The best camping near
Tampa, FLORIDA

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Hike,Bike,Paddle and SWIM near Busch Gardens, Tampa

Fantastic Campground not far from Tampa. This could be a good park to stay at if you want to do Busch Gardens which is just 16 miles away. The park offers over 13 miles of hiking in and near the park, 2.2 mile multi purpose trails, exercise stations and one of the few Florida state parks that have a 1/2 acre pool (which is ADA accessible). There is a separate fee for this but my husband did lap swimming everyday we were there and loved it. There is a poolside cafe and a store with camping items and souvenirs. The park even offers kayaking/canoeing and pool related rentals. The hillsborough River has great kayaking/canoeing and even some Class 2 rapids. It was fun to kayak downriver to the now abandoned Dead River County Park.
The 112 Campsites have 30/50 amp and water, most sites were large and shaded. Bathrooms are older but clean. You can tour the historic Fort Foster only the third Saturday of each month at 10am….(watch the video and you will see some additional info on this…wink wink) The trails are really good here but rain can flood them- I hiked thru calf deep water but I like overcoming obstacles - however- you might not think that is fun. Our video here on the Dyrt shares more hiking info. The stationary bridge was closed when we visited and a quick look at state park website indicates it is still being repaired. PS. there is a another video on our YouTube channel that highlights some additional hiking trails. Happy Camping- you can visit our website to get our Facebook/instagram and YouTube channel. www.travylcouple.com

Camping and Canopy Trees

One of the largest state parks in Florida. This great Park has full and partial hook ups for all styles of camping to include hammock camping. There are 6 primitive campgrounds; group camping and Cabins too! We stayed at the Palmetto Ridge campground which were gravel and had the full hook ups. The old prairie and big flats were regular ground surface electric/water (no sewer) . These also had a little less privacy. You will have 39 miles of hiking trails and off road/mountain biking at your pleasure. We bike with hybrid specialized bikes and had no problems off road. We were here in July. Fortunately, there is lots of shade even while hiking due to the canopy trees and this kept things cooler during in the summer. We did not have a problem with biting bugs until nightfall. You will enjoy biking the 7 miles of paved (flat) roads in Park. There are Rivers and lakes for kayaking/canoe and we enjoyed the fishing and paddling. Great gift shop and cafe area near boat launch on lake. There is even a flat bottom boat tour on the Upper Myakka lake. The visitor center offers a lot of rentals too… from kayaks to tandem bikes. (For the die hard road bikers it is only 12.5 miles to Legacy Rail to trail). We had a blast and our video goes into more detail about the park. Be sure to visit the nearby Crowley Nature Center less than 5 miles away. (Crowley nature center is a separate video located on our YouTube channel and website)

Peaceful trail

Extremely peaceful. Trails are easy to follow. Easy access right off 301. Full loop is 6.2 miles and there is a half way loop which is 3 miles.

Great experience!

First time camping and it was an amazing experience. Great place to go mountain biking and hiking. Also, the Rangers were very friendly at all times. Definitely recommend this place!

Absolutely beautiful

Ft.DeSoto sits at the mouth of Tampa bay and The Gulf of Mexico. The campground is open year around with 236 sites. They have a tent area and a separate pet area. Water sites are available. Large Class A may have trouble due to low limbs. All sites have electric and water (30 to 50amp) No sewers but 2 dump stations an site. 

There is also a park office and camp store. A boat ramp is just down the road less than a mile away. Wonderful salt water fishing. Historical Ft. DeSoto is at the end of island. Entry fees are $5 to fort and beach area.

Surprise

Some new sites done very well with concrete slabs, picnic tables, water,sewer, electric and wifi. Pool and water access too.

Pure bliss

We had our baby moon here this past weekend (this is the second time I’ve camped at Cypress Glen and neither time was I disappointed). Campsite 49 has plenty of shade and backs up to a mini swamp which is beautiful for pictures. We had electric and eater on site and it’s pup friendly of course. Hot showers and clean bathrooms. A few feet from our site is a boardwalk which leads to 2 hikes one more inland and the other that follows around silver lake. Each one was beautiful. We will absolutely be back

Beautiful

It is pricey, but you are paying for the view.

Great music festivals

We go for the blues and woodstock festival. They also have other festivals throughout the year. Money made from festivals helps support the campground so they can offer free camping to youth groups!! It is a beautiful location.

We love this place

This is a quiet campground that has 4 lakes with trails for hiking, 4 wheelers, boaters, & fishing. Beautiful!!

Very Nice Campground

We live close so when we want  quick getaway this is where we go. The only reason I can't give 5 stars is they don't do reservations.(first come first served).

Best in Winter

It’s a really great place to go fishing and maybe swimming during anytime of the year. But as far as camping goes, I’d recommend only during the cool months of the year. Otherwise you’ll be bakin’ in a hotbox all day (unless you have A/C). Other than that I loved staying here the couple times I did with my family.

My first love.

I’m pretty sure this was the first campground I ever went to as a kid, and then every spring break following. Only recently stopped going with my family. As far as Florida camping goes though, this is probably my favorite.

Lots to do!

Campsites were nice. Lots to do. Rapids to look at. Plenty of hiking and biking. Rental canoe staff were amazing. Tons of wildlife.

Super campground

Our favorite campground, great water sites, nice restrooms. Dog beach.

Tropical Oasis for the Family

I find myself torn between four and five stars on this campground. It turned out being everything we expected and more. As an camper with northern roots, I have found it hard to camp in Florida. This campground helped me relieve those worries. 

I will start by saying that this campground is south of St. Pete and north of Ana Maria Island. We drove down from Orlando and it took us under two hours. We hit some traffic on 275 and the Parkway, but it is expected. There are two tolls (1.00 and .75) before you hit the park. One thing we learned and a good pointer is that if you intend on going into the park (which you probably will), you should go in and register BEFORE you go to the beach, even if before check in time. By paying for your site, they provide you a beach pass for two vehicles, which saves $5 each on parking. 

The check in process was very simple. We arrived about an hour early and got everything set up. We were told to stop back between 12:30 and 1 (Advise that check in is at 1pm, so getting in early is not a guaranteed or expected result). The parking lot is a bit awkward, as the camper/trailer line blocks views and actual spots for cars..but it is trivial. 

We had rented site 28 (mostly because it was one of the only ones available and best of the litter). There are three loops, and we were in the 1-86 loop. There are no pets and no RV's allowed, which was perfect for us. Most of the outer side of the loop has some sort of water. Water does not mean access. It seemed that the higher numbers (40+) had less access to water and more of a mangrove area. Depths of sites also varied widely. We must have done the camping gods some good, because we hit the site karma. Our site was nice and deep, with a weird little island (former tree/stump) in the middle. This actually made us divide the tent area up into two sides, which worked out well. The site has plenty of options for both clothes lines and hammocks. We opted to put the "kitchen" towards the back of the site with the water view, and fire bin (rented for $3 from the campground office). We had neighbors on both sides and across (this places always sells out) and it was still fairly secluded. They did a great job at keeping a lot of natural growth to maintain privacy and a true tropical feel. There was plenty of shade, but also plenty of sunshine when you wanted it. This site also gets direct sunlight after about 9am (based on mid october), so plan accordingly. It gets toasty :) We have an inflatable raft that we took out in the water. We were greeted by dolphins, sting rays and manatees. 

The bath house is pretty central and literally across the road from our site. We had expected a much further walk based on the map, but it was just a 1 minute walk. They were ample, but nothing to write home about. They clean them daily, so they are not bad. The showers leave a lot to be desired with water pressure and privacy. They share a common area with stalls and cheap liners that offer little privacy. Again, it is camping so this isn't a complaint, but a warning. Also, bring your own toilet paper. 

There is a playground with good swings and also a sturdy playground that offered plenty of opportunity for my four year old to blow off some steam. The ground is all recycled rubber, which I love as a parent. 

The campground store is nice and good for essentials if you don't want to take the 15/20 minute drive to publix or 7 minute drive to 7-11. Firewood is a bit overpriced at $9 per bundle and the fire buckets are cheap at $3 per night. They also have basic food and camping supplies. Note that there is no alcohol allowed in the park, including the campground. All I can say is that you should use common sense. This is a family friendly place. They also rent bikes and kayaks. 

The site was just a 10 minute drive to north beach, which is our favorite. There is plenty to do in the area. Overall, I love this place and look forward to coming back many times in the future. Note that they do start booking 6 months out and open up 10% of the sites for the weekend each friday at 7am if you want to try and get lucky.

Nice quiet area

Went during the summer, half of the park was under water from unusually high levels of rains but the park itself is very quiet and out of the way. Perfect if you want to get away as cell phones don’t always work out there. They have a couple of tours you can take as well. The treetop walk was a really amazing view of the surrounding area. The dear were right out by the road not paying any attention to the people going by.

Beautiful well kept campground

Been here a few times rent camping.plan to return with our new unit soon. Clean facilities. Family friendly. Can bike around campground. Fish off bridge. Kayak from campsites.

Kayakers read review

Very cool little place for primitive camping. All the sites are cut out so that you have some privacy from the neighboring sites. There are a couple of sites that you can't reserve, first come first serve, pay in cash at the iron ranger. Site 1 is that way and you could paddle into it. 14 and 16 can be reserved and also@ paddled into. Most sites have water and there is a bathroom/showers with really hot water.

Beautiful

Well we just got here but it is beautiful so far. Love the site, sunset, and stars. Low water pressure.

Easy access

This park is conveniently located to Publix grocery store, Cracker Barrel, and many other great restaurants. It is mainly full time mobile homes but welcomes RVs as well.

Floral Bloom and an Alligator Pit

In the month of May a beautiful bloom erupts in the fields of Myakka River State Park. It is a must see! Also check out the short hike to the Alligator Pit. Permits must be obtained early in the morning.

Beautiful setting

While this is advertised as an RV park it is majority full time mobile homes and permanent structures. If there are empty lots they may rent them to RVs.

This campground is closed

This campground has been closed for a long time.

I loved this park!

The campground here is very nice! The bathrooms are well kept and clean. The park itself is very nice, with some hikes and kayak rentals! You can kayak in the river, which is really neat to do. The campground is also not far from some big cities, such as Tampa and st pete, which is convenient.

Nice Florida camping!

This is a nice state park, with access to some hikes and also kayaking on the river. We saw some gators on the side of the road, which was cool! The campground is very nice, when the weather is good! The bathrooms are clean and well kept.

Clean and convenient

The grounds and the pool are kept up, lots of shade in the park, friendly neighbors, convenient area to live in, pinellas hiking trail, good schools, ect. Been here a year now and I love it :)

Fort De Soto

We take our RV once a year to Fort De Soto. We have a dog so we stay in the dog section right on the water. It is beautiful, shaded and we have access to the water on our kayaks from our back yard. Love this place. Too hot in Summer so head north but awesome in the winter.

Beautiful Beach Park!!

This park/campground is beautiful. The grounds are kept immaculate. The camp sites are large and most provide shade and privacy. What I love about this park is the pristine beaches. There is a fort which is very impressive. If you like to bike, this park has plenty of area to ride.

Best Primitive Island Camping for Bird Lovers

Anclote Key Review There is only 1 way to get to Anclote Key and that is by boat. Whether you take the few hours and kayak the 3 miles over from Tarpon or motor in from one of the many docks in the area that is the only way you can get here.

“Ferry services do not drop visitors off for overnight camping. You must have your own transportation to stay overnight. Dogs are allowed only on North Anclote Bar.” 

This seldom used camping area is wonderful after the sun sets and day visitors leave the island. 

There four islands that combined make up the state park- There is a nice primitive camping area on the island not far from the lighthouse. Once you arrive take time to explore each area- Anclote Key, North Anclote Bar, South Anclote Bar and Three Rooker Island. There are over 11,000 acres full of migrating and native shorebirds and other creatures that have made their way to the island. Last count of bird species I believe was over 40! The 1887 lighthouse stands as a historical reminder on the southern end of the island. Occasionally tours can be made available by contacting the onsite ranger. 

Spend your day swimming and sunbathing at the beach or kayaking around the island. If you arrived by motor boat try a bit of flats fishing but stay in designated areas and remember most area around the island in NO WAKE. Fire up the grill but make sure you leave no charcoal or burned wood pieces on the beach! EVERYTHING- and they mean everything you bring on the island must be taken off with you! There are no bathroom facilities and all human waste must be buried well and paper take in trash.. 

Enjoy a night of primitive camping under the stars without a sound except insects and lapping waves on the beach. There are no provisions offered on the island, so be prepared to bring your own water and supplies. Make sure all food is secured (we anchored our boat with provisions on board a bit off shore and swam in to no risk raccoons getting into gear as it was a calm night with clear weather). Usually it is quite windy so plan ahead.

A Florida Saltwater Fishing license is required to fish. 

Reservations MUST be made in advance and the island does close during bad weather not allowing visitors to stay overnight.