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 camping trip last year 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! And during this year's trip we saw the Carnival Mardi Gras sail off right after its naming ceremony — this ship features the first roller coaster at sea!
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)
- Small cabins that sleep up to four people
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.
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 also a boat ramp near the campground and Waters Edge which serves as a supplies shop and a cafe. Waters Edge Cafe is currently closed every Wednesday, but otherwise you can grab a casual breakfast or lunch here until 12:00 p.m. The bait and tackle shop at Waters Edge is open every day from 6:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
There is a playground on the edge of the campground. We had fun letting our son play here while catching views of the Vehicle Assembly Building in the distance and cruise ships at the port.
One of my favorite features of Jetty Park is the pavilion which has restrooms and used to have a restaurant and a shop. This pavilion is just a few steps from the beach and is available to beach and campground guests alike. Sadly the restaurant Fishlips at Jeyy Park closed as a result of the pandemic. The original Fishlips location in Cape Canaveral remains open.
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 multiple times, and many times we've dined at Rusty's. 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.
On another trip, 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. 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, consider renting one.
All images by Dani Meyering