The weather’s cooling off, you’ve got your tent back out, it’s time to camp. You don’t need to leave the state or head up to central Florida for a great outdoor experience – there’s plenty of nature waiting to be explored right here.
MARTIN COUNTY - Jonathan Dickinson State Park - floridastateparks.org/park/Jonathan-Dickinson
Just north of Palm Beach County, this sprawling state park offers a bit of everything. From the Indian River it stretches miles inland, taking in everything from dunes to river swamps, mangroves to pines. In addition to camping there’s canoeing and kayaking, great hiking and biking trails. And you can check out the legacy of Trapper Nelson, “Tarzan of the Loxahatchee,” who lived in the area from the 1930s to his death in 1968. He opened a zoo, planted gardens, built log gardens and a Seminole-style chickee shelter, and after his death, much of his vast landholdings became part of the state park.
PALM BEACH COUNTY - John Prince Park - Go to pbcgov.com and search for "John Prince Park."
Just west of I-95 and the Lake Worth Tri-Rail station sits a large, surprisingly diverse county park surrounded by Palm Beach County suburbia. The park’s big enough that it can offer a camping area, lake watersports and fishing, as well as more typical county park pastimes like sports fields and a playground with a small children’s water play area. Great for groups with kids of different ages.
BROWARD COUNTY - Easterlin Park - broward.org/parks/easternlinpark
To one side sits the rail line and I-95, to another sits a depot where hundreds of school buses are kept. And yet in this underwhelming spot, you’ll find a little jewel. Eastside camping isn’t common in Broward, but this small park features both a motorhome area and a spot for tents. And if Frisbee golf is your thing, there’s a course next to a small lake.
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY - Oleta River State Park - floridastateparks.org/park/Oleta-River
In the midst of one of the most built-up, condo-intensive parts of South Florida, this North Miami Beach park is a rambling, remarkably intact piece of wilderness. Try river kayaking, off-road biking or just lying on a beach that seems a million miles from Miami. Camping in the park comes in the form of a handful of cabins. They have air conditioning as well as toilets and showers nearby – but no TVs or phones.
MONROE COUNTY - Flamingo Campground - nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/flamcamp.htm
At the end of a road that winds nearly 40 miles through Everglades National Park, this national park campground on the far southern coast (Monroe County, though still on the mainland) offers a real Everglades experience and some of the most secluded beaches South Florida has to offer. Some campsites overlook Florida Bay; all offer a taste of the real Florida.