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Florida Winter Camping

| Updated Dec 28, 2013

gamble2 As a native Floridian, I'm in a good position to jump on targets of opportunity that pop up over the winter here, and I just snagged three nights at one of the most coveted camping locations in the Sunshine State – Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreational Area.

Here's a photo of our setup at the next door site last year. A person could be happy here 😉

This is a tiny oceanfront park just north of Daytona Beach, administered by the state park system, and they use the ReserveAmerica system to allow people to make online reservations. With 34 spots and millions of visitors to Florida every winter, they're usually booked solid, but people cancel and things happen, and lo and behold there were three nights in a row at a beautiful spot next weekend when I checked the reservation website, so I pounced right on that baby.

The ReserveAmerica website is here, and if you aren't registered already you should be, and at as well.  Both of these sites are used by state park and federal systems to make campsites available online. You can search by area – all campsites near a particular city – which is way better than some of the less user-friendly reservation systems.  State park camping fees here in Florida are $30ish a night, half off for resident seniors, so I can afford $46 or so for three nights of oceanfront camping right after New Years.  The next available night at this particular campsite is August, to give you an idea of the demand.

Here we are at the day stay area at St George. With a Class B, you can do this, returning to the campground at dusk. Try it in a big rig and they'd bounce you back  to the campground posthaste.
Here we are at the day stay area at St George. With a Class B, you can do this, returning to the campground at dusk. Try it in a big rig and they'd bounce you back to the campground posthaste.

Florida state parks that I like besides Gamble Rogers are Julian Bruce on St George Island over southwest of Tallahassee on the Gulf, and St. Joseph Peninsula State Park a little further west, approaching Panama City. Neither have the beachfront camping like Gamble Rogers, but you're still close enough to hear the surf at night, and with a Class B you just go down to the oceanfront day stay area and hang out all day.   These two parks are also much easier to get reservations for.

Come back to the Gulf Coast, Mike. All that white sand is waiting for you ;-)
The beach at St. Joe. Come back to the Gulf Coast, Mike. All that white sand is waiting for you 😉

The blindingly white gulf beaches are what had Mike Wendland mooning over how wonderful it would be to spend forever there – until he went to Colorado and fell in love with the mountains. Oh well, I am sure a month or two of Michigan winter weather will reawaken his fond memories of toes in the sand down by the Gulf. I'll throw a photo of the beach at St Joseph Peninsula State Park in to jog his memory. As you can tell, I'm partial to beach camping – there are plenty of inland state parks, but I seldom visit them.

I really don't have much experience trying to camp in South Florida in the winter, but the laws of supply and demand dictate that it's going to be a lot harder than it is up in the part of the state where I live. Commercial campgrounds are pricey, state and county parks are full, and if you go to the Keys, expect to pay hotel money for a campsite – if you can get one.

I did have good luck snagging a spot for a few days at a St Pete county park out on the tip of the sandspit at the mouth of Tampa Bay, Fort De Soto, and it was $35-40ish.

I know winter camping in Florida is everyone's dream, but that's a problem, when “everyone” includes a good proportion of Florida's 45 million annual visitors who arrive by car or RV.  I have a low tolerance for crowds anyway, so you won't find me down there in South Florida often.

RV Lifestyle

Published on 2013-12-28

88 Responses to “Florida Winter Camping”

December 07, 2015at9:55 am, Valerie Matthews said:

Camping on the beach in Florida during the winter is truly unbeatable.

November 13, 2014at8:00 pm, Vincent J. Sokol said:

camping a Cachuma lake near Santa Barbra calif

November 13, 2014at12:33 pm, Jimmy Dorf said:

You could also tryTorry Island Campground , Slim’s Fish Camp & John Prince Park !!!

November 13, 2014at8:13 am, Debbie Bailey said:

Yep, when we lived down there we camped in the winter. To hot in the summer

November 12, 2014at11:09 pm, Michael Townley said:

Fran Piña Townley
Lets rent a camper & go

November 12, 2014at9:09 pm, MannixDebee Manincor said:

So~~what kind of vehicle is this? Might work Pilot Car camping?

November 12, 2014at7:19 pm, BudandAnn Wardecke said:

Looks inviting! Texas?

November 12, 2014at6:44 pm, RT Campskunk said:

the top photo is Gamble Rogers, just north of Daytona. the gulf location photos have where they are in the captions. Class Bs are actually safer as far as breakins go – no flimsy doors and fiberglass stuff. i have never seen a class C door you couldn’t open with a screwdriver.

November 12, 2014at4:42 pm, Alice Olson said:

Where is this?

November 12, 2014at3:55 pm, Sarah Mallot said:

Still not camping

November 12, 2014at3:22 pm, Carol Jean Bufala said:

I love your stories. would like to see more photos of the free sites you use. We are not sure if we want a roadtrek or small class A or C, just for security sleeping. Seems like a larger RV would be safer from someone trying to break-in.

November 12, 2014at2:23 pm, Alberta Justice said:

No !!! It doesn’t get better:)

November 12, 2014at12:14 pm, Diane Roland said:

Oh to be there.

November 12, 2014at11:37 am, Rae A Bryant said:

Wouldn’t the spaces be full in winter.

November 12, 2014at11:36 am, Doc Plemmons said:

Angela Middleton Plemmons, Rachel Hall

November 12, 2014at11:32 am, Ray McDonald said:

N I C E…………..

November 12, 2014at11:26 am, Annette Wells-Gaston said:

FL is where my super good friends and “sister” spend their winters…How I wish I could also!

November 12, 2014at10:53 am, Bonnie Hoffman said:

I think your stories are wonderful, but I would like to add a suggestion. Could you please add more photos of the vehicles and the surrounding areas. I am a wannabe Roadtreker and eagerly go I to reading these posts hoping for more pics of what I will someday be doing. Thanks

November 13, 2014at11:28 pm, David Buswell said:

I am a wanna be also….good suggestion

November 12, 2014at10:40 am, Vicki Merritt said:

Bet you’re kind of jealous about now huh!

November 12, 2014at10:20 am, Karen Lynn Schweizer said:

Pat Martin….beach camping baby!

November 12, 2014at9:05 am, Rebecca Rehm said:

Looks like Gamble Rogers State Park??

November 12, 2014at8:48 am, Joe D Phillips said:

One comment. You bust your buns getting all set up and everything is perfect but you only have this one vehicle. Then the wife says I forgot to get such and such!!! So you have to walk 4 miles to the nearest store?? There just does not seem to be a perfect answer. Should you pull a short Livinglite trailer or a Jeep? Or an electric bicycle attached to the back hitch?? Riding a bicycle in a rain storm really smacks!!!

November 12, 2014at7:39 pm, Pete Gamino said:

You raise some excellent questions. And when is hurricane season?

November 12, 2014at8:09 am, Michele Little said:

Sunday Guy this would be a perfect size !!

November 12, 2014at7:47 am, Kim Kocon said:

Where is this? Nice!

November 12, 2014at5:37 am, Lydia Brassard said:

Where is this ??

August 09, 2014at9:00 am, Larry Thrasher said:

We rented a camper van for a three week trip out west a few years ago. Had a great time.

August 08, 2014at8:40 pm, Karen Cronin said:

Not available in Wa. And expensive.

August 08, 2014at3:48 pm, Lee Bauer said:

Funny I’ve been looking at the same thing

August 08, 2014at2:31 pm, Nancy Miller said:

I want one of these!

August 07, 2014at8:42 pm, Yvette Picard said:

We love our Roadtreks… we just got an ERA 70x on a Sprinter chassis

August 07, 2014at7:43 pm, Michele Deland said:

moi arrive de Alaska Et Yukon de deux mois avec mon Roadtrek 1995 quelle beau voyage

August 07, 2014at6:16 pm, Charles Davis said:

nice units but always been concerned about fires in these units …

August 07, 2014at3:44 pm, Karsten Askeland said:

I wonder if my two months in Florida will be like this next winter? 🙂

August 07, 2014at3:40 pm, Evelyn Simpson said:

Would to love to owb one.

August 07, 2014at1:30 pm, Mandy Burton said:

Billy Compton I want to camp here!!

August 07, 2014at1:20 pm, Neil Cooley said:

I can’t imagine being penned up in this thing for about 3 rainy days in a row.

August 07, 2014at2:19 pm, Paul Curtis said:

Rainey Days = Great Fishing

August 07, 2014at12:43 pm, Jeff Harris said:

Pamela Brooking Harris ck that site out!

January 14, 2014at7:58 pm, Joe D Phillips said:

What is the highest level on top of the pictured Roadtrek? Solar?

January 15, 2014at9:53 pm, Campskunk said:

yep – 555 watts of panels. details on the setup are here:

January 14, 2014at8:20 am, Russ Palmer said:

Nice…. looks like fun to me…

January 14, 2014at1:42 am, Khai Le said:

Nice place . I love camping at the beach

January 14, 2014at1:09 am, Peter Naughton said:

I’m really digging this thing ive always wanted a little camper and it beats doing short hop tours in a car

January 13, 2014at11:51 pm, Gina Marie Werrick said:

Love the Roadtrek, wish I could afford one. Sigh!

January 13, 2014at11:27 pm, Verna Dufrene Hebert said:

It gets cold in Florida also!

January 13, 2014at11:27 pm, Verna Dufrene Hebert said:

It gets cold in Florida also!

January 13, 2014at7:53 pm, Fred Showker said:

You cannot stress enough — MAKE RESERVATIONS EARLY … there are sites in Florida that are book a year in advance — specially for winter dates. If you drive to Florida from December to mid-February, you’ll encounter endless caravans of campers and RVs from up north, headed to Florida. — MAKE RESERVATIONS EARLY

January 13, 2014at1:12 pm, Jerry Glenn Hartwig said:

“I know winter camping in Florida is everyone’s dream, “. Um – sorry, but no. Like the B though… We travelled for years in a B until we felt the need for a bit more space. Enjoyed the article.

January 13, 2014at10:04 pm, Campskunk said:

to us florida natives it just SEEMS like everybody 😉

January 13, 2014at12:12 pm, Karin DiGiacinto said:

Would love to do this

January 13, 2014at12:06 pm, Sherilyn Morrill said:

Wow, wish I were there!!!Beautiful

January 13, 2014at11:31 am, Nancy Miller said:

I would love to have this so I could go whenever I wanted too!

January 13, 2014at10:55 am, Lib Simon said:

The only way to hangout….the Roadtrek way!

January 13, 2014at10:46 am, Raven Rayne said:

stop by when you get here

January 13, 2014at10:35 am, Kim Bourne said:

We enjoy our small motorhome and we stay on the road a lot would love to be full time.

January 13, 2014at10:24 am, Shirley Gossett said:

Oughta try it sometime!

January 13, 2014at10:13 am, Helen Trammell Cash Suppes said:

would love to have one of these–but ——

January 13, 2014at10:09 am, Barbara Artis Dunham said:

Would love to be doing this right now.

January 13, 2014at9:59 am, Jody Lambright Eckler said:

Gary Eckler, read this article. Lots of good info!

January 13, 2014at9:51 am, Susan Wicks Mueller said:

We may be doing this next winter

January 13, 2014at9:20 am, Kelly Atchison Shelton said:

Jackie Atchison Bradley, Connie Blake Atchison, Jim Atchison, Rob Bradley

January 13, 2014at8:33 am, Deanna Dyck Bolton said:

Same here, wish that was me!!

January 13, 2014at8:25 am, Nancy Craft Long said:


January 13, 2014at7:34 am, Chris Carroll said:

I like this thing

January 13, 2014at7:29 am, Don Grant said:

Quite the concept on winter camping.

January 13, 2014at7:05 am, David Horton said:

I wish that was me

January 13, 2014at7:01 am, Jeffrey Berry said:

Thanks for the insight on the Keys. I am a budding seasonal employee trying to figure out options.

January 13, 2014at6:20 am, Dana Christine said:

Sarah Morehead

December 28, 2013at11:57 am, Barbara D said:

Thanks for the FL camping ideas. We are headed there in late Jan to spend Feb in FL. We have often make this CA to FL trip and always enjoy it. Love visiting friends, relatives and birding along the way. A couple of parks we like is the St. Joseph Peninsula SP that you mentioned , Manatee Springs SP near Chiefland, DeSota (you mentioned it) and Anastasia SP.

Now we have a few more to try!!

December 28, 2013at10:45 am, Laura H P said:

Thanks for the info. We have reservations at one campground on the Gulf side but have discovered that you need to make plans a year in advance. That’s way too hard for us to do. So, we are going to take our chances and try the drive-up method. If we don’t have any luck, oh well. This is our first year as “snowbirds” and we’re learning lots of things! Camo Ken has a 10# bass on his bucket list; that’s our focus this winter. Thanks again.

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