Camping in Florida: A Beginner’s Guide

Camping in Florida: A Beginner’s Guide

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George Cummings
November 18, 2021
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When it comes to tourist destinations, it doesn’t get more popular than Florida.

With Disneyland, sunny beaches, magnificent wildlife, and amazing food, there’s no shortage of sights, sounds, and tastes to enjoy for holiday goers, but how does it fare as a camping destination?

Can you go camping in Florida? Florida is a great destination for campers as it gives you plenty of choice in scenery including springs, oceans, state parks, woods, and more.

Whether you want to bring a camper along or set up a tent, you’re guaranteed a great time when you go camping in Florida.

If Florida has always been on your bucket list of camping spots, we can help you make it a reality.

This guide to camping in Florida covers all of the basics including where to get, when to go, and how to stay there, so you’ll be well on your way to planning your next adventure with all of the facts.

Is Florida a Good Camping Destination?

Is Florida a Good Camping Destination?

If your idea of the perfect camping spot is your choice of scenery, beautiful warm weather, and no shortage of fun activities nearby to enjoy, Florida will tick all of your boxes.

Although most people think of Florida as more of a vacation spot, it’s got loads of great camping spots that let you experience it in a whole new light.

With sunny beaches, dense forests, and everything in between, you can choose the exact destination to suit your camping dreams.

They have plenty of national parks and forests, public lands, free and paid campgrounds, and opportunities for car camping, so it’s up to you to create the trip of your dreams.

As with any camping destination, there are certain things to know about camping in Florida, and they have to do with the wildlife.

If you’re visiting a National Forest, you’ll be required to use a bear canister or bear bag to keep the food away from the ravenous animals, but we recommend utilizing them no matter where you’re camping in Florida.

RV and Camp Sites in Florida

RV and Camp Sites in Florida

What makes Florida such a hit with campers is the sheer range of campgrounds and sites you can enjoy. Whether you want a touch of rustic, traditional camping or prefer all of the mod-cons and luxuries while sleeping in your RV, they can cater to your wishes.

The state parks and forests of Florida offer some of the best camping opportunities for those in a tent or an RV, with managed campgrounds and opportunities for rustic and traditional camping.

Facilities include dump spots, sewer hookups, boat ramps, fire rings, picnic tables, and access to water and electricity, depending on how much assistance you’re after.

If you prefer a little more luxury when you camp, there are plenty of RV resorts to pull into. These offer all of the usual basics plus television access, Wi-Fi, restaurants, pools, stage shows, and entertainment areas.

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort has all of this and more, making the perfect opportunity for visitors wanting to combine a trip to Disney with a spot of camping.

Whichever option you choose, make sure you plan ahead and book your accommodation with a few months’ notice.

During the busier seasons and at the more popular camping sites and grounds, there’s a minimal chance you’ll get a last-minute booking, so it pays to be prepared.

Can You Camp on the Beach?

Can You Camp on the Beach?

Florida is a popular beach destination with most people traveling there solely to see what its oceanside has to offer. It makes sense then, that they have some opportunities to camp on the beach if you so choose, but there are regulations to follow if you want to go this route.

If you plan on camping at the beach in Florida, you’ll need to find a designated beach that allows people to do this and make yourself aware of the specific rules and regulations in place there.

Most of the time, these camping-friendly beaches will be further away from the more popular tourist hubs, so although they require a bit of effort to get to, the journey will be well worth it.

Although camping on the beach is allowed at these locations, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can camp directly on the sand right in front of the water. 

You’ll usually have to camp further up from the shore and away from the sand, otherwise, it can be dangerous with changing tides, and it ensures the beach is kept in good condition and free from campers’ waste.

Although the settings are beautiful, it can be dangerous setting up camp near fresh water and on the banks of a stream, lake, river, or pond, and it’s not recommended.

As the state known for its alligators, you’re likely to find one making its way into your tent as you sleep, which is the last thing anyone wants to wake up to.

The Best National Parks in Florida

The biggest drawcard of Florida is its natural scenery and how it caters to just about every type of traveler there is.

Among the state’s most beautiful offerings are untouched wetlands, sprawling beaches, and crystal clear waters, so check out their best national parks that offer a little of each.

Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park

With 1.5 million acres of land inside of it, you won’t get bored exploring the Everglades National Park. This is a must-see for anyone who wants to experience the subtropical wilderness at its finest, with three separate areas containing wetlands and coastal lowlands.

The wildlife represents the best that Florida has to offer, so you can expect to see alligators, manatees, dolphins, and Florida panthers while you’re there.

Gulf Islands National Seashore

Gulf Islands National Seashore

If your idea of a good camping trip is to explore your natural surroundings and be amazed by the wildlife, you’ll want to add the Gulf Islands National Seashore to your list.

Dolphins, turtles, blue herons, and more call this place home, and if you’re lucky enough to head there yourself, you’ll take be able to enjoy its pristine waters as well.

Those who like a little bit of history while holidaying can explore the three forts found on the land, and take a guided tour with a ranger to learn all you can about the area.

Biscayne National Park

Biscayne National Park

Looking at Miami, you might not think there’s a national park like this one so close by, but you’d be wrong.

Biscayne National Park is made up of 95% water and features the popular Elliot Key, but the whole area features white sandy beaches and turquoise ocean.

A camping trip here will be full of activities like snorkeling, paddle boarding, lobstering, and checking out the local wildlife so there’s something for every taste.

Fort Caroline National Memorial

Fort Caroline National Memorial

Florida is home to some amazing historical sites, and Fort Caroline National Memorial is one you don’t want to miss.

Situated on the banks of the St. John’s River in Duval County, this park is ideal for history and nature buffs who want a taste of the real Florida.

Exciting sights include museums, educational centers, historical reenactments, and the wildlife, plus it’s free to enter.

Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve

Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve

The Jacksonville park feature 46,000 acres of land to discover, made up of beautiful coastal wetlands.

As well as beautiful natural sights, you get the chance to explore history as well and visit the Fort Caroline National Memorial and Kingsley Plantation which offers a fantastic chance to learn about slavery and freedom in the US.

Sand dunes cover American Beach, you can attend ranger-led tours and talks, and walk the various nature trails, so there’s plenty to see and do at Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve.

The Best Weather and Months for Camping

The Best Weather and Months for Camping

Affectionately known as The Sunshine State, you’re guaranteed good weather most of the year-round when you plan a camping trip to Florida.

However, if you’re looking for something specific to help you enjoy the activities you have planned, there might be some months better than others, as the temperate climate isn’t always behaving its best.

If you’re a backpacker and plan on doing your traveling by foot, stick to wintertime and head there in January and February. Not only is the weather cooler but there’s less chance of rain which means you’ll be able to hike fairly comfortably.

Even though it’s technically winter in Florida, it’ll still be humid, so check the temperatures before you go to make sure you’ve packed correctly.

For tent campers, you can go any time you wish, as long as you’re mindful of the weather.

For the best weather, head to Florida between October and March, and you’ll find it warm and pleasant during the day but with a nice cool evening breeze that makes sleeping in the tent comfortable without feeling too muggy.

When Should You Visit?

When Should You Visit?

The best thing about Florida is that there’s never a bad time to visit as long as you’re prepared for the weather you’re walking into.

For campers and all other travelers to the state, the high season would be considered the winter months because of its lovely weather, so expect everything to be busier and prices to be higher.

During summer, the heat is on but so are the tourists, so if you’re thinking you can avoid the crowd just by coming now, you’re wrong.

Due to the heat and sunny days, most people will take their kids to Florida during summer break, so it’s another time when you can expect campgrounds to be busy.

Unlike other camping destinations, there’s no real low period in Florida and you’ll find that most of the activities like water sports and guided tours remain year-round, so there’ll always be something to do.

Having picturesque weather every month of the year means you can choose the perfect time to go so that it matches your destination, and hopefully never be disappointed.

Camping in The Sunshine State

Florida is a diverse camping destination with everything from springs to beaches serving as your backdrop, depending on where you pitch your tent.

A little bit of research will go a long way in ensuring your Florida camping adventure is all it can be, and once there, you’ll be amazed at just how much it has to offer.

Related Questions

The US is home to some of the most picturesque locations on earth, making it a camper’s paradise. If you’re interested in visiting some of the other states and setting up camp, read on for a few FAQs about other popular destinations that you might like to visit.

Which State Has the Most Free Camping?

If you’re hoping to set up your tent to free, heading to Colorado is the cheapest way to do it.

The state is a favorite among campers because of its picturesque landscapes but also because they have the highest number of free camping sites in the country, especially if you’re traveling on the western side.

What State is the Best For Camping?

What State is the Best For Camping?

There’s no single state that is the best for camping overall but depending on what you hope to get out of a camping trip, there’s likely a winner.

Rhode Island is known diversity in experiences and sights, California for its national parks, Alaska for the weather, and Colorado for free campsites.

Can You Camp Anywhere in Alaska?

Alaska allows visitors to the state to set up a tent or sleep in their car in almost every location, making it one of the most welcoming states for campers.

However, before you do, make sure you’ve checked with the owner of the land or the public grounds and confirm that they allow camping at that site.

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George Cummings

George Cummings enjoys connecting with nature, meeting new people, and making friends from all over the world. RVing and camping create the perfect opportunity for [him/her] to take part in these activities. After spending several years on the road and exploring the great outdoors, George Cummings shares some of his best pieces of advice on how to make the most of your time while camping. TourTheOutdoors is his way of helping outdoorsy individuals like [him/her] start on a right footing with amazing recommendations and buying guides.