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We love Miami, but it’s nice to get away from the grind of city life every now and then. And if you’re anything like us, that usually means hopping in the car for a nature-filled camping trip. Luckily, Miami is home to a crop of campsites from scenic setups to primitive to tent-only spots, we’ve got just the thing to satisfy your taste for adventure. But if you’re not sure where to start, here are our favorite places to sleep under the stars.
If a tranquil, picturesque camping experience is your speed, then Boca Chita Key Campground is the perfect place for you. Marked by a historic lighthouse—which was actually built in the 1930s as a way to entice ships to explore the park’s beauty—the campground doubles as a private island, which means it’s only accessible by boat. After you’ve pitched your tent, climb up to the top of the lighthouse for killer views of Downtown Miami, and make sure to check out the park’s half-mile hiking trail before you pack up and head home. Fitt Tip: There’s no drinking water or electricity on-site, so pack accordingly.
Consider this a taste of nature without leaving the city. Oleta River State Park is Florida’s largest urban park, located between Fort Lauderdale and Downtown Miami. But it’s also the ideal spot to spend a few days in the great outdoors. And the best part? Their primitive group camping sites are complete with picnic tables, fire circles, and restrooms. Make an online reservation in advance to secure a spot, then spend your time exploring 15 miles of off-road cycling trails, picnic and fishing areas, and kayaking routes. We promise the last thing you’ll be is bored. Fitt Tip: If roughin’ it isn’t in your vocabulary, they also have cabins for rent.
Another island-turned-campsite, Elliott Key Campgrounds invites boaters to dock and spend the night on the sand. With swimming, hiking, lounging, and fishing areas, you won’t have trouble keeping busy during the day. Plus, what’s better than falling asleep to the sound of ocean waves? Yep, nothing.
Get lost amid mango and avocado trees at this campsite set up in a tropical paradise. Complete with more than 34 acres of greenery, Miami Everglades RV Resort offers all sorts of camping experiences, from RV areas to full-service cabins (with AC!) and tented sites. No matter which spot you decide for your night, though, you’ll still be walking distance to the heated pool and mini-golf course. Oh, and since it’s only 10 miles from Everglades National Park and about 30 miles from Downtown Miami, it’s one of the more convenient sites available.
This outdoor oasis may only be less than a half hour from Downtown Miami, but don’t let its proximity to the city fool you. Trust us when we say you’ll feel miles away from the city as you stare into the Atlantic Ocean from the park’s coast... or from your camping boat. That’s right — this park allows you to boat in, throw in your anchor in their No Name Harbor, and spend the night along the sandy beaches (this is Miami after all). And if you need to give your sea legs a break, the area also features paved trails for biking and kayak routes, swimming, picnic areas, and wildlife viewing.
If you’re an animal-lover, Larry and Penny Thompson Memorial Park and Campground is about to become your new favorite place to pitch a tent. Located adjacent to the world-famous Zoo Miami, the park features more than 200 separate campsites for vehicles and tents along with 270 acres of natural South Florida woodland, trails, and paths. It’s also one of the few camping areas that offer hot showers. Not to mention, you can literally walk to the zoo.
Near one of the entrances to Everglades National Park, Long Pine Key Campground is a nature-lover’s paradise. Most of the park is made up of forest, so no matter where you set up, you’ll have your own private, secluded spot. Plus, the area is connected to a handful of different hiking trails, including Long Pine Key Trail and the Anhinga Trail at Royal Palm, so you can keep busy by exploring South Florida wildlife before heading back to camp to roast some s’mores. Fitt Tip: Tent and RV sites are first-come, first-served. Make sure to arrive early.
You'll have to drive a bit outside the city (about an hour and a half) to reach this camping destination, but it's well worth the trip. Here, you'll find waterfront tented sites along with areas that include RV hookups (and a private boat dock), so you can decide how down and dirty you want your camping experience to be. When you're not roasting hotdogs or marshmallows over an open flame, you can explore the areas 40 acres of tropical landscape, go scuba diving, snorkeling, ocean fishing, or play sand volleyball. Oh, and if you forgot to pack any essentials you might need, there's a Publix in shopping plaza right down the street.
About 10 miles from Fort Meyers, this is another campsite that's a bit of a trek. But we promise you'll forget all about the long drive once you pitch your tent right next to the edge of the water and wake up to the sounds of lapping waves. Set up on a small stretch of land surrounded almost entirely by the Caloosahatchee River, W.P. Franklin Campground is a peaceful, tranquil place to escape. And if fishing is your thing, bring your pole because this area has ample places to cast a line, and offers opportunities for both fresh and salt water fishing. But if that's not your bag, bring your lawn chair, find a spot on the shoreline, and kick back for a relaxing weekend soaking up some rays.