Florida is warming up with the Spring and late Spring months great times for camping and RVing if you have the equipment, but even if you do not, full facility State Parks have kayaks and canoes, nature trails, and some of Florida’s best beaches.
The water may still be a little cold, certainly for Floridians. The further south you go the water gets warmer. Fernandina Beach near the Georgia border is today a chilly 58.2 F, but it will be 67.8 by mid-April and 74.1 F by May. Key Largo in the Keys is 76.7 F now in March. The Gulf is always warmer as an enclosed smaller body of water: Panama City is 64.3 F right now, so you won’t see the college spring breakers in the water for long, but it becomes 75.4 F by May first. Sanibel (Ft Myers) is a nice 72 F.
Here are my favorite Florida beaches with RV and campground facilities:
Reservations at State Parks are made via Reserve America (800-326-3521) and all these parks have great websites with maps and photographs and information.
FORT CLINCH STATE PARK CAMPGROUND on Amelia Island is neat for seniors and couples due to all the B&Bs and sites in historic Fernandina Beach. The park houses a huge Civil War fortification with tours with bike and kayak trails on the protected island side.
JONATHAN DICKINSON STATE PARK on the Atlantic has perhaps the most diverse facilities for families. It is a short drive to some of Florida’s best surfing beaches, but the park on the Loxahatchee River is the largest in Southeast Florida with 16 natural communities to explore. There are 8.7 miles of bike trails, even 9 miles of mountain bike routes.
There is swimming on the river, but the place is best for kayaks and canoes or a tour on the Loxahatchee Queen pontoon boat. You can even bring a horse ride with its 8 miles of horseback trails.
BAHIA HONDA STATE PARK is the best full-service campground and beach in the Florida Keys, and it is mid-way to Key West. It has beaches on both the Atlantic and Bay sides, snorkeling tours to Looe Key Sanctuary, and tons of opportunities for kayaks and boats.
FORT DeSOTO COUNTY PARK (727-582-2267) south of St. Petersburg has all the facilities of a state park and maybe even more. The complex contains four islands with large Mullet Key housing a Spanish-American War fortress and museum and a beach, once selected “Best in the USA.”
The waterside campgrounds have all the facilities of any center in Florida. With two fishing piers, a dog park and beach, food services, and rental boats, it is not a shock to see how popular Fort DeSoto Park is with the residents of Tampa Bay, as urban beaches lack enough parking and space.
ANASTASIA STATE PARK, on Saint Augustine Beach, has 1,600 acres of prime real estate. Minutes from the historic Ancient City, the park has good beaches and a backyard of wonderful nature trails.
While the Atlantic Ocean may have its surfing, swimming, and shore fishing, the marsh side of this park is for nature hikes, bird watching, and boating.
ST. GEORGE ISLAND STATE PARK and ST. JOSEPH PENINSULA STATE PARK in the middle of the Panhandle makes an interesting combo. St George State Park is located on one-half of St. George Island and has beachside campground facilities with some nearby restaurants and stores.
The park on St. Joseph Peninsula State Park is for people who want isolation and a huge white sand peninsula that looks like Cape Cod in reverse. You come here to fish and swim with few people within sight.
SADLY, THE CAMPGROUND at St. Joseph IS CLOSED since repairs from Hurricane Michel are not completed. The bayside is a wonderful haven for birds and the Marine Hammock Nature Trail. You can stay at one park and make an exploration at the other.
NOTE: There are several incredible State Parks with beautiful beaches, good parking and recreational services but NO CAMPGROUND. One of these is Lovers Key State Park west of Fort Myers. What a sight for a campground, but maybe not enough room when all the Floridians. Yet the water today at Lovers Key is 73 F.
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