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Camping On the Beach in Florida [Most Comprehensive Guide Ever]

camping on the beach in florida

Florida is one of the best states to live in America and the third most populated state in the country. The continuous influx of people into this and beautiful state is so surprising that one could think that Americans never had a better place to live.

But why wouldn't they? Florida has beautiful parks, beaches, bubbly cities and endless opportunities for exploration and entertainment. Apart from the delicious food and friendly residents, the state has excellent weather all year round no wonder it is often called the sunshine city.

As we countdown to summer, you might be thinking about hosting a backyard party or even joining the kids chasing fireflies. Whatever you choose to do, summer is a time of endless fun and relaxation with your family.

One excellent way to have good leisure with your loved ones is by camping on the beach in Florida. Florida is blessed with beautiful beaches. However, before you daydream about setting up your tents and falling asleep to the soothing sounds of the wave, there are some things you need to know about beach camping in Florida.

To begin with, let's look at the meaning of Beach camping. Succinctly, Beach camping is an outdoor activity that involves overnight stays away from your home in a tent on a beach.

Camping and having a beach vacation are two exciting ways people enjoy summer, but the fun can be incomparable when you do both at the same time. Yes, I mean beach camping!

You do not have to leave the beach when it closes or get a waterfront property before you enjoy the ocean views or sleeping and waking up to the sounds of the sea lapping the shores.

What beach can you camp on in Florida?

Florida has a lot of beaches that will give you a breath-taking view, serenity, and a whole lot of fun.

From the famous Miami beach to Panama City Beach, you are sure to have a good time especially when you relax on the golden sand of the beaches.

However, not all beaches in Florida allows camping. Well, if you are planning to come to Florida for a weekend gateway or enjoy some outdoor activity with your kids, make sure to inquire the beach authorities if they allow camping.

The top 10 beaches For camping spots in Florida

Meeting beach authorities in Florida to ask them if they allow camping might seem like a hassle. To save you from the stress, Check out the top 10 beach camping spots in Sunshine State.

  1. 1
    Fort De Soto Park
  2. 2
    Sebastian Inlet State Park
  3. 3
    Cayo Costa Island State Park
  4. 4
    Fort Pickens at Gulf Islands National Seashore
  5. 5
    Little Talbot Island State Park
  6. 6
    Fort Clinch State Park
  7. 7
    St. George Island Park
  8. 8
    Anastasia State Park
  9. 9
    St. Andrews State Park
  10. 10
    Bahia Honda State Park

What should you pack when camping on the beach?

Having known the beaches, it is time to identify the gears you will need to ensure you have a wonderful beach camping experience.

Beach camping is not as complicated as you may think. Here are some essential equipment you must always take along with you:

  • Water Resistant Bag: Beaches sometimes can be wet due to rain. When you are camping on a beach in Florida, rain or strong tide may soak you and your belongings. So, before you think to pack anything, you will need a water-resistant bag to keep your clothes and other belongings dry.
  • Compression Bags: Whether it rains or not, some of your belongings like your sneakers or bathing suit will get wet. And mixing your damp belongs to your dry ones in your luggage will make everything get damp. To avoid this, get some compression bags to separate your wet stuff from the dry ones.
  • Portable Towels: From swimming to surfing, beach camping involves a lot of activities that will get you wet. After getting wet, you obviously would need to dry up. So, you need to get some quick-drying towels rather than a large towel that will take hours to dry.
  • Eco-friendly Soap: When camping on the beach, you should have it in mind that you will be bathing in the river so you will need to make use of biodegradable soap rather than regular soap. Why? Because they are not harmful to the environment.
  • Sun Protection: It is going to be hot during the day so make sure you get some lightweight clothing, sunglasses, lip balm, sunscreen and a bottle of Aleo-vera. Don't leave the house without plenty of jars of water. Dehydration is something you would want to avoid at all cost.
  • A Tent: Most people go beach camping with a pillow and fluffy blanket so they can sleep with night over their head. However, it is recommended you come along with a tent with stakes to enjoy privacy, shelter during unfriendly weather and also to avoid bug-bites when sleeping.

Other Gears To Bring For Beach Camping [Optional]

Apart from the above-listed 6 things, there are other gears you need to pack to make your beach camping a memorable one. However, this gear depends on your length of stay and your financial capability. These gears include:

Camping Gear

  • Sleeping bags or mattress
  • Bug repellent
  • Flashlight
  • Small broom for sweeping sand out of your tent
  • Dustpan
  • Beach umbrella and Chair

Cooking Gear

  • Propane Stove or Gas Grill
  • Water-proof matches and Lighter
  • Cooking Pot
  • Knife
  • Firewood and grate to set up a beach campfire
  • Can opener

Clothing Gear

  • Water shoes
  • Swimsuits
  • Quick-drying pants and shirts
  • Lightweight jacket and cap

Food & Water

  • Cooler with food & refreshing drinks
  • Fresh Bread and Cheese
  • Fresh Fruits
  • Marshmallow

Personal Stuff

  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • First aid kit
  • Medicine if you are on medication
  • Shovel to build sand castles
  • Tissue paper
  • Spade
  • Ziploc Bag
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Camera to capture the memorable camping moments
  • Frisbee
  • Board games like chess, draught, etc.

Are you allowed to sleep on the beach?

According to the law in Florida, it is illegal to sleep on the sand. So, if you are camping on a beach in Florida, you must sleep on a mattress or pad, not directly on the sand.

How to camp on the beach? [3 Simple Steps]

Camping in the beach and camping in the woods are two different things. For first-timers seeking a coastal adventure in Florida, here is a detail explanation on how to camp on the beach.

1) Find a location

First off. Find a good spot on the beach. Like we earlier stated not all beaches in Florida permits camping, so do your research well and make sure camping is accepted on the beach. You can contact the local authority for that.

Also check for the availability and nearness of a water source, gear store on the beach, weather forecast, local tide charts, etc.

2) Check your gear

There is some important stuff you need to pack for beach camping, and some of them are: Tent (for shelter), sleeping bags, sleeping pads, cooking utensils, sunscreen, garbage bags, flashlights, towels, first aid kits, etc. Make sure you check out our above list to make sure you have got everything covered.

3) Set up a fun plan

After getting to the beach and setting up, you need to have a plan or to-do list of things you are going to do on the beach. It could include events like swimming, fishing, clam digging, surf casting, etc.

Your list does not have to be rigid or compulsorily followed, but it is advisable you keep it in handy in case you get bored. Make sure your planned events are not breaking the rules and laws set by the beach authorities.

Beach camping challenges [4 Annoying Problems to deal with]

As a newbie, a coastal adventure will seem like a daunting task. Below are some things that can ruin your experience and how to deal with it.

1) Coping With The Sand

Sand is your number one enemy when it comes to your outdoor gear, and it is a lot easier to keep the sand out of your tent then to take it out. Be cautious: one grain of sand can destroy a piece of gear — for example, one grain of sand on the zipper can jack it.

After lying on the sand or playing, make sure you wash and dry up your body before entering the tent. Also, place a small rug at the entrance of your tent and keep your footwear outside. One easy way to remove sand is by using baby powder it will dry the sand and make it fall off.

2) Coping With The bugs

During summer months, mosquito, sand fleas, tick, and other insects can be a pain on the neck when camping on a beach in Florida. So, you will need to get a good bug repellent on your shoes, clothes and your body.

3) Coping With The Sun

As earlier mentioned, never leave the house without some screen protection or else the big orange ball will make you look like a lobster. Your sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, lip balm, should always be handy.

It is recommended you apply sunscreen 45 minutes before when you get into the sun and reapply an hour after swimming or sweating.

4) Coping With Poop

Undoubtedly, there will be a time you will have to answer the call of nature. To get prepared, come along with a Ziploc bag, hand sanitizer, tissue paper, and a spade. Go far away from trail or water source and after doing your business bury your poop very deep.

Beach Camping Safety Tips

1) Don't camp on Dunes

Undeniably, dunes can be a great place for beach camping. Dunes are natural beauties, so it is not appropriate for anyone to camp on them.

However, campers can set up their tent near them. In this case, the dunes will shield you from fierce water moods.

2) Stay away from tides

When camping on the beach, always request for a tide-chart for that area to check tide-line. Doing so will make you aware of sea behaviour. However, in a situation where you can't lay your hands on any, you can find out the sea behaviour by observing the beach. 

Keep an eye on the debris line that prior tide has made on the beach. Make sure you camp is at least 20 meters away from that previous tide line.

3) Don’t litter the beach

Beaches and water bodies are natural and public places. During your stay, never throw plastic bottles or any garbage into the sea or your surroundings.

Don't walk on the dunes. Dispose of garbage in your trash can and inform your kids that dunes are a no-go area.

4) Keep an eye on the fire

Camping is synonyms to fire. However, some beaches do not allow it. If the beach you are camping permits campfire, always make sure someone is watching it when it is burning.

Also, put the flame out before retiring to your tent or bed. Let's not forget the ashes as well- make sure they are properly buried.

Final thoughts

Camping on the beach in Florida is fun when you pack all the essentials gears and abide by the safety rules. From gallons of water to bug repellent, your coastal adventure will be a memorable one. We hope you enjoyed this article. Feel free to share it with your friends if they are also excited for beach camping.

Douglas Keister

I am an adventure fanatic that loves nature and adventure sports like kayaking, camping and water sports. I have been doing this for almost 10 years now and have learned quite a few tricks. With my experience, I hope to provide you with the most reliable and accurate information for your next adventure.

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