Sleep by the Ocean in These 5 South Florida Island Spots


If you’ve never fallen asleep to the gentle lullaby of rolling ocean waves or breathed in the salty morning air, then it’s time to reconnect with nature with a shore camping trip. sea. The ultimate form of self-medication, camping by the sea is a prescription for everyone. A truly unique opportunity to merge everything Miami and the surrounding area is known for (hint: tropical atmosphere) with pure, untouched nature in a beachfront setting, these campsites are a place to get your feet wet and sand while enjoying a healthy dose of beautiful sunshine and a gentle breeze.

The only downside? For the most popular spots, you’ll want to book as many as 11 months in advance (when overnight reservations are open for Florida State Parks).

We’ve highlighted some of our favorite destinations, keeping in mind the varying levels of camping experience and maximum desire for outdoor fun.

Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys

Matthew T. Carroll via Getty

There’s a reason the beach at Bahia Honda State Park is considered the best beach in the Florida Keys. With its soft, sugar-white sand, sparkling turquoise waters, and unfiltered sunsets, you might feel like you’re on a Caribbean island. But alas, you’re in the United States, camping in a spot known for exceptional snorkeling just off the coast or a short boat ride to a mesmerizing reef at Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary. Bahia Honda’s full-service facility includes three campsites for your tent or RV, as well as cabins you can rent. Or, if you have a boat, rent one of the 19 slips on the marina and sleep on the water as your boat gently rocks with the tide.

Double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) sitting on perch at sunset, Curry Hammock State Park, Florida, USA

Double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) sitting on perch at sunset, Curry Hammock State Park, Florida, USA

W Marissen via Getty

Considered a kind of “if you know, you know” campground by locals, Curry Hammock State Park is a hidden alcove on the Atlantic Ocean side of Marathon in the Florida Keys. With nearly 1,000 acres of largely undeveloped land, Curry Hammock has become a favorite for adventurers looking for a rustic outdoor life in the form of kayaking through mangroves, hiking amidst wildlife native and kitesurfing on windy days. The park is also a favorite spot for birdwatchers, as peregrine falcons flock there during the fall migration season.

Bronze statue of Christ at John Pennekamp Coral Reef Park.

Bronze statue of Christ at John Pennekamp Coral Reef Park.

Tony Arruza via Getty

A short drive south of the heart of Miami, John Pennekamp State Park is located in Key Largo and is known as the nation’s first underwater park. Small in scale, the campsite is a launching pad for all things underwater, including the outstretched arms scuba dive of Jesus Christ Himself just off Key Largo, where the statue of 8 .5 feet tall Christ of the Abyss is submerged. Bring your fishing gear (the area is known for mangrove snapper) to cast your line in one of the designated areas.

Aerial views of a regatta around Peanut Island in the Riviera Beach Inlet next to Singer Island, Florida

Aerial views of a regatta around Peanut Island in the Riviera Beach Inlet next to Singer Island, Florida

Crystal Bolin Photography via Getty

Accessible only by boat or ferry, Peanut Island is a quick one-hour drive north of Miami on I-95 – and a whole different world to the 305. Carefully landscaped with towering palm trees shading your campsite, 80-acre Peanut Island is the place for those new to camping or for families with young children who are just learning to fend for themselves. With its manicured walkways, facilities and beaches, plus a festive atmosphere with boaters and revelers nearby, its novice-friendly accommodations make camping here less intimidating and more accessible.

Palm tree and sailboat, Florida, Islamorada

Palm tree and sailboat, Florida, Islamorada

Chad Riley via Getty

If the traditional idea of ​​camping doesn’t appeal to you but a seaside holiday in seclusion does, then consider The Moorings, located in the pristine key of Islamorada. The location of several fashion shoots and chic TV productions, The Moorings is a five-star beachfront property featuring private two- and three-bedroom cottages with fully-equipped kitchens and accommodations, not to mention the perfect tropical atmosphere, with lush greenery and dozens of palm trees. In today’s hectic world, time seems to somehow stand still at The Moorings, where visitors can take in ocean views and feel the breeze on one of the covered verandas or swinging hammocks. cottages.

    Miami, South Beach, art deco lifeguard hut

Miami, South Beach, art deco lifeguard hut

Peter Adams via Getty

Have you ever imagined sleeping in a watchtower? Me niether. But for a truly unique seaside stay in Key Largo, rent one of the three brightly painted lifeguard towers, which have been converted into sleeping quarters with air conditioning and queen-size beds. The tour owners provide kayaks for use in the nearby mangroves, where manatees have been known to swim beside and alongside travelers.

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