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In the Sunshine State, camping is taken to a whole new level. Imagine acres of wide-open beaches, stunning views of the ocean, and water that is as clear as glass. Plan a trip to one of the nine best camping spots in Florida if you’re looking for your next outdoor adventure.
Pro tip: Bring lots of bug spray and plan to camp between October and March, when it’s cooler and bugs are less likely to bother you.
1. Long Key State Park
This camping spot on Long Key, which is one of the Florida Keys, used to be a favorite of wealthy socialites, celebrities, and even U.S. presidents in the early 20th century.
It has nearly 1,000 acres. Today, you can kayak, hike, watch birds, fish, and snorkel at this beachy state park. If you want to stay the night, Long Key has tent-only campsites on the oceanfront that look out over the Florida Keys.
2. Myakka River State Park
Myakka River State Park is one of the oldest and biggest parks in Florida. It is named after the river that runs through its 58 square miles of wetlands, prairies, and pinelands. It’s no surprise that boating, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing are big here.
There are miles of trails for people who want to walk or ride bikes. There are six campgrounds in the area where you can set up a tent near a fire pit and make s’mores. Oh, and while you’re there, make sure to climb up into Myakka’s palm tree canopy. From there, you can see the park in a whole new way.
3. Blackwater River State Park
Fans of “Game of Thrones” should go to Blackwater River State Park. Even though its name is “Blackwater,” this golden-brown river runs through Blackwater State Forest and the park next to it. In fact, the forest is one of the largest areas of longleaf pine and wiregrass that are still joined together. This makes it even rarer than a tropical rainforest.
Of course, there are a lot of campgrounds here. There are 30 different sites, and each one has electric service, potable water, RV hookups, picnic tables, fire rings, and grills.
4. Cayo Costa State Park
Cayo Costa State Park has nine miles of unobstructed beachfront paradise that can only be reached by boat or kayak. Cayo Costa is the perfect place to camp in Florida because you can fish, swim, snorkel, and look for shells.
It doesn’t get any more picturesque than this, with cabins and campsites all around the store.
5. Rainbow Springs State Park
People have been going to Rainbow Springs for more than 10,000 years. It has mossy hammocks and waterfalls that were made by people. The clear, aqua-blue waters are beautiful and a great place to cool off after exploring and hiking on the grounds.
You can spend a few days at the springs if you camp there. The campground has a store, showers and bathrooms, a laundry room, and a playground for kids.
6. Biscayne National Park
Did you know that Miami-Dade County has the third biggest park system in the United States? Yes, there are more than 280 parks and green spaces open to the public. Biscayne National Park is one of these places. It’s not a typical park by any means.
More than 90% of it is underwater, which helps keep South Florida’s barrier reefs safe. Take a tour on a boat with a glass bottom. Tours start at the park’s visitor center. Manatees, sea turtles, corals made of limestone, and tens of thousands of other sea creatures will amaze you.
Elliott Key, which is the largest island in the park, has a lot of camping spots, places to eat, and a hiking trail.
7. Bahia Honda State Park
You don’t have enough time to go camping in the Keys? Instead, go to Bahia Honda. This beachside park, which is more than 500 acres and has a view of an old bridge that has been abandoned, is great for snorkeling, kayaking, boating, and tanning (with SPF).
There are more than 80 campsites for tents and RVs, and there are bathrooms and hot showers on site. Book a furnished cabin to step it up a notch, but keep in mind that you need to make reservations in advance.