Imagine boating downriver amid a swampy forest of ancient cypress trees. Kayak paddles gently slap the surface of the water as the river parts ahead. Tropical greenery passes by just as easily as the worry-free time flows. Slowly but surely, the environment shifts around you into a lush mangrove field, roots sprawling like tentacles down below. Something catches your eye. A hulking figure lazily floats alongside you: a pale blue manatee that’s made this river home for the moment, just as you have.
Such an experience can be had at Jonathan Dickinson State Park—a massive, diverse community of park grounds along the Florida coast. Read on to see how to have an adventure like this yourself with Jonathan Dickinson State Park RV camping in this ultimate guide!
Jonathan Dickinson State Park Facts
These Jonathan Dickinson State Park facts are the perfect primer for this diverse piece of southwest Florida.
- The park is named after Jonathan Dickinson, a merchant from Jamaica who shipwrecked on the coast of Florida in 1696.
- A folk legend nicknamed The Wildman of the Loxahatchee lived off the banks of the Loxahatchee in the 1930s by trapping and selling furs. When he passed away in 1968, the state used his land to create the current day park.
- The Loxahatchee is the main draw of this park. Its beauty landed it the title of Florida’s first federally assigned “Wild and Scenic River.”
- The park also served as a radar training site for the US army called Camp Murphy from 1942 to 1944. Some of the roughly 1,000 original camp buildings remain in the park today.
- A huge variety of wildlife, including foxes, raccoons, deer, otters, bobcats, and alligators, call Jonathan Dickinson home.
- The roughly 140 species of birds that pass through the park make it a prime destination for birdwatching.
See the history of this park’s beauty first-hand with an RV trip to Jonathan Dickinson State Park!
Best Jonathan Dickinson State Park RV Parks and Campgrounds
There are plenty of choices for a base camp around this lush locale. To take out the guesswork, we’ve curated four of the best Jonathan Dickinson State Park RV parks and campgrounds in this useful list.
Pine Grove Campground
Near the former Camp Murphy site lies this lovely spot situated under the pines. Here, you’ll be in one of the most convenient RV sites in Jonathan Dickinson State Park. Enjoy easy access to a lake for fishing, a local swimming hole, and a beach. All sites have full hookups with restrooms and showers nearby.
More information: Pine Grove Campground
The River Campground
This is the second of the RV campgrounds in Jonathan Dickinson State Park. If you’re aiming to boat along the river, this is the spot for you. Every spot is a few strides from river access. You’ll get the same great amenities as Pine Grove at an affordable
price: full hookups, bathrooms, and showers are all onsite.
More information: The River Campground
Lion Country’s Safari KOA
Looking for something adventurous and family-friendly
? Lion Country’s Safari KOA is the way to go. This RV campground near Jonathan Dickinson State Park is half RV park and half safari theme park. Tour the 320-acre safari in your RV or on foot at your leisure. Experience the unique soundscape of an African wilderness in the distance as you rest each night.
More information: Lion Country Safari’s KOA
Palm Beach Traveler RV Park
Palm Beach Traveler is a nice alternative to the RV sites in Jonathan Dickinson State Park. They also offer a list of amenities longer than the park. You’ll find an enclosed and heated swimming pool, a clubhouse, shuffleboard and bocce ball courts, and full hookups at every site. It’s a good choice if you’ll need high-speed internet, available for free at the clubhouse.
More information: Palm Beach Traveler RV Park
Best Time to Visit Jonathan Dickinson State Park
With some fairly extreme weather patterns, it can be tricky figuring out when to take a trip to Florida. Check out our seasonal guide to find the best times to visit Jonathan Dickinson State Park!
There are plenty of perks to winter RV camping in Jonathan Dickinson State Park. Florida’s typically humid weather is at its driest in the winter months. Florida also enjoys some of the mildest winters in the US. The temperature bottoms out at just 59 degrees at night, with sunny days of around 76 degrees.
Spring is an ideal time for RV camping near Jonathan Dickinson State Park. You’ll be able to enjoy a summer feel and warmth without any of the negative points associated with a Florida summer. Expect a fairly high humidity, but nothing like what you might experience in the summertime. A spring visit around May seems best. You’ll find the lowest humidity for the season that gives you a nice buffer before the hurricane season begins.
It’s tough to recommend an RV camping trip near Jonathan Dickinson State Park in summer. Late summer begins the high season for tropical hurricanes. You’ll also be subject to some notoriously high Floridian humidity above 90% on most days. High temperatures hover around the 90s, and the summer months bring 11 days of rain on average.
On paper, fall RV camping around Jonathan Dickinson State Park seems fantastic. Temperatures are a pleasant 70 to 80 degrees on average, with tolerable humidity and not too much rainfall. The one problem? Hurricane season! About 75% of all hurricanes to hit Florida do so between August and October. September is the worst of them. You might land some cheap accommodations and get fewer crowds, but plan with caution.
Things to Do in Jonathan Dickinson State Park
There’s no shortage of fun things to do in Jonathan Dickinson State Park! Our list below will highlight some of the best in this wonderful destination.
- Float along the Loxahatchee River. Jonathan Dickinson is an amazing place to bring a kayak or canoe along. The scenic and gentle Loxahatchee River offers some otherworldly scenery in a peaceful flow. You’ll spot ancient cypress trees in the upper section of the river and be treated to a swamp adventure in the lower section, thanks to the lush mangrove growth.
- Hike the trails. The park has a sprawling network of trails across 16 local communities. That means there’s plenty of variety for both beginner and veteran hikers. For an easier walk with a view, check out the Hobe Mountain Trail to climb a boardwalk to a scenic observation point. Or, for something more adventurous, try the Ocean to Lake or Eagles View multi-trails.
- Spot manatees in the wild. If you’re planning a winter visit, it’s a rare chance to spot migrating manatees in their natural habitat. Hit the river early on your own for the best chance at spotting them. Or, book a Loxahatchee boat tour if you’d rather not adventure alone.
- See the trapping grounds of the Wildman of Loxahatchee, Trapper Nelson. Book a tour with a park ranger to learn about this local park legend firsthand. Nelson lived an entirely self-reliant and reclusive life before slowly re-entering society. Over time, he built a zoo, created shelters for the local indigenous population, and planted lush gardens for the public to enjoy.
You won’t want to miss out on these fun-filled activities and more! Get a head start planning your Jonathan Dickinson State Park RV camping trip.
Tips on Visiting Jonathan Dickinson State Park
You must be itching to hit the road by now, but before you set out on your journey, check out these final tips on visiting Jonathan Dickinson State Park!
- It’s not uncommon to spot alligators in the park. These creatures are normally shy and avoid humans but can attack if provoked. Stay far clear of any you see in the wild.
- Remember that Florida’s weather can swing wildly. Besides planning the date of your visit carefully, keep a close watch on the weather forecast.
- Swimming is allowed in certain watering holes and the swimming beach. But, it’s not recommended due to weeds, murky water, and no lifeguards on site.
- If you’re looking to swim, try the nearby Hobe Sound Beach instead.
- The hot, humid environment is a haven for mosquitoes. Bring some repellent to keep the pests to a minimum.
- The Loxahatchee River is a slow one that should pose no serious challenge to most people. But, do check your route carefully and have plans in place in case of an emergency.
Ready to join in the fun? Time to book your RV rental and hit the road.
RV Rental for Jonathan Dickinson State Park
That’s all the knowledge we can muster about this incredible destination. The unique scenery along the Loxahatchee simply must be seen to be believed. And there’s no better way to get there than with a Cruise America RV rental.
Never driven an RV before? No problem! Cruise America’s line of RVs is perfect for RV newbies
too. Enjoy all the comforts of home like a working kitchen, shower, air conditioning, and living space for a pleasant stay no matter where you go.
Make the journey as joyful as the destination, and reserve
an RV today!