Does the idea of free camping in Florida perk up your ears? Since camping is becoming an increasingly popular way for families to travel and social distance, it also starts to bed the question about how you can find ways to camp affordably as well. Luckily, with a little bit of research and determination, you can easily find places to camp for free in Florida.
Free Camping In Florida
There are a lot of great boon-docking options in Florida (and in case you didn’t know, boon-docking is another term for free camping that you’ll hear referenced quite often). This small list will give you a little insight and a few ideas.
I’ve gathered up some popular free camping destinations in Florida that might be perfect for you what you’re looking for. Let’s dive into a couple of great options for you to check out!
Campgrounds run by the Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation
This state ran agency does offer free camping options all over the state but has limited space and access. You can easily make your camping reservations online and not have to worry about an overnight fee for camping. Make certain to ask if there are any other fees that you’ll be expected to pay before showing up as some do have different fees associated with staying on their land. Camping seasons, rules, permits and fees vary from site to site.
DuPois Management Area
This is actually a really cool spot to stay for free. The DuPuis Management Area is a 21,875-acre multi-use natural area located in northwestern Palm Beach and southwestern Martin counties. Not only are there camping sites but there are also beautiful hiking trails, a butterfly garden, and even great fishing areas as well.
The property is interspersed with numerous ponds, wet prairies, cypress domes, pine flatwoods and remnant Everglades marsh. The area provides miles of horseback trails, an equestrian center, graded vehicle roads, backpack and group campsites and seasonal hunting. DuPuis is far from urban areas, and its dark night sky lends itself to excellent stargazing.
Bluff Springs located in the Florida panhandle
The Bluff Springs Recreation Area is located in Century, approximately 40 miles north of Pensacola. Not only can you camp there for free but you can also go boating, too. It’s located in the panhandle and is a nice little gem that is just waiting for you to explore. Keep in mind that this site is for tents only and you will need to reserve it in advance to stay.
Visitors can enjoy access to the Escambia River, the fourth-largest river in Florida and home to more than 85 native freshwater fish species. The day-use area is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Camping in Florida’s National Forests
Another major bonus for camping in Florida is that camping in the National Forests is free. While it can be a hot spot for tourists, there are places that you can pitch a tent and get cozy for the night.
Just be certain to be respectful of the animals, people, and nature while you’re staying here so that it can continue to be a free option for other campers to enjoy.
As you can see, there are plenty of great options for free camping in Florida! You just need to figure out the geographic location that you’re wanting to travel to and then find an area that you can camp in for free.
Free camping, or dispersed camping, is allowed in all national forests, unless noted otherwise. You can find places to camp on the side of main roads, or follow forest access roads (often gravel or dirt) to more remote sites. The general rule is to camp 100-200 feet away from any road, trail, or water source.
With a little bit of research on your end, you’ll rack up some huge savings nightly, too!
Where to park your RV for free in Florida
The following is a list of free RV camping and overnight parking places:
- Altoona– The USDA Ocala National Forest offers free dispersed RV camping (boon-docking) at several different designated camping areas. Developed campgrounds are also available with basic facilities.
- Eureka– East of Eureka in the USDA Ocala National Forest, free dispersed RV camping is allowed at the Grassy Pond Recreation Area.
- Kenansville– There are 3 designated areas suitable for RV camping located on the Three Lakes WMA (Wildlife Management Area). Fishing, hiking, biking, wildlife viewing, RV camping and more.
- Naples- Free primitive RV camping is permitted in Big Cypress National Preserve. Several designated no facility campgrounds are open all year, while other campgrounds have limited dates of operation.
- Okeelanta- If weekend camping fits your lifestyle, the Holey Land WMA (Wildlife Management Area) offers free dispersed Florida RV camping only on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
- Olustee– RV camping is allowed at several “Hunt Camps” in the USDA Osceola National Forest. These designated primitive camping areas are open year round and are great Florida RV camping locations for those looking to get away from it all.
- Pittman– RV camping is permitted at the Baptist Lake designated primitive campground near Pittman. This remote camping site has no facilities, but offers numerous outdoor recreation opportunities.
FAQ’s about camping for free in Florida
Yes, it actually is. Even though you might feel the ocean calling you, resist the urge to set up camp. Unless there are signs that are clear that state you can, you are not allowed to camp on the beach. Period. And even if you see other people doing it, abide by the rules and don’t.
Absolutely. But again, if there are places to stay overnight and camp for free, make certain that you’re reading any posted signs or rules for the area. And always remember to leave the area cleaner than you found it.
Just because there might be an overnight parking spot that allows RV’s to camp overnight, it doesn’t mean that you necessarily get to make yourself at home. Don’t set out chairs or even attempt to have a campfire. Overnight free parking in parking lots is just for that – parking and sleeping to wake up early and get back on the road.
This all depends on location and the type of campsite that you’re looking for. Campsite nightly rates will be anywhere from $16 upwards to over $40 per night. This is why many people who camp a lot or are full-time campers are always looking for places to camp for free.
Even though it’s cheaper than a hotel, it really does add up quickly.
Do you have any other tips for free camping in Florida? Let me know in the comments!