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9 Best Spots to Go Camping in Tampa Bay

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The skies are clear and the nature paths are calling your name. Your next camping adventure in Tampa Bay awaits! Although Florida is undoubtedly known for its beautiful white-sand beaches surrounding the most captivating cities, there are also incredible spots to go camping in Tampa. 

Grab your nature buddy and camping gear, it’s time to sleep under the stars and connect with nature. Here is your guide to the 9 best spots to go camping in Tampa Bay. Don’t forget the bug spray!

Hillsborough River State Park

📍15402 US-301 N, Thonotosassa, FL 33592

The popular Hillsborough River State Park is a great spot to escape into nature. With over 2,990 acres and more than seven miles of trails, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy or find an inspiring spot to relax. They have a great campsite, hiking and bike trails, canoe and kayak rentals, playgrounds, and more. We recommend kayaking down the Hillsborough River and walking over the beautiful suspension bridge. Be on the lookout for alligators along the shoreline and other wildlife on the trails!

Upper Tampa Bay Park

📍 8001 Double Branch Rd, Tampa, FL 33635

Head west of Tampa, near Oldsmar, and you’ll run right into Upper Tampa Bay Park. Dive into your inner outdoorsy self at Upper Tampa Bay Park by enjoying a hike on nature trails and boardwalks throughout the 596 acres. You’re almost guaranteed to see tortoises, butterflies, manatees, and more wildlife. They also have canoe and kayak rentals if you want to get out on the water or do some fishing. 

Not only is Upper Tampa Bay Park a cool camping spot, but they are known for being a protected area for nature study and passive recreation. They protect valuable coastal habitats like mangrove forests, freshwater marshes, and much more! 

Fort De Soto Park Campground

📍 2528, 3500 Pinellas Bayway S, Tierra Verde, FL 33715

Camping on the beach? Yes, please! Fort De Soto Park Campground is a 238-acre, waterfront campsite over in Tierra Verde. You’re truly surrounded by the wilderness here from nature paths and the Gulf. The campsites are very private and clean. 

Staying a weekend at For De Soto can be packed with outdoor activities like riding your bike on the paths, walking along the beach or through the historic forts, fishing, kayaking, bird watching, and so on. You can even take a ferry to islands like Egmont Key or Shell Key Preserve. Fort De Soto is one of the best places to be for catching the sunset! 

Little Manatee River State Park

📍215 Lightfoot Rd, Wimauma, FL 33598

The Florida forests are extremely fun to explore during a camping trip. The wildlife you’ll run into on a hike is amazing, especially at Little Manatee River State Park. The trails here are diverse from family-friendly trails to horseback riding trails. There are also a lot of activities to do at Little Manatee River State Park like kayaking, canoeing, fishing, wildlife viewing, and more. The campsite itself is small and perfect if you’re looking for something more private.

Cypress Creek Nature Preserve

📍18000 Lizards Tail Rd, Tampa, FL 33647

With 7,400 acres, you really can’t get bored here! With so many miles to hike, Cypress Creek Nature Preserve is great for active hikers looking to spend a few days walking trails. Although there isn’t a campsite here, Cypress Creek Nature Preserve is the escape of reality we all need to experience. The trails are dog friendly and very peaceful. The Cypress Creek drains into the Hillsborough River and you can expect to see wildlife if you stop and wait for it!

Caladesi Island State Park

📍1 Causeway Blvd, Dunedin, FL 34698

Paradise meets camping. Caladesi Island State Park is a beautiful, untouched Island on the Gulf of Mexico that many active beach-lovers enjoy. A trip to Caladesi Island is unforgettable, starting with the ferry boat ride over! The only way to access the island is by boat. Once you arrive, there are fun things to do like kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, hiking, and more. It’s the tropical paradise staycation you need!

E.G. Simmons Regional Park

📍2401 19th Ave NW, Ruskin, FL 33570

With 87 campsites right on Tampa Bay, E.G. Simmons Regional Park is a perfect weekend getaway for you and your friends or family. The camping here is phenomenal with 103 sites, all of which have electricity, potable water, fire pits, and picnic tables.  E.G. Simmons Regional Park is 258-acres of mangroves with open land and beautiful waterways. There’s so much fun stuff to do here like wander to the 700-foot Tampa Bay beach for a pleasant scenery, join your kids on the playgrounds, rent kayaks, or fish on the pier. 

Frog Creek Campground

📍8515 Bayshore Rd, Palmetto, FL 34221

Who knew camping could be this beautiful? Frog Creek RV Resort and Campground offers awesome campsites that lay under canopies of live oaks. The Spanish moss hanging down from the branches are so pleasant and perfect for some nature photos! Frog Creek has a nice pool to cool off after a day of hiking, you can also kayak in Terra Ceia Reserve, play shuffleboards, cornhole, and basketball. Frog Creek is an ideal camping spot for the whole family, including your pup!

Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park

📍10500 Wilderness Park Blvd, New Port Richey, FL 34655

Don’t forget your binoculars for a divine bird-watching experience at Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park. The campsite is very clean with nice pavilions. This regional park is over 8,300-acres of land with a lot of open space. It’s a great camping area with horse, bike, and hiking trails, playgrounds, volleyball courts, and so much more to enjoy. The birding trail grants visitors the opportunities to see a wide array of different birds. About 177 species of birds have been viewed here! 

Best Spots To Go Camping in Tampa Bay

Nature enthusiasts, what are you waiting for? Grab your tent and sleeping bag, a few outdoorsy friends, a ton of sunscreen, and get exploring to these 9 Best Spots To Go Camping in Tampa Bay!

Tag us in your campfire pics at @stufftodointampabay on Facebook or Instagram

Haley Haman

Haley Haman

Haley is a blogger for the Stuff to Do in Tampa Bay City Guide. For more insight on the best events and things to do in the Tampa Bay area, download the UNATION app and follow @StufftoDoinTampaBay on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and TikTok.

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