Growing up, my family vacationed in a big canvas tent. I can still smell the combination of canvas, coffee and pancakes on the camp stove that I would wake up to. My mother could produce a gourmet meal from a cooler and a fire, she had an intricate system for doing dishes and having fresh water at the campsite and the parks we camped at gave us a great hiking trails and beautiful views.  

Ready to get started making great memories with your family? Here are some tips to get you started, and some locations within driving distance to try out.

1.) Tent, Cabin, Camper or Van?  You can camp in anyway you prefer. Do you want to rough it in a tent? Sleep in a camper or even your van? Start small, with borrowed gear if you need to. An overnight trip in your yard or driveway or even a local park will allow you to test your comfort level with an easy out if you have forgotten something.

2.) Sleeping bags on the ground, blow up or roll up mattresses or cots? Choose your comfort level. This may guide what size tent you need.

3.) Organized campsite with activities and swimming pools or parks without activities – exploring nature?

4.) You need a good cooler, because all that fresh air will make your family hungry. I have camped where we ate hotdogs over the campfire for every meal (I don’t recommend it). Hot meals can be done in foil, sandwiches are great and who can ever forget a smore over the fire for dessert.     Make a decision on paper or reusable plates and bring tubs for washing dishes and something to heat up water. Kids love using a canteen and mess kit!   

5.) Make sure to secure your food and garbage because there are critters out there. I was too young to remember the camping trip where a bear came to lunch, but apparently my mother grabbed her 3 youngest kids and stayed in the car while the bear enjoyed sandwiches and chips, making a mess of the campsite! 

6.) Bring a variety of clothes – be prepared for cooler nights, hot days and rain. Bring bug spray and sunscreen. Think about what you might need to keep people comfortable and pack that. A first aid kit is a must.

7.) Don’t forget the toilet paper!!!

Here are some great camping options in Florida!

Long Point Park

Long Point Campground is 84.5-acre preservation and river park area located on an island in the Indian River Lagoon.

The campground area is near the marine ecosystems of the Sebastian inlet marine area and the Atlantic Ocean.

Long Point Park Campground is a perfect camping area for nature enthusiasts and fishermen featuring shoreline campsites with a boat ramp, a small fishing dock and a fish cleaning station.

The campground also features showers, laundry facilities, pavilions, a playground and a wildlife pond. Campground amenities include 113 waterfront campsites with water and electricity. 15 campsites include water, electricity and sewer.

They also have WiFi, horseshoe pits and volleyball nets. Next to the camping area, cross a bridge to Scout Island where you can walk nature trails and hopefully see dolphins, otters, an alligator or two, plus shorebirds and waterfowl.

Wekiwa Springs State Park

Wekiwa Springs is one of Florida’s famous State Parks near Orlando which is a perfect weekend getaway spot and an absolute blast for the kids.

The state park covers a vast 7,000 acres of land and is the headwater of the Wekiwa River. Wekiwa is a Muscogee word that means spring. The name of the park comes from the springs in the park and the river subdivisions.

The spring is the main attraction of the Wekiwa Springs State Park and feeds the Wekiwa River. Wekiwa Springs State Park has a nature center that features the Wekiwa Spring with a small cavern at the spring source. The cavern provides a suitable swimming area for visitors.

The state park is equipped with pavilions fitted with grills to act as the picnic area. The park has four camping sites that are accessible through canoes and a series of nature trails for walking and hiking.

Fun activities available at the park include camping, hiking, fishing, snorkeling, cycling and horseback riding.

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, Orlando

Fort Wilderness resort in Walt Disney World in Orlando offers RV camping for the family and their pets. Stay at the campgrounds so you have the chance to see fireworks as well as access to an easier way to travel to the Magic Kingdom. 

The Fort Wilderness campgrounds offer an opportunity to see area animals such as the armadillos, rabbits, ducks and deer that roam around the massive 750-acre cypress and pine forest.   

Juniper Springs National Recreation Area, Ocala

This crystal clear freshwater spring is what captivates most travelers in north-central Florida. Juniper Springs located in the Ocala National Forest is where you can be impressed with the water. 

Seven miles down Juniper Run you can experience paddling a kayak or canoe as you enjoy a stunning view of the crystal spring.

Fort De Soto Park, St. Petersburg

The Fort De Soto Park in St. Petersburg consists of 5 separate islands loaded with history and excellent beaches and wildlife, turning this place into one of the best RV camping destinations. 

Take your bike or just walk at one of the numerous nature trails. You may have the chance to kayak or canoe through the lush mangroves or you can just opt to relax on the beach. 

All throughout the year, you will see habitats of herons, pelicans, plovers and egrets. During summer, you may witness sea turtles nesting along the beach as well as friendly dolphins at the fishing pier. 

The 7-mile paved trail is great for biking, jogging, walking and skating as well.

Turtle Beach Campground

Turtle Beach has it all, fishing, kayak, volleyball, etc. You definitely won’t be bored!

It’s right next to Siesta Key Beach, which has won numerous awards around the globe, and in the Siesta Village, you have plenty of restaurants, sight seeing options and more.

The campground features 39 RV sites so there is plenty of room. Enjoy direct beach access but without pets, because they are not allowed in order to protect the loggerhead and green turtle nests.

It’s the perfect location to take your family, as there are plenty of activities for kids and adults alike.

Caladesi Island State Park

Caladesi Island State Park is one of the few remaining “untouched” areas of the Gulf Coast, and the locals take it seriously enough that the park is only accessible by boat. You can’t bring your noise or pollution here. It’s a protected place.

Once you arrive, however, you’ll realize that the effort was worth it. You can go swimming, boating and paddling in crystal-clear waters that stretch for miles. You can take scenic nature hikes among flowers and curious critters. You can even get married on the beach if you’re looking for a beautiful wedding destination!

Consider a visit to Caladesi Island State Park if you want to have a good time in Florida without any of the crowds or garbage heaps that plague other tourist destinations.

Camp Venice Retreat

Tucked away in the tree hammocks of the Florida wilderness, Camp Venice Retreat lives up to its name by providing an authentic “retreat” experience. For starters, it’s located on the coast of the quiet, mystic Myakka River, so the views are definitely a change from all of the gleaming metal buildings of a modern metropolis.

You’ll also have your pick of sleeping in a tent or renting a wooden cabin, and both options will bring you closer to nature.

If you start craving civilization again, the city of Venice is just a few miles away, with shops, restaurants and other attractions as far as the eye can see.

If you want to get away from it all, however, Camp Venice Retreat will be a peaceful and tranquil campsite.

Grayton Beach State Park

The beach is ranked as one of the most beautiful beaches in the country and there is plenty to explore as you have more than 1 mile of sugar-white beaches. 

The Western Lake is perfect for fishing and paddling and there are more than 4 miles of nature trails for those that want to explore on foot through the coastal forest.

You can even spot stingrays and turtles on the good days. It is a stunning place to relax and unwind absolutely perfect for a weekend getaway. Bring your family to an unforgettable experience that will be forever in their memories.

Camp Gulf

Camp Gulf is one of the largest camping sites in Florida. It’s so well developed that it’s practically a resort; there are cabins, beach houses, bathhouses, RV sites, activity centers and public pools.

It’s all set against a backdrop of clear blue skies and white sand beaches.

It isn’t very remote. There are always people coming and going, and busy tourist attractions are right around the corner.

But this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Some people aren’t interested in quiet nature retreats. Instead, they thrive on the fun and energy of colorful campgrounds filled with travelers from all around the world.

If this describes your ideal vacation, you’ll love Camp Gulf!

Florida Cavern State Park, Mariana

The Florida Cavern Park is one of the best state parks in Florida to visit and famous for its colorful cave stalactites and breathtaking rock formation. 

The Chipola River offers opportunities for equestrian camping, kayaking and biking along the river shore. 

Part of the attraction of the park is the 9-hole golf course located at the entrance of the park. 

A night camping will cost $20, and the park admission per vehicle is just $5. Cave tours will cost you an additional amount that varies.

Fort Pickens Campground, Pensacola

Visitors, young and old, come to Fort Pickens to relax in its scenic location on the beach. The white sands of Santa Rosa Island are the unspoiled place for a long walk or an afternoon of constructing sandcastles. The deep ocean waters are ideal for swimming and snorkeling.

The Historic Fort Pickens, a pentagonal fort built to defend Pensacola Bay in 1834, is just 1 mile from the campground. The more you drive back on Fort Pickens Road into the Gulf Islands National Seashore, the further back in time you’ll be transported. 

The 200 campsites nestled between the Gulf of Mexico and Pensacola Bay offer a great location for hiking, beach activities (Langdon Beach is awesome) or exploring Fort Pickens and other nearby military gun batteries.

George Island State Park

Known as the Forgotten Coast, St George Island Park is located in a section of Florida. 

Camping here will allow you to make family memories at the beach currently rank as the third best beach in the USA. It is best for activities such as boating and swimming.

Anastasia State Park, St. Augustine

This Park has a vibrant ecosystem and impressive wildlife. The nature trail is part of the archeological site where the coquina rock was mined to help build the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument.

There are numerous recreational activities to take pleasure in, including hiking, swimming, bird watching and more. The campground contains 139 campsites all located in the beautiful maritime hammock, just a stone’s throw away from the beach.

North Beach Camp Resort

This campground offers a memorable stay by the North Florida beach. This camp resort located in St. Augustine, Florida, sits on 30 acres of forested land on an island between the North River and the Atlantic Ocean.

The accessible campgrounds provide privacy from the tall oaks for guests to enjoy their time in nature. The sandy beaches make the campsite a suitable chill spot for guests to enjoy the spectacular sunrise and sunsets.

The camp resort has a swimming pool and is handicap accessible. There are kid-friendly amenities, a pool and a waterfront restaurant. Fun activities at the camp resort include swimming, relaxing,or walking on the sandy North Florida beaches or fishing.

There are RV hookup spots and tent campgrounds for visitors looking for outdoor overnight experiences.

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