Explore America's Campgrounds
Tampa, Florida, is a popular vacation destination for families and seniors from all over the United States. Nearby attractions include several state parks, as well as theme and recreational parks. The area has many kinds of campgrounds, for tents or RV's. While few lie close to Busch Gardens, there are many within a 30-minute drive. Busch Gardens is a hugely popular theme park near Tampa, with roller coasters, an animal park and live entertainment year round.
Fort de Soto
Fort de Soto Park is about 30 minutes drive from Busch Gardens on a small island and TripAdvisor named it America's top beach for 2009. The park consists of 1,136 acres made up of five inter-connected islands. Park amenities include seven miles of waterfront and three miles of white sand beach. It has an 800-foot-long boat-launching facility with 11 floating docks, a 238-site family camping area with facilities including picnic tables, washers, dryers, sanitary disposal stations, grills, water, electricity, showers, modern restrooms, play areas, and a camp store. It also has a dog park, where dogs are allowed on the beach in a designated area. Nightly rates start at $30 for tents (as of 2010).
Fort De Soto Park 3500 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde, FL 33715 727-893-9185 pinellascounty.org
Palm View Gardens
About 20 minutes from Busch Gardens, in Zephyrhills, Florida, Palm View Gardens has a stocked fishing lake, two recreation halls and proximity to the resorts of Orlando, Cypress Gardens, Busch Gardens and downtown Tampa. Shuffle board courts, a pool and daily activities are also available. Palm View Gardens is an RV camp and welcomes pets. Daily rates start at $29 and weekly from $174 (as of 2010).
Palm View Gardens 3331 Gall Blvd. Zephyrhills, FL 33541 813-782-8685 palmviewgardensrvresort.com
Raccoon Creek Recreation Area at McDill Air Force Base, Tampa, is a private military campground. There are 346 full hook-up RV sites available and 36 "dry" camp sites, including a tent camping area. Authorized users are active duty, retirees, reserves, National Guard, 100% disabled veterans and Defense Department civilians They can have up to two pets. Outdoor recreation and amenities include paddle boats, pig roasters, bouncy castles, as well as a pool, lake and marina. Camping gear, including tents and sleeping bags is for hire.
Raccoon Creek Recreation Area, 9909 Marina Bay Drive, MacDill AFB, FL 33621-5000
Carmen Laboy has been publishing short stories and poetry since 1998. Her work appears online and in "Tonguas Experimental Literature Magazine." She was a script reader for the Duke City Shootout 2010, arts education intern at 516arts gallery and has worked as an assistant for many artists. She studied at the Universidad de Puerto Rico and Escuela de Artes Plasticas, a prestigious art college.