Camping On Anclote Key

Island Camping,
FYI – All camping is on the northern part of the Island only. Please carry out all you garbage and trash with you and if you need a garbage bag please call the Park @ 727-638-4447. Also, you must register in to camp.

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63 Responses to Camping On Anclote Key

  1. joyce says:

    What are the requirements for camping on the Island? Is a pass, permit or fee needed and if so where would I be able to obtain it or pay the cost? I see in the cartoon for camping there are fires, are they allowed? What type of facilities are available?

    • Great Questions!
      There is not a fee…however, you must register to camp on the Island of Anclote Key and its counter part “North Anclote Key Sandbar” and to do that you call the Park Phone…727-638-4447 and the resident Ranger of the Island will take your info. Campfires are allowed on the beach only, away from the sand dunes unless you hear different at the time of registration. The only Facility on the Island for campers is a composting tolet, looks like a “Port-o-Let” on the very northern tip of the Island. Always remember though, camping is only allowed on the northern part of the Island and “No Dogs & No Alcohol” is allowed. State Law!

  2. Jeanene says:

    What a fantastic hidden treasure you have there on the island. No better place to watch sunrise or sunset! Thanks to the wonderful rangers and volunteers that work so hard at keeping the place just right for all of us looking for an island adventure!

  3. Pete Lucchini says:

    I am so glad to see her all clean and brilliant, I grew up in the Holiday Tarpon area from 1970 till 1998.
    One of my Favorite places to go when growing up was Anclote Island/Key affectionately known by my friends and myself as Mosquito Key, we camped a few times I recall around 1975 or 76 I slept all night in a sleeping bag on the Catwalk when the original Fresnel lens was still in place and ran on an array of small white auto parking lights on a rotating wheel that would turn when a bulb would burn out.
    I weathered a midnight fog bank that left me shaking cold and wet but I thought this was a personal adventure my Mom thought it was a stupid but hey I never forgot that paint peeling tower with all the cast iron trimmings that not many folks appreciated as I found out around 1997 when a friend and I canoed from Howard park beach to the Key and found this Lighthouse in total shambles, No Fresnel lens no windows just packed with trash and burned inside it almost made us cry.
    Would like to thank you all for preserving her to bad the stilt houses are gone in 1993 no name storm I survived on Green Key, but that’s another story.

    • Thanks for your story……that was a great adventure. If you happen to have any old photos from those days, I sure would like to see them.
      Chris Berner
      The Resident Ranger

  4. Jon Shope says:

    Hello from Indiana! We are looking forward to another camping trip to the north end of the island next week. Any park rule changes from last spring? We will of course call to check in as we launch our boat.

  5. Hello, No rule changes. Give a call the day of departure or the day before.

  6. Kurt templin says:

    Is there running water on the island? Non-potable?

  7. Moderator Chris says:

    Hello Kurt, Sorry… running water here. Primitive Camping all the way. Camping is on the northern part of the Island

  8. Kurt templin says:

    No problem, just preparing. Thank for the quick reply.

  9. Alan says:

    We have called to let them know we were coming and no one ever got back to us. Is it still cool to go on out there?

  10. Yes….there is still primative camping on the northern part of Anclote Key and also the Island of the North Anclote Sandbar. Call the Ranger on the departure day. No Dogs.

  11. Rob says:

    We will be camping there on 3/29 and 3/30/13 and will be our 1st time. Wondering where the best place to anchor and camp would be? Directly on the northern tip or somewhere on the northwest side? Will have an 18ft bay boat and have 2 kids so looking for quiet out of the way to anchor and camp and fish. Thanks!

  12. Rob says:

    Won’t be leaving until this afternoon. Thanks for the info! So basically if the winds are out of the West I wouldwant to acre on the east side of the island and vice versa? Thank you!

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  14. Heidi says:

    May be looking to camp on the island in the near future. Is it necessary to arrive on your own vessel or is there a ferry service to get on and off of the island?

    • There is no ferry service from and to. I’m going there tomorrow on a double inflatable kayak. I’m going against the tide though so it’s going to be rather tough, plus I’m walking the 4.06 miles to the northwestern-most place of the island. I’m going for simple stargazing and to be alone for a moment. I hope no-one else camps there that night but there is more than plenty space in the island. If you have a kayak and I go there with friends you can come. Hell even if you don’t and we have room it’s all the same. (kayaking is about 45 minutes from howard park to anclote) but this can vary considerably depending on your craft, wind and tide conditions. You have to pack a gallon of water per day and lots of food. No alcohol or dogs allowed.

      The first time I went there I laughed after reading the sign… It said “No alcohol dogs allowed” Wait! Are non-alcohol dogs allowed?

      You have to call the park ranger. You should have a first aid kit. A marine radio and a cellphone with GPS may be handy also. A life preserver on a kayak is also a must. Fires are only allowed on the beach (it’s common sense really) You can only stay on the northernmost place of the island. Some toilets are there, but nothing else will be provided.

      My sleeping arrangement is basically my inflatable kayak, with the two sides deflated it makes the best air mattress ever.

      • I am replying to my post just to say that I had a great time at the park.

        I however would advise people not go over using inflatable kayaks, too many things may happen that may render the kayak useless. I am pretty lucky and none of this happened to me.

        Also there are sharks. Maybe a few too many. I saw only 3… 2 medium sized ones that I did not identify (it was pretty late) and a very small hammerhead shark (in waist deep water no less).

      • Glad you had a great time and I hope others take your advice about the Kayaks.

      • Hi Konstantinos….lets hear some more comments about your trip to the Island. If its Kayak stuff put post on Kayak page..Great job!

  15. Thomas says:

    Can you go up the lighthouse

  16. I am sorry the Lighthouse is closed at this time.

  17. Diana says:

    We are thinking about camping here later this year, possibly November or December. How is the weather that time of year? Also, how safe is it to camp there with young kids (5 and 2)?

    • Hi Diana,
      Please know this is a primitive island with no facilities and 4 miles from land. You do need your own boat as ferries are not dropping campers off. Weather plays a big factor on camping. Those months may be a little cold for younger children. Call me if you like.

  18. Jennifer says:

    Is there a boat rental place that you would suggest, on shore?? Our boat isn’t even equipped to handle the Halifax, 🙂 My kids have been wanting to do this for years!!! Any info would be helpful.

  19. Hi Jennifer….Yes you can call…
    they are the only ones that you can rent a boat over night for camping. If just for the day, you should call…
    If camping, don’t forget to call…727-638-4447 to register in.

  20. Benet says:

    I am a bit confused. The site shows ferry service but you say there is none. Is it an easy canoe , with a trolling motor, from Tarpon ?

  21. Stefan says:

    Do you ever see anybody pull up jet skis and camp out?i don’t have a boat but I got 2 jet skis and I definetly want to come camp on the north part of the island soon

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  23. Billy says:

    Is it better to camp on the island or the sandbar as far as bugs are concerned. We want to bring a fairly large group out on Labor Day weekend and do not want to get carried away by the mosquitoes. Also, if we camp on the island, how far south can we camp? Does it have to be only on the North End or can you go on the North West side, down just a little fom the actual North end of the island. I had heard that if you enter throught the lagoon you can leave your boat protected and walk through the very short treeline to the gulf side of the island and camp there.

    • Billy,
      Here is the scoop….The Anclote North Sand Bar Island is preferred by a lot of campers because if there is any wind at all you will get it out there and also it is free of Raccoon’s. The down side is there is no firewood out there and it can get pretty crowed on a weekend. From the northern tip of Anclote Key you can camp about a mile down the beach on the Gulf side. As far as bugs are concerned the Sand Bar is the best choice. if you are camping on the Gulf side look for a wind out of the west. Don’t forget to call in to register and no Dogs on Anclote Key but on the Sand Bar Island they are allowed….

  24. Holly says:

    We are looking at camping there the weekend of Thanksgiving. We are primitive camping kind of people, but wondered what kind of weather you have around then? Is it a good time to camp there. Also my husband is a fly fisherman and would want to do a lot of that. Do you know if the fly fishing is ok in November? Thanks!

  25. Kevin says:

    We are planning to rent a pontoon boat out of Gulf Harbors and make an overnight camping trip on the Northern part of the Island around October 7. I have a few questions if you can help, my goal is to be safe and prepare myself for an enviroment very foreign than New Jersey. This will be a first time for us, I am trying to find out how the weather is during this time and if the mosquitoes and “no see ums” are still as active in October? Ill check with the boat rental company for recommended places to anchor the boat but what do you suggest? My worst fear is beaching the boat with the tides. I would like to ask how active the sharks and rattelsnaks actually are around the Island in October? Lastly, in case of emergency, how is cell phone reception on the Island. Thank you for any help you can provide. This is the only site I have found that gives feedback on the Island.

  26. Hello Kevin,
    FYI: First the bugs. Always be prepared for the bugs. Mosquitoes might still be out at that time and the No-Seeims are always there. What you need to do is get to a spot on the Island where you will get a breeze if there is one no matter what direction it is coming from. The northern tip out on the beach if there is a breeze than you shall get it there and also cell phone reception will be the best there. You may have problems with Raccoon’s but not Snakes if you stay out on the Beach. It is hard to get fire wood on the Northern Tip of the Island, so that’s not good if you are going to have a camp fire. For safety reasons if you are going to be boating in these waters you should belong to Sea Tow or Boats US Tow Service. Come to the Island in the day time on a low tide then you can get an idea where your boat should be anchored with 2 anchors. If at all possible take a trip out to the Island before hand to explore and know just where you want to be. Camping is allowed on the North Sand Bar also but there will be no fire wood there but also no Raccoon’s. The Sharks are plentiful between the North Sand Bar and Anclote Key. Fishermen fish there at night looking for sharks there. There is no camping on the southern part of Anclote Key and also no Dogs are allowed on this Island and no Alcohol. The North Sand Bar you can have a Dog. You must Call>>>>727-638-4447 to register to camp. Thank you for your concerns and be safe.

  27. Pingback: Island camping: Anclote Key Preserve | Florida Rambler

  28. Shay says:

    Hi, I’m thinking about camping out on Anclote next weekend, is there any place to rent a few jet ski’s or a cheap boat for a one nights stay out there? Also is hammock camping allowed? Lastly, do you have to reserve a spot to go camping on this island? Thank you!

  29. Hello Shay,
    Sorry, but I don’t know any places that rent boats for a 24 hour period. It would not be cheap if you did find a place. Hammocks are allowed. If you find a boat rental you must call and let me register you in for camping. 727-638-4447. Good luck !

  30. Becky says:

    Hi there, I just want to clarify if camping is allowed on the sandbar north of Anclote? We have been there many times during the day but want to camp some place we can have our dog. Thank you!

  31. Adam says:


    Looking for some advice. We are considering camping at Anclote Key this coming Memorial Day weekend. I know it will probably be busy. We will be traveling on a 26.5 ft boat that drafts 3 feet. Looking at the charts we would definitely need to be on the north end of the key or the south end of the sand bar. What is the change in tides? How far out do you think I would need to be looking to anchor for the night?

    Thoughts on how crazy it may get at night on either island. We will be there with the kids. Though I don’t mind a crowd I don’t want to go into a girls gone wild style party.


    • Tim says:

      I don’t know how much of a crowd there will be, but other people will definitely be out there. If you’re wanting to avoid a girls gone wild style party, you should consider another location.

  32. james mcalister says:

    Are there piers or places to tie up?

  33. Sorry James, there are no Piers there to tie up to.. You have to anchor off shore.

  34. GP says:

    Hello Chris,
    We are considering camping at Anclote Key this weekend, we are going with boats and kids, please tell me where is the safest spot in the island. the other question in previous comments you mentioned Sand Bar Island North, is this what we can see in google map named RAPP ISLAND?

  35. Lisa McGinnes says:

    Hi: We would love to kayak to Anclote Key and camp this August. We’re experienced kayak and primitive campers. We loved Cayo Costa but the no see ums were horrible, almost unbearable in late May. Should we expect the same here? Any tips for battling the bugs? Thank you.

  36. Hello,
    Thanks for using the Blog.
    Sorry, but it’s hard to guess or predict what the No-Seeums are doing. They do run campers off the island though, usually after dark at times if they are not prepared for bugs Therma Cell from Walmart usually works the best but you need several around your tent and they are expensive.
    Best thing, don’t just get one kind of repellant get several. You really need to be prepared for these bugs as they will run you off and in a Kayak it’s dangerous at night.
    Launch from the Anclote Gulf Park a County Park 2 miles north from the Anclote River Park as it is a safer trip from there and shorter.

  37. Natalia P says:

    Hello, I am planning to go camping there on my birthday with my parents and a few friends the weekend of September 17th and I have a few questions: what is the main difference between the North Anclote Key sand bar and the northern tip of Anclote Key, are they both sand beaches you can camp on? I’m also interested in having a campfire, so I was wondering if you have the supplies, can you do a campire of the sand bar? Also, how crowded do you think it gets in September, specially for camping. Thank you so much, I appreciate your help!

  38. Hello Natalia,
    North Anclote Key Sandbar is a separate Island about 1 mile North of the Northern tip of the main Island of Anclote Key. There you can camp free of any Raccoon’s and also dogs are allowed there as they are not allowed on the main Island of Anclote Key. You also need to bring in your own fire wood if you plan on having a camp fire on the beach there. On the Main Island of Anclote Key you can always find fire wood and yes Raccoon’s can be a problem depending where you camp there. You can camp only on the northern part of the main Island which means you can camp from the northern tip down the beach about a mile. The Island being 5 miles long. You will always have plenty of room to be away from other campers on the main Island but not on the North Island Sand Bar. That Island is getting smaller and smaller and on weekends it gets pretty crowded but during the week you could be the only ones there.
    Ranger Chris

  39. Teresa says:

    Hi Chris,
    This may sound dumb but where is the north point (campin area) vs the light house as a landmark? When we set up do we call to let you knw where we have set up for the night?
    I have always wanted to camp here and am really considering it. I have been to the island pleanty of times but still can’t figure out where camping is and isn’t allowed.
    I think the “sandbar” maybe too much of a party spot for me! LOL

  40. Ben says:

    Hi Chris,
    I would like to know if there is any time of the year when the bugs are not a problem. You answered a lot of questions but they all seemed to be in the summer months. Are the bugs a problem in November?

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