We decided to head south for the winter and follow the snowbirds down to Florida! While the Keys are the most popular Florida destination, there are so many other great to check out on a Florida road trip.
Also, in order to secure an RV site in The Keys, you have to make reservations a year in advance!! That wasn’t possible for us this year, but we were able to find spots at several state park campgrounds with only a weeks notice!
Florida’s state parks are pretty incredible and also affordable! If you are wanting to stay a week or more, we do recommend making a reservation well in advance. However, if you fly by the seat of your pants with your RV travels like us, you can typically find a few days here and there and jump from state park to state park.
Here are the 5 state parks we stayed at and LOVED!
1. Anastasia State Park – St. Augustine, FL
Anastasia State Park is beautiful and surprisingly exotic feeling. The park has camp sites that are tucked between lush foliage, offering shade and privacy. Within the park are a variety of wildlife, birds and plants along the nature trails. The park is also within walking distance to the beach, which stretches for miles and miles. You can also walk or ride your bike to Highway A1A, where you can find a strip of great restaurants and local hang outs. We enjoyed lunch at Ospry Tacos paired with a beer right next door at Old Coast Ales.
Staying at Anastasia State Park will also put you within 3 miles of historic downtown St. Augustine. Anyone you ask who’s been there will tell you how incredible St. Augustine is. It’s the oldest city in the U.S., yet so vibrant and lively. The lights, the city plaza, the trolleys, and the Spanish colonial architecture make it so unique and charming. You can get lost strolling along the old city alleys, browsing through the boutique shops, and there are more restaurants than you can even imagine!
Here are a few activities we recommend near the park:
- The St. Augustine Lighthouse
- The Farmer’s Market (every Saturday morning from 8:30 am – 12:30 pm)
- The Alligator Farm
- The St. Augustine Amphitheater
- St. Augustine Distillery
- Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
- Cap’s on the Water (a beautiful waterfront restaurant to enjoy happy hour and/or dinner for sunset)
2. Fort De Soto Park Campground – St. Petersburg, FL
Fort De Soto Park is technically a Pinellas County Park not a state park, but it was one of our favorites! The park consists of five interconnected islands (keys) so there is plenty of water to enjoy! There’s a boat ramp, two fishing piers, a ferry service, nature trails, and a dog beach! You can also enjoy the nearby parks and a self guided tour of the fort!
Another thing we loved about staying at Fort De Soto was its proximity to St. Petersburg, Treasure Island, and Clearwater Beach. We took day trips and enjoyed the beautiful boardwalks, white sandy beaches, and laid back vacation vibes these areas offered. Clearwater was one of the most beautiful beaches we’ve ever seen! We will definitely return to this area!
3. St. Andrews State Park – Panama City Beach, FL
This park is located in the heart of Panama City beach and right in the action, yet far enough away to find some peace in nature! While winter time is a little sleepy there, we enjoyed the quite and got the sense that there’s a pretty wild party scene during certain times of the year there. We were fortunate to get a waterfront site and if the weather had been a little clearer, we could have stepped outside our RV and gotten right on the water in a kayak! St. Andrews also has two fishing piers, a jetty, a boat ramp two nature trails so there’s plenty of access to water and wildlife. Then at night, you’ll have a plethora of ocean front restaurants and bars to enjoy along the strip!
4. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park – Santa Rosa Beach, FL
Topsail was another one of our favorites because in comparison to the other state parks we’d been to, it offered way more amenities. In fact, rather than a campground inside the park, you have an RV resort. The resort has FULL hook ups, which isn’t usually the case when you stay inside state parks, a swimming pool, and trails that lead to lots of beautiful scenery. You can ride your bike or walk to the 3 rare coastal dune lakes and have a picnic or fish. Or you can take their complimentary tram service right to the beach where you’ll be blown away by how white the sand is and how turquoise the water is! You can even find some dunes over 25 feet tall!
Another reason Topsail was one of our favorites was because of it’s proximity to Seaside, FL and Santa Rosa Beach. We enjoyed working at Sunrise coffee shop, directly across from Santa Rosa Beach, and had a beautiful walk along the water during our “lunch break”. It was some of the bluest water we’ve ever seen!
A few days later we decided to check out Seaside and had no idea what we were in for. If you only take one recommendation from this page, we hope that it’s to GO TO SEASIDE! Someone said it was “eerily perfect” and that’s a great way to describe it. The main road along the beach has an adorable strip of food trucks, some of which are in vintage airstreams, have strands of lights in all the trees, lots of great oceanfront restaurants, and everything just looks “perfect”. There’s really no other way to describe it!
5. Henderson State Park – Destin, FL
We were only able to stay at Henderson State Park for one night because it was completely booked out for most of the time we were there. That should speak volumes to how awesome this park is. I mean, THIS photo shows the view from their beach parking lot!! The best part about the park though, is that it’s in Destin.
Destin is one of Florida’s most popular cities and beaches. We had one of our most memorable nights walking along the Destin Harbor Boardwalk, where you’ll find many popular restaurants like Margaritaville, fun rides for kids, and shops. We sat along the dock and watched dolphins for almost an hour as the sun was setting! So beautiful! We will definitely go back to explore more of Destin some day. As a popular vacation destination, there is lots to do, including a variety of tours and excursions!
Wintering in Florida was one of the best travel decisions we made this year! We were blown away by the beaches, water, weather, incredible sunsets and all the opportunities to find waterfront RV sites. We hope you can experience these awesome state parks and enjoy them as much as we did.