(Photo: Liz Sandburg)
RVs lined up on a walkway to Turtle Beach at the campgrounds
Turtle Beach Campground (Photo: Sarasota County Government)

Happy Camping: Campgrounds in Sarasota County

From primitive camping to "glamping" in an expensive RV, Sarasota County has a campground for you in its beaches and parks

October 13, 2020

Myakka River State Park

13208 State Road 72, Sarasota; (941) 361-6511

Campgrounds: 90 Campsites across 3 campgrounds (water, electricity, grills, picnic areas, restrooms, and showers); 6 Primitive Campsites varying in distance from 2.2 to 14.1 mile hikes from the trailhead; 5 palm log cabins built in the 1930s and updated with indoor plumbing, kitchen essentials, and bed necessities

Unique Features: One of Florida’s oldest and largest parks and home to Deep Hole, a massive 200-foot wide sinkhole with hundreds of alligators

Prices: $5 per person for primitive, $26 per night for campsites, $70 per night for cabins

Things to Do: Bike and canoe rentals, boat tours, birding, mountain biking, geocaching, fishing, canopy walkway, hiking trails, playground

Pets Allowed: Yes, in select areas

Watch Out For: American alligators, bobcats, 100+ species of birds, otters, feral pigs, butterfly orchids, deer

Reservations: Can be made up to eleven months in advance through Reserveamerica.com or (800) 326-3521

Oscar Scherer State Park

1843 S Tamiami Trail, Osprey; (941) 483-5956

Campgrounds: 104 campsites, equipped for tent or RV camping, complete with water and electricity, picnic tables and grills; primitive group camping includes a composting toilet, running water, and enough space to accommodate up to 40 people

Unique Features:  Lake Osprey, the only freshwater swimming lake in Sarasota County, 15 miles of hiking trails

Prices  $26 per night. Florida residents over 65 are eligible for a 50 percent discount. For youth camping, the fee is $1 for children under 18 and $5 per adult.

Things to Do Paddling on South Creek (canoe and kayak rentals are available), fresh and saltwater fishing, geocaching, picnicking, Green Trail Tram Tours, biking or rollerblading along Legacy Trail

Pets Allowed: Yes, in select areas

Watch Out For: 200+ species of birds, including the Florida Scrub-Jay, the state’s only endemic bird, otters, alligators, gopher tortoises, deer

Reservations: Can be made up to eleven months in advance through  ReserveAmerica.com or call (941) 483-5956.

Sun-N-Fun Resort and Campground

7125 Fruitville Road, Sarasota; (941) 371-2505

Campgrounds: Tent camping available May through October (sites have electricity, water, and picnic tables); RV camping year-round with picnic tables, full hookups, electricity, water, sewer, and cable TV

Unique feature A massive luxury resort close to downtown and activities galore

Prices Call for information

Things to Do Fishing, disc golf, an art studio, aqua aerobics, pickle ball, hot tub, miniature golf, playground, heated and fitness swimming pools, shuffleboard, mega waterslide and splash pad, billiards, summer camps, bike path, dog run, bocce ball, woodworking shop, horseshoes

Pets Allowed: Yes

Watch Out For: The events calendar, golf carts, and “hidden lake”

Reservations: Call (941) 371-2505 or (844) 728-8729 or visit their website

Turtle Beach Campground

8862 Midnight Pass Road, Sarasota; (941) 861-CAMP (2267)

Campgrounds: 39 RV and tent camping sites with full hookup, including electrical service, water, sewer, and free Wi-Fi

Unique feature Direct beach access, located on Siesta Key Beach

Prices vary depending on time of year, with discounts for extended stays.

Things to Do: Turtle Beach, horseshoe pits, grills, volleyball court, fishing, playground, The Siesta Breeze Trolley, nearby restaurants and bars

Pets Allowed: No

Watch Out For: Loggerhead and green sea turtles nesting on the beach, dolphins, the green flash at sunset

Reservations: Can be made up to twelve months in advance; to reserve, call (941) 861-CAMP (2267) or through their website

Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park

6968 Reisterstown Road, North Port; (941) 861-5000

Campgrounds: Primitive camping with a 30 person capacity in an open, grassy area surrounded by shady oak and palm hammock with nearby restrooms, picnic shelter, fire ring and grill

Unique feature: One of the best mountain biking trails in Florida

Prices: $5 per person (adults) per night with a $10 minimum

Things to Do: Birdwatching from multiple trails and boardwalks, horseback riding, hiking

Watch Out For: Deer, owls, herons and egrets

Reservations: Required along with camping permits by calling or visiting website

Ramblers Rest RV Resort

1300 North River Road, Venice; (877) 570-2267

Campgrounds: RV camping year-round with picnic tables, full hookups, electricity, water, sewer, and cable TV (rental cottages also available upon request)

Unique feature: Access to the Myakka River

Prices: Call for information

Things to Do: Jelks PreserveSnook Haven, playground, paddling, pickle ball, ping pong, dog  park, picnic area, swimming pool, spa, fitness center, restroom and shower facilities, fishing

Pets Allowed: Yes, in select areas

Reservations: Required by calling or visiting website

BONUS: Tiny House Siesta

6600 Avenue A, Sarasota; (941) 4-SIESTA (474-3782)

Campgrounds: Join the tiny house trend by staying in one of these permanent RV fixtures right near the award-winning beaches of Siesta Key. All tiny houses have running water with showers and toilets, and some can sleep up to six people!

Unique feature: A luxury, efficient home experience you have to see to believe

Prices: Call for information

Things to Do: Siesta BeachSiesta VillageGulf GateTurtle Beachparasailing

Pets Allowed: Yes

Watch Out For: The famous red or yellow Siesta lifeguard stand tiny house façade—the perfect vacay photo op

Reservations: Call or visit their website