If you live in a big city environment or don't have enough time to really enjoy the outdoors, a night or two camping under the stars can do wonders. Lucky for us, there are plenty of opportunities for the best camping in Tampa. From R.V. to tents in state parks, there's no shortage of great camping in Tampa Bay.
Westgate River Ranch is the largest dude ranch east of the Mississippi, rooted in cowboy history and 80 miles east of Tampa. Multiple accommodations are offered, including glamping, tents and luxe teepees provided the comfort of a hotel (air conditioning, king beds and fireplaces) with the camaraderie of camping. A campground for tents and RVs offers a more traditional camping experience, with access to bathrooms and showers, 20, 30 and 50 amps, and a dump station. If you can’t stand the thought of camping at all, lodge resort guest rooms, cabins and Saddle Club Rail Cars await your reservation. Experience a rodeo every Saturday night, visiting a petting farm, ride horses or take hayrides all to experience cowboy culture. Rates vary depending on availability. Call 863-692-1321 to book now.
Close to the bustle of downtown are the class two rapids of Hillsborough State River Park. This park offers plenty of outdoor experiences plus a 112-site campground. RV and tent camping are allowed with most sites having electric, and all sites equipped with water, a fire ring and a picnic table. There are showers and laundry facilities at each loop, and there is a dump station on the campground. Pets are welcome but must be under their owners’ control at all times. The maximum RV length is 50 feet and hammocks are allowed on some campgrounds. Admission to the park is $6 per car with two to eight people and a camping site is $24 plus a $6.70 nonrefundable reservation fee. Organized group youth camping is $1, and adult is $5 with a $20 deposit that will be credited to your account on arrival. If you really love the outdoors, try primitive camping. You’ll hike 1.5 miles to the hiking area. Pack in and out all necessary supplies, bring four quarts of water per person per day. There is no water, electricity or restrooms at this camp and pets are not allowed. The fee is $5
Three miles north of Ruskin is E.G. Simmons Park, dazzling visitors with natural beauty since the mid-1960s. They have 98 of some of the best campsites in Tampa Bay, all with electricity, potable water, picnic tables, and barbeque grills. There are also 18 picnic shelters, public restrooms, hot and cold showers and two RV dumps. Enjoy the 700-foot beach, kayak and appreciate the beauty of mangroves on your next camping trip. Admission is $2 per car (up to eight people) and camping fees are $24 a night for eight people in one RV or two tents and the senior rate is $18. Sites are first come first serve.
Plant City boasts Edward Medard Park, whose main feature is a 700-acre reservoir for canoeing, boating and catch-and-release fishing. There are 40 first come first serve campsites with a picnic table, electricity, a fire ring, and water. Public restrooms with showers and an RV dump is available. RV and tents are accommodated. The park also has a three-mile trail, a disk golf court, and a volleyball court. Admission is $2 per car (up to eight people) and camping fees are $24 a night for eight people in one RV or two tents and the senior rate is $18.
The spring that gives Lithia Springs its name continues to be a major attraction for the County Park. With 44 campsites suitable to RVs including water, shower, and electrical services. There are public picnic shelters and tables, restrooms and barbeque grills. Sites are first come first serve and there are no refunds for weather. Enjoy a dip in the spring, fishing and hiking on your camping trip. Admission is $2 per car (up to eight people) and camping fees are $24 a night for eight people in one RV or two tents and the senior rate is $18.
If you’re tired of the hustle and bustle of the city, or the traffic of the suburbs, it’s time to get back to nature. Grab your sunscreen, tents, and games and enjoy some of the best camping in Tampa! And for more fun Things to Do in Tampa Bay register at 813area for all the local news. It's free!
Cover photo from Unsplash