Camping at the Beach in Pensacola

We've all wished we could pitch a tent at the beach and stay for a while. Make that wish come true at the beautiful white sand beaches in Pensacola, Florida.
Enjoy camping at the beach in Pensacola

Where to park your RVs and pitch your tents

For safety and wildlife preservation purposes, camping right where the waves are licking the sand isn’t usually permitted. Most campgrounds are somewhere behind the dunes. Fine by me, I’d probably underestimate rise of the tide and wake up in the middle of the ocean on my blow up mattress turned life raft, or crush a baby sea turtle and be crippled by guilt and grief for the rest of my life. A short walk to the shore doesn’t diminish the camping at the beach experience. Pack some extra TP (just in case), and set up camp near the best sound machine you’ll ever fall asleep to.

Camp near the beach at Fort Pickens
Fort Pickens

Fort Pickens

On the west end of Pensacola Beach you’ll find historic Fort Pickens, part of Gulf Island National Seashore. There are 200 sites for tent and RV campers (up to 50 ft). The site has water, electricity, and picnic tables. The Pensacola Naval Air Station is just across the bay. If you come at the right time, you might see the Blue Angels practicing. There’s a fishing pier on the bay side, beautiful emerald water and white sand at the beach, and the potential for a spontaneous air show. What’s not to love.

Local’s Tip: Loop A is closest to beach. Loop E is the newest with new bathrooms. Loop B is peaceful with smaller sites (mostly tents). Walking distances aren’t terrible, but you won’t regret bringing a bike for more convenient travel around the grounds and to the beach. Also note that there’s no sewer hookup for RVs.

Johnson Beach

At Johnson Beach you’ll experience primitive camping (no water or electricity) in another part of Gulf Island National Seashore. You can camp right on the sand at the beach. You have to hike a bit to get all your gear to the ‘primitive camping beyond this point’ sign (and then further depending on how crowded or how removed you’d like to be). It’s also not uncommon to stumble across people sunbathing or swimming in the nude on the east end. Just remember that there are no official clothing optional beaches in the Pensacola area before you follow their lead.

View wildlife at Big Lagoon State Park
Big Lagoon State Park

Big Lagoon State Park

Nature lovers will love this camping spot. There are 75 spots for tents and RVs and woodland areas and nature trails, as well as the beach and the bay. Kayak, hike, fish, bird watch, or whatever else your outdoor-loving heart desires in this 655-acre State Park, and enjoy access to water and electricity at the campgrounds.

RV Resorts

These places have most of the conveniences and amenities of a hotel or condo. You’re just bringing your room.

Perdido Cove RV Resort and Marina: The grounds include a clubhouse, general store, laundry facility, and swimming pool. The 56 RV sites have 30/50 amp service, water, sewer, cable TV and Wi-Fi.

Pensacola Beach RV Resort: The park is across the street from the beach in Pensacola with the Santa Rosa Sound as a waterfront. It has 72 full hook-up sites and laundry facilities, Wi-Fi, a pool, restrooms, and a clubhouse. There’s even a gated area for your pets to enjoy, and you’re only a short walk away from area shopping and dining.

#1 Thing you need to pack

Bug Spray: Many of these campgrounds have small general stores for forgotten items or are near enough to local markets for convenient pick up of last minute essentials. But, once you’re settled in, the bugs start attacking swarming, and when you realize you forgot the bug spray—it’s probably too late. They’re going to get you good, and you’re not going to like it. Don’t let scratching dominate your camping trip activities.

While you’re camping at the beach in Pensacola, check out these fun places to explore and local restaurants to grab a bite!
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