Free Camping in Florida

Finding camping in Florida in the winter can be a challenge. It seems every state park and RV park is booked months in advance. But don’t fret if you don’t have a reservation. There is actually a ton of free camping in Florida allowing RVs capable of boon docking or dry camping to park completely for free! Last winter, we spent nearly two months camping around the state for free in winter. We explain how to find free camping in Florida in our video and share some of the beautiful spots we were able to enjoy this season.

If you’re going to camp, most of the districts require advanced approval or a permit which can be free or a small nominal fee. Make sure to check each individual website to see how their system works. Most spots limit camping to 14 days or less.

Unfortunately, most of the websites are not user friendly and require some dedicated searching and trial and error to find what your looking for. The land is broken up into five different districts which all manage their own areas. Your best bet when landing on the website is to find the tab for or search for “recreation”, then “camping” or “equestrian camping”.

There is a ton of public land, but that doesn’t mean all of them allow you to camp with an RV or motor vehicle of any kind. Several are restricted to just day use, hunting, or tent camping. We’ve provided the links below to make the process a little easier. Seriously – there are SO many places to camp. You could easily spend 3 – 4 months just staying at each spot and not even see half of them!

Each area varied widely in proximity to cities or towns, traffic noise, number of other campers there, closeness to nature, and camping amenities. We thoroughly enjoyed each park we stayed at and look forward to coming back in another season and exploring wild Florida some more! Which one is your favorite?

DuPuis Campground (Southwest Water Management District)

We loved this campground! Just a 4 minute drive to the shoreline of Lake Okeechobee, the largest fresh water lake in the state and about 25 – 30 minutes from the nearest town which has every store you could possibly need. The land itself is just a big open grassy field that has several barns and stables for horses. The equestrian and non-equestrian sites are separated. They also have an area just for tent campers. It has several bike trails and nature trails that wrap throughout the managed land but it’s quiet sandy and rather flat. You might see wild boars/hogs, tons of birds, raccoons, and if you’re lucky an alligator! There were a lot of campers when we were there, as this is a pretty well known spot, but most campers leave plenty of space between their rig and yours so you don’t feel crowded or cramped. This is off a major road so traffic will be heard in almost all of the camp. Park as far away from the road as possible and you won’t hear much noise.

Hickory Hammock Campground (Southwest Water Management District)

This is toward the center of the state more toward the southern tip of the state. It’s also a bit farther from civilization 45 minutes to an hour drive depending on what you may need. The campground is beautiful. Old oak hammocks throughout the park, but still plenty of spaces for sunlight in case you’re using solar for power. There were less people here and far less traffic than DuPuis (which was happily welcomed as we went here after that).

Deep Creek Preserve (Southwest Water Management District)

 A smaller campground within a very large publicly managed area just outside Arcadia, FL headed toward Southwest Florida. It feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere, no traffic noise, no cars in sight (well unless the parked with the rig). In reality, you’re a 25 – 30 minute drive to a very happening, busy town. We even went to a nearby brewery during a stay! There are several dedicated camping spots sprinkled throughout a grassy field under beautiful old oaks. There were three other campers, one group being 15+ large. We decided to head toward the very back of the campground and did a little “off road parking” to try and find our peace and quiet. There are a few nature trails just past the area, again very flat and similar views throughout the walk. We saw 2 birds on our “nature” walk, and evidence of hogs but no actual sightings.  Maybe next time!

Liz & Dennis

Liz & Dennis

ESRV Team

We’re two travel-loving, real estate investing, foodies exploring North America as full-time RV’ers. This blog is where we share our lessons learned, tips and tricks, and favorite places to eat, see, and RV across North America! We hope it helps you find your wanderlust, plan and prepare for RV life, and get out on the road!

 

New Blog Posts

5 Tips for Planning An RV Vacation

Planning an RV vacation? Here are X tips for planning an RV trip that will help you make the most of your vacation.

Make Money and Travel Supporting Van Life Travel

See how Natalie and Abigail from Lets Play Ride and Seek financially support full time travel in their custom built van.

What to Expect When RVing in Mexico

Planning on RVing in Mexico? Learn realities of RV life in Mexico and what to expect before you go to help you better prepare and plan your big trip.

Puebla Food Guide

Puebla, Mexico has way more to offer than beautiful scenery. We go on a self guided walking tour showing you their unique culinary scene. I hope you’re hungry!

Mexico Travel: Las Grutas Tolantongo

If you’re planning to travel Mexico make sure to add Las Grutas Tolantongo to your bucket list and explore hot springs, waterfalls, caves, and caves.

RV Mexico: Guide to Driving in Mexico

Planning to RV Mexico? This guide to driving in Mexico will help you prepare for your trip whether you have a car, trailer, RV, motorhome, or van.

We’re associates

Save 15% on your annual membership!

8 Comments

  1. Kathy

    Do you know of any free camping in the panhandle of Florida

    Reply
    • adventuretime

      Hi Kathy – check out the links we provided to the various areas and check it out. I do believe there is a lot of free camping in the panhandle!

      Reply
  2. Tim

    Any free rv camping and or parking in the Florida keys?

    Reply
    • adventuretime

      Hey Tim!
      Not that we know of.
      We got lucky & were able to “store” our trailer at a marina in their boat trailer lot for a fair price while we stayed with family in their apartment.
      You definitely have to plan well in advance for a stay in the keys! – Dennis ✌️

      Reply
  3. Joan

    Try Potts Preserve on the Withlachoochee River. There is a locked gate that you will get the code to when you make your reservation. There are approx. 5 sites with picnic table and fire ring right on the river and you can launch a canoe or kayak or motor boat. There are also sites in a field. There is a hiking road also. Very quiet except for the airboats taking tourists down the river. It is near Inverness at 2988 N. Hooty Point Road, Inverness, FL 34453. The link is https://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/recreation/potts-preserve
    Ph. 352-796-7211, xt 4470 for more info and to check for hunting season when they are closed.

    Reply
    • EatSeeRV

      Thanks for sharing! We’ve been there. It was great!!

      Reply
  4. Dave

    are there any free areas by Apopka Florida? My son is living there at the moment. we would like to be fairly close.
    we are just beginning to look and see what is available. any ideas???

    Thanks,
    The Fullers

    Reply
    • EatSeeRV

      We haven’t found any that are close to the city. I think your best bet is going outside of Apopka. Maybe in Zellwood or Sorento, but you’d have to look at the websites we linked in the blog to see if there is any free camping. I think Wekiwa Springs State Park is the best option.

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Current Location ?

  Default View  

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This