Beach Camping in Florida
| Florida beach camping opportunities fall
into two categories: State or County parks, and private campgrounds.
Private campgrounds tend to cater to RV campers,
since that is where the money is. After all, they are running a
for-profit business. They also tend to maximize the amount of
"campsites" they can cram into a given area, which means more trees
get chopped down.
State and County parks, on the other hand, do not have to maximize profits, so they are more likely to reserve areas for tent campers and to leave plenty of trees and vegetation, which greatly improves the whole experience. This page focuses mostly on State and County Park campgrounds.
With over 1800 miles of coastline, most of which is sandy beaches, you'd think that finding a good beach campground would be easy. But no, it isn't. Camping directly on the beach sand is often not possible. Campsites are usually behind the dunes. Why?
Because having a bunch of tents and camping gear out on the beach interferes with bird nesting in late winter and early spring and summer. It also interferes with turtle nesting from May through October. There are a few places where you can camp right on the beach, and I'll tell you about those below.
A good camping guidebook is indispensable. I have two books in my collection that I strongly recommend. They are:
Below is a great beach camping video produced by Cavin Brothers of ColorBlindMedia. It's time lapse video of a camping trip to an island near Cavin's home, set to music. You'll like it.
Northwest Florida Beach Campgrounds on the Gulf of Mexico
Northwest Florida (Panhandle) campgrounds can get really cold in the winter time. Spring, summer, and fall are the best times to visit.
Gulf Islands National Seashore / Fort Pickens Seven miles of brilliant white sand beaches. Campsites not right on the beach.
Beach State Park
Peninsula State Park
George Island State Park
West Central and Southwest Florida Beach Camping on the Gulf of Mexico
KEEP YOUR STUFF DRY!
One of the biggest challenges in beach camping is keeping your stuff dry. Plastic bags will (more or less) suffice for a short camping trip, but they rip easily, are hard to open and close, and they just get all crinkly. I use the dry sacks that I got when I bought my kayak. They are fantastic! In fact, my 4-liter dry sack has become my default camera bag all the time, not just when I'm camping. I use the Sea to Summit brand.
Fort Desoto County Park
Red Coconut RV Resort Fort Myers Beach. Park your RV right on the beach. White sand, coconut palms. Pretty cool.
Costa State Park
Keewaydin Island - Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Preserve. Boat access. Camping is allowed on the south end of the island.
Flamingo Campground In Everglades National Park. Not on Gulf beach, but has waterfront sites. Great fishing/kayaking. Too many mosquitoes in summer.
Beach Camping in the Florida Keys
Pennekamp Coral Reef
Long Key State Park
Honda State Park
Curry Hammock State Park
Dry Tortugas - Fort Jefferson National Park. Boat access only. Reservations required. Ferry from Key West or take your own private boat. Located 70 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico, west of Key West.
Atlantic Coast Beach Camping
Wind can be a factor on Atlantic Ocean Beaches. Most campgrounds are behind the dunes and are protected from the wind and salt spray.
Clinch State Park
Little Talbot Island State Park
Gamble Rogers Memorial State Park
Canaveral National Seashore
Sebastian Inlet State Park
Biscayne National Park
CAMPING? KEEP YOUR PHONE CHARGED!