Heads Up! There Are New Camping Fees at Florida State Parks
You may have to budget a bit extra for your next camping trip to a Florida state park due to a new fee schedule put in place earlier this month. For a rundown of the changes, we reached out to Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection, which oversees Florida’s 175 state parks.
The good news? Entry fees, which vary by park, remain unchanged. Similarly, fees for campground reservations ($6.70), cancellations ($17.75), and transfers ($10.00) are the same.
What has changed, however, is the addition of a daily utility fee for campsites and cabins. “To offset increasing costs to provide electric, water and sewer facilities and services, DEP recently announced it will begin collecting a daily $7 utility fee from all campsites and cabins with electric and water service,” says Alexandra Kuchta, Deputy Press Secretary at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
On May 27, 2021, the utility fee went live at three state parks: Anastasia State Park, Bahia Honda State Park, and Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area at Flagler Beach. The rest of the parks will be following shortly. “Once the fee is made active [in the state park reservation system], it will automatically apply to all future camping reservations,” says Alexandra. The daily utility fee is not charged for tent camping or primitive campsites.
“Utility payments and improvements are a large and growing cost of park operations,” says Eric Draper, director of the Division of Recreation and Parks. “We are proud of continuing improvements to campgrounds and cabins to make overnight stays comfortable by providing safe and reliable electric, sewer, and water service.”
“These fees, which enable Florida’s state parks to continue providing high-quality recreation in an unmatched natural setting, have not been raised in over 10 years,” adds Alexandra.
In addition to a new fee schedule, Florida State Parks have also switched from ReserveAmerica to a new reservation system with US eDirect.
“Beginning May 28, 2021, camping and cabin reservations and day-use point of sale services at Florida State Parks will be provided utilizing software from US eDirect,” says Alexandra. “DEP appreciates the years of service Aspira (formerly ReserveAmerica) has provided and is committed to a smooth transition from one provider to the next.”
State park reservations in Florida are available up to 11 months in advance, so now is the time to plan your winter vacation! Here are a few of the Campendium community’s favorite Florida state park campgrounds.
Curry Hammock State Park
Bask in the turquoise water of the tropical Florida Keys at Curry Hammock State Park. The park’s well-maintained campground has stunning sunrise and sunset views, and nearby access to the multi-use Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail for quick bike trips into the town of Marathon.
Anastasia State Park
Located near the historic city of St. Augustine, Anastasia State Park features a wide beachfront and 139-site campground nestled under the canopy of a beautiful hammock forest. This park’s excellent location provides quick access to both city amenities and the sweeping, dune-filled coastline.
Little Manatee River State Park
It may be difficult to snag a campsite at this small, hidden gem of a campground, but if you can, you’ll love the park’s biking and biking trails, wooded campsites, and nearby bike and canoe rentals. The Little Manatee River State Park campground features partial hookups, a horse corral, and bathrooms with showers.
Grayton Beach State Park
Enjoy white sand beaches and gulf breezes at Grayton Beach State Park on the Gulf of Mexico. If you tire of relaxing with the waves lapping at your feet, the park also has hiking and biking trails and Western Lake, a 100-acre coastal dune lake that is perfect for paddling.
Lake Louisa State Park
Enjoy gorgeous natural beauty and an easy drive to Disney World from Lake Louisa State Park in Clermont. Three camping loops offer both pull-through and back-in sites, and the campground has on-site recreational amenities like rental bikes, kayaks, and guided horseback riding trips.