Whether you live in Florida or are planning a Florida vacation, you need to know these camping in Florida tips. There are some specific camping tips and tricks you want to consider before heading out on your adventure–particularly if you are camping with kids like us.
With 6 kids, we have learned it’s essential to be ready for anything. And a little prep goes a long way to get the most enjoyment out of our time together.
We love living in Florida – I mean, who doesn’t want to live in paradise – but it does come with some unique challenges. And it is SO important to be prepared before you go on a camping trip here.
We recently went camping at Manatee Springs State Park. Yes, with all of those 6 kids—in tents!
Keep reading for our camping in Florida tips that will make your next camping adventure a great one.
Camping in Florida Tips You Need to Know
These camping in Florida tips will get you set for our unique weather, campsites, and animals. We use these same tips to make our camping vacation trips easier and more fun for everyone. The following are our best, must-know tips for camping in Florida.
Know the Season Before You Go
Florida has two main seasons, wet and dry. Come prepared for whatever may get thrown at you during each season. From December through May, you can usually expect warm days in the 70s, but the nights may be as cool as the 30s. Bring plenty of extra blankets to make sure everyone is toasty-warm at night.
In the summer rainy season, be ready with extra socks, underwear, and a lightweight rain jacket. It can be quite warm during the day, but it rains most afternoons for a more comfortable evening.
Find or Create Your Own Shade
If you can situate your tent in a shaded area, we highly recommend it. It can make a big difference on sunny days.
If you aren’t on a shaded campsite, create your own shade with a canopy. Canopies are very useful in Florida. You can place one right over your tent for shade and added rain protection.
We also love using our canopy for the beach. It really helps keep the littles from getting sunburns, is easy to see for independent big kids, and is the perfect spot to nap for babies.
You will want to tie down your canopy to prevent it from being blown away in a strong wind. We recommend plastic stakes with ridges to grip in sandy soil.
Other Camping Comforts
Camp at Natural Springs in Florida State Parks
We love staying at the gorgeous natural springs in our Florida state parks. The water is always cool, which is great during those hot summer camping days. And you will be enchanted by the sights, views, and natural beauty of the springs.
Recently we went to Manatee Springs State Park with the entire family. It was a fabulous experience for everyone.
We could barely get the kids out of that refreshing spring water. And the hiking was fun too.
During the cooler months, this spring is a great place to see the manatee. It’s a magical place.
Another fun spring that is closer to us is the Weeki Wachee Springs, State Park. This one is tons of fun with a waterpark, kayaking, and camping. Weeki Wachee is another great place for manatee watching too, which is probably our favorite thing to do.
Florida has an astounding more than 700 natural springs, and we highly recommend it to anyone to make them a camping destination.
Tent Size Matters
When it comes to hot, muggy summer-camping tent size matters. The bigger your tent is, the more space and airflow you have in between people. Try to find a tent with closeable fine mesh doors or windows which allow for a good cross-breeze without letting in the bugs.
If you are wondering how big, we recommend trying to double your occupancy. For example, if you have 4 family members, purchase a tent that sleeps 8.
Lights & Fans
Don’t Forget Sunscreen and Bug Repellent
If you aren’t a Florida resident, you may not be used to our intense UV rays and insects. It’s super important that you prepare for both.
Since we are closer to the equator than you are likely used to, we want you to be aware of how easy it is to burn. Even on a cloudy day, you need to wear sunscreen. We recommend using sunscreen that does not contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, so it’s safer for marine life.
Bugs can be real pests while camping in Florida.
Bring plenty of repellents. We are always sure to spray our shoes with DEET before hiking. Use repellent on your tent to promote a bug-free campsite.
We also recommend clip-on or bracelets for little ones and traps for inside your tent. And consider using citronella candles on your picnic table.
It is better to come prepared with various bug repellent options (to see what works) versus regretting not being prepared.
Bring Lots of Water
It’s easy to get dehydrated while camping during the summer. And heat exhaustion can make for some miserable kids. It can equal headaches and even vomiting.
We use a couple of gallons of water frozen to keep our cooler items cold. When they melt, we have extra drinking water.
As a general rule, bring 2 gallons worth of water per person per day. This amount includes the water needed for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and personal hygiene.
Cooking While Camping in Florida
Forest fires can quickly happen in Florida. It is best to keep your campfire as small as possible, so you can more easily keep it under control.
Be sure to use dedicated fire rings to contain your campfire.
We enjoy using cast iron to cook our meals. If you aren’t comfortable cooking over an open fire, we recommend safely using a camp stove instead.
Final Thoughts on Camping in Florida
As I said, we love camping in Florida. And we are so proud of the beautiful state we live in.
We recommend everyone comes to visit our little bit of paradise for the amusement parks for sure, but also for the natural splendor.
Often, besides the beaches, the wonderful outdoor adventures are overlooked. There is so much to do and see here. So, the next time you imagine a Florida vacation, consider making time for camping, seeing our natural springs, kayaking/canoeing, and enjoying our unique wildlife.
We know you will make great family memories that will last a lifetime.