Feel that change in the air? Relief from the summer heat has finally arrived and now is the perfect time for a Florida beachside camping getaway together. Spending time outdoors is a great way to bond and have quality time together. But, if you prefer a camping experience that still offers modern conveniences there’s a great option near Central Florida. And the best part? It’s beachside!
Beachside Camping at Jetty Park
Just about an hour from Orlando is Port Canaveral, where you’ll find Jetty Park and its beachside campground. Jetty Park offers a famous location on the edge of Florida’s Atlantic shoreline. Here you can camp and watch cruise ships and other large boats come and go from Port Canaveral.
Anyone who has sailed on a cruise ship leaving from Port Canaveral has sailed past Jetty Park and its pier, where spectators often gather to wish the ships safe voyage. It’s also an awesome spot to watch a rocket launch.
During my own recent camping trip with my husband at Jetty Park Campground we were able to witness one of the SpaceX capsules being towed on its famous landing barge for some testing a few days before a launch. It stood towering above us all as it slowing sailed past Jetty Park beach and the campground. A moment you won’t get anywhere else!
Jetty Park is accessible as a beach, without having to use the campground, if you wish. It is a popular beach, but does not attract as much attention and other big names nearby like Cocoa Beach and Daytona. I enjoy it because of its namesake, the jetty, which helps provide a buffer and adds some nice scenery too. It’s very easy to get to, just drive down the “Beach Line” Toll Road 528 straight to Port Canaveral and exit as if you are going to Terminal B.
Planning a Jetty Park Camping Trip
Choosing a Campsite
There are multiple options for beachside camping at Jetty Park. Available campsites include:
- Full hookup sites for RVs and campers (known as Improved Sites)
- Primitive sites for camping in a tent (no electricity or plumbing at the site) *temporarily unavailable
- Small cabins that sleep up to four people *temporarily unavailable
Currently, as a COVID-19 safety precaution, only the full hookup sites are available. This is to reduce the capacity of the campground and help with social distancing.
The campsites nearest to the beach have lots of lovely shade. It felt so relaxing walking among the trees on the hardpacked sand roads of the campground. Mornings and evenings are filled with fellow campers strolling or biking about the campground.
Each campsite has a picnic table which I used as a desk for working on occasion. I enjoyed sipping on my morning coffee, getting a little work done as pelicans and seagulls soared above and the ocean breeze lightly rustled the leaves on the seagrape plants around our site.
The campground itself is within walking distance of the beach. It is a wonderful feeling to wake up in the fresh ocean air, stroll through the cozy campground and head out on the boardwalk to the beach.
For a relaxing, affordable and safe getaway, beachside camping at Jetty Park is a wonderful choice. I felt so content being able to walk out onto the beach and return to our campsite within minutes. We could enjoy the beach without having to worry about getting in our car and driving back home. Camping at Jetty Park allowed us to savor the beachside life at a facility that is managing safety precautions well, allowing us to fully relax together in this crazy time.
In the center of the campground there are restroom and shower facilities. There is also a communal firepit as well as a lane for playing horseshoes and a few shuffleboard courts.
Near these facilities you’ll find the check-in building and a camp store. Practically any of the essentials you might need are available for purchase here.
There is a playground on the edge of the campground, but it is currently closed as a COVID-19 precaution. During our camping trip, my husband and I felt very safe and appreciated the extra steps taken by the facility staff.
One of my favorite features of Jetty Park is the pavilion which has restrooms, a restaurant, and a shop. This pavilion is just a few steps from the beach and is available to beach and campground guests alike. The restaurant is Fishlips, which has a second location in Cape Canaveral. Fishlips Pavilion at Jetty Park has a very casual menu, perfect for the beach. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner it is incredibly convenient for campers and beachgoers. There is also beer and wine available which is lovely to enjoy beachside.
While camping there my husband and I ordered lunch from Fishlips. We called ahead from our camper and ordered for take-out so we could keep our distance and avoid any potential crowds. My fish tacos were fresh and flavorful, and a little spicy too – perfect beachside grub. We dined at our site’s picnic table as the sun set behind us, painting the sky a soft orange hue.
Restaurants Near Jetty Park
Another great feature of Jetty Park is the abundance of nearby restaurants. George King Blvd boasts a collection of waterside restaurants less than a 5-minute drive from the campground. You could even walk if you want the extra exercise.
My personal favorite restaurant is Rusty’s Seafood and Oyster Bar. We’ve camped at Jetty Park twice, and both times we’ve dined at Rusty’s. On this particular trip we decided to call ahead for takeout. The restaurant is requiring masks and their staff is wearing masks and gloves, but we felt most comfortable heading back and enjoying our meal at the campsite. Should you decide to dine at Rusty’s there is a fantastic back deck for outdoor dining with a spectacular view of the port and the water. There is also a small outdoor bar and a stage for live music.
One morning we decided to grab brunch. I had been eagerly awaiting the chance to try 4th Street Fillin’ Station, which is about a 15-minute drive from the campground and within the city limits of Cocoa Beach. The drive itself was scenic as we passed beachy neighborhoods and small businesses.
We ordered our brunch from 4th Street Fillin’ Station to-go and brought it back to our campsite. However, it is on my must-do list to go back and dine there. It is an open-air venue with indoor dining and a lovely outdoor dining area. The food was absolutely delectable. Their menu offers creative twists on American classics. My husband had the Pork Hash and devoured it with pleasure. He barely spoke a word and seemed so contented with his order. I opted for the Cauliflower Tacos which surpassed my expectations.
Other nearby restaurants include:
Reservations at Jetty Park and Other Information
Visiting Jetty Park without camping requires a day pass, which must be purchased in advance online. It is $15 per vehicle and is valid for the entire day. Jetty Park is open daily from 7am – 8pm.
Reservations for camping can be made online. A two-night minimum is required for Friday night arrivals. Saturday is not available as a check-in day.
The cabins are $120 per night and sleep four people total. Currently it is unclear as to when the cabins will be available for rent again. Camping costs from $27 to $39 a night off-season; in season it’s $37 to $49. If you do not have an RV or camper of your own, considering renting one.
All images by Dani Meyering