Florida is so varied that there’s really no limit to what you can see when you camp in this beautiful state. From pristine beaches to fascinating history, and from wildlife preserves to islands you can only reach by boat, there are experiences to be had when camping in Florida that you’ll never tire of, and that you’ll never forget.
Starting with the sea near Fort Pierce, this camping area boasts a mile of completely unspoiled and undeveloped beach that is open to swimmers, snorkelers, fishermen and sunbathers. Known for its rare and endangered sea turtles, such as the loggerhead, Atlantic green, and leatherback, it’s a great place to kick back and enjoy a beach without the madness of a surf party.
But camping doesn’t necessarily mean roughing it. There are gorgeous historic retreats that offer beautiful garden areas. These include Washington Oaks Gardens State Park with a 20 acre botanical garden lined with 200-year-old oaks covered in Spanish Moss. Or tcamp near Palatka, where two 120-foot-deep ravines have been converted into tropical garden paradises. Or for something less rustic and more groomed, you can’t beat the Killearn Plantation Archaeological and Historic District Park, where beautiful ornamental gardens include a secret garden, a reflection pool, a walled garden, and thousands of flowers. (And don’t forget the swimming, fishing, canoeing and kayaking that are all allowed.)
But say you want a little history with your camping trip: you can watch the live reenactment of the 1835 Dade’s Battle in the American Indian War in Sumter County. Or at Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park, there are ruins that mark the rise and fall of the sugar plantations of East Florida until 1836 when the Second Seminole War destroyed the plantation. There’s still much to learn and see on hikes, walks, birdwatching, canoeing and fishing.
And if you’re looking for a little of all of it, go to Long Pond near Pensacola on the Gulf Beach Highway, where you can fish, swim and boat before camping for the night. It’s also the starting point of the 1,515-mile sea kayaking route for the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail that goes around the entire state of Florida.