With so much beauty and nature present in the whole state of Florida, Florida state parks camping seems the obvious choice if you're living in the southeast or just want to find a new place to go, far, far from home.
Why to Choose Florida
Florida state parks were awarded the "Nation's Best State Park Service" award on two separate occasions-once in 1999 and once in 2005 (it made the finals in 1997, too). That's an advertisement in itself. They must be doing something right! The award recognizes the state parks' achievements when it comes to management and the recreational, leisure, and educational services offered to their visitors.
Florida State Parks Camping Sites
The list is extensive due to Florida's beauty and endless number of things to do and places to see before you leave. Some allow overnight camping; others are for your learning and pleasure, but you have to be out at sundown. Here are a few parks to consider visiting;
Amelia Island State Park is located on Florida's east side right where Nassau Sound and the Atlantic Ocean meet. Inside the area, there are beaches, 200 acres of beautiful wilderness, horseback riding on the beach, and tons of fishing!
If you have an itch to go out on a canoe or a kayak, Blackwater River is the place to go. You can swim, fish, camp, and more.
Devils Millhopper Geological State Park is located in north Florida, two miles northwest of Gainesville. The amazing thing about this place is that it actually contains a miniature rainforest. Can't make it to the Amazon? No problem. This one is worth mentioning because of the hiking and nature involved, but you can't camp here-you have to be out by 5:00 PM.
Honeymoon Island State Park sounds like the ultimate lovers' retreat (much more romantic than its former name, Hog Island). Whether you're in love with your guest or just infatuated with nature, it's still a great place to visit. Relax to the sounds of waves crashing against the beach. Enjoy sunsets and nature walks. Visit the nature center for a fabulous view of the Gulf of Mexico.
Madira Bickel Mound State Archaeological Site displays Native American history for all to learn from and enjoy. It was the first of its kind in Florida's state park system. In this one point, archaeologists have uncovered evidence from three different periods of historical Native American life-one goes back to 2000 years. This is another one worth mentioning, but camping's not available at this state park. Admission is free, but you have to be out by sundown.
Like the trees? Want to catch glimpses of animals you don't normally see? Consider San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park, where you can hike (there's even a designated hiking area so you can enjoy the solitude), bicycle, go horseback riding, and more.
If you feel like camping in a place surrounded by history, check out Tomoka State Park for its Native American back story. Here, you can also enjoy bird-watching and, of course, camping. Learn from artifacts and nature trails, and then cool off by floating down the river on a canoe or a boat.
Yellow River Marsh Preserve State Park houses some of Florida's last-remaining wet prairies. Here, you can find rare plants and animals, including carnivorous plants. You can find it in Santa Rosa County. This one, too, has no recreational facilities, but is worthy of mention for its unique nature.
For a longer and more detailed list, check out FloridaStateParks.org.
More than Just Camping
If your ideal way to spend time with nature is by lying out on a blanket in the sun or jumping into the waves, Florida state parks camping areas could still be the way to go. According to FloridaParks.com, six out of the top twenty beaches in America are within Florida's parks. That's something to brag about!
Other Florida Attractions
If you've done your camping and you've got more time before returning home, don't miss the other attractions in Florida:
- Disney World
- Universal Studios
- Sea World
- Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum