In our part of Florida often referred to as the “Panhandle”, you will find a region known for its beautiful beaches and emerald green waters. Whether you pitch up in a picturesque coastal town or by one of many lakes or rivers inland, it is that diversity that makes Northwest Florida a beautiful area to vacation in and set up camp.
It is in this part of The Sunshine State that you will find a wealth of activities from horseback riding to zip lining, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, biking and all types of watersports including our very own pontoon boat rentals.
So if you’re looking for a great adventurous or relaxing vacation with the family or just a short camping break with or without your RV, we have an abundance of suggestions suitable for any kind of outdoor enthusiast.
Camping On The Gulf (Destin)
This site is a beach campers’ dream. Located just steps away from the turquoise waters of Miramar Beach, there’s a variety of activities to do making this a great spot for a family-friendly vacation in your RV. You can park in a variety of palm-shaded spots on the site, just a short walk from the beach. Even if you don’t have a RV, then you can still stay here. There’s glamping and cabins available to book providing full beach access and every cabin includes a full kitchen and bath to make your life easier. Camping on the Gulf is close to outlet shopping, golfing and fishing as well as many other activities. This is a popular spot so reservations are recommended.
Henderson Beach State Park
We’ve mentioned Henderson Beach State Park in many of our blogs before, and for good reason. It is an ideal location to participate in an array of outdoor activities such as cycling, fishing, hiking and picnicking. It will therefore come as no surprise to say that it is also a great place to camp. This protected strip of the Emerald Coast provides beautiful camping opportunities for campers with tents or RVs, with a mixture of back-in and pull-through sites. With a playground and picnic pavilion area close by, this is a family-friendly location offering a nice mix of a traditional and modern camping experience. Moreover, the big dunes and white sands make for a great spot for birding(opens in a new tab) and the warm waters of the gulf are ideal for swimming.
Big Lagoon State Park
If you love a mix of wildlife and sandy white beaches then we think you’ll love the Big Lagoon State Park situated approximately 10 miles southwest of Pensacola on the Gulf Beach Highway. Locally speaking, it is a well-known gateway to a myriad of activities including swimming, fishing and hiking and it is also a great spot to camp. The park is also a great place to go birding and is actually the starting point for the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. Over 225 species have been spotted here according to e-bird, including 23 species of wood-warbler and a variety of ducks, sandpipers and black-bellied plovers. For many the real highlight of staying at the campground here is its closeness to Perdido Key and the sugar white sand beaches.
Falling Waters State Park
If you’re the kind of camper that prefers to spend their time away from the beach then the towering trees in the forests of Falling Waters State Park could well be your ideal destination. The campsite offers all the amenities you need and is set in the shade of the pine forest and you can make your reservation online. There’s a butterfly garden, lake and picnic areas while keen hikers will enjoy the slanting landscapes. This is a nature retreat that comes with an added bonus too. If you follow the boardwalk on the Sink Hole Trail, you’ll reach Florida’s highest waterfall. The waterfall drops 73 feet to the bottom of a 100-foot-deep, 20-foot-wide sink.
Camel Lake Campground
Located in the vast confines of the Apalachicola National Forest, you will find the beautiful and crystal clear Camel Lake. On site, you will find a swimming area, a hiking trail, hook-ups for electric and water, large spaces, and plenty of parking.. This is an ideal location for a getaway camping trip if you’re looking for a peaceful and quiet time. Nearby you can explore the beautiful scenery of the Apalachee Savannahs Scenic Byway and the Big Bend Scenic Byway. Reservations through the link above are recommended. It is worth noting that there is no dump station but you will find restrooms and showers at the campground, cold water only.
Torreya State Park
Located a couple of hours north of the Gulf of Mexico, you can find the Torreya State Park situated by the Apalachicola River. For serious traditional campers, this is a must-do primitive campground experience, especially the hike into one of the three Rock Bluff Primitive Camps. If that style of camping doesn’t suit, there are options for RVs and also a yurt on site. Despite much of the park still recovering from Hurricane Michael in 2018, it still offers its exceptional scenic vistas with its high buffs and steep ravines. For wildlife lovers, there’s plenty of flora and fauna to experience here in what is generally considered the most unusual terrain in the whole state.
Florida Caverns State Park
For around 100 years, people have been camping at Florida Caverns. The Cavern tours, scenic beauty and unusual attractions make this both a unique experience and an interesting campsite for visitors. Unfortunately, as with Torreya State Park, this location was badly hit by Hurricane Michael but the good news is that since October 2021 most of the amenities have been open to the public once again. You can take a tour of the famous caverns Thursday through Monday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m, while there are multi-use trails open for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians. Access to the river is also open again as is the Bluehole Swimming area, perfect for cooling off in the hot summer months!
Wherever you decide to park your RV or pitch your tent on these sites in Northwest Florida, you can’t go far wrong. This is a really beautiful area of the state to explore and you’ll find our friendly Southern hospitality wherever you stay.