Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
Florida has always been a land of adventure, and it’s an excellent state for new and seasoned RV campers alike to explore. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park isn’t as heavily trafficked as some of its neighbors, and it offers splendid beaches without the over-development along the shores of Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. It’s a gem of a park packed with wildlife, spectacular views, and fun in the sun.
A historic lighthouse, gorgeous beaches, kayaking, hiking trails, fishing, and even multiple dining venues – this park has it all! Steeped in adventure and history, Cape Florida’s most recognized, and popular, feature is the Cape Florida Lighthouse. Built in 1825, it’s overseen nearly two hundred years of tides, tragedies, and changes. Even if you aren’t a history buff, the view from the top is unparalleled.
The park features great hiking and biking trails, and it’s easy to spend all day on the beach. In fact, the beaches here are often rated among the top dozen in America! Seeing the park by boat or kayak offers a whole new experience, and it’s very easy to spend a full weekend here.
All that exercise is bound to make you hungry. You don’t need to leave the park for a great meal! Overlook the Atlantic Ocean while enjoying the fine catering at The Lighthouse Café. The Boater’s Grill by No Name Harbor offers views of Biscayne Bay with casual meals with open-air seating.
Hot tip: If you meet new friends or travel with other RV campers, load up into a single vehicle to save money! The park charges admission by the carload ($8 per vehicle), so you get a day out plus lunch if you’re willing to go on a drive together.
Where to Camp
While this one-of-a-kind park has plenty to offer guests, it is unusual in that it favors nautical campers over landlubbers. While boaters can anchor overnight in No Name Harbor for a fee, the only land-based camping permits go to organized groups put together by non-profits. While this means RV camping in the park isn’t available, there are several great, RV-friendly campgrounds nearby. Since tent-based campers can’t usually stay in the parks, either, RV fans shouldn’t take this policy as a slight.
The closest campsites are a short drive north, in Hollywood and Davie/Ft. Lauderdale. These both cater to vacationers seeking a fun place to pitch camp with an RV. Most RV sites in the area come complete with laundry facilities, hookups, restrooms, showers, and even firewood and Wi-Fi for additional fees. Make sure to check amenities lists of any campground you consider before booking to ensure it has what you need.
Although RV drivers will need to treat nearby state parks as day trips rather than home base, they get to enjoy all the benefits of civilization immediately around their campsite. That means easy access to restaurants, nightlife, and lots of shopping venues. Remember, Florida has many cultural wonders to dazzle guests as well, not just natural beauty!
Florida’s parks are beautiful, but the sandy soil, delicate ecosystems, and dangerous ocean weather mean lots of state and local parks don’t allow camping, and if they do, they only allow very rough, leave no trace experiences. That doesn’t necessarily mean RV campers are at a disadvantage, though. In fact, they may get the better end of the deal.
RV camping a little way away from all the great parks in the area not only offers a central home base for better day trips but also a golden opportunity to try new things. Florida’s southeast coast is well known for its Cuban food, and there are plenty of international and local delicacies to try in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. Have you really been to Miami if you haven’t had a meal in Little Cuba?
Regional Parks and Natural Wonders
For those who believe in going big or going home, the Everglades is a must. This unique biome is like no other swamp on the planet, bursting with dazzling flora and exciting fauna. See alligators, ride an airboat, and bring your bug spray.
The Barnacle Historic State Park is a small place just north of Bill Baggs. Set in the Coconut Grove district, it features a special piece of history, the oldest house on its original plot in the county. The Barnacle is a fascinating tidbit of Floridian history and a fun example of creative architecture that has weathered a growing family, a growing library, and some of the worst storms in Florida’s history.
Collier-Seminole State Park offers budding architects and engineers even more fun. Settled at the edge of the Everglades, it actually sits in Florida’s mangrove swamp, one of the largest swamps anywhere in the world. Visitors get a taste of nature along with human ingenuity.
Ready to visit Florida? If you drive an RV, the road is always open, and it’s easier to dodge seasonal crowds. Florida has everything you need to reconnect with your wild side. This park is just the beginning.
There is no camping at the park but there are several private campgrounds in the area. For more information, please visit the Bill Bags Cape Florida State Park page on floridastateparks.org or call 786.582.2673.