Florida, with a unique ecosystem and year-round good weather, is an ideal destination for camping holidays of all kinds – from pitching a tent at a bare-bones backcountry site to luxurious glamping in a fully furnished safari tent. Alongside some seriously impressive campsites, you’ll find world-class kayaking, plenty of hiking and cycling trails and quaint towns to explore.
Live Oak, east of Tallahassee, is a vibrant town that hosts a variety of exciting, family-friendly events and festivals throughout the year. Heritage Park and Gardens is the setting for many of these events, which include a Civil War Reenactment in November and a European-style Christmas festival. The nearby town of Wellborn hosts a Blueberry Festival in the summer and the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park and Campground is home to regular music festivals. There’s also cycling on the Suwannee River Greenway and camping in secluded backcountry sites, such as the nearby Stagecoach Junction.
This private site near Live Oak offers backcountry camping at its best. While you’ll need to bring all your camping gear, the site does have a picnic table, a bathroom solution, firewood and potable water available. The secluded site is also home to lots of wildlife, including deer, possums and gopher tortoises. Fancy a soundtrack to accompany your stay? The friendly Campkeepers are Bluegrass musicians and love to jam with musically inclined guests. The Suwannee River State Park and Twin Rivers State Forest are also nearby, offering world-class kayaking.
The small town of Lee, located just 5mi (8km) west of the Suwanee River, offers a tranquil escape from the stresses of city life. Book a stay in a luxury safari tent or pitch your own tent at the nearby Home Field Advantage Farmstead to explore the area. The Suwanee River State Park offers some of Florida’s best backcountry canoeing, with the opportunity to discover idyllic springs along the riverbanks and enjoy a picnic on a sandbar. Along the way, you might even pass the ruins of a 19th-century steamship. The neighboring Twin Rivers State Forest is also popular for hiking, cycling, canoeing, fishing and horseback riding.
Ever wondered what life is like on a working farm? This small farm in North Florida allows guests to assist with everything from daily feeding of heritage breed livestock and collecting eggs and honey, to birthing goats and lambs. There’s a variety of options for accommodation – including bringing your own tent or RV – but the highlight is the impressive safari tent in the alpaca grazing paddock. It features a queen-size bed and the communal cooking area and bathroom are just steps away. Spend the day hiking, kayaking or cycling and finish with an exhilarating outdoor shower.
The quaint town of Bristol is located next to the mighty Apalachicola River, a 112-mi (180km) river surrounded by forests where you can go fishing, hunting, paddling and camping at sites like the nearby Skyland Ranch Deep Ravine glampsite. Head north to the nearby Torreya State Park, which is home to the rare Torreya tree, spectacularly high bluffs, over 100 species of bird and the rugged Torreya Hiking Trail. The Garden of Eden Trail is another highlight – a hiking trail on the site of the former Garden of Eden Park, which was founded by 1950s eccentric Elvy Edison Callaway.
Glamping doesn’t get much more comfortable than this rustic, pet-friendly campsite nestled on the Florida Deep Ravines. The canvas tent is hidden away amidst magnolia, live oak and hickory trees and features two full-size beds that can comfortably sleep six people. It also boasts air-conditioning, heating, electricity, lighting and a viewing deck for taking in the expansive mountain views. There’s even a personal chef on-site to create home-cooked meals, picnic baskets and romantic candlelight dinners. Campkeeper Craig can also organize boat tours, wilderness hikes and guided fishing trips.
Jacksonville – or Jax, as it’s known to locals – might be Florida’s biggest city, but it’s also an ideal base for exploring some of the state’s natural wonders. There’s 22mi (35km) of sandy beaches where you can swim, surf, kayak, paddleboard, dive and fish, as well as 50 public boat ramps and the country’s largest urban park system. Visit Fort Caroline National Memorial to discover the region’s history, or hike through 46,000 acres (19,000ha) of wetlands, marshes and forests in the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve. Just 15 minutes from bustling downtown Jacksonville, you’ll find the riverside S’More Memories Camp.
Looking for an urban-style camping experience? This private campsite in Jacksonville combines easy access to everything the city has to offer with pristine nature. There’s a standard canvas tent nestled in a clearing with marsh views, alongside a hammock strung between trees, a firepit, picnic table, sun shower and toilet. You can also bring a small RV onto the site. The river is a short walk away, as well as a number of stores and restaurants.
There’s more to this city, between Tampa and Orlando, than the world’s largest Legoland. Also known as the ‘Chain of Lakes City’, it’s home to more than 50 lakes – including 24 connected by canal, allowing you to travel across the city by boat – plus the world’s largest collection of vintage aircraft at The Fantasy of Flight. Throw in the lush landscapes of Bok Tower Gardens and the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright designs at Florida Southern College and you have a first-rate destination. Explore the region from the nearby Winter Haven Hideaway and LazyRanch campsites, which are located just south of the city.
Mix outdoor adventure with theme park fun at this secluded campsite near Winter Haven, which is within easy reach of Legoland and Walt Disney World. The Winter Haven Hideaway site is set in a clearing amidst towering trees and features a standard canvas tent with a queen-size bed and a furnished timber deck, making it ideal for couples in search of a romantic setting. The site even has a fire pit, campfire grill and picnic table for al fresco dining. Nearby, you’ll also find opportunities for fishing, hunting and boating.
The second family-friendly campsite at this private retreat near Winter Haven sleeps four guests in a standard canvas tent with a queen-size bed and a dome tent and is an easy drive from some of Florida’s most popular destinations. The comfortable site also boasts a fire pit and grill, Adirondack chairs, picnic table, sun shower and a toilet. Racing enthusiasts can pay a visit to the nearby Auburndale Speedway for weekend stock car competitions.
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