Smartphones have opened a whole new world to outdoors recreation. These are the five apps I use most often in Florida and elsewhere.
Best apps for your smartphone
Florida State Parks and Beaches — This interactive guide by Pocket Ranger is the official app for Florida State Parks to find parks. Location based, the app will find state parks near you or you can search for information about any Florida State Park. You can also search by activity or region from an interactive map. Another nice feature is the real-time download of state park news and events. FREE. By ParksByNature Network. Available for Apple | Android | Amazon for Android
RA Camping — I favor the serenity of state and national park campgrounds, so when I’m on the road, ReserveAmerica’s app is my first choice for finding campgrounds. ReserveAmerica is the reservations contractor for National Park campgrounds, Florida State Parks and state park campgrounds in other states (not all). The app has the capability of finding campgrounds near a destination (or a known campground) and that helps you look down the road. Same-day reservations are accepted, and the app keeps track of your favorites as well as your current reservations. You need an account, of course, but anybody who has ever reserved a campsite at a Florida State Park already has one. FREE. By Active Networks. Available for Apple | Android
Allstays Camp and RV — This is my backup campground finder when I’m on the road. I use this app to find nearby campgrounds or scout ahead. The app also helps you find other services. almost every time I take a trip, even if I’m not in the RV or looking for a place to camp. In this wonderful piece of tech, you can locate good services needed for any road trip – gas stations (I love me some truck stops), rest stops (shouldn’t have drank that 64 oz. soda), lots of stores that offer camping/trip supplies and lots more. $9.99. By Allstays LLC. Available for Apple | Android | Amazon for Android
Gas Buddy. This app is free, and it belongs on every mobile device. Gas Buddy will save you money, and not just nickels and dimes. Gas Buddy identifies your location and delivers the price of gas at every gas station within a pre-set distance, sorted by distance from your location or by price. The prices are updated frequently by a very large community of users, and I have found it to be accurate. Did I say it was indispensable? FREE. By Gas Buddy. Available for Apple | Android | Amazon for Android
Audubon Birds. Several Audubon apps have turned to dust, but one good one is still around, Audubon Birds. The app has several features to love, including keeping a log of your own bird sightings and uploading your own photos. The features most of us will use is the “Explore Birds” tab, which helps you identify a bird by shape, by family or by name. You can even drill down your search with colors, wing shapes and, yes, by “song.” Excellent color photos help you narrow your search. Even if you are not into birding, you’ll have a lot of fun with this app. FREE. By National Audubon Society. Apple | Android | Amazon for Android
You don’t always need an app for “that”
Your smartphone has a web browser, and many of your favorite web sites have implement responsive designs that easily adapt to your smartphone and serve mobile-optimized web pages, easy to read and easy to navigate.
Many of your favorite internet sites, including floridarambler.com, have responsive designs that produce a very similar experience to an app.
If you use these apps, or would like to recommend others, please let yourself be heard in our comments!