Florida boasts beautiful beaches, historic sites, and unique wildlife. The best way to experience Florida’s diversity is up close and personal. Camping provides the best way to do that since it puts the vacationer in nature. These five Florida camping sites offer unparalleled opportunities to enjoy the state’s nature and culture. Some you may not have heard of or realized that they offer camping. Pack your tent or gas up the RV and get ready to explore five of Florida’s best kept camping secrets.
Map Of The Camping Spots In Florida
Dry Tortugas National Park
Get away from it all, including the mainland at Dry Tortugas, located about 70 miles west of Key West. This 100 square mile park comprised of seven islands and copious amounts of water, only offers access by boat or seaplane. Once there, explore the 19th century Fort Jefferson, enjoy snorkeling in crystal clear water, admire its coral reefs, marine and bird life. Don’t miss the Windjammer wreck, Loggerhead Key, the coral heads, or Little Africa Reef.
The park allows camping on Garden Key only. The fee is $15 per day for a single campsite. Group camping sites cost $30 per day. Campers under the age of 16 stay for free. Golden Age or Golden Access cardholders receive a 50 percent discount. Individual campsites are first come, first serve, but the group site requires reservations. Campers must pay fees on site in cash.
Visit Dry Tortugas National Park.
Pensacola Beach RV Resort
Described by many visitors as what an RV park should be, this RV campground provides an affordable resort popular with families and newlyweds. The resort at 17 Via De Luna Dr., features RV camping across from the Gulf of Mexico with a pool, private breezeway to the beach, free beach umbrellas and chairs for day use, picnic table at each RV site, a lift-accessable clubhouse with gas grill, on-site coin-operated laundry, showers, and the Tiki Shop, a combination convenience store and trinkets shop.
One of the best reasons to stay at this Florida campground gem is the nearby Opal Beach in Navarre, just six miles from the resort. Opal Beach, within the Gulf Islands National Seashore on Santa Rosa Island, did not exist until 1995. Its sugar-sand beach stands as a testament to the forces of nature and their ability to both destroy and create. Once an area of massive sand dunes, Hurricane Opal made landfall there in 1995. The hurricane’s forces changed the topography of the area overnight. Florida residents woke after Opal passed through to discover a new beach on their shore. The government chose to name the beach after the natural hazard that created it. Open for day use only, visitors can picnic under covered tables or on the white sand beach.
The RV resort winter rates start at $300 per week or $60 per day. A day pass for Opal Beach costs $7 for a pedestrian or cyclist; $10 per motorcycle; $15 per private vehicle with a capacity of less than 15 persons; or $7 per person for a private vehicle with a capacity of more than 15 persons (up to $25).
Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center
The Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center in White Springs offers a full range of camping opportunities from cushy cabins to RV sites to primitive tent camping. The Center overlooks the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail. The campground offers miles of trails for cycling, hiking, and horseback riding. Within walking distance, visitors will find the Center’s museum and the Carillon Tower.
The five riverside cabins feature two bedrooms, heat and air conditioning, a gas fireplace, screened porch and kitchen. The Center provides linens and kitchen utensils. Each cabin has its own picnic table and grill in the yard. One cabin is handicapped accessible. Pets may not enter the cabins.
Among its oaks, the campground offers 45 ADA accessible RV or tent sites with electric hookups, fire ring, picnic table, and water. The campground also offers two accessible restrooms with showers. There is an RV dump station within the grounds. Pets are allowed in the campground area on a six-foot or shorter leash.
For camping groups, the Center offers two primitive camp areas that accomodate 20 persons each. Carter Camping Area and Cable Crossing Camping Area each have a large fire ring and a picnic table. These two campsites offer no electricity, water, or restrooms.
Cabins cost $100.00 per night, plus tax and a $6.70 reservation fee. RV or tent camp sites cost $20 per day.
Visit the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center Campground on the Suwannee River in White Springs, FL.
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
All of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is underwater, except the campground. Explore the U.S.’s first underwater park with 70 nautical square miles that feature mangrove swamps, coral reefs, and team with marine life. Take a glass-bottom boat tour or go diving or snorkeling to see its marine life up close. Established in 1963, the park offers picnicking, swimming, hiking, canoeing, kayaking and fishing in certain areas. The park’s visitor center features a 30,000-gallon saltwater aquarium and a movie theater playing nature documentaries. The park provides beach wheelchairs at no cost and it maintains a glass-bottomed boat that is wheelchair accessible.
The park offers 47 campsites serving tent or RV camping. These feature electric hookups, water, a picnic table and grill. There is an on-site RV dump station. The main restroom is ADA accessible and the the pond restroom, located by the group campsite, features an ADA-accessible private family bathroom. The park also provides a coin-operated laundromat. Pets are allowed. Campsites cost $36 per day.
Visit the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo, FL.
Biscayne National Park
Residents of the city of Miami don’t have far to travel to campout. You can see downtown Miami from Biscayne National Park. The national park offers boating, camping, fishing, hiking, swimming, wildlife views, and educational programs. It spans the coast and several Keys. It offers two hiking trails, a 14-mile roundtrip tunnel trail through Elliot Key’s tropical hardwood hammock and a one mile loop between its bay and ocean shores.
Biscayne National Park offers two campgrounds, one on Elliott Key, the other on Boca Chita Key. Visitors can access both Keys by boat. Boca Chita offers picnic tables, grills, and toilets. Elliott offers picnic tables, grills, toilets, and cold water showers. Bring potable water to both keys. Visitors may dock their boat or tent campsites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. At $25 per day, it may be the cheapest place to stay in the Miami metro and you can’t beat the view or the beach access. Inquire about seasonal discounts.
Visit Biscayne National Park in Miami, FL.
While camping in Florida, check the weather before you leave. Take a NOAA weather radio with you. Pack plenty of bug spray and citronella candles. The mosquitos bite year around. Take along extra sunscreen, too. Have fun and enjoy the great outdoors.