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Big Cypress National Preserve
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The best camping in Miami to get back to nature

Most people flock to Miami – but what if you want to flock out? Escape the craziness at these 9 local campsites.

Virginia Gil
Jesse Scott
Written by
Virginia Gil
Jesse Scott

For all that Miami has going for it, let’s be real: It is not always the most peaceful city. Be it the drunk venture capital bros yelling “let’s gooooooooo” outside your apartment at 3am, a non-stop symphony of cars honking or whoever the Florida Man of the day might be, there is no shortage of noise. When you’ve had enough of our public beaches and our public parks just aren't doing it for you (even these secret ones), there's always camping.

What we lack in mountains we make up for tenfold in waterfront and water-based fun, as South Florida touts exclusive campsites amidst oceanside dunes and riverside grassy areas, not to mention plenty of primitive adventures and yes, even glamping. Best of all, everything on this list is less than a day trip away. When nature calls, here are the best campsite around Miami to help you find your zen.

Best camping in Miami

1. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Fun fact, John Pennekamp is the first underwater park in the country. The state park spreads out across 70 nautical miles, offering ample opportunities for fishing, boating, snorkeling and diving. 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. There’s a Spanish shipwreck about 100 feet offshore with unique snorkeling and diving views, too. Camping is available on land in tents and RVs, as there are 47 sites total served by restrooms with hot showers. 102601 Overseas Hwy, Key Largo

2. 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. The tent camping is open on a first-come, first-served basis and pets are not allowed. For urban warriors, there Is wi-fi, too. 12451 SW 184th St, Miami


3. Everglades National Park

South Florida's sweeping mangrove forest is often compared to a slow-moving river, but there's plenty of dryland in the Everglades for folks looking to stay the night. Frontcountry campers with tents or RVs (up to 35-feet) have two drive-in areas accessible via the park's Homestead entrance: Long Pine Key and Flamingo. The Flamingo area is most expansive with 234 drive-up, 40 walk-up and 65 RV sites. 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 through lush landscapes. 40001 State Road 9336, Homestead

4. Big Cypress National Preserve

Located just under two hours from Miami, you can experience five different habitats within Big Cypress National Preserve's vastness: cypress swamps, hardwood hammocks, marl prairies, pinelands and tidal marshes.For wildlife lovers, this spot is bliss with regular sighting of manatees, black bears and the beloved Florida Panther. There are seven campgrounds to choose from here, a mix of frontcountry options with water/restrooms and some primitive areas with only vault toilets. Not all of them are open year-round, so make sure to check the website for the latest details. 33000 Tamiami Trail East, Ochopee, 


5. 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. Ninety-five percent of it is water, so you’ll need a boat to access the bulk of it, and if you’re bringing your own, Elliot Key has 33 boat slips. To make the most out of your water adventures, the park offers tons of water activities like snorkeling, diving, fishing and even lobster adventures. To stay overnight, Biscayne National Park has two campsites, Elliott Key and Boca Chita Key. Both are on islands and therefore only accessible by, you guessed it, boat. You'll need to bring your own drinking water, however toilets are available to use. As for showers, that'll have to wait until you're back home. 9700 SW 328th St, Sir Lancelot Jones Way, Homestead

6. Bahia Honda State Park

Located about two hours south of Miami in Big Pine Key, this palm-lined retreat brims with experiences suitable for nature lovers. There are areas designated for hiking, snorkeling, birdwatching, fishing and more. The 72 campsites within Bahia Honda's primary Buttonwood and Sandspur areas 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) and 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, picnic tables and even beach chair rentals. 36850 Overseas Hwy, Big Pine Key


7. Curry Hammock State Park

Like staying on your own deserted island only with far more amenities, this waterfront state park halfway between Key Largo and Key West offers beach access, long stretches of sand for tent camping and gravel areas for RVs. The grounds at Curry Hammock State Park are for the mot part undisturbed, though there are 28 sites open for year-round camping (some with ocean views!) plus areas reserved for passive activities, such as hiking, bicycling and canoeing. For the RV crowd, the park can accommodate vehicles up to 70-feet in length. 56200 Overseas Hwy, Marathon

8. 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 day-trippers. Once you've mountain biked, birdwatched and paddled down its famous Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dickinson State Park invites you to stick around for a night at one of its many cabins or campgrounds. Your options span 142 more traditional sites with water and electricity, glamping in safari tents (with mini fridges and lamps), a 5-site equestrian campground, 11 cabins and primitive areas accessible by 5- and 9-mile hikes. 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


9. 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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