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Great camping can be found in Florida’s little-known county parks

Camping in Florida’s county parks is increasingly on our radar as campers get shut out of crowded state parks and face skyrocketing rates at private campgrounds.

There are other low-cost options, of course, such as Ocala National Forest, Everglades National Park, Big Cypress Preserve and the 80 camping areas in Florida State Forests.

County parks are accessible, well-maintained, inexpensive and usually near things to do. Some, not all, offer security. Those without good security may play host to weekend carousing by local yahoos. TripAdvisor is often helpful in that regard, so we’ve added those links for your convenience.

This list is not all-inclusive. Some parks have been excluded because they are closed for renovations or storm recovery. They will be added as they reopen.

Key to Text Links: Name of park (web site), address (to Google maps), phone (click2dial), TripAdvisor (to listing), YouTube (to related video). Rates were effective as of Nov. 1, 2022.


County Campgrounds on Florida’s Atlantic Coast


hanna park jacksonville county parks camping
The shoreline at Hanna Park in Jacksonville. (c) Can Stock Photo / nflane

Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park (Jacksonville) RV and Tent

This 447-acre natural playground includes more than 20 miles of biking and hiking trails through cool woodlands and access to 1.5 miles of white sand beaches with multiple access points. Home to the premier surfing spot in Northeast Florida, The Poles. Kayak and bicycle rentals available from Adventure Kayak Florida. Leashed pets OK on beaches. 24-hour security. Tent camping, $20.25/night, including tax; RV, $33.75, including tax; Cabins, $33.75, including tax (Two night minimum stay.) Book online for reservations. Address: 500 Wonderwood Drive, Jacksonville 32233. Book campsites online for reservations. Phone: (904) 249-4700.TripAdvisor ReviewsYouTube: Hanna Park

Related article: The Talbot Islands: Paradise on the edge

Lake Monroe Park (Volusia County) RV and Tent

Excellent boat ramps with direct access to the St. John’s River, this is one of Volusia County’s oldest and most popular parks. Recent renovations include floating docks, modern restrooms, picnic pavilions and a new trailhead to the multi-use Lake Monroe-Gemini Springs trail. 44 RV sites and 26 for tents, all with water and electricity. Security seemed marginal on our visit. $40/night for RVs; $25 for tents. Address: 975 U.S. Highway 17-92, DeBary. Call 386-668-3825 for reservations or book your site in person. — TripAdvisor ReviewsYouTube: Lake Monroe

Related article: Best Camping near Daytona Beach

Manatee Hammock Campground (Brevard County) RV and Tent

This 27-acre RV and tent campground on the Indian River Lagoon is shady and often crowded because it’s close to Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral National Seashore and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. And that’s exactly why you might like it. The park has a 197-foot fishing pier (Indian River Lagoon), a playground, kayak launch, and a perfect view of Kennedy Space Center rocket launches. Features 166 campsites with electric, water and sewer, and another 20 sites with water and electric only. Rest rooms with hot showers and laundry. Swimming pool. Wi-Fi. Busy campground with good security. Rates are $26/night plus tax. 7275 South US 1, Titusville, FL 32780. Phone: (321) 264-5083. Reservations accepted online at Brevard County WebTrac. — TripAdvisor ReviewsYouTube: Manatee Hammock

Related article: Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Long Point Park (Brevard County) RV and Tent

Long one of our favorites, Long Point has 170 campsites on an 85-acre island with 113 waterfront sites directly on the Indian River Lagoon. Each of the waterfront sites has water and electric hookups. On the interior of the island, there are an additional 57 campsites, some with full hookups. Bring your own shade (the island is barren). Food, beer and bait is available at a convenience store at the corner with A1A. I’ve never had an issue with security, and I’ve camped here often. Camping is $30 per night plus tax (late checkout fee $18). Reservations up to a year in advance online or by phone. Address: 700 Long Point Rd, Melbourne Beach, FL 32951. Phone: 321-952-4532 — TripAdvisor ReviewsYouTube video: Long Point

Related Article: Sebastian Inlet: Two great campgrounds with plenty to do

Savannas Recreation Area (St. Lucie County) RV or Tent

The Savannas Recreation Area is tucked into a 12-mile-long, 6,000-acre freshwater coastal marsh, the last of its kind in South Florida, sharing the wetlands with the adjacent Savannas Preserve State Park and featuring hiking, biking, fishing and kayaking in shallow marsh “lakes.” The campground offers full hookups — water, sewer, electric — for $26 a night for RVs and $18 for tent campers. Campground reservations can be made by phone or in person up to a year in advance but are not site specific. Address: 1400 E. Midway Road, Fort Pierce, FL 34982. Phone: (772) 464-7855TripAdvisor ReviewsYouTube: Savannas

Related article: The Savannas: An unlikely oasis

CB Smith Park (Broward County) RV and Tent

Sprawling 300-acre Broward County park with two large lakes and a spacious, well-groomed campground. The water park has two 50-foot water slides (open spring to fall), and facilities include a golf driving range, miniature golf, batting cages, volleyball, basketball, racquetball, tennis, pickle ball, picnic areas and shelters, horseshoes and playground. Good security. Sites are $45/night (Nov. 1-Apr. 30) and $35/night (May 1-Oct. 31). Address: 900 North Flamingo Road, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028. Phone: 954-357-5170. — TripAdvisor ReviewsYouTube: CB Smith Park

Related article: Best camping near Fort Lauderdale


County Campgrounds in Central Florida


Emerald Cut on Rock Springs Run
Emerald Cut on Rock Springs Run, just below Camp Joy kayak launch and Kelly Park. (Photo by Bob Rountree)

Kelly Park/Rock Springs (Orange County) RV and Tent

Kelly Park is the source of scenic Rock Springs Run, which meanders through a striking tropical environment to the pristine Wekiva River, eventually spilling into the St. Johns River. There are only 26 campsites, and every one is spacious, clean and shaded. The sites are arranged in a circle with feeder paths to a central bathhouse. Each site has a fire ring with grill, picnic table, water and electric hookup. Swimming, wading, tubing in the springhead basin. Kayaking from the park’s Camp Joy (fee), adjacent to the campground. Kayak/canoe rentals available downstream at Kings Landing. No pets, no alcohol. Very good security with locked gates, day and night. Camping rate is $23 for out-of-county residents, $18 for Orange County residents. Reservations up to 45 days in advance online at ocfl.net. Campground closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Address: 400 East Kelly Park Road, Apopka Phone: (407) 254-1902. — TripAdvisor

Related article: Beautiful park, cool swimming, shaded campground

Moss Park (Orange County) RV and Tent

Moss Park is 1,500 acres on a peninsula between two large lakes, one of which has a swimming beach. Adjacent to the campground is another 2,000 acres in the Split Oak Nature Preserve, great for hiking and orienteering. There are two playgrounds, one near the freshwater beach. Rest rooms with showers; Grill, table, fire ring, water and electric at every site; Dump station; Swim in lake, hiking in the preserve, bike; Boat launches for both lakes; No pets, no alcohol. 24 miles to Disney World. On the night I stayed, a pair of drunk yahoos in a campsite next to mine allowed their campfire to spread and the woods caught fire. While I don’t think this was typical, I was surprised they weren’t kicked out. I haven’t been back. Sites are $23 per night for out-of-county residents, $18 for residents of Orange County. Reservations up to 45 days in advance online at ocfl.net. Campground closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Address: 12901 Moss Park Rd, Orlando, FL 32832. Phone: (407) 254-6840 — TripAdvisor

Related article: Camping near Disney World: Our 7 picks within an hour’s drive

South Bay RV Campground (Lake Okeechobee/Palm Beach County) — RVs & Tents

This is not in Disney’s “Central Florida.” It’s South Central Florida on Lake Okeechobee. Spacious and clean campground at the foot of the levee encircling Lake Okeechobee with full hookups and a boat ramp over the levee, this campground is paradise for bass anglers, paddlers and cyclists. Hike or bike the 110-mile Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail, which circles the lake atop the levee. The campground has 72 paved RV sites, each with grill, picnic table, and full hook-ups to water, electric (30/50 amp) and sewer. Rates are $29.38 plus tax for tents and RVs. Reservations must be made by phone or e-mail. Call the campground office ​at 561-992-9045 or email to SBCamp@pbcgov.org​ for your reservation. Address: 100 Levee Rd.,South Bay, Florida 33493Phone:  561-992-9045 — TripAdvisor


County park campgrounds near Tampa Bay


american oyster catcher fort desoto county campgrounds
American oyster catchers stepping out on Fort De Soto’s pristine beaches. (c) Can Stock Photo / Vinoverde

Fort De Soto Park (Pinellas County) RV and Tent

Fort De Soto is the largest public campground in the Tampa Bay region with 236 sites, and most are waterfront, allowing canoes or kayaks to launch near your site. One campground loop with 85 sites is exclusively for tents, vans and popup campers. Another loop is set aside for campers with pets. The beaches are consistently ranked among the best in Florida, bicycle trails connect all areas of the park, and you can kayak to offshore islands on a calm day. Excellent security. RV sites, $44-$48, including taxes; Tents, vans and popups, $34-38, including taxes. Address: 3500 Pinellas Bayway South, Tierra Verde, FL 33715. Phone: (727) 582-2267. — TripAdvisor

Related article: Fort De Soto Park: Tampa Bay treasure delivers

EG Simmons Park (Hillsborough County) RV and Tent

This 469-acre park on Tampa Bay has 103 campsites divided into two campgrounds. All but a dozen sites are waterfront, and each has a fire ring, picnic table, water and electric hookups with dump stations nearby. The sites are spacious, although there is no vegetation to afford privacy and little shade. But you can launch a small boat from your campsite. We saw kayaks at many campsites. Campground reservations are not accepted. First come, first served. Once in, you can stay up to 28 days at a time for a maximum of 180 days per year. Rates: $24/night ($18 for seniors 55+, and $12 for resident seniors 65+). Address: 2401 19th Ave NW, Ruskin, FL 33570. Phone: (813) 671-7655 or visit the park website. — TripAdvisor Reviews

Related article: Best camping near Tampa Bay

Edward Medard Conservation Park (Hillsborough County) RV or Tent

This 1,284-acre park, reservoir and campground near Plant City has 42 sites, all with water and electric, picnic tables and grills, accommodate RVs, tents and trailers on two loops within a heavily wooded area with a magnificent tree canopy and ground vegetation for privacy. The 700-acre reservoir is a popular fishing hole with boat launch, picnic area, a fishing pier and boardwalk. Kayaks and canoes are available for rental. First come, first served. Reservations are not accepted. Rates are $24/night ($18 for seniors age 55+; $12 for county resident seniors over 65.) Address: 6140 Turkey Creek Rd, Plant City, FL. For more information, call (813) 757-3802 or visit the park web site.TripAdvisor Reviews

Related article: Florida Strawberry Festival

Lithia Springs Conservation Park (Hillsborough County) RV or Tent

The main attraction at this 160-acre Hillsborough County park is its natural spring swimming hole. The spring feeds the Alafia River, offering multiple canoe and kayaking opportunities. Most of the campsites offer good privacy, and the campground is well-maintained. As is true in the other Hillsborough County parks, rates are $24/night ($18 for seniors age 55+, and $12 for age 65+ county residents). Good security with locked gates. Reservations are not accepted. Walk-ons only — first come, first served — and you can stay up to 28 days at a time, renewable up to 180 days. Credit cards are not accepted. (2021 rates) Address: 3932 Lithia Springs Road, Lithia, FL 33547. Phone: (813) 744-5572. — TripAdvisor Reviews

Related article: Camp at this cool, secluded park near Tampa


County park campgrounds Big Bend and Panhandle


Shell Mound Campground at Cedar Key
Shell Mound Campground near Cedar Key. (Photo by Bob Rountree)

Shell Mound Campground (Levy County) RV and Tent

This cool little campground is isolated, ensuring a quiet evening on tidal Suwannee Bay. The park has a long fishing pier and boat ramp. Like most of waters in this area, the muddy flats are shallow and fully exposed at low tide, forcing boaters to time their adventure to the tides. The campground is surrounded by the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge, the Cedar Key Scrub Wildlife Management Area and the Lower Suwannee River National Wildlife Refuge. Water and electric sites for two people are $16, electric-only sites are $10.90 and tent sites are $5.45, including tax. ($2 for each additional person). Cash only. If you arrive after hours (7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.), pick an open campsite and pay in the morning. The campground is remote but you should have plenty of company, mostly anglers. Safety in numbers? Address: 17650 SW 78th Place, Cedar Key, FL. Phone: 352-221-4466TripAdvisor Reviews

Related article: Six things to do on Cedar Key

Shired Island Park (Dixie County) RV and Tent

Shired Island is deep in the saltwater marshes of the Big Bend, a 3-acre sliver of sand and muck in the vast Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge — with good fishing. Stock your pantry and camping supplies before you leave civilization (Cross City, 19 miles northeast on State Road 357). Kayakers launch from the boat ramp or along the beach. Shell collectors will find millions of sun-bleached shells with a hike out to the point. Shired Island Campground offers 12 hookup spots for RV’ers, with or without electricity. Tent campers are welcome. All camping spots are first-come first-serve. No reservations. An employee of the parks department comes around to collect the camping fee, but there is virtually no security. Weekend campers are often rowdy. Weekdays are best for peaceful camping here. Sites with electric are $20 for non-residents, $10/night for county residents. The maximum stay is 14 nights. Address: 11072 SE Hwy 357, Horseshoe Beach, FL 32648. Phone: 352-498-0009 — TripAdvisor ReviewsYouTube: Shired Island

Read related story: Camping near Cedar Key

Coe Landing Campground (Leon County) RV and Tent

Small campground with 20 sites on Lake Talquin near Tallahassee. Each gravel-based site has electric (30 amp) and water hookups, picnic table and fire ring with grill. Clean restrooms, hot showers, wireless internet, dump station, boat ramps, boat docks, restroom, fishing pier, picnic shelter. Fishing pier and boat launch. $27/night. Reservations online at Leon County Parks. Notes: Expect cold weather over the winter. Address: 1208 Coe Landing Rd, Tallahassee, FL 32310. Phone: (850) 350-9560TripAdvisor ReviewsYouTube Video: Coe Landing


Tent Camping at County Parks in Florida

Campsites at Princess Place Preserve in Flagler County are beautifully situated in the forest, some with waterfront views. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)
Campsites at Princess Place Preserve in Flagler County are beautifully situated in the forest, some with waterfront views. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Princess Place Preserve (Flagler County) Primitive camping

Princess Place preserves 1,500 acres of pristine land midway between St. Augustine and Flagler Beach, offering offers miles of hiking trails under ancient live oaks, a wildlife-rich saltwater marsh perfect for exploring by kayak and primitive camping. There are a dozen tents-only primitive campsites, including an equestrian campsite and a group campsite. The fee for non-county residents is $25 for family sites. Reservations can be made up to a year in advance on the Princess Place Preserve website. Address: 2500 Princess Place Rd, Palm Coast, FL 32137. — TripAdvisor Reviews

Read more: Princess Place Preserve

Donald MacDonald Campground (Indian River County) Tent (Some RV)

Wooded and shady public campground in Sebastian offers direct access to the St. Sebastian River, which flows into the Indian River Lagoon directly across from Sebastian Inlet. All 31 sites have a fire ring and picnic table. Five sites have electric and water hookups for recreational vehicles, and they can be reserved, but this campground is really about the 26 non-electric sites for tent camping. You’ll share water spigots. A sheriff’s deputy lives in the park (patrol car included) and security is comfortable. Nightly fees are $20 for the primitive sites; $30 for electric (28-31). Reservations accepted online. Address: 12315 Roseland Road, Sebastian, FL 32958. Phone: (772) 226-1878. TripAdvisor Reviews

Read more: Donald MacDonald Park and Campground

Peanut Island (Palm Beach County) Tent, boat access only

Peanut Island has 17 landscaped campsites with tent pad, grill and picnic table. (Sites 1 & 2, 8 & 9, and 15 & 16 are double pads.) Restrooms with hot indoor showers, a picnic pavilion and large fire ring. Swimming and snorkeling for campers and day visitors. Be aware the 79-acre island is surrounded by busy boat channels in the Port of Palm Beach. Camping is $28 per night plus tax for a max three-night stay. Reserve online at www.bookyoursite.com/campgrounds/peanutislandfl​ or call 561-845-4445​. Accessible only by boat via Peanut Island Shuttle (Riviera Beach Marina) and Palm Beach Water Taxi (Sailfish Marina on Singer Island). Map of area: Intracoastal waterway, near the Lake Worth Inlet, Riviera Beach, FL. Phone: 561-845-4445​. — TripAdvisor Reviews

Read more: Peanut Island Campground

Jay B Starkey Wilderness Park (Pasco County) Tent only

This tent-only, primitive Pasco County campground is managed in partnership with the Southwest Florida Water Management District. The park is part of a 18,000-acre water-management preserve with unlimited hiking and a 7-mile paved bike trail, part of the 42-mile Suncoast Trail. The campground is the ultimate prize for tent campers. RV campers are prohibited. There are 16 campsites with restrooms and showers and a small shelter. Water spigots are shared. On the hiking trail, there are three remote primitive sites without any amenities. This is a wilderness, so you provide your own security. Sites are $15 per night, $10 for backpacking sites. Reservations up to 30 days in advance online or in person at Land O Lakes Recreation Complex, 3033 Collier Pkwy., Land O Lakes; Veterans Memorial Park, 14333 Hicks Rd., Hudson; or the J. Ben Harrill Recreation Complex, 2830 Gulf Trace Blvd., Holiday. Starkey Wilderness Park10500 Wilderness Park Boulevard, New Port Richey, FL 34655. Phone: (727) 834-3247. — TripAdvisor Reviews

Read more: Best Camping near Tampa Bay

Lake Mills Campground (Seminole County) Tent Only

Lake Mills is a 50-acre park located in the southwest part of Seminole County in Chuluota off Lake Mills Road. The park offers an up-close look at a mixed hardwood swamp, a sandy beach area on the lake and plenty of recreational opportunities. Each camp site offers a picnic table, grill and room for one car to park with overflow parking nearby. All sites are tent only. RV’s, Campers or Trailers are not permitted. Camping area has showers available for registered campers only. No electric or water hookups. Individual Sites (Sites 1-4, 6-14. Up to 6 people): $15+tax/night. Group Site (Site 5. Up to 40 people.): $30+tax/night. Reservations online. Maximum 7 day stay. Lake Mills Park, 1301 Tropical Ave, Chuluota, FL 32766. Phone: 407-665-2190TripAdvisor

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