By Abigail Abesamis
Summertime vacations will definitely look a bit different this year due to the global pandemic, but that doesn’t mean you need to stay cooped up in your house and miss it entirely. Camping (whether you’re taking an RV or packing up the family car) offers an opportunity to escape to the great outdoors while avoiding large crowds, and on 30A there’s plenty of room to spread out on the long expanse of white-sand beach. To help you get started on planning your camping trip to 30A, we’ve rounded up information on all the places to camp plus tips and insights from seasoned RV travelers.
Please note that details like hours, capacity and amenities are subject to change and may be limited at this time due to coronavirus concerns. For the latest information, contact the parks directly or visit their website.
357 Main Park Rd, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
Recently named the number 1 beach in America by Dr. Beach, the secret is definitely out on this picturesque park. Western Lake, a 100-acre coastal dune lake, is a central feature of Grayton Beach State Park and visitors can fish and paddle its waters; NuCanoe and kayak rentals are available at the ranger station. On land, there are opportunities to bike, hike and view wildlife via a 4.5-mile trail (9 miles round trip) weaving through the forest and around Western Lake. For those looking for a shorter walk, there’s a 1-mile nature trail that goes through the dune ecosystem, along the salt marsh, and through the pine flatwoods.
“My favorite campsites on 30A are found in Grayton Beach State Park,” Sean Michael of Long Long Honeymoon told 30A (check out their video on 30A here). “I love the natural terrain of Grayton. We have especially enjoyed the RV campsites located next to Western Lake. Many of the sites are lush with native trees and greenery, making them feel more private and secluded.”
For camping, Grayton Beach campground has 59 camping sites, all of which come with electricity and water. Four of these sites are accessible, and some sites have sewer hook-ups. Two-bedroom cabins are also available for rent, with central heating and cooling, a screened-in porch and an outdoor grill.
“Many of the RV campsites at Grayton Beach are of the ‘back-in’ variety, so come prepared to navigate your RV into its site,” Sean said. “Bicycles can be a handy way to get to the beach. On a practical note, I recommend having a small vacuum on hand, since sand wants to get inside your RV.”
Fees: Campsites cost $30 per night, and cabins range in price from $110 to $130 per night depending on the time of year. Visitors must also pay tax on these fees, plus a non-refundable reservation fee ($6.70).
Reserve: Reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance through ReserveAmerica. Book your camping site online or call (800) 326-3521 or (888) 433-0287.
7525 W County Hwy 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
Sloping sand dunes resembling ship sails give Topsail Hill Preserve State Park its name. It’s home to freshwater dune lakes teeming with aquatic wildlife, old-growth longleaf pine forests and three miles of pristine, white-sand beach. The preserve is part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail and visitors have the opportunity to spot red-shouldered hawks, Eastern bluebirds, red cardinals, ospreys and more from its 15 miles of marked trails. There’s also a paved bike path (with bike rentals available on-site), two small picnic pavilions at Campbell Lake and weekly programs run by park rangers (from guided plant strolls to discussions on the park’s historic and cultural history).
Kristy Michael, the other half of Long Long Honeymoon, noted that Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is perfect for campers wanting room to stretch out and explore. “Sites are spacious, most provide lots of shade, and there’s a pool for those who are averse to swimming in the Gulf,” she said. “Major bonus: the beach here is huge! Even in the height of summer, there’s plenty of room to spread out and not be rubbing elbows with your neighbors.”
For camping, the Gregory E Moore RV Resort campground has 156 RV sites, 22 tent sites and 32 cabins and bungalows available for rent. RV sites are equipped with water, 30 or 50 amp electric, digital cable and sewers. Additionally, there’s a non-heated swimming pool, laundry facilities and shuffleboard courts on-site. The tent sites include an elevated tent pad, fire ring, and water and electric hook-ups. The tent camping area has a restroom with showers. For a luxe twist on traditional tent camping, Fancy Camps Luxury Camping (aka glamping) sites are available year-round.
“One important note: to reach the beach access you have to either walk, ride a bike or catch the tram,” Kristy said. “There is no car parking at the beach access, and it’s quite a long walk from the campground. If you’re bringing lots of beach gear, you may want a wagon to help lighten your load.”
Fees: Tent sites cost $24 a night, RV sites cost $42 a night and cabins rates range from $130 to $145 a night. Visitors must also pay tax on these fees, plus a non-refundable reservation fee ($6.70).
Reserve: Reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance through ReserveAmerica. You can book your camping site online or call (800) 326-3521 (from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.) or (888) 433-0287.
30A 🏝️😎 visits Point Washington, a quiet wooded community of locals just north of Florida’s Scenic Highway 30A.
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5865 E. U.S. Hwy. 98, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
Point Washington State Forest is made up of 10 natural communities and home to several species of threatened and endangered plants and animals including American kestrel, gopher tortoise, flatwoods salamander, white-topped pitcher plant (Sarracenia leucophylla) and Curtiss sandgrass. Visitors can hike or bike their trail system with 3.5-, 5- and 10-mile loops.
For camping, Eastern Lake Campground has four primitive campsites. They are not equipped with running water or electric hookups, but there’s a shared restroom for all four sites. Reservations are required, and multiple sites are recommended for large groups, with a maximum of 8 occupants on each campsite. Only tents are permitted on the campsites, which are located less than a quarter of a mile from the trail.
Fees: The primitive campsites cost $10 a night.
Reserve: For additional camping information and to make a reservation visit FloridaStateForests.ReserveAmerica.com or call (877) 879-3859.
Peach Creek RV Park
4401 US-98, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
This small RV park off highway 98 keeps things simple, with its main draw being its convenient location to area attractions. It’s a 5-minute drive to Eden Gardens State Park and about a 10-minute drive to Seagrove Beach. Peach Creek RV Park is run by Marie and her siblings who grew up there; their office was their parents’ grocery store and gas station, which dates back to 1944.
For camping, Peach Creek RV Park has 14 RV sites with full hookups at each site (water, sewer and electric) plus a bathhouse and coin laundry room. The bathhouse is currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Fees: RV sites cost $56 a night, including tax.
Reserve: Call (850) 585-9795 or (850) 231-1948 to speak to the park’s owner, Marie, to make your reservation.
10005 Emerald Coast Pkwy W, Miramar Beach, FL 32550
This family-owned and operated campground in Miramar Beach has beachfront campsites which give guests a front row view of the Gulf. Campground amenities include two pools and a big water slide, a casting lake, an activity center, free Wi-Fi, three bathhouses, a laundry facility and recreational rentals (golf carts, pedal carts, segways, floating islands, paddleboards, etc.)
“Camp Gulf is great for folks who want to camp directly on the beach. It’s a rare opportunity to literally open your camper door and step onto the beach,” Kristy said. “We took one of our very first trips with our Airstream to Camp Gulf back in 2007.”
For camping, Camp Gulf has 200 RV sites, 20 cabins, glamping tents and a beach house which can accommodate up to 15 people. While all camping sites are just a quick walk to the beach, the 20-foot wide beachfront RV sites offer prime views of the Gulf 24/7, are equipped with water and electric, and are suitable for all size rigs.
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“Direct beach access comes at a price,” Kristy said. “It’s one of the most expensive campgrounds we’ve ever stayed at, and the sites are tight. There really aren’t any trees here for shade, but there are two pools and lots of planned activities for those interested. You’ll need a car to get around for sure, and traffic along Highway 98 is usually pretty thick. Think of it as a condo or hotel setting versus a park-like setting.”
Fees: Rates vary depending on the time of year, length of stay and how close your campsite is to the beach. In the 2020 summer season (May 24 to September 4), beachfront sites cost $232 a night, beach sites cost $170 a night, upper park sites cost $140 a night, and north upper park sites cost $108 a night. Cabins range in price from $349 to $318 a night. Large glamping tents cost $325 a night, and their Sandcastle Beach House costs $747 a night.
For more detailed information on rates, check out the Camp Gulf website.
Reserve: Make your reservation online or call (877) 226-7485 or (850) 837-6334 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. CST.
229 Pitts Ave, Freeport, FL 32439
Just off the Choctawhatchee Bay lies Live Oak Landing, an old fishing camp-turned-RV resort where you can fish for both fresh and saltwater fish (thanks to an on-site boat ramp and dock with boat and kayak rentals), hike oak-lined trails, or swim in their modern, open concept swimming pool.
For camping, all RV sites are equipped with 30-, 50- and 100-amp service, Wi-Fi, a picnic table, fire ring and full sewer line hook-ups. There are also cottages available for rent, which come fully furnished. Resort cottages can accommodate up to four adults and two children, while studio cottages sleep two.
Fees: Nightly rates for RV sites and cottage rentals change frequently; for the most updated information check out Live Oak Landing’s reservation site and enter your date and accommodation type.
Reserve: Make your reservation online or call (877) 989-6257.
75 Arnett Ln, Miramar Beach, FL 32550
Geronimo RV Resort is a family-friendly, pet-friendly RV park located just two blocks from the Emerald Coast and its white-sand beaches. There’s a large recreation field on-site for walking your dog and other outdoor activities, plus restrooms with private showers and a coin-operated laundry facility open 24 hours.
For camping, Geronimo RV Resort has space to accommodate rigs of all sizes, with several pull-through sites for oversized rigs. RV sites accommodate an RV and a secondary vehicle (like a motorcycle, golf cart or scooter) and feature a concrete pad, concrete patio, 30- and 50-amp electric, water, sewer, cable TV and free Wi-Fi.
Fees: Daily rates are $94 a day (plus 12% tax) from May 21 to August 2 and $82 a day (plus 12% tax) from March 1 to May 20 and from August 3 to September 15. Daily rates include up to four people, and for each additional person they add $5 a day (6 people maximum per site).
Reserve: To reserve your RV site, call the Geronimo RV Resort office at (850) 424-6801 or (850) 585-1502 or email them at info@GeronimoRVResort.com.