The Best Florida State Parks for Camping

  • Post author:
  • Post category:Fun
You are currently viewing The Best Florida State Parks for Camping

One of the best ways to enjoy the beautiful weather and spectacular scenery in the Sunshine State is by spending some time outdoors. Camping in Florida state parks is a refreshing and affordable option for Florida residents and visitors alike. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best Florida state parks for camping. Read on to find the best park that suits you.

Camping in Florida State Parks

Camping in Florida can be an excellent vacation for you and your family if you are looking for a more affordable alternative to pricey hotels and beach condominiums. On average, prices for camping at Florida state parks range from $18 to $36 per night, and entrance to most Florida state parks costs between $5 and $6 for multi-occupant (2-8 people) vehicles and just $4 for single-occupant vehicles. 

There are 58 state parks in Florida that offer camping, each providing a unique landscape and endless activities. There is a Florida camping destination for everyone, and you can find beachside getaways, refreshing springs, and even historical sites at the many campgrounds that Florida boasts. 

Florida state park campgrounds offer convenient facilities, such as electricity, water, sewage hookups, campfire rings, parking areas, picnic facilities, restrooms, and shower stations. At the majority of Florida State Park campgrounds, you can make reservations up to 11 months in advance, either on the Florida State Parks reservations website or by calling the campground directly. 

And one of the best things about camping in Florida is that you can do so practically year-round. Thanks to the state’s spectacular weather (an average of 237 sunny days per year), camping is a great way to take advantage of Florida’s warm climate and beautiful landscape. While you will want to avoid especially humid or rainy seasons, the Sunshine State’s weather is generally warm enough for you to sleep under the stars during any month of the year

The Best State Parks in Florida for Camping

Grab your sleeping bags, pack up the RV, and check out our definitive list of the best Florida state parks camping areas. 

 


 

Northern Florida and Panhandle

Florida Caverns State Park

Located in the Florida Panhandle, Florida Caverns State Park offers 1,500 acres of natural beauty, as well as 38 tent and RV-friendly campsites. Most of these sites have electricity, water, sewer hookups, a picnic table, an in-ground grill, and a campfire ring. Florida Caverns State Park camping costs $20 per night, and the campground offers restrooms with showers. There are even equestrian sites and stables available for visitors who come with their horses.

Florida Caverns State Park

Of course, the campground is a perfect lodging option for those planning on taking a cave tour of the Florida caverns. Cave tours are provided daily, but there is a limit of 25 visitors per day, so be sure to call and reserve in advance. The area also offers biking, horseback riding, boating, and more. 

Falling Waters State Park

Falling Waters State Park is not only home to the state’s highest waterfall but is also an excellent camping area. Pine Ridge Campground is located at one of the highest elevations in Florida: 324 feet above sea level. The campground’s 24 campsites are all equipped with a picnic table, water, electricity, and a campfire ring. You will also find restrooms, shower facilities, and a dumping area on the grounds. Campsites cost just $18 per night. 

Falling Waters State Park camping also gives you the chance to visit a historic site. Here you can see the remnants of the first oil well drilled in Florida. Of course, you can’t miss the highest waterfall in Florida, the 73-foot Falling Waters Sink, which drops into the unknown depths of the sinkhole. Aside from checking out the waterfall, visitors can enjoy fishing and swimming in the park’s two-acre freshwater lake or birdwatching and wildlife viewing in the park’s protected natural areas. 

Suwannee River State Park

Suwannee River State Park camping offers a great getaway for people looking to enjoy a relaxing stay along the river. Located just northeast of Twin Rivers State Forest, this Florida state park has 30 shaded campsites which are all equipped with electricity, water, sewer hookups, a campfire ring, and a picnic table. The campground also offers on-site restrooms, shower facilities, and a dumping area, and sites cost $22 per night.  

Suwannee River State Park

You will want to take advantage of the Suwannee River during your stay, where you can enjoy boating, fishing, and paddling. Additionally, birding and hiking are other excellent activities in the area. Visitors can also venture to the historic Sandhill Trail cemetery, which contains the only remains of the forgotten town of Columbus.

Henderson Beach State Park

Enjoy the 30-foot sugar-white sand dunes at Henderson Beach State Park by staying at one of the park’s 60 campsites. Each site is tent and RV-accessible and equipped with electricity, water, a picnic table, an in-ground grill, and a clothes line post. There is a dump station at the campground, along with climate-controlled restrooms, shower facilities, washers, dryers, and vending machines. Henderson Beach State Park camping costs $30 per night, and the campground is pet-friendly. 

Henderson Beach State Park

Aside from visiting the beautiful sand dunes that the park is known for, Henderson Beach State Park is also an excellent destination for fishing fanatics, hikers, and those looking to enjoy the sun and sand of the Gulf Coast. The park is located near Destin, Florida, which is one of the state’s most popular northern destinations thanks to its emerald green waters, sprawling golf courses, and world-famous fishing reputation. 

Grayton Beach State Park 

If enjoying the beautiful Florida coastline is what you’re looking for, Grayton Beach State Park camping is just what you need. With one of the most beautiful beaches of any of the campgrounds on our list, this park boasts 59 campsites equipped with water and electricity. Some sites have sewer hookups, and you can camp with either a tent or an RV (maximum RV length 40 feet). You can practically wake up right on the beach for just $30 per night. 

Grayton Beach State Park

What makes this campground so special is its proximity to the beautiful Grayton Beach, with its white sand and crystalline Gulf waters. When you’re not lounging on the beach, you can ride bikes around the 4.5 mile trail that winds through the surrounding forest. Or paddle canoes or kayaks around the 100-acre Western Lake, which is a picturesque dune lake surrounded by the park’s natural environment. 

Anastasia State Park 

Located on the north end of beautiful Anastasia Island, this 1,600 acre state park has an especially large camping area, with 139 tent/RV sites.  Entrance to the park costs $8 per multi-occupant vehicle and $4 for single-occupant vehicles, and Anastasia State Park campsites cost $28 per night. All sites have electricity, water, a picnic table, an in-ground grill, and a campfire ring. Sites are located a short walk or bike from the beach, and some are even paved.

Anastasia State Park

One of the best parts about Anastasia State Park camping is your proximity to St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach. Take a quick trip into downtown St. Augustine (which is located less than three miles from the park) and visit the historic Castillo San Marcos fort. And located right next to the park is the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum. About three miles south of the camping area you will find St. Augustine Beach, a picturesque Atlantic coast getaway. 

 


Central Florida and Coasts

Blue Springs State Park

Perhaps the best spot on our list for manatee lovers, Blue Springs State Park camping offers a refreshing and serene getaway. The park has 51 tent/RV campsites, each of which is equipped with a picnic table, water, electricity, and a grill. The campground has a dump site for RVs and pets are welcome. Sites cost $24 per night. 

Blue Spring State Park in Florida

Blue Springs State Park is perhaps best known for its abundance of manatees. It is estimated that there are over 500 of these gentle giants meandering the warm waters of Blue Spring, and visitors can spot the animals by hiking along the spring run or the 4.5-mile Pine Island Trail. 

Other activities in the area include a St. Johns River boat cruise, paddling, swimming, and even scuba diving. However, all water activities are prohibited during the winter season (approximately November through March) in order to provide a safe refuge for the manatees. Subsequently, the best time to spot manatees is during the coldest months of the year. 

Wekiwa Springs State Park

Located some 20 minutes north of Orlando, Wekiwa Springs State Park is another refreshing Central Florida getaway. Set up camp at one of the park’s 60 sites, which offer water, electricity, a fire ring, and a picnic table. Some sites have a sewage hookup for RV campers, but there is also a dump station at the campground. You can find restrooms and showers conveniently located near the sites, and Wekiwa Springs State Park camping costs just $24 per night. If you prefer a more rustic (and affordable) option, primitive sites cost just $5 per person per night. 

Wekiwa Springs State Park in Florida

Wekiwa Springs is perhaps most famous for its emerald-clear fresh waters, where visitors can fish, paddle, snorkel, and swim. But if you’re looking for alternative activities on land, you have plenty of options. Bike around the off-road bicycle path, head out for a hike, or saddle up and go horseback riding along the park’s eight miles of riding trails. 

Hillsborough River State Park

For those who enjoy water adventures, Hillsborough River State Park camping won’t let you down. Hillsborough River has some of the only class II rapids in Florida, so grab your canoe or kayak and paddle downstream. There are 112 sites at the campground, most of which offer electricity hookups. All sites are equipped with water, a fire ring, and a picnic table, and there are various restroom and shower facilities located around the campground. Sites cost $24 per night, and the campground allows pets, as long as they are leashed. 

Hillsborough State Park - Florida Camping State Park

Aside from paddling down the rapids, visitors can bike and hike the park’s various trails, fish in the river, and view diverse wildlife. If you would like to get out on the water, be sure to bring your own canoe or kayak, as rentals are not currently offered at the park

Rainbow Springs State Park

Rainbow Springs is another Central Florida oasis. With its sapphire-blue waters and beautiful gardens, this park is the perfect inland getaway. The park’s campground is located a few miles from the main spring area, and all sites have electricity, water, and sewer hookups. The sites are suitable for both tent and RV camping, with a max RV length of 103 feet! The Rainbow Spring State Park camping area is equipped with a store, restrooms, shower and laundry facilities, and a playground, and the campground is pet-friendly. 

Rainbow Springs State Park - one of the best state parks in Florida

If you would like to paddle down the springs, you can rent a canoe or kayak at the campground’s store. You can also swim, snorkel, and tube in designated areas (tubing is only allowed on the weekends from April until the end of September). While you’re not enjoying the clear blue waters of Rainbow Springs, stroll through the park’s beautiful gardens, pack a picnic, and keep an eye out for native birds and wildlife.  

 


Southern Florida and The Keys

Myakka River State Park

As you head farther down south, you can find some excellent Florida state parks that are sure to provide you with the perfect setting for a camping getaway, starting with Myakka River State Park. The park is located at just a half hour’s drive from Sarasota and is in fact one of Florida’s largest state parks, spanning some 37,000 acres. It is also one of Florida’s oldest parks, and the area is known for its beautiful river, lake, and wetlands. 

Myakka River State Park in Florida

Myakka River State Park camping is varied, and the park offers three separate campgrounds with a total of around 90 campsites. Sites are equipped with electricity, water, a picnic table, and a fire ring, and select sites have a sewer hookup, though the park has a designated dump site as well. Myakka River State Park camping costs $26 per night, but if you are fine roughing it, you can set up camp at one of the park’s primitive sites, which only cost only $5 per person per night. There are six primitive campgrounds located along the park’s hiking trails. 

The park offers plenty of water activities for visitors, including boating, fishing, and paddling. If you would rather check out the park by foot, explore the 38.9-mile hiking loop, or feel free to bring your horse and set out on the 12 miles of designated riding trails. 

Oscar Scherer State Park

Oscar Scherer State Park is located about six miles from Venice, and this nature preserve offers an unexpected oasis among buildings and pavement. Nestled between U.S. Route 41 and Interstate 75, the park is an excellent birding destination, as it is an invaluable refuge for the Florida scrub-jay. Visitors can also enjoy activities like biking, fishing, hiking, swimming, and paddling (though canoe and kayak rentals are currently unavailable). 

The park has 104 tent/RV sites, all of which have water, electricity, a picnic table, and a grill. The campground is equipped with restrooms, showers, and laundry facilities as well. Oscar Scherer State Park camping costs $26 per night, and you should note that the maximum RV length is just 36 feet.  

Highlands Hammock State Park

Heading even further inland we will find Highlands Hammock State Park, the state park with the greatest quantity of rare and endemic species in all of Florida. This old-growth cypress swamp is an excellent place to view wading birds, raptors, migratory birds, songbirds, and other wildlife, such as otters, deer, alligators, and more. Visitors can also bike around the park’s 3-mile paved loop, hike around one of the park’s nine trails, or take a guided tram tour to explore the park and its fauna. 

Highlands Hammock State Park in Florida

Highlands Hammock State Park camping is great for both tent and RV camping. Each site has water and electricity, and the campground offers a dump site, restrooms with showers, and laundry and dishwashing facilities. Sites cost $22 per night.  

Sebastian Inlet State Park

Perhaps one of the best parks on our list for beach lovers, Sebastian Inlet State Park camping offers a peaceful Atlantic Ocean getaway. Entrance to the park costs $8 per multi-occupant vehicle and $4 for single-occupant vehicles. The park’s campground is centrally located, and the beach is within walking distance. Sites each come with water, electricity, a picnic table, and a fire ring with a grill. Pitch a tent or park your RV for just $28 per night. 

Sebastian Inlet State Park

While at the park, there are plenty of things to do to keep busy. Cyclists will enjoy the 40-mile paved bike path, and there are also three mountain biking trails located within the park. Sebastian Inlet State Park also has various boat launches, and you can even head over to the Gulf Stream, which is located less than 30 miles from the Sebastian Inlet. The area is also known for its excellent fishing conditions, and water lovers can rent canoes or kayaks from the marina. Snorkeling and scuba diving are also permitted in the park’s waters.  

Collier-Seminole State Park

Spanning over 70,000 acres, Collier-Seminole State Park lies within one of the largest mangrove swamps in the world. Here you will be able to observe flora and fauna typical of the Florida everglades, and the park is also the site of a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark: The Bay City Walking Dredge. Collier-Seminole State Park camping is convenient and comfortable, and sites come with water, electricity, a grill, and a picnic table. 

Collier-Seminole State Park

The campground also offers a dump station, restrooms, showers, and laundry facilities. There are 105 campsites in the park, and you can tent or RV camp for just $22 per night, though certain sites are designated for tents, pop-ups, and hammocks. There are also primitive campsites that are only accessible via hiking trails or canoe. 

While at the park, bike around the offroad Prairie Hammock Trail, take a guided canoe trip on the Blackwater River, or hike one of the park’s four excellent nature trails. Hiking trail options range from between less than a mile to more than five miles, so there’s sure to be a suitable option for hikers of every age and ability. 

Bahia Honda State Park

Finally, if we head all the way down to the Florida Keys, we will find Bahia Honda State Park. Located along the southernmost tip of U.S. Highway 1, this beachside oasis offers some of the most spectacular views that you’ll get from any Florida state park. The park also has some of the best offshore snorkeling in all of the Florida Keys, and with depths of between four and six feet, even beginners can catch a glimpse at some native Florida marine life. 

Bahia Honda State Park

Bahia Honda State Park camping is quite varied. The Buttonwood campground sites accommodate both tents and RVs, and they offer water, electricity, a picnic table, and a grill. There are a few sites located on the water, but they offer little shade. The Buttonwood campground also has a dump station and restrooms with shower facilities. 

The Bayside campground, the smallest of the park’s campgrounds, has only eight sites, none of which have electricity.  And pay close attention to your vehicle height: RVs (and vehicles in general) cannot exceed a height of 6 feet 8 inches, as they will have to pass under the Bahia Honda Bridge to access the campgrounds. Campsites cost $36 per night, and entrance to the park costs $8 per multi-occupant vehicle and $4 for single-occupant vehicles. 

Have You Camped in Any of These Florida State Parks?

As you can see, you don’t need to travel far to find some excellent camping in Florida state parks. So whether you find yourself near the Panhandle, around Central Florida, or down in the Keys, rest assured that there is a beautiful Florida state parks camping option for you. 

And if you’ve camped in any of these Florida State Parks – please tell us about your experience in the comments below! We’d love to hear what you thought and if you have any tips too.

Bree

Bree is a content writer and translator who hails from Michigan, though she currently calls Madrid, Spain her home. She spent her childhood making annual trips to Lido Key with her family, and the Florida Gulf Coast will always hold a special place in her heart. You can follow her at @breerecker on Instagram.

Leave a Reply