Have you taken the time to start reserving your Fall and Winter Campsite in Florida? As most of the country starts dialing down their “camping season”, Florida is ramping up. We hope to help you with making your reservations promptly by providing you the link to various online reservation systems.
The humidity starts to scale back about mid October, the daily afternoon summer rains are not as frequent, hurricane season is almost over, and more temperate days and nights are more than welcome. The presence of bugs and annoying insects will soon be at their lowest numbers of the year. Late fall and Winter is prime camping season in Florida and the locals know it!
If you look at any of the reservation systems for local campgrounds you will find that thanksgiving week is nearly sold out (this usually happens in May). Booking a camping trip on any other long holiday weekends will also be a challenge. Add to the demand brought on by the cooler weather the cabin fever many are feeling due to the Corona Virus Pandemic and you may find that your favorite campsites are book to capacity already.
How to Book a Camp Site at a Florida State Park
Florida State Parks are always the first to book up on weekends in the fall. Having water and electric at most sites, modern bathroom facilities, and many other amenities, state parks are the first place campers tend to look for a safe place to camp with their families. All reservations for Florida State Parks are made on the Reserve America Website. Here you will find all the information on hours, amenities, programs, closures and descriptions of campsites. Create a simple log in account and you are all set to start searching for your best dates and sites based on location and availability.
There are a few campgrounds that will hold 1-2 sites open for walk-in clients but keep in mind these go very fast and you really have to be at the gate early that day to get lucky enough to snag one of these sites.
How to Book a Camp Site at a National Park in Florida
There are eleven National Park Units in the state of Florida, not all provide camping. You can learn more about each of these properties and their preserved natural wonders by visiting the National Park Service Website . You will learn much about the history, wildlife and ecosystems of Florida by visiting and staying at one of these locations. Everglades & Big Cypress are best visited December through February and you will find the largest crowds at that time (when the mosquitoes numbers are at their lowest). Dry Tortugas requires a special amount of planning as you must take 100% of what you will need for your trip, including water and trash receptacles, as well as take everything when you leave. There are times that camping on Dry Tortugas is booked up a year into the future. And remember to include travel to this “least visited” National Park either by personal vessel, sea plane or private shuttle service.
How to Book a Camp Site at a National Forest in Florida
Florida has three National Forests: Apalachicola, Ocala and Osceola. Of these three Ocala offers the most facilities. “With dozens of campgrounds, ranging from full-service to primitive walk-in tent camping scattered throughout the Ocala National Forest, plus a few cabins for large families and small groups (available by reservation only), the Forest offers a variety of outdoor accommodations to suit all interests.” You can access the information for each of these facilities and others at the U.S. Forest Service Website. Not all National Forest Camp sites require a fee, but you do need to contact them to verify if other activities such as controlled burns are scheduled and to get a permit (if required).
How to Book a Camp Site at a Florida Wildlife Management Area (WMA)
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) oversees more than 5.8 million acres of land established as wildlife management areas or wildlife and environmental areas. These lands, managed for both conservation and recreation, are more rugged than parks and have fewer developed amenities. Make your camping reservations through FWC’s convenient online reservation system at MYFWC.COM * Exploring some of the wildest areas in Florida does take some planning.
How to Find and Book a Camp Site at a County Park in Florida
Many of Florida’s 67 counties currently offer camping at select county parks. Keep in mind that not every park will have RV accommodations. Each of the counties websites will work differently and offer different format for information. Once you locate the County website via online search you can then look through their resources for “Parks and Recreation”, “Natural Lands” or “Leisure Services” to direct you to the department that manages county campgrounds.
On these pages you will often find an overview of what amenities, such as swimming or cycling, the park has available. Below is a couple that we are personally familiar with:
Hillsborough County Camping Reservations
Pasco County Camping Reservations
Pinellas County Camping Reservations
Polk County Camping Reservations
Seminole County Camping Reservations
Washington County Camping Reservations
Camp for Free in Florida
Thanks to the U.S. Forest Service, Florida State Forest, and the Florida Water Management Districts, free camping in Florida can be found from the Panhandle to the Everglades. The United States Department of Agriculture National Forests in Florida include the Ocala, Apalachicola, and Osceola forests. All it takes is a bit of research beforehand. Please note that not all of these facilities are “unknown” and you may see more attendance at these locations than you think. Always contact managing facilities, check to see if permits are required, plan and prepare for your trip carefully and have fun!
We hope that this guide helps you find the best places to experience the outdoors in Florida. There are so many options to choose from! If you still can’t find what you are looking for or you are interested in taking a guided camping adventure in Florida the team of experienced guides at Not a Clue Adventures would be excited to share our knowledge with you! Contact us directly at 813-789-0904