Nothing's better than waking up to the lullaby of the surf, breathing in the rich salt air, and blinking against the morning sun as you savor your coffee.
Beach camping indulges all your senses, and Bahia Honda State Park (36850 Overseas Highway, Big Pine Key, FL, 33043, 305- 872-2353) is one of the best places on the planet to do it.
The park boasts the best beaches in the Florida Keys, superb snorkeling, bountiful birds, and fabulous fishing.
This popular, scenic destination offers three full-facility campgrounds where you can pitch a tent or park an RV in addition to vacation cabins. You can even camp in your boat. Overnight slip rental includes water, electricity, and full use of the park facilities, which include a bathhouse and showers.
While there, make sure to hike up the trail to the old bridge. You’ll snag spectacular views of the entire island. Sometimes large rays and fish leap into the air, and if the water is clear, you can see even fish and sea turtles swimming beneath it.
Get some sand between your stakes
For more places to camp around the Sunshine State, check out this Beach Camping Guide. Florida’s incredible coastline offers hundreds of beachfront campsites, ranging from primitive tent camping to hotel-quality cabins and sites.
Be a happy camper
Making reservations is a must. During the slower times of the year (winter in northwest Florida, and summer in the rest of the state), you may be able to get by without reservations on weekdays, but it’s better not to take the chance.
And to snag a campsite during the busy season and on all weekends and holidays, you'll need to make reservations months in advance.
Florida State Parks have a reservation system set up through Reserve America. It's a lot like making a hotel reservation. Just click and book. You can also go directly to the Reserve America website.
All photos by Lauren Tjaden for VISIT FLORIDA.