Florida’s pristine and well-equipped white-sand beaches attract millions of tourists each year. Sunbathing, water sports, and fishing are just some of the most exciting on-beach activities you can experience. That said, camping on the beach is still one of the best ways to get in touch with nature!
If Florida beach camping is on your itinerary, this guide will prepare you for a picture-perfect and stress-free excursion.
Is It Legal To Camp On The Beach In Florida?
While tent camping on the beach in Florida is nothing new, pitching shelter overnight isn’t legal on all beaches. Most campgrounds in Florida on the beach are not popular tourist destinations. Instead, legal sites are typically located along off-beaten paths to prevent environmental damage.
If you want to camp in Florida on the beach, you have to follow the campground’s rules to prevent littering and harming local wildlife and flora.
Tips For Florida On-The-Beach Camping
Camping beaches in Florida are among the best in the country because of year-round subtropical weather, unspoiled paths, and close proximity to fascinating local species. That said, no two beach camping locations are the same, so keeping these tips in mind can make your trip more enjoyable.
It’s no secret that Florida weather (especially during the summer) can be unforgiving. Protect your skin with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 50. Apply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming to keep UV rays from penetrating the skin.
Pick The Best Type Of Shelter
Tent camping on the beach is the most affordable way to camp in Florida. Tents are easy to pack and carry, even if you have to hike miles to your site. Pick a tent with side windows to allow for some breeze and natural sun.
Beach RV camping in Florida is also common and efficient for those staying in remote areas or traveling to multiple locations.
When picking a mode of shelter, research your destination beforehand to ensure that it is allowed. Roughly half of all campsites near the beach prohibit tent campers and may even have age restrictions.
Bring A First-Aid Kit
When Florida beach camping, a first-aid kit can make the difference between life and death! Include items like antihistamines in case you come into contact with poison ivy. If camping near a wooded area, take insect repellent. Also include first-aid staples like bandages, an antiseptic ointment, medical scissors, and a list of emergency hotlines.
Check The Weather
There are only two seasons in Florida: wet and dry. Rain commonly occurs in the afternoon during the wet season, so pack an umbrella and raincoat. If traveling between December and May, bring versatile clothing that can withstand extreme changes in weather.
Leave The Flora And Fauna Alone
Campsites near the beach in Florida are home to hundreds of species that are a sight to behold. However, interacting with them can trigger aggression and they can become dangerous for campers and wildlife alike. If you encounter an animal, leave it alone.
Similarly, you’ll want to avoid foraging for berries – you never know which ones are toxic!
Best Beachfront Campgrounds In Florida
Now that you know the do’s and don’ts of camping beaches in Florida, it’s time to shortlist the best sites. Below are some of the top beachfront campgrounds in Florida.
Henderson Beach State Park
17000 Emerald Coast Pkwy, Destin, FL 32541
If you love white-sand beaches and fishing, travel to Henderson Beach State Park in Destin. This campground allows all modes of shelter and comes equipped with picnic tables and grills. Henderson is just a stone’s throw away from civilization, so you can always grab a bite if you’re not in the mood to cook your own food.
Fort De Soto
3500 Pinellas Bayway S, Tierra Verde, FL 33715
Fort De Soto in St. Petersburg spans seven miles of waterfront and a 2.25-mile canoe trail. With five connected islands, there is a lot to explore in Fort De Soto, including The Soldier’s Hole Nature Trail, mangroves, and other wetlands. Fort De Soto also draws in birdwatchers, as it’s home to 328 unique species.
Cayo Costa State Park
Captiva, FL 33924
If you want to be away from the hustle and bustle of the city, head to the unspoiled Gulf island of Cayo Costa State Park by boat or kayak. With nine miles of undeveloped shoreline, it’s perfect for swimming, canoeing, birdwatching, and tranquility.
Canaveral National Seashore
S Washington Ave, Titusville, FL 32796
Canaveral National Seashore is another stretch of campgrounds only accessible by the water. This unspoiled location is unique because you get a front-row seat to spectacular NASA launches and can even feel the ground rumbling during takeoff.
Long Key State Park
67400 Overseas Hwy, Layton, FL 33001
As its name suggests, Long Key State Park covers a massive land area. It is 965 acres large and provides every camping staple you need, including fire pits, hiking trails, a ranger station, and a birding area. The Florida Keys Astronomy Club meets here every week, so you’re practically guaranteed to get spectacular views of the stars on clear nights!
Anastasia State Park
300 Anastasia Park Rd, St. Augustine, FL 32080
History buffs who want a taste of the past should camp at Anastasia State Park, located in the historical town of St. Augustine. Despite being one of Florida’s older beaches, Anastasia State Park is well-equipped with concessions, including bike rentals.
Emerald Beach RV Park
8885 Navarre Pkwy, Navarre, FL 32566
If you’re traveling via RV, Emerald Beach RV Park has over 70 campsites, with six directly on the beach. It comes with 30 and 50-amp hookups, laundry facilities, showers, and other amenities.
Note that Emerald Beach can get pretty crowded during the summer, so if you’re looking for quiet, camp near the edge of Santa Rosa Sound.
Bahia Honda State Park
36850 Overseas Highway, Big Pine Key FL 33043
Avid anglers will love camping at the Bahia Honda State Park in Big Pine Key, home to some of Florida’s more unique species, including parrotfish, butterflyfish, barracudas, jacks, and angelfish. Bahia Honda is also a go-to for astronomy gatherings, as its dark skies offer unobstructed views of the stars.
Each tent or RV camping site along Bahia Honda has restrooms, gear rentals, a boating store, and guided excursions.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re a veteran camper or new to the great outdoors, preparing for your Florida beachfront camping trip can make your experience safer and more enjoyable. Spend ample time researching your destination, deciding on a mode of shelter, and packing the right equipment to maximize your fun on the trip itself.
If you want to add more to your Florida travel itinerary, explore other getaways and activities by browsing our OutCoast travel guides!
**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).
Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.