Florida’s state parks earn high rankings from camping experts. Cheapism.com ranks them number five, while lawnlove.com gives them four. Florida has 52 parks that offer RV camping. Popularity has downsides, it can be hard to book a site, and Florida isn’t the cheapest, but there are some discounts. Rates vary from $16–$42 per night. All Florida state parks have a non-refundable $6.70 reservation fee and a $7 nightly utility fee for RVs.
Let’s explore these expertly picked RV campsites from every corner of Florida.
1. Bahia Honda
Bahia Honda State Park is one of Florida’s most popular parks. It’s at mile markers 36–38 of the Florida Keys, the closest park with camping to Key West. It’s close to Big Pine Key with its adorable Key Deer. The Keys are a high-priority RVing area and the private parks’ rates average over $100 a night, so Bahia Honda is a bargain with a $36 base rate.
2. Curry Hammock State Park
There are two other state parks in the Keys with camping. Curry Hammock, near the middle of the Keys, offers more secluded sites but is about 20 miles farther from Key West.
3. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
John Pennekamp Coral Reef in Key Largo is the country’s first undersea park but about 100 miles from Key West. Sites are small and lack privacy.
Pro Tip: There are some tricks to book at Keys parks and any of the busy Florida parks. Registration opens 11 months in advance at 8 a.m. Eastern. Be on your computer and ready to book precisely at that time. Within a few minutes, they’ll all be booked. Another trick is to keep checking often, and occasionally, someone cancels. Grab that spot fast; it won’t last long. There are websites like Wandering Labs that monitor campgrounds for cancelations. There’s a free version that searches three parks and emails you when sites open. The $30 paid option monitors more often and notifies with texts.
4. Anastasia State Park
Anastasia State Park is the closest park to popular St. Augustine. You can see the historic lighthouse from the park. It’s a beautiful park with a beach on Salt Run. You can rent kayaks or canoes and watch for wildlife, including dolphins and water birds.
5. Faver Dykes State Park
If you want to visit St. Augustine, but Anastasia is booked, try Faver Dykes State Park. It’s just about a half-hour drive from the Historic District. You pay only $18 per night at Faver Dykes compared to $28 at Anastasia. You lose out on the beach with swimming and surfing, but Faver Dykes is quieter with more trees and larger sites.
6. Florida Caverns State Park
One of the most popular parks at the eastern edge of the Florida Panhandle is Florida Caverns State Park near Marianna. The base camping fee is $20 per night and the cave tour is spectacular.
7. Falling Waters State Park
If you can’t book Florida Caverns, Falling Waters State Park is a quieter park with more private sites, plus a beautiful waterfall and sinkhole. It’s about 25 miles away, so you can still book the cave tour.
8. Three Rivers State Park
Three Rivers sits near the Florida-Georgia border where the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers converge to form Lake Seminole — which has some of the best freshwater fishing.
9. Torreya State Park
Torreya is another good choice nearby. It’s named for the Torreya tree, a rare species that grows only on the bluffs along the Apalachicola River. This park is a big bird-watcher site and has a small boat launch. The park has the historic Gregory House you can visit.
10. Grayton Beach State Park
Santa Rosa Beach
Towards the western end of the panhandle, Grayton Beach State Park is popular for its coastal dune lake, found in only a few locations worldwide and just two states in the U.S. Because it’s closer to the beach, it’s harder to snag and costs $30 per night.
11. Blackwater River State Park
Blackwater River State Park is another good choice for visiting the western panhandle. It’s about an hour’s drive from Pensacola or Fort Walton and only $20 per night. It’s one of the most beautiful Florida state parks thanks to the Blackwater River. It’s wonderful for kayaking or canoeing.
12. Silver Springs State Park
Central Florida is filled with natural springs. What better place to camp? If the springs, the wildlife, the museum, and the proximity to Ocala and the Ocala National Forest weren’t enough to make Silver Springs State Park a must, the glass-bottomed boat tours make it one of my favorite parks.
13. Blue Spring State Park
Blue Spring State Park, near DeLand, is a year-round home to some manatees, but in winter, they’re here in droves. I saw over 50 one day. The boat tour is fantastic. The captain identified countless wild birds and told me things I never knew, like how a blue heron is white in its first year. It’s a good base for visiting Daytona or DeLand.
14. Wekiwa Springs State Park
Wekiwa Springs State Park surprised me with many slots open since it’s just about 16 miles from Orlando. It offers swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and wildlife viewing. And don’t write off neighboring Seminole County’s fun attractions like the Sanford Ghost Tour and the many breweries. Its German restaurant, Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe, is the best ever.
15. Manatee Springs State Park
Manatee Springs lives up to its name with the winter influx of manatees. Its 800-foot boardwalk engulfs you with cypress trees and opens on its first-magnitude springs. It’s about a half-hour drive to the gulf beaches. Sites are often available and it’s only $20 a night.
16. Rainbow Springs State Park
Rainbow Springs State Park was once a theme park. Its springs are crystal-clear and popular for swimming or kayaking. Its natural beauty and waterfalls draw the artists you see in the park painting.
17. Ruth B. Kirby Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park
Ruth B. Kirby Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park, Florida’s newest state park, has several springs. Swimming and snorkeling are popular in the crystal-clear water. Try paddling the 0.25-mile spring run to the Santa Fe River. The park is near Lake City and Gainesville.
18. Mike Roess Gold Head State Park
Sometimes lesser-known parks are real treasures. Mike Roess Gold Head State Park in Keystone Heights is about an hour’s drive to Jacksonville. It’s one of Florida’s oldest state parks. The bathhouse facing Lake Johnson was built by the CCC.
Pro Tip: There’s a hiking trail to an old mill site and the Florida National Scenic Trail passes through the park. I’ve seen rare Sherman fox squirrels here often.
19. O’Leno State Park
O’Leno State Park is another oldie-but-goodie a few miles from Lake City. It has a museum dedicated to the CCC workers who built the park and some of the original CCC buildings. The Nature Center has a small pen for turtles and lots of information inside. Check out the suspension bridge and paddle the Sante Fe River from the boat launch on site.
Pro Tip: It’s just a few miles from Ichetucknee Springs State Park for tubing fun.
20. Tomoka State Park
When visiting Daytona Beach, Tomoka State Park is nearby. It’s great for wildlife viewing. There have even been Florida panther sightings in the area and one confirmed in the park in 2008.
21. Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park
The Forgotten Coast
Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park is on a barrier island on “The Forgotten Coast.” Your swimming choices are gulf waves or calm bay. Don’t miss the amazing driftwood along the beach.
Pro Tip: While on the island, visit the historic Cape St. George Lighthouse.
22. Fort Clinch State Park
History and nature combine at Fort Clinch State Park, a short distance from Jacksonville. They do re-enactments at the well-preserved Civil War fort. The wildlife and nature are fantastic as well.
23. Hillsborough River State Park
Hillsborough River State Park is minutes from Tampa and a delightful refuge from traffic and crowds. Fort Foster State Historic Site, a reconstructed Seminole Wars fort, is part of the park and offers guided tours occasionally.
24. Jonathan Dickinson State Park
Jonathan Dickinson State Park is the perfect base to visit Palm Beach; it’s about 15 miles away. You can see from Hobe Sound to the Atlantic from the park’s observation deck. The park offers a trip on the Loxahatchee Queen II to visit the preserved homesite of Trapper Nelson, the self-styled “Wild Man of the Loxahatchee.”
25. Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
When visiting Gainesville, Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is the place to stay. It’s one of the few places you can see wild horses and bison.
Pro Tip: Florida residents over 65, those having a current Social Security disability award, or those having a 100 percent federal disability award get a 50 percent discount on the base camping fee.