Despite being home to some of the most popular beaches in America, Florida has more freshwater springs than anywhere else in the world. While tourists flood the coastlines, you can head inland to one of Central Florida’s dozen spring systems to find a beautiful, serene spot that is perfect for camping in Florida.
One of the largest, clearest spots is Ginnie Springs, located 35 miles northwest of Gainesville. The year-round 72-degree water is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, scuba, and cave diving. The seven-spring system is a magnet for divers who love the underwater cave system, while the gentle current of the Santa Fe River attracts day tubers and kayakers. Pack a snorkel when you go camping in Florida to be rewarded with glimpses of bass, mullet, catfish, turtles, and other natural critters.
Plus, with over one hundred campsites, visitors to Ginnie Springs can also enjoy accessible camping spots complete with electric hookups. If you’re looking for a truly authentic Florida experience, wilderness sites are also scattered throughout Ginnie Springs’ 200 acres, many of which are right on the riverfront or a spring. You will truly be one with nature as you wake up next to your own crystal-clear spring, waiting for you to dive in.
Another nearby spring system perfect for camping is Rainbow Springs State Park, located 60 miles straight south of Ginnie Springs. Rainbow Springs is the fourth largest freshwater spring in Florida and feeds into the Rainbow River, giving the spring a gentle current that is great for tubing or canoeing.The Rainbow River campground has 60 sites ready for both RVers and tent campers, complete with electrical service.
There is no better way to get in touch with nature or experience camping in Florida than with the natural water systems of the state. These refreshing sites are a unique Floridian attraction that will make your next camping experience stand out above the rest. With The Dyrt, you can be sure to find more unique spots for all your camping in Florida needs.
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I missed the turnoff a few times, as it's down a side street. They have a boat ramp and slips. The sites away from the water are very close together. Prime sites along the water offer nice views. Bathrooms clean, laundry available. There are tiki huts and lounge chairs along the water.
I was here in January and there were very few campers. Sites are level with varying degrees of shade from the palms.
These are primitive sites with vault toilets, so bring what you need! There are food storage boxes available. There's access to off-road trails from this area if you have a vehicle and the necessary permits. Hunting and birdwatching are just a couple of the activities in the area.
There won't be much space between you and your neighbors, but let's be honest: if you're staying at this small island park, you're probably spending most of your time on the water. You can rent boat slips or launch a kayak; rent one if you don't have your own. Pick up your fishing supplies at the office. The historic Smallwood store is just a little farther down the road. There's 1 designated tent site, several RV sites, and a number of permanent residents. If you don't have your own RV, they have RVs and cabins for rent.
The park has bathrooms, a small playground, chickee for lounging outdoors, with a fire pit nearby, and a pavilion for gathering with friends and family.
Explore the mangroves, take an airboat tour our of Everglades City, or explore other areas of the Everglades. Naples is your best shopping source. There are restaurants in Everglades City.
It will take some planning to get here, but it’s worth it. You’ll need a boat, your own or the ferry service, and as a result it will be one of the most expensive camping trips you’ll ever take. There’s even more expensive flight service to the island, but not for campers. If you’re camping, you’ll check in earlier than other guests and load your gear on the back of the ferry. Put your gear in tubs to protect from water on the ferry and rats on the island! Be sure to refer to the NPS rules for weight, cooking(match-light charcoal ok; compressed and liquid fuels are not), Bring plenty of water for each person, more when it’s hot. If you stay multiple nights, you’ll be able to refill water when the boat is at the dock on subsequent days.
Upon arrival, you’ll receive an orientation from the ranger. There is an open, grassy area reserved primarily for groups. Individual campsites are in the shelter of the trees to the left of the dock, near the beach and outside the fort walls. There are carts to help you take your gear to your site. If the individual sites are full, you may camp in the group area. Clean composting toilets are available except when the boat is at the dock; then you’ll use facilities on board. Breakfast and lunch are included on your arrival day; food’s available for purchase while the ferry’s in port.
Swim, snorkel, birdwatch, explore the fort, watch sunrises and sunsets. If you have a kayak and snagged one of the limited(3) spots for it on the ferry, you can make a trip to Loggerhead Key. I visited in January and had brought a shorty wetsuit so that I was comfortable snorkeling in the cooler temperatures.
Great little campground for the money, $20 a night for a spot with electric, no water. Be prepared for the airboats and fishermen as this is a public park with a boat ramp (didn't bother us) we were in spot #18 close to the road. Most reviews and the camp host stated it was always pretty empty. It did empty out as the week went on, but it was very quiet at night even when it was full. The campground was kept neat, the bathrooms were another story… not clean at all! Had a cute playground too. The spots were spacious so it wasn't cramped, was able to set up with ease. Great historical park, trails and short pier within a 5 min walk. No traffic!
We rented a tent campsite for 5 nights. We had such a fantastic time here. What fantastic facilities. Bathrooms nice and clean and modern. Campsites large with hookups. The spring is beautiful. We saw manatees and otters. Lots of wildlife. Rented a super cheap kayak and had a great time on the river. Also went hiking on all the trails. So much to do and the staff were super friendly and helpful! We can't wait to come and camp here again.
Spaces are back-to-back & very close side-by-side, but pretty with mature trees. Bathrooms need updating. My experience was marred by poor customer service in that we had a mix-up on the date and ended up paying twice. The woman who checked us in on Friday evening said she couldn’t do anything about it, so I emailed the management but have not even had a reply yet, 10 days later. Will not return.
This place is really pretty. I feel like any major holiday weekend there will be a lot of party people, not much seclusion or quiet. Bring a nice inner tube or rent one and you can cruise down the river. Camping is first come first serve. Find any spot where your car fits and park behind it in the woods. No dogs allowed which is sad. But the waters are beautiful and refreshing. Camping is always fun next to the fire and you can meet some interesting neighbors. Maybe the occasional DJ party hidden in the woods.