Where to Camp in the Sunshine State
Florida is a popular tourist destination, and it’s not hard to see why. With its famous sunshine, temperate weather and beautiful beaches, there are a lot of reasons to love Florida.
Imagine pitching your tent on one of Florida’s lovely beaches, or spending the weekend hiking through one of its many beautiful state parks. There are tons of options for those who choose a Florida vacation.
Here are our picks for the best places to camp in Florida.
1. Anastasia State Park – St. Augustine
Anastasia State Park includes 1,600 acres of rich ecosystems and abundant wildlife. Explore up to four miles of pristine beach, the estuarine tidal marsh teeming with plant and animal life, or the self-guided nature trail which takes you through the maritime hammock and onto ancient sand dunes. You can also visit the Coquina Quarry, an archaeological site where coquina rock was mined to help construct the nearby Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, earning it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. Learn more.
2. Chassahowitzka River Campground – Homosassa
Here you will find 53 full hookup RV sites, 28 primitive tent sites, boat ramps and parking, general store and boat rentals. All this lies next to and on the Chassahowitzka River (“Hanging Pumpkin Place” in Seminole language), a gateway to spectacular scenery, wildlife and some of the best paddling in Florida! Learn more.
3. Ponce De Leon Springs – Ponce De Leon
This beautiful spring is named for Juan Ponce de León, who led the first Spanish expedition to Florida in 1513-as legend has it-in search of the “fountain of youth.” Visitors might well regain their youth by taking a dip in the cool, clear waters of Ponce de Leon Springs where the water temperature remains a constant 68 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. Learn more.
4. Blue Spring State Park – Orange City
Blue Spring State Park covers more than 2,600 acres, including the largest spring on the St. John’s River. Blue Spring is a designated manatee refuge and the winter home to a growing population of West Indian Manatees. During manatee season, which approximately runs from mid-November through March, several hundred manatee can be viewed atop the spring’s overlooks on cold days. The spring and spring run are closed to all water activity from mid-November to at least mid-March. Learn more.
5. Hontoon Island State Park – DeLand
This island, located in the St. Johns River in Volusia County, welcomes visitors to enjoy nature and history in quiet solitude. The island is accessible only by private boat or park ferry. Evidence of Native American habitation over thousands of years can be witnessed as visitors hike through the park. Stop in and walk through the impressive visitor center to learn more about the many inhabitants and uses of Hontoon Island over the years. Boating, canoeing, and fishing are popular activities and canoe rentals are available. Learn more.
6. Dry Tortugas National Park – Key West
Almost 70 miles (113 km) west of Key West lies the remote Dry Tortugas National Park. The 100-square mile park is mostly open water with seven small islands. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, the park is known the world over as the home of magnificent Fort Jefferson, picturesque blue waters, superlative coral reefs and marine life, and the vast assortment of bird life that frequent the area. Learn more.
7. Cayo Costa State Park – Bokeelia
With nine miles of beautiful beaches and acres of pine forests, oak-palm hammocks and mangrove swamps, this barrier island park is a Gulf Coast paradise. Cayo Costa is accessible only by private boat or ferry. Visitors may see manatees and pods of dolphins in the waters around the 2,426 acre park, as well as a spectacular assortment of birds. Learn more.
8. Ocean Pond – Olustee
Ocean Pond hosts more than 100,000 visitors annually. The two-mile wide lake has a shallow, sandy beach and facilities for fishing, picnicking, hiking, restrooms, fire rings and picnic tables. Ocean Pond is a favorite for boaters and skiing enthusiasts. A public boat launch and a 67-site campground attracts visitors from many parts of the country. Learn more.
9. Fort DeSoto Park Campground – Tierra Verde
Whether you are sitting on the beach or kayaking near the still water’s edge at Fort De Soto, you find yourself absorbed in the abundance of natural beauty for as far as the eye can see. Th complexity of the ecology is not immediately apparent, but the park offers the greatest diversity of systems just about anywhere. Learn more.
10. Rainbow Springs State Park – Dunnellon
Archaeological evidence indicates that people have been using this spring for nearly 10,000 years. Rainbow Springs is Florida’s fourth largest spring and, from the 1930s through the 1970s, was the site of a popular, privately-owned attraction. The Rainbow River is popular for swimming, snorkeling, canoeing, and kayaking. Learn more.
We hope you enjoyed our list of the best campgrounds in Florida. Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!
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