There is plenty of Florida Keys camping available for those who wish to enjoy the pristine natural beauty of the area. Even though the islands present narrow strips of land surrounded by upscale resorts and developed towns along the single highway that runs through them, there are campgrounds in Key West, which is the most popular vacation destination in the Keys, as well as stretched all along the 129-mile archipelago from Key Largo and Islamorada to Marathon Key and Big Pine Key.
Much of the Florida Keys camping caters to mobile homes and recreational vehicles, and the facilities boast full electric, water, and sewer hook-ups, as well as swimming pools and spas. When you camp in Key Largo this is likely the kind of site you will find. The Key Largo Kampground and Marina has a deep-water ramp for fishing boats and is even adjacent to a large shopping center. However, even here, closest to the highly developed coast of mainland Florida, you can find large tracts of pristine coastal beauty where you can camp under the stars. The park is a marine park, and much of it is actually underwater, with some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in the country. There are 47 full-facility camping sites for both tents and recreational vehicles, and the park allows pets. Restrooms, hot showers, and self-serve laundry facilities are available.
There are only a few campgrounds in Key West and some of these are actually located just outside the city limits. Key West camping is possible virtually right in the vibrant downtown area, where you have access to the coastal waters as well as the attractions and bustling nightlife for which the town is famous.
Campgrounds in Key West that are close to town include Boyd's Campground, located right on the city line. Both tents and recreational vehicles are welcome, and there are all the facilities and amenities to make your camping experience comfortable, from a sandy beach to a swimming pool and hot showers. There is even free wireless internet service and the campground is on the city bus line. A quieter and more laid-back site for Key West camping is Leo's Campground, actually located on Stock Island just to the east of Key West. Still, it is just a few minutes from attractions such as the Hemingway Home, Audubon House and Tropical Gardens, and Fort Zachary Taylor.
More Key West camping can be found on Sugarloaf Key, about twenty miles east of town. This is the Sugarloaf Key/Key West KOA campground with facilities for tents and recreational vehicles, and it is one of the largest campgrounds in all the islands. Making this campground more attractive is the fact that it offers tours of the area, including boat tours, sunset cruises, and fishing trips.
One of the best places for primitive Florida Keys camping in a truly remote and unspoiled area is at Dry Tortugas National Park, consisting of seven islands and the reefs, corals, and shoals around them. There is a historic fort on the main island, and the Dry Tortugas played an important role in Florida history, from the arrival of Ponce de Leon in the sixteenth century to the swashbuckling pirates and Civil War armies.
This is one of the most remote and least-visited of all US national parks. It is about 70 miles west of Key West and is accessible only by ferry service, chartered seaplane flights, and boat tours. Only primitive camping is available here—meaning you bring your own tent—and you must be completely self-sufficient. There are no stores to purchase supplies. The only amenities consist of a picnic table, grill, and compost toilet. You must pack in everything else and carry it all out with you, but you will be rewarded with the tranquil beauty of one of the most stunning marine landscapes in the country.
Image: Visit Florida