The 20 best camping spots within driving distance of Tampa Bay

Nothing beats bonfires, ocean sunsets, and turning off your phone. Camping out in Tampa Bay is arguably one of the best things to do this time of year, and the region offers a variety of options from "glamping" to rural swamps with no cell phone signal. Here are a few choice spots to pitch a tent or park an RV in the Tampa Bay area.

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Hillsborough River State Park 
15402 U.S. 301 N., Thonotosassa
Each of the 112 campground sites at Hillsborough River State Park has water, a fire ring and a picnic table. Most of the sites also have electricity. The campground also has a half-acre swimming pool, multiple playgrounds and a café. The nearby Rapids Nature Trail takes visitors through oak hammocks to limestone rapids on the Hillsborough River. Camping will set you back $24 per night, plus tax and a non-refundable $6.70 reservation fee.
Photo via Hillsborough River State Park website

Hillsborough River State Park

15402 U.S. 301 N., Thonotosassa
Each of the 112 campground sites at Hillsborough River State Park has water, a fire ring and a picnic table. Most of the sites also have electricity. The campground also has a half-acre swimming pool, multiple playgrounds and a café. The nearby Rapids Nature Trail takes visitors through oak hammocks to limestone rapids on the Hillsborough River. Camping will set you back $24 per night, plus tax and a non-refundable $6.70 reservation fee.

Photo via Hillsborough River State Park website
Shell Key Preserve 
2187 Oceanview Dr., Tierra Verde
Practice a "leave no trace" camping ethic at the Shell Key Preserve, which is only accessible by watercraft. The 1,828-acre preserve is an important bird sanctuary and a popular fishing location. There are no facilities on the preserve and all Shell Key campers are required to obtain a free camping permit before setting up camp. Although it doesn’t cost anything to camp at the preserve, visitors will have to pay for a boat ramp and parking pass.
Photo via Visit St. Pete/Clearwater

Shell Key Preserve

2187 Oceanview Dr., Tierra Verde
Practice a "leave no trace" camping ethic at the Shell Key Preserve, which is only accessible by watercraft. The 1,828-acre preserve is an important bird sanctuary and a popular fishing location. There are no facilities on the preserve and all Shell Key campers are required to obtain a free camping permit before setting up camp. Although it doesn’t cost anything to camp at the preserve, visitors will have to pay for a boat ramp and parking pass.

Photo via Visit St. Pete/Clearwater
Lazydays RV Resort 
6210 County Rd. 579, Seffner
The Lazydays RV Resort offers 300 RV sites with 50-amp electricity, complimentary coffee, WiFi and tennis courts. If you aren’t in the mood to roast hot dogs, there’s a Cracker Barrel at the resort. Fees start at $34.99 depending on when you plan on visiting.
Photo via Lazydays RV Resort/Facebook

Lazydays RV Resort

6210 County Rd. 579, Seffner
The Lazydays RV Resort offers 300 RV sites with 50-amp electricity, complimentary coffee, WiFi and tennis courts. If you aren’t in the mood to roast hot dogs, there’s a Cracker Barrel at the resort. Fees start at $34.99 depending on when you plan on visiting.

Photo via Lazydays RV Resort/Facebook
Fort De Soto Campground 
3500 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde
The Fort De Soto Campground has 238 family camping sites with water, electricity, a laundry station, restrooms, showers and picnic tables. Special campsites are available to people who want to bring their pets along. Visitors can hike along mangroves, wetlands, palm hammocks and hardwoods, or visit the historic fort. Both tent and RV stations are available. Fees range from $33.90 to $45.77 depending on when and how you plan on staying at the campground.
Photo via Visit St. Pete/Clearwater Facebook

Fort De Soto Campground

3500 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde
The Fort De Soto Campground has 238 family camping sites with water, electricity, a laundry station, restrooms, showers and picnic tables. Special campsites are available to people who want to bring their pets along. Visitors can hike along mangroves, wetlands, palm hammocks and hardwoods, or visit the historic fort. Both tent and RV stations are available. Fees range from $33.90 to $45.77 depending on when and how you plan on staying at the campground.

Photo via Visit St. Pete/Clearwater Facebook
Starkey Wilderness Preserve 
10500 Wilderness Park Blvd., New Port Richey
Starkey Wilderness Preserve lets campers hike through pine flatwoods, cypress domes, freshwater marshes, stream and lake swamps, sandhill and scrubs. There are picnic tables, fire rings and grills at the equestrian and primitive campsites offered at Starkey Wilderness Preserve. Cabins are available to rent as well. Camping fees vary depending on where in the preserve you decide to stay.
Photo via Starkey Wilderness Preserve/Facebook

Starkey Wilderness Preserve

10500 Wilderness Park Blvd., New Port Richey
Starkey Wilderness Preserve lets campers hike through pine flatwoods, cypress domes, freshwater marshes, stream and lake swamps, sandhill and scrubs. There are picnic tables, fire rings and grills at the equestrian and primitive campsites offered at Starkey Wilderness Preserve. Cabins are available to rent as well. Camping fees vary depending on where in the preserve you decide to stay.

Photo via Starkey Wilderness Preserve/Facebook