As one of the top tourist destinations in the country, Florida sees millions of travelers coming to see its sights, many of which are looking for a place to camp. The campgrounds remain open year-round thanks to its warm weather and subtropical climate in the southern parts of the state. There’s something for every kind of camper, from shaded spots in the forest to oceanside RV parks.
More than just spring training and good fishing, Fort Myers is a popular outdoor destination for those looking to live the South Florida lifestyle. Camping is plentiful in this part of the state, and the best campgrounds near Fort Myers and Cape Coral have ample options for both tent campers and RV travelers. While this …
Top Florida Campgrounds by City
The biggest cities in Florida all have numerous options for camping. From beautiful oceanside campgrounds outside of Tampa, Jacksonville, and Miami, to those surrounding Orlando and the center of the state, no matter what attraction you’re visiting, there is something close by. From the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico and everything in between, we’ll look at the best camping near the most popular cities in the state.
Other Featured Camping in FL
Where To Go Camping in Florida
The Sunshine State sees its fair share of winter snowbirds each year. Due to its warm weather, Florida’s thousands of campgrounds remain open throughout the year. With amenities and facilities throughout the state to cater to all types of campers, from RVs to tents, travelers have plenty of choices for a base camp.
Best Times to Go Camping in Florida
Florida sees a peak season opposite of most other states. Summers tend to be hot and humid throughout the state, so the most time to camp here starts around October and runs into April. If you can only camp during the summer, northern Florida is moderately more comfortable than southern but still hot and humid.
Typically, anywhere south of Orlando remains hot year-round. Whereas in cities north of there such as Gainesville, Jacksonville, and Tallahassee, you’ll experience four seasons, and chances of frost over the winter. There are always the coastal breezes at campgrounds by the beach to cool things down.
If you’re planning for a peak season visit, note that you’ll want to make reservations in advance. Backpackers tend to prefer early winter over any other season, though backcountry temperatures can be comfortable as early as October.
Peak season coincides with the “dry season” in Florida, where thunderstorms aren’t as prevalent as they are during the”“wet season”, and the windy sea breezes subside somewhat. Still, for reference, Jacksonville and Miami have a dry season average humidity of 65% and 67%, respectively.
National Park Service Sites in Florida
Florida has 11 total NPS sites, though Fort Carolina National Memorial is a part of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, meaning there are only 10 unique NPS sites here. Of the total sites, seven of them offer camping. Note that Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve offers camping within its boundaries through partners and offers no Preserve-run campsites.
When making your campsite, note that you may have to make arrangements to boat or kayak to your site and utilize dock services overnight. Biscayne National Park, for example, has two campgrounds that are only accessed by boating into them, so make sure you have means of getting to your campground secured before arrival.
- Biscayne National Park
- Everglades National Park
- Dry Tortugas National Pak
- Big Cyprus National Preserve
- Canaveral National Seashore
- Gulf Islands National Seashore
- Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve
National Forests in Florida
There are three national forests in the Sunshine State, with varying levels of amenities for different adventure-seekers. Of course, since these are national forests, visitors can choose dispersed camping options that follow national forest guidelines.
- Apalachicola National Forest
- Ocala National Forest
- Osceola National Forest
Campers wanting a more luxurious getaway should head to the Ocala National Forest for cabin rentals and relatively more amenity-rich developed campgrounds.
The Osceola National Forest is the best option for a more rugged outdoor experience. Though it does offer developed campgrounds, amenities tend to be simpler here.
The Apalachicola National Forest splits the difference between these two, offering nicer developed campgrounds but no cabin options.
Best Free Camping in Florida
Free camping in Florida isn’t as easy to find as it is in the Western states, but it does exist. Florida has no BLM land, but it does have three national forests for dispersed camping.
Beyond the national forests, there are several options for free campsites. The biggest option in Florida is the US Army Corps of Engineers land, with Lake Okeechobee being one of the most popular choices.
Campers can also seek out Wildlife Management Areas and Water Management Areas (while both are abbreviated WMA, they aren’t operated by the same entity, so double-check your destination).
For Water Management Areas, Lake Panasoffkee and Deep Creek Preserve tend to be towards the top of popular choices. Davenport Landing in the Ocala Wildlife Management Area and Pine Creek Landing in the Apalachicola Wildlife Management Area are also good choices.
Florida State and Public Parks
The Florida state park system is one of the most robust in the country, with 191 total state park sites. Of those 191, 57 of them offer camping, offering Florida campers a wealth of options throughout the Sunshine State.
Travelers looking for natural springs in Florida will be best served by visiting any of these state parks:
- Wekiwa Springs State Park
- Blue Spring State Park
- Rainbow Springs State Park
- Silver Springs State Park
- Ponce De Leon Springs State Park
- Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park
Though they don’t have a wealth of natural springs, these five parks are also worth checking out:
- Anastasia State Park
- Myakka River State Park
- Grayton Beach State Park
- Jonathan Dickinson State Park
- Highlands Hammock State Park
Florida also has 38 state forests (and one state ranch). Note that state forests do not operate the same way that national forests do. Dispersed camping is not allowed here, so you can only camp in designated campgrounds. Of the 38, there are several state forests that stand out in popularity:
- Blackwater River State Forest
- Picayune Strand State Forest
- Withlacoochee State Forest
RV Resorts and Unique stays
Florida is full of luxurious RV stops and fun campgrounds to appeal to seasonal travelers. Whether you want an RV resort, glamping campground, or just a unique stay, Florida has a wealth of options. To start your planning, consider these stays:
- The Hideaway Retreat
- The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
- Fisherman’s Cove RV Resort
- Santa Rosa RV Resort
- Lion Country Safari KOA
- Sun Outdoors Panama City Beach
Florida has more options for camping than most people could see in a lifetime. Whether you want to set up a tent in the Everglades or relax beachfront at an RV resort, the Sunshine State caters to all kinds of nomadic travelers.