Best Camping in Florida: 15 Top Spots to Pitch a Tent, Park an RV

Terri Marshall Avatar
kayakers in water
Kayaking in St. Augustine is a great way to spend a hot day in nature. Photo credit: Terri Marshall

Sometimes I desperately need a break from city life. Often, I’ll head to a luxury resort to relax and unwind. But, when I need to hear the call of the wild, there’s no better place to go than on a camping trip.

In Florida, that camping trip often includes a beachside campground or a place nestled among the pine trees. No matter which campground I choose, getting away from it all for a few days restores my soul.

I’m not alone. Many of the SheBuysTravel experts love to camp too … in tents, RVs and cabins … and enjoy sharing their favorite destinations, pro tips and packing lists.

We’ve compiled a list of the best camping destinations in Florida. Our top picks include:

  • Florida Caverns State Park for cave explorers
  • Blue Springs State Park for manatee sightings
  • Henderson Beach State Park for beach camping
  • Westgate River Ranch for glamping
  • Anastasia State Park for birdwatching

We’ve included many others in different locations around the state, including the Panhandle, South Florida and the Keys and ones in Central Florida near Disney World.

Whatever your camping vibe, you’ll find the perfect fit at a Florida campground.

Falling Waters State Park

Location: Florida Panhandle
Highlight: Forest vibe

Home to the highest waterfall in Florida, Falling Waters State Park is located in the Panhandle in Chipley, Florida. The Sunshine State may not have mountains but it does have a few hills. And the Falling Waters State Park Campground sits atop one of the highest at 324 feet above sea level.

Fern-covered sinkholes and huge trees line the trail to the 73-foot cascading waterfall. Additional nature trails and a two-acre lake with a white sand beach add to the park’s serenity. Activities include bird-watching, fishing, hiking, picnicking and swimming.

The Falling Waters State Park campground has 245 campsites with electricity, water, picnic tables and ground grills. RVs up to 40 feet can be accommodated.

Florida Caverns State Park

Location: Florida Panhandle
Highlight: Caves

Also in the Panhandle, Florida Caverns State Park is the place to be for adventure seekers who love to explore caves. Guided tours of the caverns showcase the dazzling array of stalactites, stalagmites, draperies and soda straws underground. The park’s 1,319 acres include 35 campsites with electric and water hookups. Equestrians will find a stable for their horses here as well. The nearby Chipola River provides opportunities for canoeing, kayaking and fishing. Hiking trails add more adventure for campers.

Henderson Beach State Park

Location: Florida Panhandle
Highlight: Popular vacation area

Located near Destin, a popular Panhandle vacation town, the white sand beaches and blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico beckon campers at Henderson Beach State Park. In this picturesque park, hiking trails wind through large sand dunes while surf fishing keeps anglers entertained. Additional activities include bicycling, birding, picnicking and swimming. Catching one of the Gulf of Mexico’s stunning sunsets is an ideal way to end the day.

The park’s beachfront campground has 60 campsites popular for RV camping and tent camping. Campsites have water and electricity, picnic tables, ground grills and clothesline posts. Coin-operated laundry facilities are also available. And hot showers are a welcome amenity.

Destin’s best resorts are near Henderson Beach State Park, if you’re traveling with family or friends who prefer four walls to sleeping under the stars.

Edward Medard County Park

Location: Near Tampa
Highlight: Horseback riding

Located in Plant City approximately 20 miles east of Tampa, Edward Medard County Park spans 1,284 acres. A 700-acre reservoir serves as a popular fishing hole with a boat launch, fishing pier, picnic area and boardwalk to a small island. Spectacular tree canopies and ground vegetation add to this park’s charm. A 3.2-mile bridle path runs through the park for horseback riding. If you don’t have a horse, book one at the nearby stables. Kayaks and canoe rentals are available.

The 42 campsites available for use as tent sites or RV spots have water and electric hookups, picnic tables and grills.

Hillsborough River State Park

Location: Near Tampa
Highlight: Whitewater rafting

Also in the Tampa Bay area, Hillsborough River State Park lies along the upper Hillsborough River which runs through the park. Seven miles of hiking trails lead through the wooded landscape to Class II rapids on the upper river. Bicycles are permitted on the 2.2-mile Park Loop Trail and the 1.6-mile Wetlands Restoration Trail. Canoeing, kayaking and fishing round out the outdoor adventures.

The park includes 112 campsites with water, electric hookup, picnic tables and fire rings. There are no sewer hookups but there is a dump station.

Fort DeSoto State Park

Location: Near St. Pete
Highlight: Beach camping

Fort DeSoto combines nature with history on the Sunshine State’s Gulf Coast. The park’s expansive campground offers 238 campsites built to accommodate families and youth camps. RV sites, tent sites and primitive campsites are available. Sites come with a picnic table and grills. Campground amenities include laundry facilities, restrooms and hot showers.

Situated on a gorgeous sandy beach 13 miles south of St. Petersburg, this is Florida camping at its best with abundant water activities. Other outdoor pursuits include disc golf, horseback riding, hiking and biking on the Barrier Free Trail and a playground.

Yankee Traveler RV Resort

Location: Between Clearwater and St. Pete
Highlight: 55+ RV resort

For a 55 and older camping experience, Yankee Traveler RV Park provides luxury amenities close to beaches, golf, fishing and more. Amenities include free on-site wifi, climate-controlled private restrooms with hot showers, heated pool, hot tub, a recreation area, library and more.

Myakka River State Park

Location: Southeast of Sarasota
Highlight: Scenic river kayaking

Another Gulf Coast treasure, Myakka River State Park spans 58 square miles. Florida’s first state-designated wild and scenic river, the Myakka River flows through the park’s vast expanse of unspoiled wetlands, prairies, hammocks and pinelands. Favorite activities include biking, birdwatching, boating, canoeing, fishing, hiking and kayaking.

The park features three campgrounds with 90 campsites. All campsites include 50-amp electrical service, water, fire rings and picnic tables. The Palmetto Ridge Campground has sewer hookups. Old Prairie Campground is located near a dump station. Laundry facilities and restroom facilities with hot showers are available to both campgrounds.

The Big Flats Campground is located near Upper Myakka Lake and features a fishing deck and wifi. Some campsites also permit hammock camping.

alligator at campground
Keep an eye out for Florida’s infamous gators! Photo credit: Shutterstock

Trail Lakes Campground

Location: South Florida
Highlight: Wildlife

If your ideal Florida camping experience includes searching for wildlife, consider the Trail Lakes Campground. Located close to the Everglades National Park, Trail Lakes features cabins, Chickee huts and primitive tent sites.

Guided eco-tours of the Everglades National Park area are available through Shealy’s Guide Service. You can expect to see alligators and plentiful waterfowl in the park’s 1.5 million acres of wetlands.

tree hanging over water
Enjoy scenic water views and shady hideaways at Blue Springs State Park. Photo credit: Terri Marshall

Blue Springs State Park

Location: Central Florida
Highlight: Manatees

Anyone who loves the oh-so-loveable Florida manatees will enjoy a camping experience at Blue Springs State Park in Central Florida. The manatees retreat to the warm springs during winter months. Campers arriving in spring, late March and early April bring twinkling fireflies to the park.

A half-mile-long boardwalk winds alongside the spring run providing views of the wildlife. The park features a launch site for canoes, kayaks and paddleboards. A shady bicycle path connects the area springs.

For camping, the park features 51 campsites and six two-bedroom cabins. The campsites include water and electric hookups, picnic tables and grills.

Juniper Springs

Location: Central Florida
Highlight: Natural springs

Located in the Ocala National Forest, the Juniper Springs Campground features 78 shaded campsites arranged into three loops within walking distance of Florida’s beautiful natural springs. A recreation area keeps campers busy with bird watching, canoeing, hiking, picnicking, snorkeling, swimming and wildlife viewing. Campground amenities include fire rings, picnic tables, grills, lantern posts, hot showers and tent sites. An onsite retail store stocks convenience items.

Anastasia State Park

Location: St. Augustine
Highlight: Birdwatching

Just outside of historic St. Augustine, Anastasia State Park provides an ideal camping spot set among more than 1,600 acres of ancient sand dunes, maritime hammocks, tidal marshes and unspoiled white sand beaches. One of the most important areas for beach-nesting birds along the east coast of Florida, Anastasia State Park exists along the Atlantic Flyway for migrating birds. Part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail, this park takes bird watching to the next level with 195 identified bird species. Monthly guided bird walks by staff members deliver a unique wildlife viewing experience.

Hikers explore nature trails that snake around sand dunes and forests. Smooth, level paths are also available for bicycling. The open waters of the Atlantic Ocean on the east side of Anastasia Island attract surfers. On the other side, the calm waters in the marsh areas invite canoeing and kayaking.

The campground features 139 campsites within walking distance of the beach. Each site includes a picnic table, fire ring and in-ground grill. Electric and water hookup are available along with a three-lane dump station. Clean bathhouses equipped with hot showers keep sandy feet under control.

St. Augustine Beach KOA Holiday Campground

Location: St. Augustine
Highlight: KOA brand full-service campground

Also on Anastasia Island, the St. Augustine Beach KOA Holiday Campground is one of the most popular St. Augustine campgrounds. Benefitting from the outdoor recreation available in Anastasia State Park and the waters of the Matanzas River that forms a portion of the Intracoastal Waterway, the campground provides an ideal home base for explorations.

The KOA facility offers 119 campsites with asphalt or dirt pads that accommodate RVs up to 70 feet long. Pull-through and back-in sites have full hookups, grills, tables and chairs plus wifi and cable. Laundry facilities, a swimming pool and a playground for the kids round out the amenities.

tent interior
A well-appointed tent at Westgate River Ranch. Photo credit: Westgate River Ranch

Westgate River Ranch

Location: Central Florida
Highlight: Dude ranch with glamping

If your ideal camping experience includes real beds and air conditioning, glamping at Westgate River Ranch will make your dreams come true. Situated on 1,700 acres overlooking the Kissimmee River, Westgate River Ranch Resort and Rodeo features horseback riding, archery, a petting zoo, airboat rides, a swimming pool and much more.

Time your camping trip for the weekend and take in the action of the Saturday night rodeo. Just one hour south of Orlando in Polk County, the resort offers three types of glamping accommodations. Canvas glamping tents feature 384 square feet of space, rocking chairs, private propane gas grills, air conditioning, microwaves, mini-refrigerators and more. Luxe Teepee tents offer 651 square feet along with en suite bathrooms. The Luxe Conestoga Wagons have 495 square feet of space. All glamping experiences come with the services of a glamping concierge to assist with scheduling activities.

bridge at Bahia Honda State Park
The beautiful white-sand beaches at Bahia Honda State Park. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Bahia Honda State Park

Location: Florida Keys
Highlight: White sand beaches

Getaway to the Florida Keys for the ultimate Sunshine State camping adventure. On Big Pine Key, Bahia Honda State Park basks in iconic Florida Key scenery with clear waters, white sand beaches and stunning sunsets. Balmy sea breezes keep the palm-lined beaches comfortable even on hot summer days. The park is ideal for birdwatching with wading birds and shorebirds in abundance. Favorite activities of campers include bicycling, boating, fishing, kayaking, snorkeling and swimming.

The park features three campgrounds. Buttonwood Campground accommodates a variety of camping rigs from large RVs to small tents. The sites are gravel and have electricity, water, picnic tables and grills. This campground contains a bathhouse with restrooms and hot showers, as well as a dump station.

Sandspur Campground accommodates a variety of camping rigs up to 23 feet and tents. Campsites have electricity, water, picnic tables and grills.

Bayside Campground consists of eight non-electric sites. These primitive sites have a picnic table, grill and water. A small restroom is nearby, but campers must travel a half-mile to Buttonwood Campground to use its bathhouse with hot showers.

Based in New York City, Terri Marshall is an award-winning writer covering cultural travel, multi-generational travel, road trips, soft-adventure, camping, cars and characters. From hanging out with penguins in Antarctica to fishing for piranhas in Peru to road-tripping through the jungles of Belize, Terri’s always up for an adventure. Drop her into a landscape filled with mountains, towering evergreens, waterfalls and a glacier or two and she’ll be in heaven. But what thrills her most of all is traveling with her teenage grandkids. Terri serves on the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Committee for the North American Travel Journalist Association (NATJA). She also serves as the First Vice-Chair of the Eastern Chapter for the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). In addition to writing for SheBuysTravel, Terri’s publication credits include AARP, Island Soul, Girl Camper Magazine, A Girls Guide to Cars, CHILLED, World Footprints, North Hills Monthly, Alaska Business Monthly, Alaska Contractor and more. Follow her on Instagram at TrippingWithTerri.
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