Last updated on April 3rd, 2022 at 05:33 pm
Beach camping in Florida is living the dream. Stars in the sky, surf lapping ashore, a gentle breeze. swaying palms, fish rippling water, shorebirds playfully gliding, tiny crabs scrambling on each wave.
We’ve camped everywhere from the Keys to the Panhandle, on beaches and islands.
Our favorite beaches for camping in Florida are a dream come true, so pack your gear and let’s go camping!
COVID-19 Note: Some campgrounds have taken sites off-line to maintain social distancing. Guidelines are constantly changing, but you can expect requirements to wear a mask and maintain social distancing. For more guidelines, visit this page: Campground Safety and COVID-19.
Curry Hammock State Park
Curry Hammock State Park is our favorite destination for beach camping in the Florida Keys with the untimely demise of campgrounds at Long Key State Park and on Bahia Honda’s Sandspur Beach. Both were wiped out by Hurricane Irma in 2017. Curry Hammock sites 7 through 19, 21 and 22 are on the beach, and the remaining 14 sites are not far behind. The ocean is shallow, the surf mild and currents are weak most days, making it ideal for families with small children. Kayaks and canoes can be launched from the day-use area or the campground. Sites are $36 per night plus a $6.70 reservation fee. Discounts for seniors over 65 and active military. Curry Hammock State Park, 56200 Overseas Highway, Marathon. Phone: 305-289-2690. For reservations, call 800-326-3521
Related Story: Curry Hammock: Our new go-to campground in the Keys
Red Coconut RV Resort
Be sure to get a site on the beach. Otherwise, you’ll be shuffled across the street into a crowded campground with little room to breath. That happened to me, so I left. Besides the beach, the charm of this campground is its proximity to Fort Myers Beach and Lovers Key State Park. There are four rows of sites on the beach with full hookups. Sites 41-53 are in the front row. Beach sites run from $94 to $127 beachside and $73 to $91 across the street. Weekly and monthly rates are available. Red Coconut RV Resort, 3001 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach. For reservations, call 1-888-262-6226
Related Story: Lovers Key: Great beach plus kayaking, manatees & birds
Turtle Beach Campground
I came across this little gem while visiting a friend on Siesta Key a few years ago. Turtle Beach had been a private campground since the 1920s, but it was acquired by Sarasota County in 2006 for an expansion of Turtle Beach Park. The campground is a narrow sliver wedged between the park and a residential area with 39 shaded RV and tent sites with full hookups and free Wi-Fi. The campground road runs down the middle — with direct access to the beach at the end. A kayak launch area is located in the adjacent park. No pets allowed. The nightly rate is $42-$51, depending on the season, with $5-$7 add-ons for weekends and holidays. Turtle Beach Park, 8862 Midnight Pass Road, Sarasota. For reservations, call 941-861-2267 or book online
St. George Island State Park
I first visited this state park when it first opened in the 1980s, and the memories are still with me. The park’s 9 miles of white-sand beach is stunning. The campground is laid out behind a wall of dunes, a hop and a skip from the Gulf of Mexico. There are 60 sites with electric and water, and there are six sites with concrete pads. On the bay side, there are two natural launch ramps. Camping fees are $24 a night, including water and electric. Day-use fee is $6 per vehicle. St. George Island State Park, 1900 E. Gulf Beach Drive, St. George Island, FL. Phone: 850-927-2111. For reservations, call 800-326-3521.
Read more: Apalachicola & St. George Island: Delightful, spectacular
Camping and cabin sites are within a block of the broad and hard-packed beach, where you can ride a fat-tire bike for miles. If you’re lucky and there’s a rocket launch from the space center, this is THE place to be. RV sites have water and electric hookups; only 13 have sewer hookups. Rustic tent sites have water. The four-person cabins are small but functional with a patio, a grill, picnic table, A/C, fridge and bathroom. No kitchens or showers, but there is a central bathhouse. Cabins are $120 and include linens. Primitive tent sites are $27 off-season, $37 in-season. RV sites with full hookups are $39 off-season and $49 in-season. Without sewer, deduct $5. Jetty Park Campground, 9035 Campground Circle, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920. Phone: 321-783-7111. For reservations, call 321-783-7111. COVID-19 Note: Online bookings have been suspended and only a limited number of camp sites are available. Cabins and the primitive tent area are closed until further notice, and RV sites are assigned on arrival to maintain social distancing.
Related story: Beachfront camping and cabins in Port Canaveral
Fort DeSoto’s Tent Campground
While most RV sites in Fort DeSoto’s massive campground are on the water, only the tent campground is on an actual beach. The waterfront RV sites are on seawalls, and these RV sites are still pretty nice! You can paddle, ride a bike or drive within the park to one of the most outstanding beaches in the nation, Fort DeSoto’s famous North Beach. Overall, the campground has 238 sites on three connected islands including the tent campground. Tent sites are $33.50 in-season and $30 off season. RV sites are $38.50 in season and $37 off-season. (Add $2 for waterfront.) Reservations are recommended, but some walkup sites are available. Fort DeSoto Park, 3500 Pinellas Bayway South, Tierra Verde, FL 33715 . Reservations up to 6 months in advance online or call (727) 582-2267.
Read more: Fort DeSoto’s beach ranked among best in nation
Gamble Rogers State Recreation Area
Gamble Rogers is not very big park as state parks go, but it has a beautiful 1/2-mile orange sand beach, and an oceanfront campground with 34 sites. The inland side of the 145-acre park has a boat ramp and hiking trails that open up on the Intracoastal Waterway and the saltwater marshes that are common along this section of the coast, making it an excellent launch pad for boats, kayaks and canoes seeking to explore a multitude of quiet inland waterways. A paved bike path runs along A1A to the nearby North Peninsula State Park. All 34 campsites have water, electric, picnic table and a fire ring. A dump station is on site. Pets are allowed. (Maximum RV length is 40 feet.) Gamble Rogers State Recreation Area, 3100 S. Oceanshore Blvd., Flagler Beach FL 32136 Phone: 386-517-2086. For reservations, call 800-326-3521.
Related story: Gamble Rogers: A celebration of song and sea
Anastasia State Park
Four miles of pristine beach and historic St. Augustine make this state park a big attraction. Perfect layover for visitors to the nation’s oldest city who also want to hike through dunes, bicycle on the beach, paddle, sail or fish. Anastasia has 139 campsites for RVs and tents located in a tree hammock, a short walk from the beach. Understory vegetation provide visual privacy between most sites, which vary from 10 feet to 40 feet. All sites have electric and water, a picnic table, an in-ground grill and a fire ring. A dump station is nearby. Pets are OK. Sites are $28 a night plus a $6.70 one-time booking fee. Anastasia State Park, 300 Anastasia Park Rd., St. Augustine FL 32080 Phone: 904-461-2033. For reservations, call 800-326-3521.
Related story: Five cool things we discovered in St. Augustine
Grayton Beach State Park
This 2,000-acre park embraces one of the most beautiful beaches in the U.S., a sugar-sand paradise that stretches for a mile along a peninsula between Destin and Panama City Beach. The park features a 4.5 mile trail for hiking and biking, and there’s a kayak launch for paddling Western Lake. A new campground loop has added 24 sites with water, 50-amp electric and sewer hookups, bringing the total number of sites to 52. Both camping loops have restrooms with hot showers. The park also has 30 two-bedroom duplex cabins accommodating up to six people each, so invite friends to spend a week or a weekend when you’re here. Pets are OK. Rates are $30 per night plus a $6.70 one-time reservations fee. Cabins are $110-$130 per night. Grayton Beach State Park, 357 Main Park Rd., Santa Rosa Beach FL 32459 Phone: 850-267-830. For reservations, call 800-326-3521.
Related story: Grayton Beach: Play outdoors at America’s No. 1 beach
Sebastian Inlet State Park
The state park’s 51 renovated campsites overlook the inlet, accommodating both RVs and tents. Much of the shade in the old campground is gone, but new shade is rapidly taken root, just not as much. All sites have water and electric, but no sewer hookups. There is a dump station on site, and rest rooms with showers are convenient to all campers. A camp store sells the basics, including bait for fishing. Sebastian Inlet State Park, 9700 South Highway A.1.A, Melbourne Beach FL 32951. Phone: 321-984-4852. For reservations, call 800-326-3521.
Related story: Two top campgrounds, pristine beaches, surfing, kayak the lagoon and fab fishing at Sebastian Inlet
Fort Pickens Campground
This spectacular 200-site campground is on the west end of Santa Rosa Island within the protected Gulf Islands National Seashore. The campground is named after a historic fort found on the island’s westernmost point, built in the early 1800’s to protect Pensacola Bay. It was one of four forts that did not fall into Confederate hands during the Civil War. All 200 Fort Pickens’ campsites have water, electricity, grills/fire rings, and picnic tables. Restrooms and dump stations are nearby. Loop A is the most popular with oaks and other trees providing excellent shade over nearly all sites. A beach access point is directly across from the Loop A entrance. Sites are $26 per night. Fort Pickens Campground, 1400 Fort Pickens Rd, Pensacola Beach, FL 32561;(850) 934-2622. Reservations: Call (800) 326-3521, TDD (888) 433-0287, or book online.
Related story: Gulf Islands National Seashore: Beaches that wow; rare old fort
Summer is peak season in the Panhandle, so you’ll pay top dollar in summer with discounts in winter. In any event, this is a cool, privately owned camping resort on a beautiful Gulf beach. Sites are 20 ft wide and suitable for all size rigs with water & electric hookups. A honey wagon service is provided for an additional charge. Stay a few nights, a month or the season. There are a handful of tent sites, but none are near the beach. Pets are not permitted. Rates range from $108-$232 per night for RV sites in summer; $75-$122 in winter. Closer you are to the beach, the more you pay. Winters can get pretty darn cold. Average highs in January may be low 60s, but freezing is not unknown here. Camp Gulf Holiday Travel Park, 10005 Emerald Coast Parkway, Destin, FL 32550. For reservations, call (877) 226-7485 or book online.
Cayo Costa Island
No matter how lovely the day or idyllic its beach, you won’t find crowds on Cayo Costa. Accessible only by boat, a one-hour ferry ride from Pine Island, the fare all but discourages day visitors, so campers have a perfect beach almost to themselves. Cayo Costa State Park has 30 primitive tent sites near the beach with picnic table, ground grill and potable water. No electric. A handful of sites are available for hammock camping. There are also 12 rustic one-room cabins and 20 slips for boat camping at the park’s dock. Tent sites are $22 per night, cabins $40 per night, plus a $6.70 booking fee. Overnight boat slips are $20. Cayo Costa State Park, 4 Nautical Miles West of Pine Island (26.685789, -82.245381), Cayo Costa FL 33922. For reservations, call 800-326-3521. Getting there: The park is accessible by private boat or passenger ferry. Call Captiva Cruises at 239-472-5100 for ferry reservations. The ferry connects to Cayo Costa from Captiva Island, Punta Gorda and Pine Island.
Related story: Cayo Costa: Wild beach on a remote island.
Anclote Key Preserve
Anclote Key is an 11,000-acre island paradise three miles off the coast of Tarpon Springs with beautiful beaches and a picturesque 1887 lighthouse. Campers pitch tents on the north end of the island for an unbelievable beach-camping experience under the stars. There is no water — just a compost toilet — so you bring everything you need (and leave nothing behind). The best part of camping on this beach? It’s free! You don’t even need a reservation. The worst part? It’s damn near impossible to camp here without a boat. Ferry service is only for day visitors. Anclote Key State Park, Offshore, Tarpon Springs FL 34689. Phone: 727-241-6106. Getting There: Campers must have their own boat, and kayakers should be reasonably experienced for a three-mile open water paddle — with a keen eye for weather and knowledge of currents. Launch from Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs or Anclote Gulf Park in Pasco County.
Related story: Tarpon Springs: Visit dazzling island of Anclote Key on boat from Sponge Docks
A note from the editor:
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Bob Rountree is a beach bum, angler and camper who has explored Florida for decades. No adventure is complete without a scenic paddle trail or unpaved road to nowhere. Bob co-founded FloridaRambler.com with fellow journalist Bonnie Gross 12 years ago.