The Best Places to Go Glamping in Florida

Teepees | Courtesy of Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo
Teepees | Courtesy of Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo
Photo of Mandi Keighran
26 August 2021

Florida is home to some awe-inspiring landscapes – with the wild subtropical wetlands of the Everglades in the south to the unspoiled coastal wetlands of Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve in the north. The best way to experience these natural wonders is by camping. You don’t need to rough it to connect with nature, though. The Sunshine State has plenty of glamping options combining comfortable accommodation in canvas tents, cabins, and huts with immersion in the great outdoors, all bookable with Culture Trip.

Fancy Camps

Glamping
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This innovative company takes the hassle out of camping by setting up luxury pop-up accommodation at any campsite in Florida – and it’s perfect for events like weddings, music festivals and backyard soirees. The package includes a 16ft (4.8m) bell tent equipped with a queen bed, boho-style furnishings, and a heating/cooling unit, as well as a fire ring and picnic table for al fresco dining. There’s also the option to add custom charcuterie boards, entryway garland and wildflower bouquets for a properly Insta-worthy camping trip. Fancy Camps also partners with Florida State Parks to offer luxe glamping experiences across Florida’s Gulf Coast – and they have a permanent campsite at Topsail Hill State Park.

Florida VW Rentals

Glamping
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United States Of America Florida Miami beach in Key Biscayne
© Gregory Wrona / Alamy Stock Photo
Van life is experiencing something of a moment – and what’s not to love about the romantic idea of life on the road? If you want to give a nomadic lifestyle a go without fully committing, rent a restored Volkswagen campervan from Florida VW Rentals. Each campervan has a two-burner gas stove, a dining table and two comfy beds. The best thing is you’re not tied to a particular spot. Simply wake up and go wherever your heart desires. If you need inspiration, the friendly team can help you find the perfect spot to park up.

Bristol

Architectural Landmark
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The small town of Bristol, in northwestern Florida, is perhaps best known for the claims made in the 1950s by eccentric lawyer Elvy Callaway, who said the town was the site of the biblical Garden of Eden. While his claims are unlikely, there is no doubt this area is home to exceptional natural beauty. The best place to discover the region’s diverse flora is at the nearby Torreya State Park, which features high bluffs overlooking the Apalachicola River. Alternatively, head to Skyland Ranch Deep Ravine, a luxury “glampsite” just minutes from the town and offers a range of exciting outdoor adventure tours.

Skyland Ranch Deep Ravine

Camping
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Nestled on the Florida Deep Ravines amidst magnolia, live oak and hickory trees, this campsite is just minutes from the nearby town of Bristol and a short drive from the Gulf of Mexico and the Apalachicola River – and it’s the perfect destination if you want to explore the surrounding area in comfort. There’s a 16.5ft (5m) canvas tent that sleeps up to six people, as well as two full-size beds, a fire pit with a grill, picnic table and sun showers. CampKeeper Craig also offers customized outdoor adventures, including wilderness hikes to Alums Buff, Chipola river tubing trips, freshwater fishing and St. Joe Bay scalloping trips.

Jacksonville

Architectural Landmark
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The visitor center at the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve in Jacksonville, Florida
© James Schaedig / Alamy Stock Photo
If you’re in search of outdoor adventures in Florida, head to Jacksonville. The Sunshine State’s largest city is home to ten state and national parks, more than 20mi (32km) of beaches, and almost 40mi (64km) of the picturesque Intracoastal Waterway canal. Explore 46,000 acres (18,615ha) of coastal wetlands, marshes and forests at the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve; uncover the area’s fascinating history at Fort Caroline National Memorial; enjoy a picnic at Jarboe Park near Neptune Beach; or, go glamping at S’More Memories Camp, a private campsite located just 15 minutes from Jacksonville’s vibrant downtown.

S'More Memories Camp

Camping
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S’More Memories Camp
Courtesy of S’More Memories Camp / Booking.com
If you want to combine glamping with an urban escape, head to S’More Memories Camp in the city of Jacksonville. The private campsite is just 15 minutes from the vibrant downtown neighborhood, which has shopping centers, restaurants and grocery stores, while the site itself boasts marsh views. There’s a large canvas Tentrr tent with a queen-size bed, or you can bring your own RV. The CampKeeper also has two kayaks available for hire.

Carrabelle

Architectural Landmark
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Carrabelle Beach off  US 98 east of Apalachicola, Franklin County, Gulf Coast, Florida, USA
© Ian Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo
Discover “old Florida” in this waterside city located in the Panhandle of Florida just Southwest of Tallahassee. It’s situated at the convergence of three rivers connected with the Gulf of Mexico, making it one of the state’s best spots for both salt and freshwater fishing. There’s also boating, white sand beaches for swimming and snorkeling, and 750,000 acres (303,514ha) of forest for hunting, hiking, and trail riding. Looking for family and pet-friendly accommodation? Head to Carrabelle Beach RV Resort, which offers cabins, cottages and fully equipped RV sites.

Carrabelle Beach RV Resort

Resort, Cottages
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Cabins
Courtesy of the Carrabelle Beach RV Resort
Looking for a pet-friendly campsite with all the amenities of a resort? This beachside resort, an hour from Tallahassee, offers various accommodation options – think cabins, RV sites, resort cottages, and even a luxurious ocean-view loft. Furry friends are just as welcome. There’s a fenced dog run, pet play area, and it’s located across the street from a dog-friendly beach. You’ll also find a pool, children’s playground, and a clubhouse nestled within the landscaped grounds.

Ochopee

Architectural Landmark
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Smallest Post Office in the United States located in Ochopee Florida
© Dennis MacDonald / Alamy Stock Photo
This town in the Everglades on U.S. Route 41 – the highway that connects Tampa Bay and Miami and is also known as the Tamiami Trail – might be tiny, but it’s home to some of Florida’s most unusual attractions. There’s the Ochopee Post Office, which is the country’s smallest post office; and the Skunk Ape Research Headquarters, which is dedicated to investigating a creature the National Park Service refers to as a “local myth”. The Chickee Hut in Ochopee offers comfortable accommodation in a traditional Native American Chickee hut, as well as easy access to the Everglades Adventure Tours.

Chickee Hut in Ochopee

Glamping
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This Native American-built Chickee hut, overlooking a prairie in the Florida Everglades, is styled after the huts still used by the nearby Miccosukee and Seminole Indian tribes. It features a queen-size bed and two camp cots, with a firepit outside for cooking. There’s no running water or electricity in the hut, but the nearby Trail Lakes Campground bathhouse has restrooms and hot showers, and the hosts supply solar lights and lanterns. Want to explore the area? Book a guided pole boat, kayak or canoe tour with Everglades Adventure Tours, headquartered on the same site.

River Ranch

Architectural Landmark
Map View

River Ranch on the banks of the Kissimmee River is known as the original home of the American cowboy, as it’s where Seminole Indians, Spanish colonists, and American settlers herded cattle long before cowboys became a symbol of the American West. Today, this pristine slice of wilderness is largely home to the Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo. The largest dude ranch east of the Mississippi River boasts luxe teepees, glamping, cabins, and hotel rooms, alongside plenty of family-friendly activities, including horseback riding, airboat rides and pontoon boat rentals. There’s also the River Ranch RV Resort, a luxury waterside park that offers RVs for rent.

Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo

Resort, Hotel
3.8/5 (156 Reviews)
Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo
Courtesy of Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo / Expedia | Courtesy of Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo / Expedia
Price Drop
Now from $192 per night
Live out your rodeo dreams at Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo, an authentic dude ranch located just an hour south of Orlando in Polk County. The vast 1,700 acres (687ha) resort overlooks the Kissimmee River and is an ideal location for a family vacation – think horseback riding, weekly rodeos, and seriously luxe glamping accommodation in either a Conestoga Wagon or an air-conditioned canvas teepee. The nearby adventure park boasts mechanical bull rides, mini-golf, zip-lining, and there’s also the opportunity for airboat and swamp buggy rides, as well as trap and skeet shooting.
More info

Loxahatchee

Architectural Landmark
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Florida  Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge cypress swamp boardwalk
© M. Timothy O'Keefe / Alamy Stock Photo
This town in Palm Beach County takes its name from its proximity to the Loxahatchee River, a 260sqmi (673sqkm) ecosystem home to many endangered species, including the manatee and woodstork. The river offers some of South Florida’s best kayaking and canoeing, with popular stretches of the river meandering beneath cyprus trees and through mangrove estuaries. Loxahatchee is also home to Lion Country Safari, 600 acres (242ha) of drive-through safari park with over 1,000 animals roaming free, including ostrich, lions, and giraffes. Head to the nearby beach town of Jupiter, where you’ll find Headwaters Eco Retreat, a luxurious retreat constructed almost entirely from shipping containers.

Headwaters Eco Retreat

Eco-Lodge
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Boynton Beach, USA. 02nd Feb, 2017. The shipping container house of Rick Clegg of the Headwaters Eco Retreat in Jupiter Farms. The container house is being used as an AirBnB rental and as an eco retreat for tourists who don't want to stay in a hotel or sl
© Tribune Content Agency LLC / Alamy Stock Photo
Shipping containers might not scream luxury eco-retreat – until you see this four-bedroom lodge in the beach town of Jupiter constructed almost entirely from upcycled shipping containers. The lodge boasts two bathrooms, a kitchenette, a living room and patios, and overlooks the Loxahatchee River. The retreat is also within easy walking distance of the 700 acres (283ha) Riverbend Park, home to plenty of hiking and biking trails, and a short drive from 12 golf courses and undeveloped beaches where you’ll find nesting sea turtles. Guests can also enjoy free use of bikes and kayaks.

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  • Fort McCoy

    Architectural Landmark, Natural Feature
    Map View
    Female paddler taking a photo on Alexander Creek, Ocala National Forest
    © joel zatz / Alamy Stock Photo
    If you’re looking for hiking trails meandering through spectacular scenery, head to Fort McCoy. It’s just a short drive to the Ocala National Forest, which is home to hundreds of lakes and ponds, canoe runs, and trails such as the Yearling Trail that passes by a sinkhole and the ruins of 19th-century homesteads. The Indian Lake State Forest is even closer, which offers hiking, horseback riding, birdwatching, and primitive campsites. If you prefer to camp in a bit more comfort, book into The Griffin Ranch, which offers cabins, cottages, and a converted Ambassador 28ft (8.5m) Airstream.

    The Griffin Ranch

    Camping, Cabin, Hotel
    Map View
    Step back in time and experience the Florida ranch life of a bygone era at The Griffin Ranch, which is enviably located just west of the National Forest and north of Silver Springs. The eclectic collection of cabins and cottages – which include a historic turn-of-the-century doctor’s office, a renovated Ambassador 28ft (8.5m) Airstream, and a hidden bunkhouse – are nestled amidst ponds, woods, and pastures on 30 acres (12ha) of wilderness. There are also three acres (1.2ha) of riverside camping grounds. The friendly hosts will even help you pitch the tent, and bring you breakfast and coffee in the morning.

    Lake Buena Vista

    Architectural Landmark
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    Lake Buena Vista, Downtown Disney
    © Becky Webb / Alamy Stock Photo
    Lake Buena Vista’s claim to fame is as the mailing address for Walt Disney World – although the resort is actually located in the neighboring Bay Lake – and a permanent population of just ten. The lake itself – which connects to Village Lake, on the border of Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, by a stream – is located east of the Disney Buena Vista Golf Course, which has been the host of the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour and USGA events. You can go kayaking and paddle boarding on nearby Lake Bryan. One of the best places to stay for family fun is The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort – think musical dinner shows, waterslides and woodland trails.

    The Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort

    Cabin
    4.5/5 (571 Reviews)
    The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
    Courtesy of The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort / Expedia
    Price Drop
    Now from $415 per night
    These rustic cabins nestled in 750 acres (303ha) of pine and cyprus forests are just a 10-minute boat ride from the Magic Kingdom – but there’s plenty to explore at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort itself. Kids will love the Meadow Swimmin’ Pool, which features a corkscrew waterslide and whirlpool spa, plus you can rent a golf cart to explore the woodland trails, home to deer, ducks, armadillos and rabbits. Fancy a night of family fun? Head to the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, a Wild West-style musical show accompanied by an all-you-can-eat country feast – think fried chicken and smoked BBQ pork ribs.
    More info

    Milton

    Architectural Landmark
    Map View
    A canoeing expedition takes these intrepid explorers along the waters of the Blackwater canoe trail in Milton
    © AA World Travel Library / Alamy Stock Photo
    Keen on canoeing? Plan a trip to Milton, which is known as the Canoe Capital of Florida. Located in the Florida Panhandle, the city’s three waterways – Coldwater, Blackwater, and Sweetwater – offer world-class paddling, rafting, and river tubing. There’s also plenty of riverside camping sites, or elevate your camping experience at Coldwater Gardens, which offers luxury glamping experiences, including a “Stargazer Platform”. Or, discover the area’s history at the Museum of Local History, which features exhibits depicting the history of industry and fashion in Santa Rosa County.

    Coldwater Gardens

    Treehouse
    Map View
    Coldwater Gardens
    Courtesy of Coldwater Gardens / Expedia
    There are plenty of different accommodation options at Coldwater Gardens – from cottages and cabanas to a treehouse and even an open-air “Stargazer Platform” – but if you’re looking to connect with nature in style, book one of the luxe glamping experiences. There are six tents nestled on a gentle slope overlooking a pine savannah. There’s a central bathhouse with warm showers and toilets, and each canvas tent features two queen-size beds, a mini-fridge and a drip coffee maker. The glamping site is just one mile from the creek, where you can take a refreshing dip; or enjoy biking and hiking on the mixed-use trails that wind through 350 acres (141ha) of Floridian wilderness.
    These recommendations were updated on August 26, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh. This article is an updated version of a story created by Mandi Keighran

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