Few things go together better than RV camping and national parks, and KA RV’s home state of Florida has several to choose from. There are 3 national parks in The Sunshine State, all located in South Florida. However, Biscayne, Everglades and Dry Tortugas are very different than some of the parks out west that may come to mind when you think of national parks. As such, a guide to Florida national parks RV camping is very different than most. There are few opportunities for overnight RVing in these parks, but they’re still popular destinations among RVers. We’ve rounded up all the tips you need to know to plan the ultimate RV road trip to Florida’s national parks!
About Florida National Parks RV Camping
The Park Service establishes parks for a variety of reasons, including preserving natural and cultural heritage, providing opportunities for outdoor recreation and education, and preserving wildlife. Florida’s 3 parks were established for the latter. Their primary goal is to preserve the unique and fragile ecosystems in these regions. Because of this, they cover large swaths, but limited areas are accessible to tourists. In fact, Everglades National Park is the only one of the 3 national parks in Florida with RV camping! Don’t worry though, there are plenty of nearby RV parks to accommodate visitors. We’ll give you our suggestions below!
If you’re planning a Florida national parks RV camping road trip, we recommend starting with Biscayne National Park just south of Miami and working your way down. You could also start in Key West with Dry Tortugas and work your way back north again! However, we think making the Keys your grand finale is a great way to do this trip, and it’s a great place to set up camp for a few nights (or weeks) to celebrate marking off all 3 parks from your national parks list.
With that said, here are more details about Florida national parks RV camping and what to do while you’re there!
Florida National Parks: Biscayne National Park
We’ll start our road trip in Homestead’s Biscayne National Park. This park is a must for any RVer who loves the water! In fact, over 95% of its 172,000 acres are actually underwater. This makes it a haven for snorkel and diving enthusiasts! The main way to see this park is by taking a tour with the Biscayne National Park Institute. This is the official tour operator that runs out of the visitor’s center We highly recommend a snorkeling or diving tour to explore the colorful coral reefs and shipwrecks. On their underwater tours, you can spot a variety of marine life, including sea turtles, manatees, hundreds of species of fish – and sometimes even a small shark.
However, Biscayne isn’t totally limited to its underwater wonders. It also boasts several islands, mangrove forests and even a lighthouse. There are guided boat tours where you can learn more about the park’s history and sights without donning a swimsuit. On these tours, you’ll learn about the Boca Chita Lighthouse that dates back to the 1930s and the crocodiles that live in the nearby canals. This park is truly a haven for wildlife lovers and those who love South Florida’s turquoise blue waters.
Where to RV camp near Biscayne National Park
Biscayne is NOT an option for national parks in Florida with RV camping. With its close proximity to Miami though, there are plenty of nearby options! It’s important to note that there is no RV parking available at the Biscayne National Park Visitor Center. If you are visiting the park, leave your RV at your campground of choice and bring your tow vehicle, or taxi to into the park.
This Thousand Trails RV park is located on the southern end of Miami, 20 miles west of Biscayne National Park. It may have Everglades in the name, but it’s a perfect home base to visit both the Everglades and Biscayne! It offers full hookups, a heated pool, hot tub, fitness center and more.
This posh campground is adjacent to the Miami Zoo and features 240 full hookup RV sites. There’s even a lake with a beach on site for fishing and boating! If you have kiddos, they’ll love the pool and playground.
This RV park is just down the road from Biscayne and features a Tiki Bar that’s open daily and serves up live karaoke and weekly entertainment from special guests. There’s also a beautiful pool on site as well as shuffleboard, exercise classes and more.
Florida National Parks: Everglades National Park
You’ve surely heard of this next park, the Everglades. It’s one of the largest and most complex wetland systems in the world! While it’s often thought of as a swamp, it’s not a swamp at all. Known as the “River of Grass,” it’s actually a slow-moving, shallow river that spans 1.5 million acres. There are hundreds of species of plants and animals here, many of which are found nowhere else on earth. It’s known for its abundance of alligators and over 350 species of birds that call it home.
There are 3 visitors centers in the Everglades, each one offering a unique park experience. The Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center is the most popular, as it is about 40 miles southwest of Miami. You can explore the park’s main road here, which leads to several different hiking trails and boardwalks where you can spot wildlife. The Shark Valley Visitor Center is also popular, especially if you want to take a more extensive tour of the park. There are several tour operators on the road to the visitor’s center that offer airboat tours, while this visitor’s center offers the Shark Valley tram tour. This tour gives you an extensive history of the ecosystem and culminates in a visit to the observation tower with panoramic views of the park.
There is also the Gulf Coast Visitor’s Center just south of Naples, Florida. However, since this park is on Florida’s west coast, it doesn’t fit into your Florida national parks RV camping road trip. We love Shark Valley for the tours, but Ernest F. Coe is closest to the park’s campgrounds.
Where to RV camp in Everglades National Park
Speaking of which, great news: The Everglades is the only one of the 3 national parks in Florida with RV camping! Both campgrounds are located along State Road 9336 past the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center.
This campground is located in the northern part of the park and offers bath houses, a dump station and a potable water filling station. It’s open from November through April.
You may have to drive a bit to get to this campground, but it’s well worth it! It’s on the southern end of the park, but it features RV sites with electrical hookups. There are also bath houses, dump stations, picnic tables, grills and an amphitheater that holds winter programs. It’s open year round, but you’ll want to make your reservations far in advance!
Florida National Parks: Dry Tortugas National Park
You’ll finish off your Florida national parks RV camping road trip at Dry Tortugas National Park. While you can tent camp overnight at Dry Tortugas, you definitely cannot bring your RV here! Dry Tortugas is a series of islands about 70 miles off the coast of Key West, Florida, accessible only by boat or float plane. Its main feature is Fort Jefferson, the largest all-masonry fort in the US, built in the 1800s. It was meant to be a military outpost in the Civil War, but it never was fully completed and never saw active combat. It’s most famous for the imprisonment of Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was convicted of conspiring with John Wilkes Booth in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
Aside from the rich history of the fort, the island is also known for the fantastic snorkeling along the moat that encircles the fort and the sea life that inhabits it. You may even spot a sea turtle here, which the park is named for (“tortugas” is Spanish for turtles)!
There are two ways to get to the park. You can ride the Yankee Freedom Ferry that departs from Key West, which runs about $200 per adult for a relaxed and leisurely day trip to the park. Or, you can travel via seaplane with Key West Seaplane Adventures. This costs just under $400 for a half day trip and under $700 for a full day excursion. If you want lunch on board, bathrooms and the opportunity to rent snorkel gear, go with the ferry. If you want a more adventurous and scenic experience with stunning aerial views of the park, go with the sea plane.
Where to RV camp near Dry Tortugas National Park
Like we said, you can’t camp inside the park. But your Florida national parks RV camping trip will be complete with a stay at one of these RV parks in the keys!
This is one of the most iconic parks in the Keys! It’s located on Stock Island, just a few miles from downtown Key West. The waterfront sites here are gorgeous! There are full hookups along with a swimming pool and a marina.
For a luxe experience in your Class A RV, go with Bluewater Key. It’s on a private island just a few miles east of Key West and has full hookups, a clubhouse and tiki huts on waterfront campsites.
If a giant chess board, outdoor pool tables and tiki huts on the water sound like the life, this is the campground for you. It’s smaller, but it’s known for its friendly, laid-back atmosphere.
Time to plan your Florida national parks RV camping trip!
If you haven’t planned a Florida national parks RV camping trip yet, it needs to go on your bucket list. These parks don’t get as much love as some other national parks, but trust us when we say they are well worth it! It’s a long drive through Florida though, so make sure you stop in to KA RV for your RV repair and maintenance before you drive south. If this blog has you itching to try the RV life, check out our used RVs for sale in central Florida!