Top Spots to Camp in South Florida
When you think of camping, you probably think of places like Colorado or Oregon or the mountains of North Georgia. You think of wild bears and mountain lions maybe and early morning communes with nature. Maybe a blue jay will grace you with its presence as you watch a deer sip from a nearby spring. What you probably do not think of is South Florida. Despite your camping fantasies, however, South Florida campsites are a real thing and – what’s more – there are actually many campgrounds in Broward, Miami-Dade, West Palm Beach, Key West, and beyond. Some South Florida tent camping sites even feature exotic flora and fauna you would not find anywhere else in the world.
To help you thin the herd a little, this article highlights some top spots to camp in South Florida. We limit our picks here to tent camping and primitive camping sites in SoFlo.
Dry Tortugas National Park in Key West, Florida
Located just 70 miles west of Key West, Florida, you will find 100 square miles of national park known as the Dry Tortugas. Featuring the 19 th century For Jefferson, this park is also known for its coral reefs, exotic marine life, and a host of birds that are truly a sight to behold. The park is accessible via small seaplanes, boats, and the catamaran known as the Yankee Freedom Ferry. The park is a great place to swim, snorkel, and dive as well, with plenty of natural wonders, coral reefs, and sea creatures to view, including nurse sharks, sea turtles, and beautiful reef fish. Of course, the entire reason we mention the park is because of its lush tent camping site, the Garden Key Camp. Located near the public dock, Garden Key is a primitive campground that offers tent space that can accommodate three 2-person tents (6 people total) on a first-come, first-served basis. In the event that the six-person camp areas are filled, you will be allowed to camp in the overflow area near the regular campsite. The Dry Tortugas campsite offers the following facilities to tent campers: picnic tables, elevated charcoal grills, and toilets.
Things to Remember: Dry Tortugas offers no Wifi or electric hook-ups, so you will want to bring along battery charged devices. They also do not have a shower for primitive campers, so be prepared for that as well. You can find a list of recommendations, what camp items to bring, transportation services, and more for this Key West campground area by visiting the National Park Service Dry Tortugas camping website:
Myakka State Park in Sarasota, Florida
Myakka State Park in Sarasota, Florida in, with out a doubt, an amazing tent camping site in South Florida that will keep your family occupied and fill you with memories aplenty. Sitting in the midst of 58 miles of Florida’s first state- designated wild and scenic river, the primitive campgrounds offer great access to winding rivers, untouched wetlands, pinelands, hammocks, and prairie land. There are tons of activities you can enjoy here, including kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and hiking – to name but a few. Tent camping is available at one of three campgrounds, which feature a total of 90 campsites. The sites come with 50-amp electrical service, water, fire rings, and picnic tables. In addition, the camp also gives access to restrooms with hot shower facilities, making your camping experience a little less primitive than the Dry Tortugas! For a more primitive tent camping experience, Myakka State Park uses six primitive campgrounds that are near their hiking trails – a convenient spot for hikers. Fire pits, hanging posts, and water pumps are available here, but keep in mind that the water is not potable and will need to be chemically treated.
Things To Remember: For primitive camping you will need to bring chemical treatment and filters. Depending on your campground location you may even need to bring your own water, which we advise anyway. Equipment to boil water and cook is also recommended as is clothing that can help you avoid dehydration, as much of the primitive tent camping is on prairie land. Electricity is also not available at primitive camp sites. You can find a list of recommendations, what camp items to bring, transportation services, and more for this Saratoga, Florida campground area by visiting the Florida State Parks Myakka River camping website: https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/myakka- river-state-park/experiences-amenities-0#camping.
Peanut Island Campground in Riviera Beach, Florida
Peanut Island campground is located in Riviera Beach, Florida and makes our list of top tent camping sites because it is the only island park campsite that features 17 tropically landscaped camping areas, making for beautiful pictures and picturesque views while camping. Deriving its name from the fact that the island was originally used as a terminal for shipping peanut oil, Peanut Island a fun place to tent camp. It has 20 tent sites available and offers amenities such as fire pits, public pavilion, picnic tables, and restrooms for campers. As a bonus, the restrooms even have hot showers, great for the colder months. The campground and park has a number of activities to eat up some of your time, including kayaking, boating, swimming, snorkeling, fishing, and limited natural areas beach camping for a more unique tent camping experience.
Things To Remember: There are some rules you will need to follow at Peanut Park. For starters, tens must be erected before sunset and must be fire retardant/commercially manufactured. They do enforce quiet hours from 11pm to sunset, so be mindful of other campers. Also, be aware that electricity is not available, so bring battery-charged devices if needed. Finally, access to the island is via water taxi or boat, so be sure to make arrangements ahead of time.
You can find a list of recommendations, what camp items to bring, transportation services, and more for this Riviera Beach campground area by visiting the Palm Beach County Parks Peanut Island camping website: https://discover.pbcgov.org/parks/Pages/Camping-PeanutIsland.aspx.