We weren't exactly looking forward to going to Florida, not really our favourite place to be. It is too touristy and busy for our liking, but our son was playing baseball there from March 14-20 and it was going to be his last year on the team so we wanted to be there to see the games. Last time we were there we were on the Atlantic Coast and didn't like it very much at all, but we managed to find some boondocking spots and cheap camping that we enjoyed. This time around we were going to be on the Gulf Coast and it looked a little less busy other than the St. Petersburg/Tampa area which we stayed away from.
The most we paid this trip in Florida for camping was at Highlands Hammock State Park in the primative camping area for $18 plus tax and it had a lot to offer for hiking trails and biking.
Ruth and Whiskey enjoying the sunshine with Sherman the Wilderness Camping area at Highlands Hammock State Park, Sebring
Ruth on the boardwalk going through the swamp on Cypress Swamp Trail, Highlands Hammock State Park, Sebring
I think a big unknown secret that a lot of people don't think about are county parks. Some can be more expensive than others, but even the more expensive ones are still cheaper than most RV Parks. But they're not always easy to find. We spent two nights at Pasco County Park for $5 a night/no services or you could spend $15 a night for electric and water. It was a beautiful park. They had a big field for camping and we just parked up by the edge of the woods and we were happy campers. Lots of nice hiking trails, a beautiful paved multi use trail, canoe launch, fishing dock, playgrounds for the kids, lookout tower and lots of picnic areas, some covered.
Ruth and Kevin with Sherman in the background in the recreation field at Withlacoochee River Park just outside of Dade City
Kevin and Whiskey on one of the boardwalk trails in Withlacoochee River Park just outside of Dade City
Our trip to Florida 2 years ago took us to Huguenot Park just outside of Jacksonville, I believe this was a county park, $7 a night again no services, right on the water. Another county park was John Prince County Park in Lake Worth, this one was a little more expensive $22 a night with water and electric. It was definitely more of an RV park, but it was quiet, had a nice view of the lake and the park itself was huge, again lots to offer.
Ruth, Lindsey, Justin, Whiskey and Sherman parked up at Huguenot Park just outside of Jacksonville
Sunset at Huguenot Park just outside of Jacksonville
A big banyon tree at John Prince County Park in Lake Worth just south of West Palm Beach
We also found that the Florida State Forests have some great primitive camping, only $5 a night. Who said camping is expensive in Florida? And we were never packed in like sardines.
Kevin and Whiskey with Sherman, who is parked up for the night for $5 at Cary State Forest just outside of Bryceville
We did boondock in one Walmart parking lot and we were very lucky the the hotel the boys were staying at in Fort Meyers let us park in the parking lot at no charge, but I am sure we could have found places to boondock it that area without problem.
Sherman parked up for the night at Walmart in The Villages, Oxford
So despite what some people might say about the high price of camping in Florida there are alternatives if you look. Kevin would get on the internet and check out the county parks and state forests before arriving to that area a day or two ahead of time to see what our possiblities were. Never once were were in a spot that was nosiy or crowded and that's the way we love it. It's also a bonus having good solar panels and batteries to make this type of camping possible.