Camping

Whether you enjoy camping with modern amenities or you prefer to camp in the backcountry, the beauty of Florida’s wilderness is waiting to be experienced.

Types of Camping on the District

Primitive Camp Areas

Primitive campsites are provided for campers with tents. Only personal vehicles are allowed in the campsites. Primitive campsites are generally equipped with picnic tables, fire rings and/or grills and usually have portable toilets available for use by campers. Campsites are available to individuals and groups. Equestrian use not permitted in these areas.

Backcountry Camp Areas

Backcountry campsites are small cleared areas that are accessible only by foot or from a water body and provide unique opportunities for visitors desiring a remote camping experience. These campsites generally have no amenities or water sources. Visitors are expected to pack in/pack out all supplies. Keep fires small and only use sticks from the ground.

Equestrian Camp Areas

Equestrian campsites provide camping for tents and/or horse trailer camping rigs. These campsites are generally equipped with picnic tables, fire rings and/or grills, and usually have nonpotable water and portable toilets available for use by campers. Horse trailers may be driven into equestrian campsites. Campsites are available to non-equestrian campers.

Camping Rules

Other site-specific rules may apply.

  • Camping is allowed in designated campsites only and requires a free reservation. A valid permit of Special Use Authorization is required before arrival.
  • Reservations must be made no later than the day prior to the start of the camping permit.
  • Arrival is at 3 p.m. on the first day of the reservation and departure is by 11 a.m. on the last day.
  • Only 2 camping reservations are allowed per family group at a time.
  • Unauthorized buildings or structures are not permitted.
  • Campfires are only permitted in fire rings.
  • Firewood should be collected from the ground; DO NOT cut any standing trees, dead or alive.
  • Campfires must be put out completely.
  • To protect the natural experience for all campers, no loud music is allowed at any time.
  • Built-in generators are allowed at equestrian campsites only.
  • Horses are only permitted in camp areas designated for equestrian use. Horses are not allowed in primitive campsites.
  • Where permitted, dogs must be on a six-foot leash and be well-mannered at all times. Campers are limited to 2 dogs per reservation.
  • Dog owners are required to pick up after their dogs; do not allow your dog to wander outside your campsite. No other pets are permitted on District lands.
  • Quiet time is from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
  • There are no trash receptacles in the campgrounds. Please ensure that all trash is carried out with you at your departure.
  • Any additional rules and regulations will be provided on the reservation or posted at the campground kiosk.

Equestrian Campground Rules

  • Built-in generators are allowed in equestrian campsites; however, generators are permitted to run only from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and must be kept within your campsite. No generator is permitted to be left unattended and running.
  • Portable toilets are available for use.
  • Horse trailers may be driven/pulled into equestrian campsites.
  • A nonpotable water source is provided for watering horses.
  • Horses are not permitted in primitive sites.
  • Horses may not be tethered to trees.
  • Tether stakes are not permitted on District property.
  • Trees and their roots are to be protected at all times; do not tie or tether horses directly to trees.
  • All manure is to be pulverized and spread out where your horse has been kept. Do not place manure in holes or pile around trees or plants.
  • Fill in all holes and level out the site where your horse has been kept.
  • All leftover hay should be removed from property.
  • Horses are not permitted on hiking trails.
  • Each rider must carry proof of horse’s current negative Coggins test.

Camping Reservations Are Required

  • Reservations are based on availability and on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • A new reservation is required for each camping trip.
  • Reservations may be made up to 30 days prior to the requested camping date.
  • Camping is limited to seven consecutive days and 30 total days per calendar year.
  • Groups of 20 or more vehicles or 50 or more people must submit a request in writing for a special recreational use reservation. Include in your letter where you want to camp, how many vehicles, trailers and horses will be arriving and the dates and times of your arrival and departure. A limited number of weekends will be set aside for groups so get your requests in early. Please allow 30 days to process group reservations.
  • Reservations will include gate combinations for vehicle access where allowed.
  • Personal automobiles are permitted into equestrian and primitive campsites. Vehicles may be driven from gate to campsite ONLY.
  • Reservations must be displayed on dashboard at campsite.

 Any attempt to circumvent the 7-day maximum or 30-day total annual length of stay is prohibited by Ch. 40D-9.260, F.A.C..  Trash, debris, and any other personal belongings must be removed from the campgrounds at the end of your reservation. Failure to remove such items will result in a notice from the District. If the owner fails to remove such items within three days of the District notice, the District will remove and dispose of the items. The District may seek reimbursement for costs associated with removal. Any violations of any of the foregoing may result in penalties including, but not limited to, permit cancellation or future permit denial.


How to contact us:

Land Use and Protection Section (LND)
Southwest Florida Water Management District
2379 Broad Street, Brooksville, FL 34604-6899

Telephone: 1-800-423-1476 (toll-free, FL only) or (352) 796-7211, ext. 4470
Fax: (352) 754-6877
Email: Recreation@WaterMatters.org