Pristine coastlines and beachfront campsites await Hipcampers in Mexico Beach.
With its brilliant white sandy beaches, Florida’s Mexico Beach is an ideal setting for swimming, beachcombing, or simply relaxing on the shore. Because most of the Gulf of Mexico has a barren ocean floor, the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association has built up a system of artificial reefs, providing scuba divers with unique underwater areas to explore, surrounded by local fish. Traverse the sandy dunes and stunning blue-green waters of Cape San Blas, including St. Joseph Peninsula. Hike among swamps and pine forests at Apalachicola National Forest, the largest in the state. Or camp above the rolling bluffs at Torreya State Park overlooking the Apalachicola River. From primitive campgrounds to yurt glamping and RV parks with full hookups, Mexico Beach offers camping experiences like none other.
Also known more simply as St. Joseph Peninsula, this state park on Cape San Blas is connected to the main Florida peninsula by a sliver of land. Near the small town of Port St. Joe, St. Joseph Peninsula boasts miles of pristine, white sandy beaches with pet-friendly vacation rentals. Nearby RV parks offer full 50-amp hookups, plus pull-through RV sites with gravel pads. Nature trails provide great opportunities for birdwatching, including gray catbirds, northern cardinals, bald eagles, and Carolina chickadees. Head into St. Joseph Bay for snorkeling, swimming, and kayaking, or fish for speckled trout, whiting, and scallop.
At over a half-million acres, Apalachicola is Florida’s largest national forest and covers a diverse array of ecosystems, including swamps and longleaf pine forests. The natural environment opens up endless opportunities for hiking and horseback riding—keep those binoculars handy for spotting bobcats and woodpeckers. Campgrounds in the national forest allow for tent and RV camping, some with hookups. During general gun season, Mack Landing serves as a camp for hunting deer, turkey, and gray squirrel. (Always abide by local hunting regulations, including rules around state hunting licenses.)
Named for an extremely rare species of tree growing in the area, Torreya State Park is set upon rolling bluffs overlooking the Apalachicola River. Dubbed the “Mountains of Florida,” the scenic steephead ravine systems here are home to miles of challenging hiking trails. Among the animals that hikers may see along the way are Barbour’s map turtles, Florida black bears, and golden-crowned kinglets. Hike into one of the primitive camping areas or go glamping in the park’s 20-foot yurt with air conditioning and large screened windows. Tent and RV campsites feature water and electricity hookups, as well as shared showers and restrooms.
With its warm, sunny weather throughout the year, Mexico Beach, Florida is a year-round camping destination. The shoulder seasons of spring and fall aren’t nearly as hot and humid as the summer, and they attract fewer tourists, allowing for a more tranquil camping experience. Hiking and other outdoor activities can be more comfortable in this milder weather, too. Look for migratory birds during the fall and winter months. Many snowbirds (people coming from colder climates) flock to Mexico Beach in the winter, too, so be sure to book campsite reservations well in advance.