20 Incredible Primitive Camping Destinations in Florida

20 Incredible Primitive Camping Destinations in Florida

If you’re looking for your next big adventure, give primitive camping a try. Go outside and enjoy nature while forgoing modern goods like electricity and running water. Primal camping is a great way to clear your mind and recharge your batteries. It’s also a great way to spend time with your friends and family while reconnecting with Mother Nature. Better yet, take your family south and experience primitive camping in the sun, sand, and wilds of Florida!

Why Choose Florida for Primitive Camping?

Primitive camping is great, but primitive camping in Florida is even better. Nowhere else can you choose between sunset on the beach, getting lost in a tropical forest, or immersing yourself in the swampy swamps of the Everglades. Florida even offers dense forests of pine and cypress covered in Spanish moss.

No matter what you’re looking for with a primitive camping experience, Florida has it. Best of all, the climate in Florida is mild enough that you can camp all year round! If you go during the summer months, make sure to take in plenty of water and bug spray because the nights can get warm and buggy.

Now that we’re addicted and ready to explore all the nature Florida has to offer, let’s take a look at the best options for primitive camping. We’ll start our journey in the North Panhandle and make our way south to the Florida Keys. The road from north to south is full of natural springs, sunny beaches, and national forests waiting to be explored.

Primitive camping in North Florida

Jenny Springs

We will begin primitive camping on Florida Adventures in the town of Hope Springs about an hour west of Gainesville in Ginnie Springs. Camping in Ginnie Springs is primitive and first come, first served. You can camp here all year round and it is very popular during the summer months when the temperature is high. Ginnie Springs’ water has a constant temperature of 72 degrees, perfect for beating the hot Florida summer.

Osceola National Forest

Next up for primitive camping in northern Florida is Osceola National Forest. Adjacent to the Florida-Georgia line, Osceola National Forest is the first of many national forests we’ll look at in Florida. While there are plenty of great sites throughout the forest, one of the best is Seventeen Mile Hunt Camp. You will be able to set up your base camp and enjoy all the attractions that Osceola has to offer, including the Big Gum Swamp Wilderness. The Great Gum Swamp is over 13,000 acres of rugged swamp paradise. Bring your pets and enjoy a weekend of relaxation in the Osceola National Forest.

Apalachicola National Forest

The Apalachicola National Forest in northern Florida is the largest national forest in the state. You’ll encounter swamps, springs, mundane trees and wildlife like you’ve never seen before. Mack Landing is one of the best sites for camping within the Apalachicola National Forest. It’s a quiet area along the Ochlockonee River with plenty of walking, biking and swimming options. It costs $25 to camp in the National Forest, but the park is pet-friendly and positively glorified.

Pine Creek Landing is another great option for primitive camping in Florida within the Panhandle of Apalachicola Forest. The locations in Pine Creek are more primitive, lack modern goods and are first come, first served.

Murphy Island

Murphy Island is a quiet, secluded paradise that can only be reached by boat. It is located near the St. Johns River and Murphy Creek. There are a variety of hiking trails and boating trails to choose from, and camping on Murphy Island is as primitive as it gets. Be sure to bring bug spray and waterproof shoes, as the area gets humid during the rainy season, but don’t let that scare you away from this primitive camping site in North Florida!

Anastasia State Park

Anastasia State Park is located on Anastasia Island in northeastern Florida along the Atlantic coast. You will enjoy sand dunes, beaches, mangroves, swamps and all kinds of wildlife activities. Depending on where you are camping in the park, you will have access to showers and toilets but no electricity. Camping here costs $28 a night, is pet-friendly, and you’ll have hundreds of places to choose from around the park.

Suwannee River State Park

Suwannee River State Park is as historic as it is beautiful. The park features a 19th century steamboat as well as two Civil War era ghost towns to explore. If you’re not a history buff, there are plenty of hiking trails and kayaking options to enjoy. Suwannee River Campground is the place to set up your base camp and you can branch out to different parts of the park from there. Admission to the state park is $22 and the park is pet-friendly.

Primitive camping in Central Florida

Ocala National Forest

First on our list for primitive camping in Central Florida is Ocala National Forest! Located in the heart of Florida, the Ocala National Forest is one of the most popular outdoor areas in the southern United States. There are plenty of places to camp and things to check out in this tropical paradise. Instead of touching dozens of different locations, we’ll focus on three of the best areas for primeval camping within the Ocala National Forest.

herbal pond

Grassy Pond is the first of many great primitive camping sites in Florida within the Ocala National Forest. While the name is Grassy Pond, the campground is located along a lake with clear water that you can see through. It’s pet friendly, primitive, and full of things to do. Hiking, biking, fishing, swimming, and even horse riding are all options in Grassy Pond and many other areas within Ocala.

Juniper Springs

Another hotspot within the Ocala National Forest for campers is Juniper Springs. Juniper Springs is known for its many features including the warm springs for which the area is named. You can also paddle the seven-mile stretch known as the Juniper Run or get lost in the Juniper Prairie Wilderness. There are plenty of hiking trails, swimming holes, and natural springs to choose from, and camping ranges from few goods to completely primitive.

Dafenbort Landing

Davenport Landing is located in the northern part of the forest, along the Ocklawaha River. There are three primitive camping areas to choose from, and they are all located near Davenport Landing Trailhead. From there, you can explore a world of hiking through flat forests, pine scrub forests, and unparalleled ecosystems. Don’t expect any modern amenities when camping in Davenport Landing.

Yekwa Springs

Wekiwa Springs is located on the outskirts of Orlando, in Wekiwa Springs State Park and is one of the area’s top attractions. There are miles and miles of hiking and biking trails to explore and the popular Wekiwa Springs to wander around. There are primitive and modern camping sites to choose from, and primitive camping only costs $5 a night.

Indian River Lagoon

The Indian River Lagoon is one of dozens of secluded islands off the Atlantic coast and is open to primitive campers. The only way to get there is by boat, kayak or canoe and which one of the dozens of islands is open for business. You do not need to make a reservation; Just take your boat, life jacket and tent and head out to the lake!

You will not find any toilets, water or electricity on the island. Just a picnic table, fire pit and lots of nature to enjoy. Feel free to bring your pets for as long as you plan to clean up afterward, as the area is managed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Camping is free!

Ancelot Key Preserve State Park

Last on the list of primitive camping sites in Central Florida is Anclote Key Preserve State Park! Three miles off the coast of Tarpon Springs, Anclote Key Preserve State Park is a remote beach paradise. If you wish, you can reach the island by kayaking the three and a half miles of open water, but beware of bad weather! You can also take a ferry to reach the island. No matter how you get there, you will be amazed at the view of the stars as you pitch your tent on the sandy beaches of Anclote Key.

Primitive camping in South Florida

Ten thousand islands

First up for primitive camping in South Florida is Ten Thousand Island! Ten Thousand Islands is a 100-mile-long waterway that extends partly within, but not all of, Everglades National Park. Tiger Key and Panther Key are the two best islands for camping and are located on the southwest side. If you feel like it, you can paddle or kayak your way through the 100 mile Wilderness Waterway and camp out on the islands and tiki pads along the way!

Panther Key lies within Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, while Tiger Key lies within the Everglades. The latter requires an overnight pass but the Panther Key is free and does not require a permit.

Biscayne National Park

If you want to feel like Robinson Crusoe/Tom Hanks in Cast Away, you should check out Biscayne National Park. The park consists of a group of islands on the Miami coast and features two large camping areas. Elliot Key and Boca Chita Bay are the only two parts of the island that are above water, as most of the park is underwater.

You can only reach the islands by boat or seaplane, and you will feel truly isolated when you spend a few nights on the rocky beaches of Biscayne. Be aware that this type of primitive camping is not for the faint of heart, and only experienced backpackers should try it. The cost is $25 per night, and it’s pet friendly.

Cayo Costa Island State Park

Cayo Costa is one of the hardest to reach on this list of places for primitive camping in Florida, but that also makes it one of the best! Part of the island of Cayo Costa is a state park, while the other part is partly inhabited by a few brave residents. The only way to get to the island is by using a private boat or passenger ferry service, the latter of which costs $20.

The campsites themselves are primitive and cost $22 per night due to the fact that it is a public park. You can choose between a camping tent or a camping hammock when you get to the island. It is better to take everything you need with you, because there is not much in the way of goods to be found.

Big Cypress National Reserve

Big Cypress National Preserve is one of the most beautiful and unique in all of Florida. Named for the huge cypress trees that fill the area, Big Cypress really feels like another world. You will have the opportunity to experience true primitive camping without electricity or running water. There is plenty of hiking, biking, and canoeing to do here, and if you’re lucky, you might even see a rare Florida tiger.

Long Pine Key Campground

Next up for primitive camping in South Florida is Long Pine Key. Long Pine Key Campground is located in the famous and swampy Everglades National Park. While the Everglades encompasses more than 1.5 million acres of land, Long Pine is one of many campgrounds that offer primitive camping. The camp itself features some goods mixed with primitive camping in tents. You will have running water, basement toilets, and sun showers depending on the time of year, but that’s it.

Long Pine Key is a great place for the whole family because of the great campgrounds. You can even take your pets for a ride! Just be sure to keep an eye on them because the Everglades are famous for ripples, snakes, and swamps. Camping in the national park costs $25 per night.

flamingo camp

Flamingo Campground is the second of two camping options within Everglades National Park. You will be able to enjoy all the sights and sounds of the historic park with Flamingo Campground as your base. Although the area is named Flamingo, there are more than 300 different species of birds to encounter, making Flamingo a favorite for bird watchers.

Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park

Last but not least for primal camping in Florida, we come to Dry Tortugas National Park. This destination is my personal goal and looks absolutely fantastic. Tortugas is located 60 miles off the coast of Key West and the only way to get there is by private boat or a 2.5 hour ferry ride. Despite the exorbitant cost of $195 round-trip to get there by ferry, the park is one of the most popular among campers, adventurers, and fishing enthusiasts.

The designated camping area is located in Garden Key and features a Civil War fort where you can wander aimlessly within the historic walls. You can pitch your tent on the beach where you can watch the best sunset you will ever see. You can even see the Milky Way on clear nights from the beaches of Tortugas.

Make sure you take everything you need, because there are no goods or amenities on Tortugas.

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