Montage of great places to camp in Florida and Georgia: manatees, Grayton Beach, alligator, Fort Clinch, Saint Augustine

7 Best Family Friendly Campgrounds In Florida

There is oh, so much more to a great Florida family vacation than Orlando. Whether you are looking for something on the Gulf Coast, the Panhandle, or Atlantic, we've got seven great options that will introduce you to the other Florida. History, alligators, birding, beautiful beaches (of course), seashells, fighter jets, and a couple of great old forts just to name a few.

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1. Sanibel Island, Florida

4 girls on Sanibel Island beach looking at crab-shaped sand art

On the Southwest Gulf Coast of Florida, tropical paradise Sanibel Island and nearby Captiva Island consistently rank as one of the top destinations in the world for shelling. Winter months bring storms, and is thus the best time to shell on Sanibel. Sanibel Island is also home to J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, an immense mangrove ecosystem world famous for its migratory bird populations. Peak visitation season is between December and April - with the holiday weeks particularly busy.

Family Favorites: Ability to bike everywhere and the abundant and spectacular seashells.

Periwinkle Park & Campground:  RV/tent; open year-round;
Amenities: hot showers, flush toilets, laundry, ice/propane for sale, complete hookups for RV sites. No Wi-Fi.

For more details about the campground and things to do, see our Sanibel Island post.

2. Fort Clinch State Park, Florida

Fort Clinch State Park with cannons pointing over Cumberland Sound in Florida

On the Northeast coast of Florida, Fort Clinch State Park is home to the historic Fort Clinch. For a small fee, explore the self-guided museum, extensive grounds, and 1864-era furnished rooms. Fort Clinch State Park also offers access to pristine white beaches that stretch along the shoreline. Swim, fish, hike, and hunt for shells and shark teeth. Outdoor showers and restrooms at the boardwalk entrances.

Family Favorite: Exploring the nooks and crannies of Fort Clinch

Two Campgrounds in Fort Clinch: Amelia River & Atlantic Beach  (RV/tent; open year-round; 58 campsites)
Amelia River Amenities: Water/electric, hot showers, flush toilets, laundry, shade & privacy
Atlantic Beach Amenities: Water/electric (at RV sites only), hot showers, flush toilets, laundry, no shade/privacy

For more details about the campground and things to do, see our Fort Clinch State Park post.

3. Blue Spring State Park, Florida

Manatee at Blue Spring State Park looking at paddler

Little over an hour north of Orlando, Blue Spring State Park is one of the premier places to watch manatees in the winter and one of the best springs to cool off in the summer.  Depending on the season of your visit to Blue Spring State Park, take part in: river cruise tours, snorkeling & scuba diving, picnicking, hiking, paddling, birding, and swimming.

Family Favorite: Paddling with the manatees and the gorgeous, green spring-fed waters

Campground: RV/tent; open year-round; 44 campsites
Amenities: Hot showers, flush toilets, laundry, water/electric, dump station

For more details about the campground and things to do, see our Blue Spring State Park post.

4. Grayton Beach State Park, Florida

Four girls sitting by emerald ocean at Grayton Beach State Park, Florida

Part of Florida’s Emerald Coast, Grayton Beach State Park is famous for its soft, sugar-white sand and emerald- green waters.  Undeveloped shoreline and access to rare coastal dune lakes should put Grayton Beach State Park on the top of your “must-go” vacation list. The 40-foot height restriction keeps this area low-key and quiet. Outdoor showers and restrooms at boardwalk entrances.  Opportunities for hiking, swimming, paddling, bicycling, and picnicking.

Family Favorite: Gorgeous emerald waters, soft sugar-white sand, and the secluded nature of this state park.

Campground: RV/Tent; open year-round; 80 campsites
Amenities: Hot showers, flush toilets, laundry, water/electric, dump station
We prefer the older section on the coastal dune lake - generous footprint and privacy (from a tent perspective).

5. Anastasia State Park, Florida

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Augustine exterior in Saint Augustine, Florida

Next door to the lovely, historic Saint Augustine in Northeast Florida, Anastasia State Park boasts of more than 1,600 acres of unspoiled beaches, tidal marshes, and maritime hammocks. Outdoor activities within the park include paddling, swimming, and birding while just a short drive away, America’s oldest European colony Saint Augustine offers numerous cultural and historical experiences.

Family Favorite: Exploring the historic, Spanish-influenced city of Saint Augustine.

Campground: RV/Tent; open year-round; 139 campsites
Amenities: Hot showers, flush toilets, laundry, water/electric, dump station, free Wi-Fi at beachfront store

For more details about the campground and things to do, see our post on Anastasia State Park.

6. Pensacola Beach, Florida

Brick archways at Fort Pickens, Pensacola Beach, Florida

On the barrier island Santa Rosa, which lies between the Gulf of Mexico and Pensacola Bay, Fort Pickens campground is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Enjoy the sparkling blue waters, secluded sugar-sand beaches, migratory birds, and surf fishing. Need a break from this quiet, low-key vacation spot? A short drive takes you to vibrant Pensacola Beach with restaurants, miniature golf, live music, and shops. Drive yet a little further out and explore the National Naval Aviation Museum - also home to the world-famous Blue Angels precision flight team (check the museum website for their practice schedule).

Family Favorite: We favor the beaches on the Gulf Coast, but for activities, it was a toss up between the National Naval Aviation Museum and Fort Pickens.

Fort Pickens Campground: RV/Tent; open year-round; 178 campsites -137 water/electric
Amenities: Hot showers, flush toilets, laundry, dump station

For more details about the campground and things to do, see our post on Gulf Islands National Seashore.

7. Stephen C. Foster State Park, Georgia

American alligator in Okefenokee Swamp at Stephen C. Foster State Park, Georgia

Although remote and not in Florida, Stephen C. Foster State Park in Georgia is home to the must-see Okefenokee Swamp, North America's largest black water swamp which straddles the Georgia-Florida border. Certified a dark sky park, here's a chance to experience some of the darkest skies in the southeast United States - check the state park website for astronomy event programs such as Constellation Cruise or Solar System Road Trip. However, the highlight of the state park is its abundance of wildlife, in particular the American alligator. An estimated 12,000 alligators call the 402,000 acre Okefenokee swamp home. Summer months will be hot, humid, and buggy. We tent camped early March and mosquitoes were present, but manageable and the weather was perfect. Note: $5 daily refuge parking fee and gates lock at 10pm.

Family Favorite: The informative ranger pontoon boat tour of the swamp was fantastic - numerous alligators of every size, plus a birding delight (cormorants, kingfishers, ibis, egrets, bitterns were among the sightings).

Campground: RV/Tent; open year-round; 66 campsites -water/electric
Amenities: Hot showers, flush toilets, laundry, dump station, kayak/boat rentals

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