth pits, picnic tables and RV hookups for water and electrical energy, plus a central lavatory with bathe services and a dump station. Campers say the websites are spacious and secluded, however warn of ticks. A car entry charge of $5 and tenting charge of $18 per evening apply (there may be an extra charge for RV utility utilization.)

Jonathan Dickinson State Park

Sunset at Jonathan Dickinson State Park.

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This distinctive recreation space on Florida’s Atlantic coast – positioned about 20 miles north of West Palm Seashore – spans 10,000-plus acres of assorted terrain divided into 16 zones, or “communities,” just like the sand pine scrub, the popular habitat for scrub-jays, and the Loxahatchee River, the state’s first federally designated Wild and Scenic River. Guests can discover the river by renting a canoe or taking a 90-minute guided boat tour. Vacationers may also benefit from the park’s quite a few mountain climbing trails, from parts of the Florida Path to the Hobe Mountain Path, a brief boardwalk path with an remark tower. In a single day company can select between two campgrounds every with restrooms, scorching showers and laundry services. All 52 websites on the Pine Grove Campground present full RV hookups and entry to a dump station. Primitive and equestrian campsites are additionally obtainable, in addition to 11 absolutely furnished rental cabins. The cabins are conveniently positioned close to the customer middle and restaurant with a beer backyard. Charges embody a one-time $6 car cross, plus $26 per evening for campsites (further charges apply for RV utilities.)

Rainbow Springs State Park

Rainbow Springs, formerly known as Blue Spring, is an artesian spring formation in Marion County, Florida, United States, north of the city of Dunellon. Rainbow Springs is the focal point of Rainbow Springs State Park. The spring formation is the fourth-largest in Florida, and produces over 490 million gallons of water daily. Rainbow Springs forms the headwaters of the Rainbow River, which empties into the Withlacoochee River.

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Folks have been searching for the refreshing, therapeutic waters of the Rainbow River and its emerald headsprings for some 10,000 years. As one of many state’s largest pure springs and an aquatic protect, this north-central Florida state park (about 45 miles south of Gainesville) has developed sights and actions like a river tubing path, artifical waterfalls and mountain climbing trails for the enjoyment of a plethora of annual guests, who describe the park as “serene” and a “treasure.” Grounds positioned close to the river provide campsites beginning at $30 per evening with full hookups, restrooms, laundry services and a dump station. Resort-style facilities like a kayak storage rack, concession stand and camp retailer with tools leases are additionally obtainable to in a single day company. Nevertheless, vacationers warn that the campground is positioned a number of miles away from the springs, and that some facilities, comparable to scorching showers and electrical hookups, may be hit and miss.

Everglades Nationwide Park

Tent in the Flamingo Campground of the Everglades National Park at sunrise. Palm trees fill the background.

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This internationally acclaimed subtropical wilderness protect dubbed the “River of Grass” is among the most unusual locations to camp in Florida. Along with tent-only and RV websites absolutely outfitted with hookups, photo voltaic showers and dump stations, it additionally offers rustic “chickees”– distant picket platforms that may solely be reached by boating or mountain climbing. Seashore tenting can also be obtainable, however ought to solely be utilized by these with superior backcountry abilities. Whereas there are various trails, landmarks, fishing spots and wildlife viewing areas to discover by yourself, a number of guided kayak, airboat or tram excursions are additionally obtainable. A few of these excursions originate from the Flamingo Customer Middle, which additionally has waterfront tenting spots (a few of that are first-come, first-served), a marina retailer, and meals and beverage distributors. Guests point out that that is additionally place for seeing wildlife, particularly manatees. It is vital to notice that the prime season for all park actions is in the course of the winter months when there are fewer bugs and rain and extra lively wildlife. Drive-up tenting reservations begin at $30 per evening, whereas wilderness permits begin at $21 per evening.

Gulf Islands Nationwide Seashore

Rainbow over beach at Gulf Islands National Seashore.

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Guests gush in regards to the pristine great thing about the pure seashores alongside this protected shoreline on the Gulf of Mexico close to the Alabama border. Positioned 18 miles south of downtown Pensacola, the Fort Pickens campground has the one developed campsites on the Florida facet of the park and is among the busiest campgrounds in all the Nationwide Park Service. The world is fashionable because of its direct entry to Langdon Seashore and as one of many foremost beginning factors for the Florida Nationwide Scenic Path. The area can also be steeped in historical past, and company can discover the ruins of a Civil Struggle-era fortress and battery, or the on-site discovery middle. It is vital to notice that though there’s a small camp retailer, campers ought to plan to deliver all provides with them. The 200 campsites at Fort Pickens (20 are tent-only) all have picnic tables, hearth rings and electrical hookups, plus entry to loos, scorching showers, laundry, water and a dump station. The fee is $40 per evening, along with a one-time $25 car entry charge.

Westgate River Ranch

Closeup of girl holding horse.

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For a change of surroundings from gin-clear waters and white sand seashores, drive about 90 miles south of Orlando for a style of “Outdated Florida” rustic heritage. With on-site actions like a weekly rodeo, horseback using, entice capturing and a farm animal petting zoo, this dude ranch resort feels prefer it was transported from the Rocky Mountain West. The resort provides all kinds of lodging choices, together with tent and RV websites (partial hookups and loo services offered) so you’ll be able to sleep beneath the celebs just like the cowboys as soon as did. For a really distinctive expertise, hire a glamping tent, luxurious teepee or Conestoga wagon tucked into groves of swaying dwell oak timber, all of which function full loos, air-con and kitchenettes. Friends are delighted by particular touches just like the supply of nightly s’mores kits, entry to a neighborhood campfire and using a golf cart to get across the property, which made their visits much more snug and memorable. Charges fluctuate, with tent websites beginning at $45 per evening. Extra charges apply for ranch actions.

Topsail Hill Protect State Park

Sunset at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park.

(Courtesy of Florida State Parks)

Positioned within the Florida Panhandle area about 15 miles east of Destin, a well-liked household trip vacation spot on the Gulf of Mexico, this state park is thought for its distinctive sand dune formations, pristine seashores and top-notch campground facilities. Vacationers rave in regards to the park’s shaded campsites, calm waters for prime paddling and handy tram shuttle service to the seaside. Along with greater than 3 miles of pure seashores and 15 miles of mountain climbing trails to discover, the park additionally has three freshwater lakes and is acknowledged as part of the Florida Birding Path. Its campground has 156 RV websites and 22 tent-only spots with entry to central restrooms, laundry services, a swimming pool and shuffleboard courts. These on the lookout for a better stage of consolation and comfort can e-book bohemian-inspired glamping tents (hosted by a neighborhood firm known as Fancy Camps), which embody using bicycles, seaside chairs and complimentary espresso store treats. Cottages that includes full kitchens and air-con are additionally obtainable for each day and weekly leases. Friends can hire kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, bicycles and seaside umbrellas at an on-site camp retailer to assist them benefit from the space’s many leisure choices. Tenting charges begin at $24 per evening, plus a $6 per car to enter the park.

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

Frontier-style family fun is back on the menu as Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue debuts June 23, 2022, at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. This beloved show features a high-spirited musical performance by the Pioneer Hall Players complete with foot-stompin' folk songs, singing, dancing, zany comedy, and a fantastic feast—all in the rustic setting of an Old West dance hall. Now in its 48th year, Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is one of the longest-running dinner shows in the United States. (Mark Ashman, Photographer)

(Mark Ashman/Courtesy of Walt Disney World)

Tenting with children? Look no additional than this “woodsy-chic” campground resort simply minutes from the well-known Walt Disney World providing each cabin and campsite lodging for theme park guests (be aware that every one in a single day company will need to have each a sound ticket or annual cross, and a theme park reservation to enter this campground). The resort provides a slew of facilities to make “roughing it” rather less tough. You’ll be able to get pleasure from a swimming pool and waterslide, transportation providers, grocery supply, and on-site actions for all ages – together with archery, paddle sports activities on a personal lake and night campfire leisure. Do not miss a go to to the elegant Tri-Circle-D Ranch, which homes 90 horses of all sizes, breeds and colours for pony rides, carriage rides and path rides all through the wooded property. Ample themed eating choices additionally abound, from a chuckwagon-style meals truck and poolside snack bar to a country tavern and the full-service Path’s Finish Restaurant. Charges begin round $100 per evening and embody picnic tables, grills and Wi-Fi in addition to hookups for water, electrical and cable (some additionally provide sewer). No tent? No drawback. RV leases may be organized prematurely.

DuPuis Administration Space

Dupuis Management Area is a 21,875 acre protected area east of Okeechobee within Northwestern Palm Beach county and Southwestern Martin county. It has different habitats such as wetlands, cypress dome, marshland and scenic pinewoods.

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For a free, no-frills tenting expertise, head to the 22,000-acre DuPuis Administration Space positioned in a picturesque rural space between Lake Okeechobee and Palm Seashore. Though in a single day guests do must acquire a special-use allow from the South Florida Water Administration District on-line forward of time, there isn’t any price to enter, camp or get pleasure from leisure actions on the property. Vacationers report that the campsites are effectively maintained with picnic tables, hearth pits, scorching showers and a dump station (though RVs are permitted, there aren’t any hookups obtainable). This pure space provides entry to all kinds of actions like mountain climbing, biking and looking, in addition to a number of historic landmarks and archaeological websites. With 40 miles of bridle trails, the world additionally attracts plenty of equestrians, and a separate campground with particular facilities is accessible for these touring with horses. The close by Lake Okeechobee, the biggest freshwater lake within the state of Florida, provides much more alternatives for enjoyable actions like fishing, boating and mountain climbing. Swimming right here will not be advisable, nevertheless, because the lake is house to some 30,000 alligators.

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