Skip to Content

Is It Too Late to Book RV Sites in Florida For This Winter?

Winter is just around the corner but you haven't booked your Florida campgrounds yet! Is it too late? Maybe not! Here's how to book RV sites in Florida last minute…

It's the start of autumn and you're just realizing that you want to go down to Florida for the winter. You're not sure if it's too late to book a reservation at an RV park, but you figure it can't hurt to try.

Unfortunately, even though the RV industry appears to be cooling these days, most of the campsites in Florida are booked solid for the next few months. That's not surprising with all of the beautiful beaches, fishing, shopping, and varied recreation. However, all is not lost!

There are still ways for snowbirds (or any RVer) to find a place to stay in Florida this winter. In this blog post, we will discuss how you can book last minute RV sites in Florida and find campground cancellations.

Florida RV Parks to Escape the Winter Cold

Like what you see in these videos? We'd appreciate it if you would Subscribe to our YouTube Channel (easy to do right here) and consider “ringing the bell icon” to be notified of any new video from us. 🙂 Thanks!

Like thousands of other snowbirds, Jennifer and I like to head to Florida during the winter months. We've stayed at dozens of popular camping destinations, from private campgrounds to state parks.

In the video, we share some of our favorite RV parks to escape to. You can also check out 5 More Florida RV Parks & Campgrounds we recommend.

But is it too late to book for this winter? Can you still make a last minute campsite reservation? What about last minute campsite cancellations?

Yes, let me tell you how…

How to Book RV Sites in Florida Last Minute

Is It Too Late to Book RV Sites in Florida For This Winter?

At this point in the year, it is going to be difficult to get beachfront camping and other prime destinations in Florida. In fact, it's going to be difficult to book most places.

Ever since the pandemic, people have been booking several months in advance, if not more than a year. So you need to know the following tricks to find last minute campsites.

1. Be Flexible With Your Timing

You need to be as flexible as possible to book last-minute reservations. This means having a range of dates that you can come and go.

On that same note, you should start by looking for midweek availability. You'll likely have a better chance finding a Tuesday through Friday reservation than a weekend.

2. Look Beyond Popular Camping Destinations

Best Things to Do at Ocala National Forest Is It Too Late to Book RV Sites in Florida For This Winter?

Just like being flexible with your timing, you should be flexible with your campground, and even your destination. The most popular places book up first, but there are plenty of other great places to camp in Florida.

Here are a few ideas:

Ocala National Forest

Big Cypress National Preserve

Florida Caverns State Park

Withlacoochee State Forest

There are also many private RV parks and campgrounds that are worth considering. We have LOTS of articles on Florida campgrounds you should check out.

Mike and Jennifer's Summer T-Shirts for your next adventure

Is It Too Late to Book RV Sites in Florida For This Winter? 1
Your Adventure Awaits! New colors and designs are waiting for you.

3. Look for First-Come First-Served Campsites (State Parks!)

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park Is It Too Late to Book RV Sites in Florida For This Winter?
Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Some campsites reserve “walk-up camper” spots or only offer first-come, first-served campsites. These are the perfect places to look for last-minute bookings. Many (if not most) State parks offer these.

First-come, first-served campsites are just that – whoever shows up first, gets the spot. These are great for last-minute bookings because you don't have to worry about reservations.

To find these types of campsites, try searching on websites like Hipcamp or Campendium. Hipcamp shows “Camping Types” in the description, which will show if the campground has first-come, first-served spots.

Campendium offers some great advice on How and Where to Get a First-Come, First-Served Campsite. Many first-come, first-served campsites are in national parks and are dry camping only. Which brings me to my next tip…

4. Go Boondocking (Avoid Campgrounds!)

photo of our spot while florida boondocking camp at eglin air force base Is It Too Late to Book RV Sites in Florida For This Winter?
our spot while Florida boondocking during our camp at Eglin air force base

Instead of fighting for a reservation, you can go boondocking instead. Boondocking is dry camping on public land, away from developed campgrounds.

This is a great option for last-minute bookings because you don't need a reservation! You can find boondocking spots on websites and apps, like Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome.

You can see what RVers are saying about Harvest Hosts, which has thousands of private campsites. Plus, you can get a discount! Using this link and the discount code: RVLIFESTYLE15 you get 15% off Harvest Hosts annual membership.

Boondockers Welcome is a network of RVers who welcome others to stay overnight for free at their homes. They are a division of Harvest Hosts.

We have a discount for them, too! You can get 15% off your Boondockers Welcome annual membership using the discount code: RVLIFESTYLE15

5. Use a Camping App

Embrace Being a Senior Mike and Jennifer Wendland at the beach - Is It Too Late to Book RV Sites in Florida For This Winter?
Mike and Jennifer at the beach

There are some other great apps in addition to Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome. These apps will help you explore campgrounds all over Florida.

Some of these apps also offer an alert service for last-minute bookings. Look for an “Alert Me” or “Watch this Campground” feature, or similar.

Here are a few of our favorites:

If you receive an alert, book the reservation immediately! These go fast.

Many of the apps also allow you to check a box indicating that you are flexible on your dates. That way, you can receive an alert for a campground that you want, even if the dates do not align exactly. 

Want That Sold Out Campground (More Tips)

Is It Too Late to Book RV Sites in Florida For This Winter? 2

Still have your heart set on a campground that's sold out? My first advice would be to make camping reservations for next year and find an alternative this year.

But! If that's not an acceptable option, then I have More Camping Reservation Tips for you. Hopefully, one will help you lock in that coveted destination.

You don't have to give up on it this year, either. You can still keep checking for cancellations following the tips in this article. Just be sure to remind yourself that there are hundreds of amazing places to camp in Florida.

Not Great at Planning Ahead? We've Done It For You!

Busy schedules and too many options makes it difficult to plan ahead. Trust me, we've been there!

That's why Jennifer and I have used our extensive RVing experience to create complete RV itineraries for you.

Since Florida is one of our favorite destinations, we have a whole suite of Florida RV Travel Guides. You can select one or get the whole bundle.

Check them out here…

Mike and Jennifer's Favorite Places in Florida – all 3 ebooks!

Is It Too Late to Book RV Sites in Florida For This Winter? 3

We RVers may wander far and wide but it’s true for most of us that we end up with some favorite “Go-To” places – places that draw us back again and again.

Florida is one of those places for us. And we know it is for many RVers looking to get away and explore during the winter. 

That's why we've created three guides, covering Florida's Atlantic Coast, the Gulf Coast, and the Keys. 

Each of these guides is a seven-day guided exploration of one of the coasts. And each stop is a curated view of the best things that we’ve enjoyed on this trip and want you to experience.

Altogether these guides are over 300 pages of content! 

FAQ's about Florida Gulf Coast beaches of interest to RVers

What is the weather like along Florida's Gulf Coast?

The weather along Florida's Gulf Coast can vary depending on the time of year and the specific location. In general, the area experiences hot, humid summers and mild, pleasant winters.
The Panhandle region can be quite cool in January. It is seldom below freezing, but daytime highs are typically in the 50s. It warms up about 10 degrees each month.
You can also generally add about 10 degrees for every 150 miles you travel south down the Florida peninsula.
By the time you hit Naples, daytime highs in January are in the comfortable 70s.

Did Hurricane Ian destroy many beach campgrounds on the Gulf Coast?

While it severely damaged almost two dozen RV parks and campgrounds, about 8-10 campgrounds in the Naples-Ft. Myers area were completely destroyed. Most of the damaged campgrounds have been repaired and reopened.
Check with the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds if you have questions or concerns.

Are there any websites that can help me get a reservation for a Florida beach campground?

One of the best resources we can recommend is called Campnab. This service monitors parks for cancelations and sends you an alert when an opening matches your criteria. That said, it isn’t magic. The app doesn’t create availabilities. 
The service works – but it is not free.
Campnab offers two ways to use the service. The first is individual pay-per-use scans. These watch for vacancies at a specific park for a specific date. These work well if you know exactly when and where you intend to camp. Pay-per-use scans cost $10 – $20, depending on how frequently you want them to check availability.
The second way to use the service is through a membership. These typically run monthly and are tailored to those who camp more frequently or are looking to maximize their chance of finding a site. Membership allows you to scan multiple parks and/or dates simultaneously. With memberships, you pay a monthly recurring fee ($10, $20, $30, or $50), depending on your needs.

Are there places in Florida where you can literally camp on the beach for free?

Not many. And they are very pricey. If you want to sleep directly on the sand in an RV, you'll have to stay at a developed commercial campground like Camp Gulf on the Emerald Coast or an RV resort like Big Pine Key Resort in the keys. Some state parks like the Gamble Rogers State Memorial Recreation Area in the Atlantic Coast or  Bahia Honda State Park in the keys or Fort Desto State Park near St. Petersburg have beachside sites, too.

But are there free, unrestricted RV beach camping spots in Florida?

Sorry, none that I know of that would work for RVs.
There is unrestricted camping on wild beaches on a couple of islands, but you need a boat to get there, and it is for tent camping only. If you want to sleep directly on the sand, there is Anclote Key offshore Tarpon Springs, and Shell Key in Pinellas County. Another favorite is Keewaydin Island between Naples and Marco Island but that area remains pretty devasted from Hurricane Ian.

Rate this post

Mike Wendland

Published on 2022-09-18

Mike Wendland is an Emmy award-winning journalist, traveler, and producer of RV Podcast, the RV Lifestyle travel blog, and the RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube. Mike, traveling with his wife Jennifer and their Norwegian Elkhound, Bo, has vast experience and a great passion for exploring North America, previously working as a long-time NBC-TV News Channel Technology Correspondent and now sharing his love for the RV lifestyle with millions. Mike is not only an adept RV life enthusiast but also a skillful storyteller, bringing to his channels stories from the road that perfectly capture the magic and hardships of this lifestyle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top