With more than 130 million visitors in Florida in a typical year, it can be hard to snag a reservation in a state park campground, even if you try months in advance. A new law will give Florida residents a one-month head start.
Starting Jan. 1, residents can book a campsite at any of Florida’s state parks up to 11 months ahead of time, while nonresidents can do so up to 10 months in advance. Camping is possible at 57 of Florida’s 175 state parks. Thirty-seven counties have at least one state park that offers camping, including Hillsborough, which has three.
The new law applies to cabins and sites for RV, tent, boat and equestrian camping, but not primitive sites and glamping sites (glamorous camping) booked through third-party concessionaires.
More than 32 million people visited Florida state parks during fiscal year 2021-2022, according to a Florida House of Representatives bill analysis. State residents made up 61% of the overnight visitors.
But it may take time for Floridians to feel the impact of the new rule, according to the Florida Park Service, because some popular campgrounds are booked solid through April 2024.
Campsite prices range from $16-$42 per night before taxes and fees, while cabins vary from $30-$160 per night. Florida residents who are 65 or older, are disabled or operate a licensed family foster home can get a 50% discount on the base camping fee.
Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-326-3521 or 888-433-0287 or by going to reserve.floridastateparks.org. New dates become available daily at 8 a.m., and sites with cancellations are randomly released back into inventory. Same-day reservations can be made up until 1 p.m.
The state park with the most campground reservations in the past year was Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine with 16,046 reservations, according to the Department of Environmental Protection. The most popular booking, with over a 90% occupancy rate, is John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo.