The Best Camping Near Jacksonville, Florida

The Best Camping Near Jacksonville, Florida

As the city with the nation’s largest urban park system, Jacksonville promises to provide a seamless blend of city attractions and natural beauty. Campgrounds near Jacksonville range from rustic, tree-lined escapes to waterfront resorts overflowing with amenities.

Jacksonville, Florida
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About Camping Near Jacksonville

Enjoy a convenient blend of nature and culture when you stay at campgrounds near Jacksonville. With a downtown area full of shopping, delicious cuisine, and countless museums, it’s easy to pack a city day into your Jacksonville camping itinerary. For more fresh air while camping near Jacksonville, head to Jacksonville Beach, Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park, or Little Talbot Island State Park. These coastal oases are perfect for lounging on the beach, casting a line, or taking a seaside hike.

Top Campgrounds Near Jacksonville, Florida

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Jacksonville Camping FAQs

Jacksonville is an outdoor lover’s paradise sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean, St. John’s River, and Florida’s inland mixture of swampland and cyprus forest. Affectionately referred to as “Jax” by locals, Jacksonville, FL is a burgeoning hub for sun-chasers and beach-lovers alike and a great place to go camping and enjoy the outdoors. Here’s all you need to know when camping near Jacksonville, FL.

What’s the best time of year to go camping in Jacksonville, FL?

Jacksonville is located in a humid, subtropical climate zone, meaning summers are humid and muggy and winters are crisp and clear. The best time to go camping in Jacksonville is from the months of October to March when rainfall is low and temperatures hover between 75° and 50°.

Cold snaps can happen in the winter, and temperatures have been known to drop into the 40s. Come prepared with warm layers and a sleeping bag rated for colder temperatures.

Note that peak rainy season in Jacksonville is during the months of June, July, and August when the warm, humid air gathers in the atmosphere and can cause thunderstorms.

What should I pack for camping near Jacksonville?

Packing to camp near Jacksonville, FL will depend on what time of year you plan to go. In the summer months, you’ll undeniably see rain, while winter is sunny and warm but can experience a rare cold snap. Keeping the bugs at bay is a whole other animal to deal with. Here’s a list of the essentials with a few things to keep in mind.

  • Bug spray
  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunshirts
  • Hat
  • Headlamps or flashlights
  • Extra batteries
  • Compass
  • First aid kit

For the Bugs

Florida is a haven for mosquitoes, ticks, and all manners of creepy crawlies. Bring along bug spray, pre-treat hiking clothes and tents with permethrin, and consider a thermacell for those really buggy areas.

For the Beach

The beach is only a 20-minute drive away from downtown Jax. Be sure to bring along sun protection and bathing suits to take full advantage of the Florida coast.

For Rain

Jacksonville has over 100 days of precipitation a year, making the possibility of rain while camping high. Come prepared with rain jackets, ponchos, and a rain fly if you’re tent camping.

What are the top outdoor activities near Jacksonville?

Jacksonville’s penchant for sunny weather and warm temperatures year-round mean it’s a mecca for outdoor lovers. From kayaking in the undulating St. John’s River, running through the heart of the city, to swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities. Here are some of the best things to do outdoors near Jacksonville.


Whether you’re an ocean lover or a lake dipper, Jacksonville has it all. Several springs are within a few hours’ drive from Jax and are jaw-droppingly picturesque places to take a dip. Ginnie Springs and Ichetucknee Springs State Park are each about an hour away from downtown and offer stunning, azure pools to swim and snorkel in.


Jacksonville’s location on the St. Johns River makes it a perfect location to test out your paddling skills in a kayak! The city is also home to 40 miles of the Intercoastal Waterway, a great spot to drop in and float away the day.

Surf Lessons

Head to Atlantic Beach if you’re new to surfing. The pros can hang out at Mayport Beach where a heavy swell is constantly rolling in. Thompson Surf School and HOKALI offer lessons along the beach strip. One of the best times of year for surfing is in winter, when the Atlantic swells can be huge.

Fishing Charters

Deep sea fishing off the coast of Jacksonville is a great opportunity to test your mettle on the open ocean. You can expect to find a wide variety of fish like mackerel, red snapper, and tarpon in the abundant Atlantic.

Katherine Abbey Hannah Park

This city park includes a public beach and acres of coastal hammock, a rare feature on the Florida coast today. The park also offers a large lake with paddle boats and canoes, and a kids’ splash pad for those hot summer days when you can’t be bothered with sand. This is also one of the best places to camp near Jacksonville with cabins and tent/RV sites with beach access.

What major sights should I see in Jacksonville?

From a burgeoning craft beer scene to a plantation with an unusual past, here are some of the best things to see in Jacksonville.

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

Accolades and awards have been heaped on the Jacksonville Zoo for its dedication to animal conservation and preservation efforts. Their animal wellness team is world renowned and one of only a few in the entire country.

Museum of Science and History (MOSH)

Learn about Jacksonville history and delve into the world of science at MOSH. This is Jacksonville’s most visited museum and a great place to take the kids on a rainy day.

Kingsley Plantation

The Kingsley Plantation tells the history of Zephaniah Kingsley and his wife, Sudanese-born Anna Madgigine Jai. This unique history is worth a few hours of your time to learn about Florida’s complicated plantation culture under Spanish rule. Despite its distinctive history, the Kingsley Plantation is still a stark reminder of the U.S.’ dark past and the atrocities of slavery.

Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens

The beautiful collection and grounds of the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens were donated to the city following Ninah Cummer’s death in 1961. Housing artwork from famed artists like Monet and Matisse, the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens is the best place in Jax to scratch your artist itch. Admission is free.

Jacksonville Arboretum

One of the best places to relax in nature in downtown Jacksonville, the Arboretum has award-winning trails and hosts over 130,000 visitors a year.

Riverside Arts Market

Also known as RAM, Jacksonville’s Riverside Arts Market is a collection of homegrown produce and artwork that collides to bring you a kaleidoscope of fun under the Fuller Warren Bridge.

Jacksonville Jaguars

For the sports lover, the Jacksonville Jaguars football team hosts games at TIAA Bank Field in the fall and winter months.

Jax Ale Trail

Jacksonville has one of the largest craft beer scenes in the United States. With over 20 breweries located within the city limits alone, this is one of the best places in the country to sample the finest brews. Grab your Ale Trail passport and see how many stamps you can collect!

Are there any national parks or state parks near Jacksonville?

Jacksonville has numerous state parks and historic monuments within a one-hour drive. The best national parks in Florida are within a day’s drive, making them a perfect weekend getaway for those looking to explore the stunning and unique natural environments that the Sunshine State has to offer. Here are some of the best national and state parks near Jacksonville, where you can experience everything from airboats in the Everglades to coastal islands.

Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

(20 minutes)

Named for the Timucuan peoples, this ecological preserve just northeast of downtown Jax is a tangle of coastal waterways teeming with wildlife. Its historic roots run deep and tell the story of the Jacksonville of old, making it a must-do on a visit to the city.

Little Talbot Island State Park & Big Talbot Island State Park

(30 minutes)

Connected by Florida Scenic Highway A1A, Little and Big Talbot Island are an incredible natural escape only 30 minutes from downtown Jacksonville. Pristine beaches abound here, and one of the most unique beaches in Florida lies on Little Talbot Islands coast, Boneyard Beach.

Amelia Island State Park

(40 minutes)

Located on a necklace of barrier islands just north of Big Talbot, Amelia Island State Park is yet another fantastic natural preserve near Jacksonville. This park is home to white sand beaches, salt marshes, and vast ocean views.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park

(1 hour, 25 minutes)

One of Florida’s most beautiful natural springs, Ichetucknee Springs State Park is the perfect place to grab your snorkel and explore the cerulean, crystalline waters. You can also rent canoes, kayaks, or paddle boards and make your way deeper into this natural wonder.

Canaveral National Seashore

(2 hours)

One of the longest spans of undeveloped coast in Florida, the Canaveral National Seashore is a boon of Native American history and picturesque scenery. See Turtle Mound or the Seminole Rest Historic Site for a window to Indigenous history, or simply laze on the pretty beaches.

Everglades National Park

(5 hours, 30 minutes)

The Everglades is the country’s largest subtropical wilderness and one of its ecological treasures. Home to rare animal species like Florida panthers and manatees, the biological diversity of the Everglades is an important indicator of Florida’s environmental health. This is also the only place on Earth where crocodiles and alligators coexist.

Biscayne National Park

(5 hours, 30 minutes)

Biscayne National Park is located at the very northern tip of the Florida Keys, 20 miles south of Miami. It is a stunning celebration of white sands, azure waters, and colorful coral reefs. With 95% of the park actually covered in water, this is an incredible place to enjoy Florida’s marine life.

Where are the best places to eat near Jacksonville?

Jacksonville enjoys a unique blend of Mexican and Cuban-inspired cuisines mixed with incredibly fresh seafood and distinctive Gullah-Geechee heritage. Here are a few delectable spots to grab a bite in Jax.

Chowder Ted’s

The name says it all. Chowder Ted’s dishes up the best chowder in all of Jacksonville. Try their house specialty—you guessed it, seafood chowder! Their cajun shrimp po’ boy is also well-reviewed. With beautiful waterfront dining, you can’t go wrong for lunch here.

Palms Fish Camp

Right on the St. John’s River, Palms Fish Camp offers up locally-caught seafood dishes. Better yet, make your own catch and they’ll cook it for you! They also have gator bites on offer if you’re interested in seeing how the scaly fellows taste.

Maple Street Biscuit Company

Dishing up biscuits made in-house, Maple Street Biscuit Company has been in operation since 2012. Featuring towering breakfast sandwiches and fried green tomatoes, this is one of the best places in town to get your southern food fix. They also roast their own coffee in a specialty facility just down the street.

The Bearded Pig

Jacksonville’s claim to BBQ fame, the Bearded Pig specializes in burnt ends, potato salad, and banana pudding, just to name a few items on their extensive menu. They also have a beer garden for relaxing in the Florida sun and sipping a craft brew.

The Cookbook

Housed in a cozy nook of downtown Jax, the Cookbook serves Gullah-Geechee-inspired southern dishes. The Gullah Geechee are the descendants of West African enslaved peoples primarily from regions where rice was grown. Because they were taken to remote islands off the north Florida and southern Georgia coast, they retained much of their culture and way of life from Africa and even developed a distinct creole language.

90 Miles From Cuba

An authentic Cuban restaurant located in the heart of Jax, 90 Miles From Cuba offers traditional Cuban cuisine from cubano sandwiches to fried green plantains.

What are the best beaches in Jacksonville?

Jacksonville is home to over 22 miles of stunning beaches, making it a premier oceanfront destination on the Atlantic Coast. Here are a few of the best beaches to see on a visit to the city.

Jacksonville Beach

(26 minutes)

As Jax’s main city beach, Jacksonville Beach is a quaint, coastal community with a fun stretch of sand that is perfect for bringing the kids or pup.

Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach, Mayport Beach

(25 minutes)

Located just 25 minutes from downtown Jacksonville is a string of beach communities and public beaches that are great for catching some rays and relaxing in the sand. Watch the palm trees sway in the warm breeze and enjoy uninterrupted views of the Atlantic.

Boneyard Beach

(36 minutes)

Boneyard Beach is a unique marine sanctuary located on Little Talbot Island. Hundreds of dead trees have washed up on shore to make this a veritable driftwood graveyard, giving the beach a distinctive look that you won’t find anywhere else on the eastern seaboard.

American Beach

(45 minutes)

Tucked away on Amelia Island, American Beach was the only place available for African Americans who weren’t allowed to visit some of the more popular beaches during times of segregation. Today, American Beach is still a small community on a strip of pristine sand.

What are some camping mistakes to avoid when camping near Jacksonville?

Florida holds her own as a tricky destination for campers who aren’t prepared. Here are a few things to consider before going camping in the Sunshine State!

Be Extra Cautious Around Bodies of Water

The alligators in Florida are no joke and have been the cause of death for humans and family pets alike. Be extra cautious with small children around bodies of water, as alligators are often lying in wait just beyond the shore, invisible under the surface.

Not Preparing for the Bugs

Ahhh, Florida. Land of sand, sun, ocean, alligators, and…millions of mosquitoes! Perhaps nowhere else in the contiguous United States are the mosquitoes so devastatingly thick, flying in clouds around Florida campgrounds. Come prepared with bug spray (possibly even containing DEET), camping gear pre-sprayed with permethrin, and a thermacell for extra swampy areas. It’s never a bad idea to include a netted canopy to keep away the bugs, and the sun, at camp.

Sun Protection

The sun and UV index are high year-round in Jacksonville. That means you’ll need sun protection, even in winter! Be prepared by bringing a wide-brimmed sun hat and sunscreen. Lip balm that contains SPF and sunglasses are also important.


While Florida does enjoy frequent warm and sunny days, Jacksonville averages about 113 days of precipitation every year. The subtropical climate here means that sudden summer storms often blow up in the afternoon but do clear out quickly. Make sure to bring the rain cover for your tent and a rain jacket too.


Hurricane season on the Atlantic Coast is technically from June to November but really heats up between August and October. Take this into consideration if you’re planning a camping trip in Florida, and watch the weather beforehand.

What wild animals might I encounter while camping in Jacksonville?

Florida is home to a surprisingly diverse amount of wildlife. Even black bears and panthers call some parts of the peninsula home. Some of the fauna mainstays in central Jacksonville are dolphins, sharks, pelicans, egrets, seagulls, bald eagles, osprey, and even otters. The usual metropolitan critters are at large here too, including opossums, raccoons, and squirrels.

Jacksonville’s surrounding nature preserves are also home to some unwanted and downright dangerous creatures, the Florida alligator being suspect number one. Venomous snakes and spiders also dwell in the swamps and other natural areas. Beware of the potential for sharks when swimming off Jax’s beautiful coastal areas.

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