5 Gulf County, FL camping spots ideal for spring adventure

Spring may feel like a world away, but now is the time to get your perfect camping spot… before the good ones are taken.

The beautiful beaches of Gulf County, Florida, are a haven for those looking for a laid-back beach escape. Camping options include wilderness spots, full-hookups with lots of amenities and parks with accessible facilities for all.

5 Gulf County, FL camping spots ideal for spring adventure
Photo courtesy of Gulf County Tourism Development Council

It’s known as a laid-back destination with a low-rise vibe. Gulf County, Florida, has built a reputation as a place where unplugging and recharging go together.

It’s a place to get away and to reconnect. And that combination is no more treasured than on a beachside camping trip. Just two hours southwest of Tallahassee and an hour east of Panama City Beach, Gulf County is a haven on the central Gulf Coast for nature lovers and those looking for opportunities to reconnect with each other and recharge on the water.

From spots on the white sands of protected lands to water’s edge views from a full-service RV park and marina, the options offer variety and flexibility and Gulf County’s location makes a camping trip easy and enjoyable any time of year. A variety of locations coupled with recent updates and additions to facilities give visitors even more options to enjoy camping their way in Gulf County.

At T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, 20 miles of pristine beaches, dunes and marshes stretch between the waters of the Gulf of Mexico to one side and St. Joseph Bay to the other. This is the prime location for those who love to get immersed in a natural setting and enjoy hiking, paddling, fishing and more.

Shady Pines campground features 36 standard campsites and 10 tent-only sites. All sites have electricity and water, a picnic table, an in-ground grill and a fire ring. Site options include paved surfaces and accessible picnic tables and grills, screened platforms with power and a ceiling fan.

Pets are not allowed on these two sites. Two new bathhouses provide showers and restrooms. There are also 14 primitive sites in the park’s Wilderness Preserve, which can be reached by hiking trail or kayak.

William J. “Billy Joe” Rish Recreation Area, known locally as Rish Park, has recently added two family-style cabins which are designed to be easily accessible for people with disabilities, their families and their caregivers. The two-bedroom cabins sleep up to five people and feature a living room and dining area and kitchen. Two accessible restrooms have zero-entry showers. The cabin is surrounded by a boardwalk.

Beautiful white-sand beaches and blue Gulf waters are the centerpiece of this 100-acre park. An accessible recreation area includes a day use park, boardwalk and an Olympic-size pool with chair lift and wheelchair ramp. Beach wheelchairs, motorized beach wheelchairs, boardwalk scooters and water wheelchairs are also available for park guests.

One of the area’s best known camping locations is Presnell’s Bayside Marina & RV Resort, a premier spot for enjoying sunsets on the bay. Located on the calm waters of St. Joseph Bay, Presnell’s offers paddleboard, kayak and boat rentals.

There is also a swimming pool, clubhouse, ship’s store, boat ramp and marina onsite. This iconic Gulf County campground now has 110 sites, including 64 new full-service sites with 30- and 50-amp service, full sewer hookups and Wi-Fi. For those without an RV, cottage and park model rentals are also available on site. 

Indian Pass Campground sits near the western end of Apalachicola Bay and has a character all its own. Sites shaded by native trees, waterfront sites with amazing views and remote tent sites are all a part of the mix here. There are restrooms, showers, laundry and a general store onsite. There is local beach access to a pet-friendly beach and a nearby county boat ramp.

Just a short drive inland, at Dead Lakes RV Campground visitors can experience a different yet equally inviting aspect of Gulf County. The Dead Lakes area encompasses 6,700 acres of unspoiled beauty amid the waters of the Chipola River, ancient cypress trees and stands of fertile Tupelo trees. Access to fishing, kayaking and hiking make this a favorite spot for some, while others just want to bask in the calm of the remote location. 

There are full-hookup sites with picnic tables and a designated tent area for groups. The property includes a family and pet-friendly playground with picnic pavilions, and general store with WIFI, showers and restrooms and boat ramp. There are also nearby kayak rentals and eco tours.

For those who are looking for a truly primitive waterfront experience, overnight camping is also allowed on Gulf County’s public beaches, with some restrictions. Be sure to check out the area’s Leave No Trace information for regulations and best practices.

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5 Gulf County, FL camping spots ideal for spring adventure