Florida State Parks & How To Save Money On Your Visits.
Florida State Parks: Having a trip to Florida state parks doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. In our article are tips to guide you when visiting the various state park in Florida without breaking the bank.
From the pristine beach of Cayo Costa to the vast night skies of Big Lagoon, Florida will surprise you in every state park. And despite what the development of the states’ cities have done to the natural landscape, there is still plenty of wild Florida left to fall in love with for yourself.
Visit to Florida State Parks? How To Save Money On Camping Fees
Visit during the off-season
The campgrounds in the Florida Keys are far more expensive during the busy season from December through March. To save money, why not go in the off-season instead?
Spring and late fall can be quite nice in the parks. October and November are especially appealing with near-perfect weather, fewer visitors, and cheaper camping fees.
The summer months are the cheapest, but also not ideal when it comes to weather. With temperatures climbing into the 90s, high humidity, and rain nearly every day, it may be a little more uncomfortable to visit this time of year.
Get the monthly rate
If your schedule allows, the best way to get a deal on camping in the parks is by paying the monthly rate. Most RV parks offer a significant discount if you pay for a month at a time. Be sure to reserve early though as those spots fill up fast.
State parks are cheaper than private parks
There are four Florida State Parks in the Keys that offer spacious sites close to nature for a reasonable price. With the average per night price for private parks running over $100 (during the winter months), the state parks are by far the best deal in the Keys.
Save Money On Fun In The Sun
Set limits & stick to them
If this is your first time visiting the Florida Parks you’re going to want to do it all. The options for tours and experiences are numerous and they all sound like fun.
But…if you go on the glass-bottom boat tour, sunset cruise, boat trip to the Dry Tortugas, guided kayak trip, deep sea fishing excursion, and rent that jet ski…you’re going to spend a LOT of money.
Instead of breaking the bank during one epic week, set limits and stick to them. Do some research ahead of time and decide on one or two things that you really want to experience instead of trying to cram it all in.
Shop around for the best deals
With a little diligence, it is possible to find discounts and deals on popular activities in the Florida parks. There is a lot of competition between the numerous outfits that rent kayaks, bikes, and jet skis.
As a result, many offer deals and special prices to draw in the customers. By taking the time to shop around and compare prices you can often find good deals. In addition to deals on rentals, many of the popular attractions like museums and aquariums offer online coupons and discounts.
Before you go, check their website for coupons, or visit one of these deal websites:
Keys Cash Saver
Key West Chamber of Commerce
Mile Marker Coupons
Don’t miss out on free fun
There are countless ways to have fun in the Florida State Parks for free. You could spend the day at one of the free public beaches, try your hand at fishing off one of the bridges, ride your bike on old US 1 (if you don’t have a bike you can rent one for around $10/day), walk down Duval Street, enjoy free entertainment at the sunset celebration at Mallory Square, tour the Wild Bird Center, go for a hike in the Key Deer Wildlife Refuge, or simply sit outside and enjoy the warm weather!
The Florida State Parks has some amazing restaurants. From fresh seafood to Caribbean & Cuban-inspired cuisine, eating out is always a pleasure in the Keys.
But in order to keep your budget in check, try going out to eat earlier in the day. Lunch is always cheaper than dinner, and many places offer happy hour deals and discounts.
Expensive does not always mean better
Sometimes that cheap hole-in-the-wall place has better food than the fancy waterfront seafood restaurant. To save money on good eats, seek out smaller places off the beaten path.
Eat and cook at home
Even if you enact a strict budget plan for eating out in the Florida Keys, the fact remains that if you eat out for every meal things are going to get pricey very fast. One way to save money is by preparing and eating food at home.
When you’re camping—especially in an RV—cooking at least one meal a day at home is simple. There are plenty of grocery stores in the Keys to keep your pantry stocked. In addition to pantry staples, there is also an abundance of places to buy fresh seafood produce.
Fresh seafood markets are located all up and down the parks. Here you can buy fresh fish, lobster, clams, crabs, shrimp and so much more for a fraction of the cost you would pay in a restaurant.
From Key Largo to Key West these are some of the best fresh seafood markets:
Key Largo Fisheries – Key Largo
Mr. Lobster – Islamorada
Key’s Fisheries Market & Marina – Marathon
Fanci Seafood – Cudjoe Key
Eaton Street Seafood Market – Key West
While the Florida State Parks might be a chain of islands with not much space for growing crops, the rest of Florida is bursting with produce. Fortunately, the Keys are close enough to some of the major growing areas that local produce is easy to come by.
The produce at these markets is far cheaper than what you will find at the grocery store, and probably much fresher as well.
1. Can I fish at state parks? Do I need a fishing license?
Fishing locations are abundant in Florida’s State Parks. Check the park’s webpage for specific information. Visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website to determine if you need a fishing license.
2. Can I use my metal detector in Florida State Parks?
The use of metal detectors is allowed in certain designated areas in Florida State Parks. Metal detectors may be used at coastal parks between the waterline and toe of the dune, as determined by the Park Manager, except at archaeological sites within the zone.
3. Can I make or change reservations using my mobile device?
Yes. Reservations can be made securely using the ReserveAmerica website. This website is now responsive and friendly for users of mobile devices. Website and phone reservations, cancellations and transfers are subject to transaction fees.
4. How do I make a reservation to camp in a Florida State Park?
Visitors to Florida State Parks can reserve campsites and cabins online at ReserveAmerica or by calling toll-free to (800) 326-3521, 1-866-ICAMPFL or TDD (888) 433-0287. Reservations may be made from one day to 11 months in advance. Visitors will pay a non-refundable $6.70 fee when they make a reservation online or by using the call center. Visitors will also be charged a fee of $17.75 to cancel and $10 to change a reservation.
5. Are There Adequate Provisions for Health and Safety?
Total attendance over the three days of the Festival may approach 20,000 persons. There will be adequate public safety personnel to assure good order and crowd control. A First Aid Station will be set up to handle health emergencies. As is the case throughout the country, a telephone call to 9-1-1 will summon an immediate response.
It is worth noting that most of state parks have some sort of entrance fee, but many that are free include hiking trails. In addition to campgrounds and cabins, paddling routes, and bike trails, you’ll find a full range of hiking in Florida State Parks, including interpretive walks, day hikes, and backpacking loops for up to four days of back country exploration.
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