These Florida State Parks offer breathtaking experiences and well-maintained campgrounds where you can pitch a tent or pull onto a pad in your RV just a few miles off Interstate 95.
Reservations are recommended, but a small number of sites are set aside for drop-ins.
Fort Clinch State Park
Exit 373 Fernandina Beach — 17 miles from I-95
Fort Clinch was built in 1847, after the end of the Second Seminole War, and was a Union garrison during the Civil War. During the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps restored the fort, built a museum, and cleared the surrounding land for a campground.
The sunset view above was taken from the Amelia River Campground. The park has a second campground behind sand dunes on the Atlantic side of the state park.
The park has 3.3 miles of paved roadway for bicycling, and you can ride for miles on the beach at low tide.
The campground features 61 sites in two separate campgrounds – 40 tree-shaded sites in the Amelia River Campground and 21 sites tucked behind the dunes on the ocean in the Atlantic Beach Campground. Each site has a fire ring, picnic table, water and electric hookups.
Each campground has its own dump station, soft drink vending machines and new bathhouses with showers and washing machines. Pets are permitted in the campground. (Maximum RV length is 40 feet.)
Fort Clinch State Park, 2601 Atlantic Avenue, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034. 904-277-7274. Camping Fee: $26/night.
Related story: Fort Clinch State Park: Camping, fab beach …
Little Talbot Island State Park
Exit 362 Jacksonville — 18 miles from I-95
With five miles of white-sand beaches, Little Talbot Island is one of Florida’s few remaining undeveloped barrier islands, and it is the campground anchor for six other state parks clustered around it, collectively known as the Talbot Islands State Parks.
The park has 2.5 miles of paved roadway for bicycles, or you can ride along the beach on hard-pack sand. There are 40 campsites tucked into coastal dunes surrounded by a maritime hammock of live oaks and magnolia trees.
Each site has electric (20/30 amp) and water hookups, fire ring and picnic table. The campground has a laundry facility and two bathhouses with hot showers. A dump station is available for RV campers. Pets are allowed in designated areas of the campground. (Maximum RV length=30 feet).
Related article by Florida Rambler: Beach camping near Jacksonville
Little Talbot Island State Park, 12157 Heckscher Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32226. 904-251-2320. Camping Fee: $24.
Related story: The Talbot Islands: Paradise on the edge
Anastasia State Park
Exit 311 St. Augustine Beach — 11 miles from I-95
Four miles of pristine beach and nearby St. Augustine make Anastasia State Park the perfect campground for history buffs.
Perfect layover for campers planning to visit the nation’s oldest city but also want to hike through the dunes, bicycle on the beach, paddle, sail or fish.
Anastasia has 139 camping sites for RVs and tents. Sites are located in the hammock forest, protected from blowing sand and salt spray, but still within easy bicycling or walking distance to the beach. And you can hear the ocean.
Ground cover provides visual privacy between most sites, which vary from 10 feet to 40 feet in length, and ADA-accessible sites are available. All sites have electric and water, a picnic table, an in-ground grill and a fire ring.
A communal dump station is free for park campers. Be sure to place your trash in the compactor near the entrance to the campgrounds. Pets are allowed in all areas of the park except the restrooms and beach. (Maximum RV length is 40 feet.)
Anastasia State Park, 1340-A State Road A1A South, St. Augustine, FL 32080. 904-461-2033. Camping Fee: $28.
Faver-Dykes State Park
Exit 298 St. Augustine — 2 miles from I-95
This tranquil park borders Pellicer Creek, which flows through open marshes that frame the Intracoastal Waterway south of St. Augustine, and it’s just a hop and a skip from I-95.
Faver-Dykes State Park is one of the most popular in the state for bird-watching with more than 100 species seen during the fall and spring migrations.
Pellicer Creek is a designated state canoe/kayak trail with miles of paddle-worthy arteries to explore and engage with nature.
The campground has 30 sites in a shady hardwood hammock, each buffered from neighboring sites by natural vegetation. Each site has water, electric, fire circle with grill and a picnic table. A dump station is in the campground. Pets allowed. (Maximum RV length is 30 feet).
Faver-Dykes State Park, 1000 Faver-Dykes Road, St. Augustine, FL 32086. 904-794-0997. Camping Fee: $18 per night.
Related story: Best 15 campgrounds near Daytona
Gamble Rogers State Park
Exit 284 Flagler Beach — 7 miles from I-95
Gamble Rogers is not very big park as state parks go, but it has a beautiful 1/2-mile orange sand beach, an oceanfront campground with 34 sites and a second inland campground with another 34 sites.
The inland side of the 145-acre park, fronting the Intracoastal Waterway, also has a boat ramp and hiking trails with boat access to coastal marshes that are common along this section of the coast.
The park is an excellent launch point 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 Park, 3100 S. State Road A1A, Flagler Beach, FL 32136. 386-517-2086. Camping Fee: $28 per night.
Related story: Gamble Rogers: A celebration of song and sea
Tomoka State Park
Exit 273 Ormond Beach — 5.5 miles from I-95
A watery inland paradise with excellent paddling, biking, boating and fishing, Tomoka State Park envelopes the Tomoka River estuary and is the gateway the Scenic Ormond Loop Trail.
One of the premier stops along the Florida Birding Trail, Tomoka State Park boasts more than 160 species of birds sighted either in residence or passing through during the spring and fall migrations.
The Ormond Loop Trail offers miles of scenic bicycling and cruising, connecting to five state parks and the beach, with majestic stands of Live oak trees and river views.
There are 100 well-shaded campsites, and most are quite deep, spacious and afford considerable privacy. All but a few pads are hard-pack sand and coquina shell, so they accommodate tents as well as RVs.
Each campsite has electric and water hookups, picnic table, lantern post and a grill. Dump station on site. The campground, which stretches out in an elongated oval, has three restrooms with showers. Pets are allowed. (Maximum RV length is 34 feet.)
Tomoka State Park, 2099 North Beach Street, Ormond Beach, FL. 32174. 386-676-4050. Camping Fee: $24.
Related story: Tomoka State Park: Gateway to the Ormond Scenic Loop
Florida State Parks camping rates include utilities. State and local taxes are additional, and there is also a $6.70 booking fee per reservation. Discounts are available for Florida residents 65 and over. Proof is required.
Sebastian Inlet State Park
Exit 156 Sebastian — 16 miles from I-95
Sebastian Inlet State Park is a surfer’s paradise, home to two of the east coast’s premier surf spots, First Peak and Monster Hole. But there is so much more.
Three miles of pristine beach with rolling dunes crested with sea oats is a sunbather’s delight, and if you are looking for calmer waters, the park also has a beach tucked into a protected cove just inside the inlet.
The inlet, meantime, provides some of the best fishing on the coast, fed by the constant flow of tides through the inlet to the Indian River Lagoon, an estuary famed for its breeding grounds.
Go kayaking to Pelican Island, the nation’s first wildlife sanctuary, or hike the Hammock Trail. Explore the McLarty Treasure Museum’s relics from a 1715 Spanish treasure fleet scuttled by a hurricane, while the Sebastian Fishing Museum chronicles the history of the area’s fishing industry.
Sebastian Inlet State Park’s 51 campsites overlook the inlet, accommodating both RVs and tents. 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. Rate: $28.
Related story: Flock to a wonderland of birds on tiny Pelican Island
Jonathan Dickinson State Park
Exit 87 Jupiter — 11 miles from I-95
Jonathan Dickinson State Park is vast and wild, sprawling across a coastal plain along the scenic Loxahatchee River, one of only two National Wild and Scenic Rivers in Florida. (The other is the Wekiva River.)
It’s no surprise, then, that the park offers outstanding kayaking, allowing you to paddle to a remote historic site, the jungle camp of the “Wild Man of the Loxahatchee,” Trapper Nelson, an early settler who created an attraction for well-heeled tourists who dared venture into these alligator-infested badlands. They came by boat, and you can, too. The park offers a boat tour.
More than 25 miles of multi-use trails are carved out of the scrub for hikers and bicycles. Additionally, there’s an off-road system of trails for mountain bikers, and hikers can wander off into the woods on dozens of nature trails. In winter, a concessionaire offers horseback riding on wooded trails.
The park was home during World War II of Camp Murphy, a top-secret radar training school. A few buildings remain and a historical marker.
There are two campgrounds. The new Pine Grove Campground, near the park entrance, has 90 sites, each with water, electricity, table, grill and sewer hookups. (There is pine grove, though. The pines were wiped out by a 1994 hurricane.)
The River Campground, about four miles from the park entrance, has 52 sites with all but sewer hookups. Both campgrounds have large, tiled restrooms with hot showers and laundry facilities. (Max RV length 40 feet)
Cabin rentals are available near the River Campground.
Jonathan Dickinson State Park, 16450 S.E. Federal Hwy., Hobe Sound, FL. Phone: 772-546-2771. Camping rate: $26. Cabins: $95 (winter), $85 (summer).
Notes from the editor:
The information in this article was accurate when published but may change without notice. Confirm details when planning a trip, especially to areas hard hit by hurricanes.
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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.