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Boca Chita Biscayne National Park
Photograph: Shutterstock

Get back to nature at the best camping in Miami

Flee your busy, connected life for some tranquility near home when you book one of the best places for camping in Miami

By Virginia Gil
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For all the comforts and amenities Miami hotels offer, sometimes the ideal getaway is one that brings you back to the basics. Whether it’s sleeping under the stars or slumbering in a tent, camping in Miami provides a simpler escape where the ultimate luxury is going off the grid and shutting off your devices. And it’s not all bare-bones either. Campsites in and near Miami range from bucolic landscapes dotted with teepees and cabins to riverside patches of grass you’ll need to kayak to reach to sand dunes off Miami’s beaches where folks are allowed to pitch a tent. While not every campground you’ll find below is in Miami-Dade, all are within a short drive for an easy day-trip opportunity or a quick vacation. Ready to get back to nature? A relaxing retreat in an idyllic setting is much closer than you think.

Editor’s note: Some of these campsites are temporarily closed or in the process of reopening, offering limited amenities for the time being. Please check the park’s website.

Best camping in Miami

1. Larry and Penny Thompson Campground

Located just next door to Zoo Miami, this urban oasis hides in plain sight. It’s quite vast with its 270 acres of natural woodlands that are ideal for horseback riding, jogging and bicycling. Staying overnight? There are 240 separate campsites for RVs, each with full electrical and water hook-ups, as well as areas designated for tent camping. 12451 SW 184th St, Miami, FL 

Curry Hammock State Park
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Susan and Joseph Hardin

2. Curry Hammock State Park

Like staying on your own deserted island only with far more amenities, this waterfront state park in Marathon, halfway between Key Largo and Key West, offers beach access, long stretches of sand for tent camping and gravel areas for RVs. The grounds are undisturbed, though there are 28 sites open for year-round camping plus areas reserved for passive activities, such as hiking, bicycling and canoeing. Motorized boats are not allowed at Curry Hammock. 56200 Overseas Hwy, Marathon, FL 

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Everglades National Park
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Nate Bolt

3. Everglades National Park

South Florida’s sweeping mangrove forest is often compared to a slow-moving river, but there’s plenty of dryland for folks looking to stay the night. Folks with tents or in RVs, basically what’s known as frontcountry camping, have two drive-in areas accessible via the park’s Homestead entrance: Long Pine Key and Flamingo. More adventurous types can opt for backcountry camping in areas near beach sites and elevated platforms called chickees, which can be reached by canoe, kayak and, in some cases, hiking. Though a more laidback experience than rolling in your air-conditioned van, backcountry campers will still need to request a permit.

Boca Chita Biscayne National Park
Photograph: Shutterstock

4. Biscayne National Park

This sort-of all-encompassing marine park sits at the edge of the Florida Keys and serves as a habitat for an abundance of wildlife, including mammals and birds. Once you’ve explored its grounds, taken a boat tour and learned the ins and outs of the wonderful habitat, it’s time to hit the water if you want to stay overnight: Biscayne Bay has two campsites, Elliott Key and Boca Chita Key, and both are on islands and, therefore, only accessible. You’ll need to bring your own drinking water but toilets are available to use. As for showers, that’ll have to wait until you’re back home.

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Bahia Honda State Park
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/J. Philipp Krone

5. Bahia Honda State Park

Located about two hours south of Miami in Big Pine Key, the palm-lined retreat brims with experiences suitable for nature lovers. There are areas designated for hiking, snorkeling, birdwatching, fishing and more. Campsites are gravel so the park suggests coming in an RV or a pop-up camper for a more comfortable stay. There’s also the option for hammock camping, which is just what it sounds like, boat camping, which basically means you can dock your boat and sleep inside for a fee. For all types of overnight stays, Bahia Honda offers a bathhouse with restrooms and hot showers as well as grills and picnic tables. 36850 Overseas Hwy, Big Pine Key, FL

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Florida Fish and Wildlife/Alicia Wellman

6. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

One of the most famous state parks in the country, John Pennekamp was the first underwater park in the U.S. It spreads out across 70 nautical miles, where opportunities for fishing, boating, snorkeling and diving abound. Go 25 feet below sea level and you won’t just get a glimpse of Florida’s kaleidoscopic coral and tropical fish but also of Christ of the Abyss—an 8.5-foot-tall replica of the bronze cast of Jesus Christ in the Mediterranean sea, submerged off the coast of Key Largo. Camping is available on land in tents and RVs. 102601 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo, FL

Note: Boat tours and the restaurant are currently closed

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Jonathan Dickinson State Park
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Ken Clifton

7. Jonathan Dickinson State Park

Florida’s largest state park is less than two hours north of Miami, making its numerous trails, overnight campsites and educational opportunities very accessible for local daytrippers. Once you’ve mountain biked, birdwatched and paddled down its famous Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dickinson invites you to stick around for a night at one of its many cabins or campgrounds. There are also areas for tents and RVs. And should it ever drop below 90 degrees in Florida, the park offers campfire circles that are free to use. 16450 SE Federal Hwy, Hobe Sound, FL

Note: Boat tours, equestrian tours, the restaurant and the visitor center are currently closed.

Long Key State Park
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/faungg's photos

8. Long Key State Park

This low-key park is located along the Great Birding Trail, making it a popular destination for watchers. It boasts 60 full-service campsites that were pretty destroyed during Hurricane Irma back in 2017, but ongoing restoration efforts have brought back these ocean-facing facilities back to full splendor. Onsite, campers will find three restrooms with hot showers, and a dump station. RVs and tents are welcomed. 67400 Overseas Hwy, Layton, FL

Rather go for a hike?

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