This article about camping near Gainesville is brought to you by Midland — the #1 name for walkie talkies and weather radios. Keeping you safe and connected for over 50 years.


If you have your eye set on visiting Gainesville, Florida for a few days, we highly recommend spending those nights camping. This part of the state has an abundance of first-class campgrounds to choose from, all of which are set in the stunning and diverse natural landscapes of northern Florida.

Here are some of the most popular campgrounds to check out on your next trip to this beautiful part of the Sunshine State.

1. Manatee Springs

blue water at manatee springs

Image from The Dyrt camper Denise K.

This campground is in Manatee Springs State Park, around 45 miles west from Gainesville. It is clean and well-kept by state employees, with full-hookups for the RV sites. You can walk on a charming boardwalk through a thicket of cypress trees and look for manatees on the nearby Suwannee River.

“The nicest campsite we have ever had. Paved, pull-through, full hook-ups. Very shady and private sites. The bathrooms were very clean. Highlights of camping at Manatee Springs are the springs and the manatee sightings.”Cindy B.

Campground Details

  • Price: $20-30
  • Number of sites: 73
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

2. Ginnie Springs

picnic benches next to water

Image from The Dyrt camper Emily J.

About 30 miles northwest of Gainesville, this campsite lies alongside the warm and hospitable Santa Fe River. This campground is a watersport enthusiast’s paradise. There are 7 clean natural springs available to play in all-year-round. There’s an option to rent out snorkeling equipment, tubes, and kayaks for the day. If you’d prefer not to camp in a tent, you can rent out the campground’s three-bedroom Ginnie Cottage.

“Clearest water I have ever swum in. So beautiful, words can’t describe. You just have to visit!”Becky J.

Campground Details

  • Price: $24-35
  • Number of sites: 129
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: No

3. O’Leno State Park

kids posing on tree roots

Image from The Dyrt camper Leslie M.

This shaded campground lies just under 30 miles northwest from Gainesville, on the banks of the Santa Fe River. This site is well-kept, quiet, and clean. There is extra seating alongside the river so that you can enjoy your meals while watching the relaxing flow of the crystal-clear water.

Nearby, you’ll find a striking wooden suspension bridge. The bridge was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930s and provides picturesque views of the surrounding swampland and trees.

“This really is one of the quietest, if not THE quietest state park I have been to. Their facilities are clean. The grounds are clean and well-kept. The trails are maintained, and the swimming area is perfect.”Jenn B.

Campground Details

  • Price: $18-35
  • Number of sites: 55
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

4. Rainbow Springs

waterfall

Image from The Dyrt camper Ray P.

You’ll find Rainbow Springs State Park just over 60 miles south of Gainesville. It rests along the Rainbow River banks and is a perfect spot for water tubing and canoeing. The camping sites are large and spacious, with full electrical hookups for RVs. You can rent canoes and kayaks for the day, while a nearby food stand provides snacks and ice cream for visitors.

“We had a full hookup and a beautiful site. It’s a short walk to the springs for tubing. You can bring your own or rent a tube. They have a shuttle to bring you back.”Nora B.

Campground Details

  • Price: $30-50
  • Number of sites: 60
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

5. Salt Springs Recreation Area

row of RVs parked at campgroudn

Image from The Dyrt camper Liz H.

Salt Springs Recreation Area is an hour’s drive southeast of Gainesville and lies in the Ocala National Forest. This area of balmy woodland is the most extensive sand pine scrub forest in the world.

Several gorgeous natural springs populate the surrounding area, which are ideal for swimming and playing watersports. If you fancy something a bit more rigorous, head along a short section of the 1,400-mile Florida National Scenic Trail, which runs right by the site.

“Sites have lots of space, and the majority have shade trees with moss flowing in the breeze. All sites have a picnic table, lantern pole, grill, and fire ring.”Liz H.

Campground Details

  • Price: $23-34
  • Number of sites: 150
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

6. Paynes Prairie Reserve

woman looking out to field through binoculars

Image from The Dyrt camper Sean B.

If you’re looking to spot an alligator up close, this is the perfect place: it’s less than 20 minutes south of Gainesville, and there’s a nearby trail that provides ample opportunities to watch the wetland and swamp wildlife. The Paynes Prairie is a great place to watch wild horses and bison, while the nearby Lake Wauberg is a perfect spot for canoeing, providing you keep an eye out for those gators.

“We saw wild bison, wild turkeys, deer, snakes, and several different species of birds.”Angela M.

Campground Details

  • Price: $5-20
  • Number of sites: 37
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

7. Ocean Pond Campground

fully set-up campsite with Rv and car

Image from The Dyrt camper Skye K.

This campground is an hour’s drive north of Gainesville and rests in the south section of Osceola National Forest. It lies right on the banks of Ocean Pond, a lake that’s ideal for water-skiing and boating. The campground is clean and well-kept. There are hot showers and drinking water sites available.

“A nice, clean, remote campground in the north-central Florida wetlands/pine and palmetto forests. The bathrooms are clean, as are all of the campsites.”Christopher B.

Campground Details

  • Price: $10-30
  • Number of sites: 67
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

 

There are tons of well equipped, high-quality camping options available in and around Gainesville. If you want to keep looking at the hundreds of other options, check out The Dyrt’s full list of the best camping in Gainesville, Florida.

 


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