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Camping in Florida

It’s winter in Florida and that means lower humidity, fewer bugs, cooler temperatures and abundant sunshine. What better time to head out into the great outdoors and take the family on a camping adventure. Campfires, smores and time spent in nature is the perfect way to recharge the spirit and create family memories that last a lifetime.

The options in the Sunshine State are endless when it comes to camping. Whether you are looking to wake to the sound of the waves lapping the sand, fall asleep to the stars in a designated dark sky park free of light pollution, play at a campground with full hookups and amenities that rival any resort, or rough it at a primitive campsite, there is something for everyone in Florida. From October to March, the demand for Vitamin D nationwide is high, with many snowbirds heading south for the winter. Planning in advance is generally necessary, but if you don’t secure a spot and are looking for last minute cancellations, you can still get lucky as many come up with a few days’ notice. If at first you don’t see what you want, keep checking. Many high demand parks will book about a year in advance, but with a new bill passed, Florida residents now get a 30-day jump start on reservations at all Florida state parks. Be sure to create an account at and input your driver’s license to take advantage of this benefit of being a Floridian. Popular oceanfront campgrounds like those at Bahia Honda and John Pennekamp in the Keys, with their laid-back atmosphere, are now a bit easier to book thanks to this legislation.

Locally, we have one of the best campgrounds in the state located at Fort Desoto Park in Pinellas County. Miles of white sand beaches, fishing piers, boating, wildlife, and two island ferries are right at your fingertips when you stay in the park. From tent camping to full RV hookups, they have it all. Further north, Kelly Park, Rainbow Springs and Silver Springs all offer camping near beautiful places to play in the water. If you are looking for wildlife encounters, a stay at Paynes Prairie Preserve won’t disappoint. Wild horses, bison and many species of birds call the park home and are frequently encountered by guests. If a resort style experience is for you, try to score a spot at Disney’s Fort Wilderness, which offers campsites and cabins. You can play in the pool, take a trip down the waterslide, or enjoy one of the many on-site activities offered for young and old alike.

Looking to camp but not sure how to, or afraid to go on your own? There are opportunities for those who need some guidance or don’t have the gear. One local company called Wandering Adventures offers camping and kayaking monthly for ladies only (with children allowed as well). Tours book in advance so be sure to check out their Facebook page for more information.

With the bugs at bay and the temperature comfortable, break out the tent and the s’mores and take a trip into the great outdoors for an experience your family is sure to be talking about for years to come.


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