Forest camping near Punta Gorda

Make a splash kayaking, fishing, and basking on Florida’s beaches when camping near Punta Gorda.

98% (422 reviews)
98% (422 reviews)

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Forest camping near Punta Gorda guide


Set on the western coast of Florida halfway between Sarasota and Naples, Punta Gorda boasts nearby nature reserves and world-class beaches with stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. Water activities are a particularly big draw for Hipcampers, who take to the rivers for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing in places like Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park or Myakka River State Park. Anglers can try to hook barracuda, snook, sharks, or grouper. Diverse wildlife, including manatees, bald eagles, and alligators, populate the area—get up close and personal at the Peace River Wildlife Center. RV and tent campsites are plentiful, and camping near the major state parks offers easy access to hiking trails, birdwatching, and other outdoor activities.

Where to go

Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park

Just a few miles south of Punta Gorda, Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park spans over 45,000 acres of natural wilderness and over 100 miles of shoreline. It presents an excellent opportunity to observe such wildlife as manatees, dolphins, and wading birds in mangrove forests, marshes, and pine flatwoods. Kayaks and canoes are the best way to explore the park’s natural beauty. Visitors can explore other areas, but they are remote and primitive, so stick to the trails for cycling and hiking. Several nearby RV resorts offer full hookups for water and electricity, plus boat launches and pools.

Myakka River State Park

Myakka River State Park features a vast wildflower field covered in coreopsis, the state wildflower of Florida. Found at Big Flats Marsh, the yellow blooms are at their most abundant around the middle of May. Canoe, kayak, and fish along the namesake river, or explore miles of hiking and biking trails among pinelands and wetlands. The park also offers wildlife tours by boat and tram. Look out for osprey, limpkins, turtles, and alligators. The park offers six primitive campgrounds for backpackers, including firepits but no potable water. The three larger campgrounds support pet-friendly RV camping with 50-amp service, water hookups, and picnic tables. Some sites have wifi. Laundry, restrooms, and hot showers are here, too.

Oscar Scherer State Park

Easily accessible by major highways and next door to modern housing developments, Oscar Scherer State Park is a natural sanctuary for Florida scrub-jay. The beautiful blue-and-white bird is found only in Florida. The human-made Lake Osprey is a popular spot in summer for freshwater swimming and fishing, catching redfish, bluegill, and largemouth bass. In the winter, bald eagles return to nest here. Look for bobcats, gopher tortoises, and Eastern cottontail rabbits, too. Both tent and RV camping are offered here, including full hookups for electricity and water. Other amenities include grills, picnic tables, playgrounds, accessible restrooms, hot showers, and laundry facilities.

When to go

Like elsewhere in Florida, year-round camping near Punta Gorda is very possible. Many RV resorts with modern amenities can be found throughout the area, providing convenient 50-amp hookups, dump stations, and swimming pools. Temperatures are milder during the winter months, from December to February, making a more comfortable environment for outdoor activities. Migratory birds are another reason to visit in winter. Springtime brings wildflowers, like at Myakka River State Park. Camping during summer can be hot and humid, plus it is hurricane season, so prepare accordingly with plenty of water and other supplies.

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