Get ready to kick back and laugh with your friends and family, as you tell stories and make s’mores around a campfire. Shoulder season (Fall-Spring) is a prime time for camping, thanks to cooler weather and festive events. During the day, the average temperature is in the 70s, which is perfect for taking a fun family hike, exploring estuaries and bays by kayak or casting a fishing line.
The Pensacola Bay Area offers some great camping sites, and we'd like to share them with you.
Pensacola Beach RV Resort Offers Beach Paradise Topped off with a Tiki Bar
It’s the kind of bar people say they’re going to quit their job and open. No frills, just open air, cold brew and all the guests are barefoot and still salty. Yep, the Pensacola Beach RV Resorthas its own Tiki Bar, a public hotspot with its toes in Santa Rosa Sound. You can boat up, paddle up or saunter over from your RV and get refreshed.
Located in the heart of Pensacola Beach, the RV park has full amenities. Each site also comes with its own picnic table with an available gas grill. Complimentary beach chairs and umbrellas accent the beach life, while a clubhouse with amenities such as washer and dryers, a meeting area and a Tiki Store to cover those last-minute supplies.
Don’t have an RV? The Pensacola Beach RV Resort has three rentals: ranging from the simple Tiki Room to the Tiki Hut Hideaway and the luxury-esque Tiki Suite.
But the Tiki Bar is one amenity that makes for real campfire stories.
Fort Pickens: Historic and Natural Beauty and a Simple Life
Gulf Islands National Seashore’s Fort Pickens has a long history from its Civil War days and one-time status as a prison for the heroic Apache warrior Geronimo. But for me, I’m drawn to its natural beauty. The fort serves as a living habitat and sanctuary to rare shorebirds — plovers, least terns and black skimmers — and nesting sea turtles, osprey and bald eagles.
As a campground, it’s simply stunning. Pensacola Bay narrows into the pass as it feeds the Gulf of Mexico, making it a rich fishing area brimming with deepwater, nearshore and estuary fish. On one side is the protected water of Pensacola Bay. On the other side, the Gulf of Mexico, dotted by ancient dunes topped with sea oats.
With five camping loops with amenities to serve RV’s or pitching a tent, the park offers a chance for a real beach experience among the dunes and live oaks, nestled in with history.
Loop A is the most popular at the national seashore, with live oaks and other trees providing shade over nearly all sites. Many sites can connect RV’s. Beach access is directly across the street and along the Blackbird Marsh Trail, a nature trail with interpretive panels. Check out the details on the rest of the loops on the Fort Pickens Campground site.
Big Lagoon State Park - Pristine Natural Beauty
Stars — those little specks of light in the sky. Have you forgotten what they look like?
It’s ok, it happens. It’s time to disconnect from the daily grind and instead connect with the beautiful Big Lagoon State Park near Perdido Key.
Saltmarsh, dunes and natural stands of live oaks and pines wrap this coastal gem along 700 acres that connect Perdido Key with the Gulf of Mexico.
The protected lagoon is ideal for paddle boarding or kayaking, and the waters are teeming with mullet, blue crab, redfish, and flounder. From beaches and shallow bays to nature trails and open woodlands, there is plenty of opportunities to connect with nature. It’s just gorgeous!
Camping is available with 75 sites in designated areas, blanketed by coastal pine flats. Each site is equipped with 30/50amp electric, water, a picnic table, and a fire ring/ground grill. Three full-service restrooms and a dump station are available. (Behaving) pets are welcome.
The park can accommodate RVs up to 40 feet. Reservations: 850-492-1595.
RV’s, Boat Slips and Condo Glamping at Perdido Key RV Resort
With 56 fully connected RV sites and 24 deepwater boat-slip rentals with full hookups, the Perdido Key RV Resort is your waterfront spot on the Intracoastal Canal — near the foot of the Theo Baars Bridge.
All the park’s 56 RV site rentals feature full hook-ups to 30/50 amp electricity, water, sewer, cable TV and wi-fi. The slips have full hook-ups to electricity, cable TV, wi-fi and a boat pump outstation.
More amenities include a clubhouse, swimming pool, coin laundry, a general store and a sandy picnic area.
And there are the condos too. Each 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath unit is fully furnished, complete with a garden tub, fireplace and more.
Playa del Rio RV Resort — A Mullet Toss from the Flora-Bama
Like it quiet, but really close to some honky-tonking beaching fun? Try the small, quaint boutique waterfront Playa del Rio RV Resort, Beach & Boat Club in Perdido Key. The resort is perched on Ole River in Perdido Key — just 800 feet from the Flora-Bama Lounge and Package.
The back of Playa del Rio is directly on the Intracoastal with boating access on Ole River at the resort marina. The RV resort is across the street from the beach with its own private beach access dune walkover to the Gulf of Mexico.
For those traveling with their four-legged companions, the resort has its own dog park, beach loungers and a waterfront fire pit. Don’t forget to pack your mullet!
North Pensacola & Beyond
Freshwater Lake Life at Lake Stone
Lake Stone Campground harkens back to the old days of camping. A beautiful freshwater lake is wrapped in woodlands and open camp areas ring the lake that is located near the town of Century along Escambia County’s northern tier.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has stocked this 125-acre lake with largemouth bass, bream, sunfish, crappie and channel catfish. A fishing pier and boat ramp accent the lake — although no gasoline-powered motors are allowed. It’s the perfect spot to launch a kayak or canoe and enjoy the subtle sounds of nature.
For campers truly seeking quiet solitude and a true escape from civilization, Lake Stone is a perfect choice. Escambia County recently geared the park with its own wifi service, and the 100-acre site can accommodate anything from tent camping to RVs and big rigs.
Pensacola RV Park - a Quiet Respite just a Short Hop from … Everything!
Pensacola RV Park is a beautiful facility located one mile from Interstate 10 and Pine Forest Road. It is located just 20 minutes from downtown Pensacola and options for Perdido Key and Pensacola Beach.
Pensacola RV Park is big-rig friendly, with 23 pull-through sites offering easy access.
All sites include electrical hookups, free cable, and WiFi. Amenities include a reservable full kitchen, coin-operated indoor laundry facilities, restrooms, and showers. A short drive from downtown Pensacola and area beaches.
Once you choose your site and get settled in, it's time to enjoy the destination! Start exploring below.
Sean Smith is a native of Liverpool, England, but has been Gulf Coastified since he moved to Pensacola in 1992 after serving as a weather specialist in the Air Force. A journalist and writer for more than 20 years, he loves to share his affection for the natural beauty of Pensacola and the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast.