The Best Camping Near Saint Petersburg, Florida

The Best Camping Near Saint Petersburg, Florida

Whether the camping trip of your dreams involves paddle boarding, dolphin and manatee watching, or basking in the sun on sandy beaches, campgrounds near St. Petersburg will make those dreams come true! Head to The Sunshine City for a perfect mix of relaxation and adventure.

Saint Petersburg, Florida
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About Camping Near Saint Petersburg

With a gorgeous climate and activities ranging from tram tours through Boyd Hill Nature Preserve to tiki boat cruises from St. Pete Pier, camping near St. Petersburg truly checks all the boxes for adventurers at any pace. Campgrounds near St. Petersburg include sandy seaside sites as well as decked-out RV resorts geared towards explorers aged 55 and up. From the world-renowned museums and food to the once-in-a-lifetime wildlife viewing opportunities, this area is a can’t-miss on your camping bucket list.

Top Campgrounds Near Saint Petersburg, Florida

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Saint Petersburg Camping FAQs

Affectionately referred to as “The Burg” and “St. Pete,” St. Petersburg is a great destination for the intrepid surfer or a wholesome family vacation. With dozens of hidden gems and unparalleled white beaches to explore, St. Pete has a lot to offer the curious camper.

St. Pete’s seemingly endless sunshine and warm weather mean that this is a fantastic spot to camp in the great outdoors. If this is your first time camping in Florida, there are a few important things to note. Here are your questions answered about camping near St. Petersburg, Florida.

What’s the best time of year to go camping in St. Petersburg?

Florida is located in a humid subtropical climate zone, and St. Petersburg enjoys the same muggy summers and wonderfully warm winters as much of the rest of the state. The best time to go camping in St. Petersburg is from October to March. Temperatures usually stay between 50° and 75° and the weather should be relatively clear, although rainfall is bound to occur at least once on a trip.

Cold snaps do happen from time to time in the winter months, usually in December or January. Double-check the weather before planning a trip to be sure you won’t be caught in one of these rare freezing phenomena. Rainy season rears its ugly head in the heat of the summer from June to August, and you can expect almost daily afternoon thunderstorms.

Hurricane season is typically from June to November but especially in the months of August through October. Tropical storms are also common during this time. Always be sure to check the weather about a week out to see what’s brewing in the Atlantic.

What should I pack for camping near St. Petersburg?

A camping trip to St. Petersburg is a fantastic way to explore Florida’s rich biodiversity through the coastal estuaries, barrier islands, and natural springs. Here are a few things to pack for camping near St. Petersburg.

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

Mosquitoes Galore

The creepy crawlies come out in full force in Florida’s tropical climate. Bring along the usual protection like DEET bug spray and pretreat your hiking clothes and tents with permethrin to be extra cautious.

Beach Days

The beach is only a 20-minute drive from downtown St. Petersburg. Sun protection is important on Florida’s high UV coast, and a bathing suit and quick dry towel are beachy campers’ bread and butter.

For Rain

St. Petersburg has over 100 days of precipitation a year, making the possibility of rain while camping in the area high. Bring a rain fly if you’re tent camping, and pack those rain jackets and ponchos. Sandals are also a no-brainer for those really wet days.

What are the top outdoor activities near St. Petersburg?

St. Petersburg is a premier destination on Florida’s Gulf coast for endless outdoor activities. Here are a few of the best ways to connect with nature in St. Pete.

Pinellas Trail

Spanning from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs, the Pinellas Trail is the perfect opportunity to feel the wind in your hair. This bicycle and walking trail spans 45 miles along the sparkling Gulf of Mexico.

Weedon Island Preserve

The Weedon Island Preserve is located along the western shores of Tampa Bay. Dozens of animals like stingrays and egrets call the preserve home. This area was a haven for the ancestral peoples of Florida who left behind evidence of their daily lives.


Taking a dip is one of the best ways to get one-on-one time with nature in St. Petersburg. It won’t be hard to find a beautiful place to swim some laps with so many incredible beaches in the vicinity. The intense Florida sun will give you all the reason to seek out St. Pete’s many keys and islands.


One of the premier snorkeling destinations in Florida, St. Pete’s offers clear, calm waters to explore beneath the waves. Egmont Key is a particularly interesting snorkel enclave, with the remnants of an old fort waiting to be found underwater.


The waters of St. Pete are thriving with marine life. Be sure to book a trip with an ethical fishing guide.


St. Pete’s beach is the best place in the area for both seasoned and new surfers to catch some waves. The winter swell is the best time of year to hang 10.


Parasailing has been a popular beachgoer’s pastime since its genesis in 1961. St. Petersburg beaches are a great place to take part in this exhilarating activity.

What major sights should I see in St. Petersburg?

St. Petersburg is an exciting destination that is much more than its beach-loving facade. From an unexpected museum dedicated to the surrealist art of Salvador Dalí to a coastal pier jetting into the Gulf of Mexico, here are some of the best places to visit in St. Petersburg.

Museum of Salvador Dalí

Housed in a building as inspiring as Dalí himself, the Museum of Salvador Dalí is a magnificent ode to his dedicated life’s work and surrealist symbolism. The museum houses over 2,400 pieces of Dalí’s artwork and is an incredible representation of his quirks.

Sunken Gardens

Winding paths weave their way through one of Florida’s oldest collection of tropical plants. The Sunken Gardens are over 100-years-old and a flourishing example of native and far-flung horticulture, complete with a flock of resident flamingoes. One of the last vestiges of Florida roadside attractions, the Sunken Gardens is a great way to spend a few hours.

St. Petersburg Saturday Morning Market

Held every Saturday from October to May, the St. Petersburg Saturday Morning Market has over 130 vendors and food trucks representing cuisine from over 15 countries and live music floating through the air.

Museum of Fine Arts (MFA)

The premier fine arts museum of western Florida, MFA holds works from Mesoamerican art to Georgia O’Keeffe and everything in between. Admission is $22 for adults and free for children.

St. Pete Pier

Aside from being a historic landmark, St. Pete Pier has been developed into a 26-acre, oceanfront complex with something for virtually everyone. From a splash pad for the kids to fine dining for the grown-ups—not to mention a number of art installations like the enigmatic Bending Arc—the St. Pete Pier is the best destination for fun in St. Petersburg.

Are there any national parks or state parks near St. Petersburg?

St. Petersburg is one of the best locations in Florida to experience pristine coastal wilderness and the few barrier islands that line its seashore. Here are a few of the best state and national parks near St. Pete.

Egmont Key State Park

(24 minutes)

Located on a secluded island to the south of St. Petersburg, Egmont Key is a hidden gem surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico. Egmont Key is one of the best places near St. Pete to search for shells and snorkel above historic ruins, making it an exciting day trip worth the extra effort. If you’re lucky, you might run into one of the Keys’ most distinguished residents, a gopher tortoise.

Honeymoon Island State Park

(40 minutes)

Stunning blue waters, sugar-soft sand, and abundant wildlife. Named after a newlywed contest where the couples won a trip to this beach, you’ll soon see why beachgoers and sun worshippers alike fall in love on its shore. Although the beach is more remote, there are still amenities like bathrooms and a snack stand to sate your hunger.

Caladesi Island State Park

(45 minutes)

One of the most pristine beaches near St. Petersburg, Caladesi Island State Park Beach is worth the ferry ride and hassle to sunbathe on this tranquil stretch of sand. Once rated America’s Best Beach, Caladesi Island is a testament to Florida’s beaches of old.

Rainbow Springs State Park

(1 hour, 50 minutes)

To the north of St. Petersburg lies one of the most beautiful natural springs in the U.S. Feeding the Rainbow River, Rainbow Springs is an emerald, crystalline pool just waiting to be explored. Native Americans have been utilizing the spring for thousands of years. Come in spring for the mesmerizing azaleas.

Manatee Springs State Park

(2 hours, 20 minutes)

If you’re on a mission to see Florida’s manatees, this might be one of your best shots. Manatee Springs sees an influx of the cheerful blimps come winter when they migrate into the warm springs to eat and chill out. The springs actually pump almost 100 million gallons of water out every day!

Everglades National Park

(2 hours, 45 minutes)

The United States’ largest subtropical wilderness, the Everglades is one of our nation’s 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

(4 hours)

At the northern edge of the Florida Keys is a stunning strip of white sand, emerald water, and reefs just waiting to be snorkeled. This is Biscayne National Park, one of the only national parks in the U.S. that is largely underwater.

Where are the best places to eat near St. Petersburg?

St. Petersburg is home to a beautiful melting pot of cultures from all corners of the globe. This blend of culinary ingenuity has resulted in a yummy array of restaurants to indulge in. Here are just a few of the best places to eat in St. Pete’s.

The Library

Located inside the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, the Library specializes in serving warm, comforting meals in a cozy, library-like atmosphere. Try the warm burrata or blackened fish tacos.

Oak & Stone

Oak & Stone is a craft beer and pizza mecca nestled in downtown St. Petersburg. It’s the perfect place to grab a slice and refuel after a long day on the beach.

Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grill

With four locations around Florida, Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grill is one of the best places in St. Petersburg proper to taste delicious, fresh-caught seafood with a Floridian flare. From crab cakes to caribbean jerk tostadas, this is one of the best places to delight your taste buds in St. Pete’s.

Mazzaro’s Italian Market

St. Petersburg has a long history of Italian immigrants who brought their delicious cuisine with them. The Mazzaro’s Italian Market is an homage to that heritage and offers everything from fresh pasta to Italian wine and desserts.

Alesia Restaurant

Offering some of the best Vietnamese in all of St. Pete’s, along with a long list of Asian-French fusion inspired dishes, the Pho is a must try.

400 Beach Seafood & Tap House

A waterfront oasis, 400 Beach Seafood & Tap House is a great place to have an elevated night out after a day of sunbathing. Try their delicious cornbread or blackened shrimp and grits for a taste of the good life.

What are the best beaches in St. Petersburg?

The beaches surrounding St. Petersburg have been showered with superlatives like “best” and “most beautiful” for the last 20 years. Both near and far, here are some of the best beaches in St. Petersburg.

St. Pete Beach

St. Petersburg’s public city beach and coastal enclave, St. Pete Beach is the perfect quick access for city dwellers. This is also the best beach in town for surfing.

Shell Key Preserve Beach

Shell Key Preserve is an isolated, pristine protected coastal area within the entrance to Tampa Bay itself. This is a rustic island without any facilities, including bathrooms. It’s important to remember Leave No Trace principles when visiting these remote beaches. Walk along the barren beaches and go hunting for shells; that is the island’s namesake after all. While campsites here are primitive, you’ll be rewarded with solitude and technicolor sunsets.

Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach is a gorgeous strip of sand to the north of St. Petersburg. It’s well worth the 45-minute drive north of St. Pete’s for serene shores, swaying palms, and indigo ocean. Myriad beach activities like parasailing and jet skiing are popular with visitors and have been a staple in Jacksonville for decades.

What are some camping mistakes to avoid when camping near St. Petersburg?

Camping near St. Petersburg is a beautiful way to spend your vacation time and get in touch with the great outdoors. Here are a few mistakes to avoid before getting outside in St. Petersburg.

Be Alligator-Aware

Floridian alligators have been the cause of death for not just the family dog, but humans as well. Families with small children and pets should be very cautious around bodies of water as alligators typically lie in wait just below the surface near the shore.

Prepare for the Bug Barrage

Mosquitoes are a part of life in Florida and you’re sure to encounter clouds of them on a camping trip. Don’t forget the bug spray and a netted canopy to hide out in when they get thick, typically at dawn and dusk.

Protect Yourself From the Sun

The UV index can be intense in St. Pete’s. You’ll need to come prepared with sunscreen, a wide brim hat, and sunglasses to keep your skin from feeling the burn.

Expect Rain

St. Petersburg sees 113 days of rain a year on average. Talk about a tropical climate! If you’re prepared, the frequent afternoon storms and torrential spouts won’t be a damper on your camping trip. Canopies are a great place to take shelter and always bring a rain jacket and waterproof sandals.

Avoid Hurricanes

Every year come summer and fall the forecast turns chaotic with news of growing tropical storms and hurricanes. Don’t plan a camping trip without double-checking that nothing is brewing beyond the shore.

Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace principles are incredibly important when camping in areas without facilities. Be sure to research what this entails before embarking on a camping trip in remote and secluded areas. These environments are delicate and should be treated with the utmost respect.

What wild animals might I encounter while camping in St. Petersburg?

Florida is home to a surprisingly diverse amount of wildlife. Some of the fauna mainstays in central St. Petersburg are dolphins, sting rays, sea gulls, pelicans, and osprey. There are several areas near St. Pete to see majestic sea cows, also known as manatees. These lumbering giants love the power plant near downtown Tampa during the winter months, and a platform was dedicated to catching a glimpse of these mystical beings.

St. Petersburg’s surrounding nature preserves are also home to a few dangerous creatures like the Florida alligator. Venomous snakes are something to contend with as well in swampy areas. There is always the potential to encounter sharks when swimming off of St. Pete’s coast, although the clear water should prevent any unfortunate encounters.

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