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New Study: The 20 Most Loved Florida State Parks for Camping - According to Google, Instagram & Tripadvisor

New Study: The 20 Most Loved Florida State Parks for Camping - According to Google, Instagram & Tripadvisor

Florida is known for having some of the most beautiful state parks in the entire United States. They're popular destinations for day trips, weekend getaways, and of course... camping!

We wanted to know which of Florida's 175 state parks are most loved by campers specifically.

We ran an in-depth study pulling and analyzing data from the following sources to rank the top 20 Florida state parks which are most loved by campers.

Data sources:

  • Florida Department of Environmental Protection
  • Google.com Search Data
  • Ahrefs Google search volume analysis
  • Instagram hashtag analysis
  • Tripadvisor.com ratings

By combining data from the above sources for all Florida State Parks with more than 150,000 annual visitors, we developed a scoring system - explained at the bottom of this article - allowing us to rank the top 20 state parks as most loved for camping.

The final rankings are as follows. A condensed ranking table with the final points scores can also be found at the bottom of this page.

Note: A couple of popular parks such as Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island were removed from the rankings as you cannot stay and camp overnight.

Florida's Most Loved State Parks for Camping: The Top 10

With the custom scoring system we developed the maximum points a park could score was 60.

Here are the final scores.

#1 - Bahia Honda State Park (53 Points)

Bahia Honda is an island in the Florida Keys with award winning beaches and a huge range of outdoor activities on offer. It has over 350,000 annual visitors and is one of the highest searched Florida State Parks for camping queries specifically.

There are around 80 dedicated campsites within the park.

It also has a high number of "Excellent" Tripadvisor reviews compared to the visitor numbers, and a HUGE amount of hashtag activity on Instagram relative to the annual visitor numbers.

All of this combined gave Bahia Honda Stage Park a score of 53 points out of 60, making it our #1 most loved Florida State Park for camping. 

 Bahia Honda State Park

#2 - Myakka River State Park (50 Points)

Myakka River in the Sarasota area is one of Florida's largest state parks. It's a highly popular destination for all kinds of outdoor activities such as camping, kayaking and hiking with over 300,000 annual visitors.

The park has 90 dedicated campsites.

The park scored an impressive 50 out of a possible 60 points in our study and performed particularly well on both Instagram and Tripadvisor in relation to the number of visitors.

It seems that the people who come here really do love it, and share their experience on social media at a very high rate.

Myakka River State Park

Joint #3/4 - Fort Clinch State Park (48 Points)

Historic Fort Clinch State Park is famous for its civil war fort. It is a popular camping destination with a beautiful river and beaches to explore.

The park has over 240,000 annual visitors and scored highly in all areas of our study, with a final tally of 48 out of 60 points and joint-third place overall.

There are 62 campsites in Fort Clinch State Park.

The park has a lot of Google search interest for camping related queries, and high ratios of Instagram activity and Tripadvisor 5-star reviews compared to the visitor numbers.

Fort Clinch State Park

Joint #3/4 - Weeki Wachee Springs State Park (48 Points)

Weeki Wachee Springs is famous for its live mermaid show and pristine, crystal clear waters. The park gets over 170,000 visitors every year and achieved joint-third place in our study with 48 points.

Weeki Wachee Springs scored particularly well on Instagram for the number of visitors it sees in each year, and also showed good strength in camping-related Google searches and Tripadvisor reviews.

 Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

#5 - Ichetucknee Springs State Park (43 Points)

Ichetucknee Springs State Park is loved year round for the Ichetucknee river and its crystal clear waters.

The park had the highest number of camping-related Google searches out of all the parks we analyzed, along with strong Instagram hashtag performance. There is a huge demand for camping here, but it is not actually allowed within the park limits. However, there are many dedicated campgrounds just outside of the park which campers use as a base to explore Ichetucknee and all of the natural beauty it has to offer.

This placed the park at rank #5 with an impressive 43 points.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park

#6 - Silver Springs State Park (42 Points)

Silver Springs State Park is located just minutes from Orlando. Famous for its glass bottom boats and crystal clear waters, this park is full of gorgeous trails and makes a great camping destination.

There is a lot of camping-related Google search activity for this park every month and it gets a huge amount of love on Instagram and Tripadvisor in relation to the number of annual visitors.

The official campground has 60 single-family campsites and multiple options for various different cabins.

People who visit this park seem to really love talking about it and sharing their pics!

Silver Springs State Park

#7 - Rainbow Springs State Park (41 Points)

Rainbow Springs State Park is popular for kayaking, paddle boarding, and tubing in its slow moving crystal clear waters.

With almost 250,000 annual visitors, Rainbow Springs is incredibly popular on IG hashtags. People seem to think this park is super Instagrammable - and we can see why!

People who visit here to camp, hike, and enjoy the water seem to love sharing their trip photos withe the world. The primary campground has 54 camp sites.

 Rainbow Springs State Park

#8 - St. Andrews State Park (40 Points)

St. Andrews is loved for its white sand beaches and is popular with lovers of all kind of water sports including swimming, surfing, and snorkeling. The park also contains the gorgeous Shell Island.

The park has 165 dedicated campsites.

There is a high amount of camping-related Google search activity for St. Andrews State Park and it is also loved on both Tripadvisor and Instagram.

 st andrews state park

Joint #9/10 - John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park (39 Points)

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park was the first underwater state park in the US. It's famous for its underwater statues and the wide variety of colorful marine life.

The official campground has 47 campsites.

The park gets over 370,000 annual visitors and has a truly excellent reputation on Tripadvisor with thousands of "Excellent" glowing reviews.

John Pennekamp State Park

Joint #9/10 - Wekiwa Springs State Park (39 Points)

The Wekiwa Springs state park is located just a short drive from Orlando and is popular for all kinds of water sports including kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding. The park also has beautiful hiking trails.

The primary campground has 60 dedicated campsites.

There is a lot of camping-related search activity in Google around this park, showing it's popularity with campers. It also performed very well in the Instagram hashtag section of our scoring system - people love to post photos of this park on Insta!

Wekiwa Springs

Florida State Parks Ranked #11-20

The following parks didn't quite make the top 10, but are still much loved by campers from all over Florida and the US.

Scoring in the top 20 is still quite an achievement.

#11 - Grayton Beach State Park (37 Points)

Grayton Beach is loved for its huge sand dunes, beautiful hiking trails, and an abundance of wildlife.

The campground has 59 campsites.

 Grayton Beach

#12 - Sebastian Inlet State Park (36 Points)

Sebastian Inlet sees visitors from all over the world to its beaches - people who love to surf, scuba dive, and take part in saltwater fishing. 

The Sebastian Inlet campground has 60 campsites.

 Sebastian Inlet

#13 - Manatee Springs State Park (35 Points)

Manatee Springs is one of Florida's largest and most beautiful springs. The park itself is large and comprised of lots of biodiverse wetlands. It's clear waters are a diver's paradise, and it is of course a fantastic place to see manatees in the wild.

This park has 80 dedicated campsites.

 Manatee Springs state park

#14 - Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park (34 Points)

Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is a huge wild grassland area with a wide variety of wildlife to enjoy. It is common to see wild horses, deer, and bison roaming in their natural habitats, along with hundreds of different species of birds.

The park has 49 campsites next to the gorgeous Lake Wauberg.

 Paynes Prairie Preserve

#15 - Henderson Beach State Park (31 Points)

Henderson Beach is loved for its huge white sand dunes, crystal clear Gulf waters, and sprawling wooded areas all within the confines of this park.

The park has 60 campsites.

 Henderson Beach State Park

#16 - Blue Spring State Park (29 Points)

Blue Spring State Park is just a few minutes drive from Orlando. Featuring crystal clear waters it is popular with swimmers, kayakers, and paddle boarders. It is also a well known destination for hiking and camping.

Blue Spring has 51 campsites.

 Blue Spring state park

#17 - Anastasia State Park (28 Points)

Anastasia State Park features white sandy beaches, a lagoon, and marshes which are all home to a huge variety of wildlife. The park has 139 dedicated camping grounds.

 Anastasia State Park

#18 - Hillsborough River State Park (27 Points)

Hillsborough River State park is conveniently located just a couple of miles from Tampa and has a lot to offer lovers of all kinds of outdoor activities including camping, hiking, and various watersports.

There are 116 dedicated campsites in the park.

Hillsborough River State Park 

#19 - Tomoka State Park (25 Points)

The Tomoka state park is loved for the Tomoka river and all the wildlife it naturally attracts. The park is also a haven for birdwatchers, with hundreds of different species either living in the park or passing through at different times of the year.

There are 100 campsites inside the park.

 Tomoka River

#20 - Jonathan Dickinson State Park (24 Points)

This park is an outdoor enthusiasts paradise and has 135 different campsites across two separate locations. Jonathan Dickinson is also highly popular with RV lovers, and was recently voted #2 for RVs in the US by USA today.

How We Developed The Scoring System

We wanted to find out specifically which state parks in FL were most loved for camping. To do that, we developed the following process. 

Step 1: We started by looking at the latest Florida Department of Environmental Protection data to find State Parks with more than 150,000 annual visitors.

Step 2: Next we we looked into which of the parks were most in demand for camping trips based on Google search data. Using the tool Ahrefs.com we analyzed the annual search volume for camping-related search queries such as "Bahia Honda camping" or "Bahia Honda state park camping".

We then ranked the top 20 parks from highest to lowest camping-related searches. This made up the first part of our scoring system with 20 points available to the top searched park, all the way down to 1 point for the least searched.

Step 3: We then took the top 20 parks based on camping searches, headed over to Instagram and started to analyze hashtag data for each park. We focused on the ratio of hashtags to annual visitors.

It seemed clear that the most visited park would have the highest number of IG hashtag results, but we wanted to find the parks with the most IG hashtags per annual visitor. We again ranked all 20 parks based on this ratio metric, with a maximum of 20 points on offer.

Step 4: Next we hopped over to Tripadvisor to perform a similar analysis. The goal was to determine which of the top 20 parks had the highest ratio of "Excellent" Tripadvisor reviews compared to the park's annual visitor numbers. Excellent/5-star is the highest possible Tripadvisor rating.

Again we ranked each park based on which had the highest ratio of 5-star reviews to annual visitors. 20 points were available for the top ranked park, down to 1 point for the park with the lowest ratio of Excellent reviews.

Step 5: After recording all of this data and scoring each park in all of the different areas, we combined all of the scores into a final ranking. Bahia Honda scored excellently in every single metric, and came out on top as the most loved Florida state park for camping.

Final Ranking Table for Easy Reference

Rank State Park Name Points (Max 60)
#1 Bahia Honda 53
#2 Myakka River 50
Joint #3/4 Fort Clinch 48
Joint #3/4
Weeki Wachee Springs 48
#5 Ichetucknee Springs 43
#6 Silver Springs 42
#7 Rainbow Springs 41
#8 St. Andrews 40
Joint #9/10 John Pennekamp Coral Reef 39
Joint #9/10 Wekiwa Springs 39
#11 Grayton Beach 37
#12 Sebastian Inlet 36
#13 Manatee Springs 35
#14 Paynes Prairie Preserve 34
#15 Henderson Beach 31
#16 Blue Spring 29
#17 Anastasia 28
#18 Hillsborough 27
#19 Tomoka 25
#20 Jonathan Dickinson 24

 

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