Unlike the Appalachian Trail, the Florida Trail requires numerous permits along the route. The scope of these permits ranges from securing campsites in advance to traversing certain pieces of public and private lands. Some can be filled out when you reach a kiosk; others must be wrangled in advance of your arrival. Most are free, but some have a cost.
The following comprehensive list of Florida Trail permits and fees is published with permission from The Florida Trail Guide, including updates through February 2019 (not all prices have been updated). Mileages are from the Guthook Guides Florida National Scenic Trail App, November 2016.
A Florida Trail Association annual membership is required if you are thru-hiking, since some segments of the trail cross private land. Obtain one online or call 352-378-8823.
Big Cypress Seminole Reservation
To hike in the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation, you must fill out and file a “hold harmless” form provided by the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Download and fill out the form. You can also obtain it from the Florida Trail Association by downloading the thru-hiker packet. The form must be witnessed. If you are a Florida resident, you must have it notarized.
Make a copy to keep with you during your hike, and send the original to the Seminole Tribe of Florida per the address on the form. During your hike, have your copy of the form with you.
St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
Only backpackers hiking all the way through St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge on the 45 mile long segment of the Florida National Scenic Trail may use the designated campsites in the Refuge. Check this link for current information, cost, and procedure to obtain your camping permit.
Eglin Air Force Base
For 2019, Eglin Air Force Base has established a new protocol for Florida Trail thru-hiker permits. They can no longer be obtained online. Eglin defines a thru-hiker as a hiker whose journey originates 50 miles or more beyond their boundaries.
1) Create an iSportsman account in advance of your hike and be sure to have finished the process of reviewing the safety videos and taking the quiz.
2) Three days before you arrive on base, call the Jackson Guard office at 850-882-4165 or 850-882-4166. The office is only open on weekdays and closed on Federal holidays.
3) Once the Jackson Guard has reviewed the Public Access Map (PAM) for the upcoming three days to ensure that the Florida Trail is open, they will electronically issue a free permit to your iSportsman account.
4) You must have this permit with you in the event you are stopped by base personnel. If you have a smartphone, make a screenshot and save it to your phone. If you do not, you will need to print a copy off at a library or other public computer before you arrive.
If you are not a thru-hiker, when you complete step 1, purchase your annual Outdoor Recreation permit. If you are backpacking, you will also need to purchase camping permits.
DURING YOUR HIKE
Mile 0.0: Big Cypress National Preserve requires registration (backcountry permit) at Oasis Visitor Center before you head north on the trail. Their hours are 9-4:30 daily, closed Christmas. There is no registration kiosk for southbounders, but please sign in at the trail register.
Mile 38.3 to 57.6: Ensure that you are carrying your permit, arranged in advance, for the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation as you walk across their sovereign lands.
No permits are needed for the Okeechobee section. Use of the campsites along the lake is free. Fees apply only if you stay at one of the developed campgrounds.
South Florida Water Management District requires free camping permits for established campsites along the Kissimmee River from Yates Marsh to Three Lakes WMA. Call 561-924-5310 (ext 3333), email Kim Willis, or reserve and print permits under the “Special Use License” page on their website. You can reserve and save the permit in your smartphone as you approach a campsite, if cell coverage is available. Please note that the agency only responds to phone calls and emails Mon-Fri, 9-4. This includes the following campsites:
Mile 167.2, Yates Marsh
Mile 170.8, Chandler Slough East
Mile 179.1, Micco Landing
Mile 187.2, Oak Creek
Mile 189.9, Starvation Slough
Mile 193.8, Hammock
Mile 196.9, River View
Mile 223.1, Town of KICCO
Mile 224.8, Rattlesnake Hammock
Mile 230.8, Long Hammock
Mile 232.0, KICCO trailhead
Mile 234.3, Packingham trailhead
Mile 210.4: Check in at the Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park park office after camping at Cowboy Crossing or the Prairie Loop campground (mile 208.4) or before the Pine Island Slough campsite (mile 215.4) to pay your state park entrance fee ($2 per person) and camping fee ($5 per person). Primitive camping in a designated tent area is available at the main campground just east of the ranger station for $10 per tent, which includes access to a nice bathhouse with laundry facilities and an outdoor sink.
Mile 221.4: No more need to call ahead to request access to the S65-A Lock. There are now pedestrian gates on both sides of the lock and you may use them on your own (provided the lock isn’t in operation) during the following hours: Mon-Fri 7 AM-6 PM, Sat-Sun 5:30 AM-7:30 PM (Mar-Oct), 5:30 AM-6:30 PM (Nov-Feb)
Mile 255.9: A free permit is required for use of the Lake Jackson Campground at Prairie Lakes, if you choose to use it. Call 352-732-1225. Cell coverage is poor within this portion of Three Lakes WMA so do so in advance if possible.
Mile 327.0 to 357.2: Free permits are required in advance for camping in both Green Swamp East and Green Swamp West. Contact the Southwest Florida Water Management District, 352-796-7211 or reserve online. Camping access is limited during hunting seasons. Learn more. The following campsites must be pre-reserved:
Mile 329.7, Tillman Lake (1.6E)
Mile 332.1, Mott Prairie
Mile 338.5, Trial Ford
Mile 341.9, Gator Hole
Mile 348.0, Concession Stand
Mile 351.4, Foster Bridge
Mile 356.7, High Bluff
Mile 370.7 to 386.3: In the Croom Tract of Withlacoochee State Forest, camping is only permitted in designated campsites. The following are the designated campsites along this section of the Florida Trail:
Mile 375.2, Crooked River Campground ($15)
Mile 377.2, Silver Lake Campground ($20-24)
Mile 379.9, B Loop Camping Zone (free*)
Mile 385.1, A Loop Camping Zone (0.7W) (free,*)
*no water available
All of the campsites in Withlacoochee State Forest are now set up under Reserve America for reservations. Walk-ins may be possible but no guaranteed. Prices have likely risen because of Reserve America affiliation.
Mile 400.2 to 415.4: In the Citrus Tract of Withlacoochee State Forest, camping is only permitted in designated campsites. Mutual Mine ($15) must be reserved in advance. Call 352-797-4140 to reserve. Camping at Holder Mine cost $20.
Mile 404.7, Mutual Mine Campground (1.6E)
Mile 411.6, Holder Mine Campground (1.1E)
Mile 433.5 to 472.9: The Office of Greenways and Trails requires a free permit for primitive camping along the Cross Florida Greenway. Call 352-236-7143 to obtain a permit. Florida Trail Association members do not need permits; simply carry your membership card with you.
Mile 276.2: Permission is required for free use of the private remote campsite at Forever Florida, Tracey Branch. Call 407-957-9794 before you arrive. You may use the campsite if no paying guests are filling it. You may also opt to be a paying guest to guarantee use of the campsite, if it is not otherwise reserved. As it offers running water, flush toilets, hot showers, and a covered picnic shelter, it’s well worth the stop.
Mile 322.3: Tosohatchee WMA requires permits and a fee for use of the backpacking campsites (Tiger Creek and Youth Camp). Weekenders and section hikers can pick up a permit at the main office when entering the WMA off Taylor Creek Rd. Call ahead to ensure you can use the campsite on the date you want it, and so they can have the permit ready for you: 407-568-5893. There are now signs at Tosohatchee for thru-hikers to call this number when they reach the preserve boundary. Only thru-hikers may use the designated campsites during posted hunting seasons.
Mile 388.1 to 396.0: Seminole State Forest requires a $2 admission fee, payable at the iron ranger at Bear Pond trailhead or Cassia trailhead. There is also now a permit system and fee ($9-18) at the trailheads for using the FTA built primitive campsites, posted at the trailheads. You can also call ahead to reserve: 352-360-6675
Mile 389.1, Shelter Camp
Off-trail: Lower Wekiva Loop, Pine Lily Camp
Mile 392.2, Blackwater Creek
Mile 393.6, Sulphur Camp
Mile 406.7 to 474.6: No permits required in the Ocala National Forest. Random camping is allowed except during general gun season (deer hunting), which usually encompasses November and December. Look up hunt dates here.
During the hunts, you MUST stay in these designated campsites as you traverse of the trail through the forest. You can also stay at any of these campsites at any time. Clearwater, Alexander, Juniper, and Salt Springs (which all offer swimming) should be booked online in advance, or you can take a chance on a walk-in; they aren’t busy during the winter months except on weekends.
Mile 406.7, Clearwater Lake ($18.50)
Mile 416.7, Alexander Springs ($21)
Mile 434.6, Juniper Springs ($19)
Mile 439.9, Hidden Pond (free, primitive)
Mile 445.2, Hopkins Prairie ($10)
Mile 451.8, Salt Springs (3.5E, $18.50)
Mile 459.3, The 88 Store (free with permission)
Mile 461.3, Grassy Pond (free, primitive)
Mile 465.6, Lake Delancy ($6)
Mile 479.0: If you arrive at Buckman Lock when the lock keeper isn’t there to let you across, you must have the lock combination with you to open the gates. Call the Florida Trail Association office at 352-378-8823 (between 9-5 Mon-Fri) to obtain the combination in advance.
Use of the St. Johns South camping area on the south side of the lock costs $13.08 (exact change, iron ranger).
Mile 515.7: Entering Gold Head Branch State Park, pay your state park entrance fee ($2) at the iron ranger at the gate. There is an additional fee of $5 per person for use of the primitive campsite at mile 516.7, payable at the ranger station as you pass by it the next morning. Call ahead to reserve your space at the primitive campsite: 352-473-4701. Cabins and spaces in two developed campgrounds are also available.
Mile 521.1: You must sign in and out at the kiosks at Camp Blanding. Put one portion of the registration card in the box and carry the other with you. Drop that second portion in the box at the kiosk as you exit Camp Blanding at mile 527.0. Camping is not allowed on this military reservation. Base closures are indicated by a prominent sign near the trail kiosks.
Mile 580.7 to 601.9: No permits are required in the Osceola National Forest. Hikers are limited to designated campsites during general gun (deer hunting) season. Random camping is otherwise permitted. During the hunts, you MUST stay in these designated campsites as you traverse of the trail through the forest. You can opt to stay at any of these campsites at any time.
Mile 584.5, Cobb Hunt Camp (free)
Mile 586.3, Ocean Pond (0.3W, $6-18)
Mile 590.1, Osceola Shelter (free)
Mile 596.8, West Tower (free)
Mile 619.9: An entrance fee ($2 pedestrian) applies at Stephen Foster Folk Culture State Park in White Springs.
Mile 620.7: A fee is required for use of the Stephen Foster primitive campsite along the Florida Trail. Check at the ranger station at the front gate for availability of the campsite. Cabins and a developed campground are also available in the park.
Mile 648.7: Holton River Camp is free to use, but you need to reserve it in advance in order to have a space available, especially if you want to be inside a screened shelter. Call 1-800-868-9914.
Mile 748.6 to 794.5: Carry your permit for camping in St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge with you. If you have not obtained your permit by the time you reach the refuge, call them at 850‐925‐6121 (M-F 8‐4, Sat-Sun 10‐5) to confirm that you can pay for your camping ($1 per person per night) when you reach the Visitor Center, 0.9E of mile 762.8. You may be asked to state which campsites you’ll be using. Camping is limited to these designated campsites. Campsites in the refuge include:
Mile 751.6, Pinhook River
Mile 757.6, Ring Dike
Mile 765.1, Port Leon
Mile 772.4, Wakulla River
Mile 780.0, Wakulla Field
Mile 788.8, Marsh Point – you will miss this one because of the roadwalk around the missing boardwalk across Spring Creek unless you backtrack to it from Purify Bay trailhead.
No permits required. Hikers are limited to designated campsites during general gun (deer hunting) season. Random camping is otherwise permitted. During deer hunting season you MUST stay in these designated campsites. You can otherwise stay at any of these campsites at any time.
Mile 796.2, Bent Sapling (free, primitive)
Mile 802.7, Sopchoppy River (free, primitive)
Mile 807.0, Martian Camp (free, primitive)
Mile 816.4, Bradwell Island (free, primitive)
Mile 826.4, Porter Lake (free, water and toilet)
Mile 830.9, Indian Creek (free, primitive)
Mile, 837.0, Sapling Head (free, primitive)
Mile 845.0, Vilas (free, primitive)
Mile 855.4, Camel Lake ($10, bathhouse) – must be reserved through Reserve America by phone at 1-800-456-2267 or . Limited walk-ins available during hunting seasons.
Mile 903.0 to 920.5: In Econfina Creek WMA, there are many designated campsites. These ones require a free permit reserved in advance. Call 850-539-5999 or use the links below to reserve online.
Mile 934.8 to 940.4: During hunting dates at Pine Log State Forest, hikers may only camp at the Sand Pond Campground at mile 939.8. Camping at Sand Pond should be reserved through Reserve America by phone at 1-800-456-2267 or . Limited walk-ins available.
Mile 971.2 to 1016.8 (Alaqua, Catface, Titi, Cimmaron) and 1056.0 to 1069.0 (Weaver Creek): An Outdoor Recreation Permit or free Florida Trail thru-hiker permit is required for hiking the Florida Trail through Eglin. Obtain this permit online. To complete the registration process, you will need to watch the online Safety Brief. Once you have watched the video, you will be able to view available permits.
To obtain a free permit, thru-hikers must create an iSportsman account and complete the Safety Brief. Then call the base three days in advance of your arrival. Call the Jackson Guard office at 850-882-4165 or 850-882-4166. The office is only open on weekdays and closed on Federal holidays. The office will electronically issue a free permit to your iSportsman account. Copy the image of your permit to your smartphone. If you do not have a smartphone, go to a library or hotel and print off a copy of the permit. Carry your permit with you. Do not enter the base without a permit.
The following campsites are included in your thru-hiker permit:
Mile 975.1, Eglin Portal
Mile 984.7, Alaqua
Mile 991.5, Bull
Mile 999.6, Red Deer
Mile 1015.9, Pearl
Mile 1066.7, Dean
If you wish to use these campsites:
Mile 1003.6, Speck Pond Recreation Area
Mile 1009.5, JR Walton Pond
Mile 1058.1, Buck Pond Recreation Area
or any other recreation area campsites near the trail, you must purchase a $5 permit per night per campsite at the Eglin Natural Resources Office during normal business hours. Random camping is not permitted. The camping permit must be obtained in person at the Eglin Natural Resources Office during normal business hours (weekdays, call 850-882-4164 for hours) in advance of your hike.
Random camping is not permitted in this section. Make use of the free Bayview Campsite at mile 1086.1, and reserve a tent site at Fort Pickens Campground at mile 1100.6. There is no fresh water near Bayview Campsite, so be sure you bring plenty.
Mile 1094.9: Pedestrian fee of $10, good for 7 days, to enter the Fort Pickens Unit of Gulf Islands National Seashore.
No permits required. The only fees involved are if you camp at the recreation areas or at Blackwater River State Park. There is a day use fee for parking at the Deaton Bridge trailhead or the Juniper Creek parking area in Blackwater River State Park.
Camping at the recreation areas should be reserved through Reserve America by phone at 1-800-456-2267 or online. Some walk-ins available but you will still pay the reservation fee. Primitive tent sites $10, sites with water $15, sites with water and electric $20 PLUS Reserve America fee. Recreation Areas include:
(2.5W) Bear Lake Recreation Area via Bear Lake-Jackson Connector.
(3.9W) Krul Lake Recreation Area via Sweetwater Trail
(4.2E) South Karick Lake Recreation Area via Jackson Red Ground Trail
(4.5E) North Karick Lake Recreation Area via Jackson Red Ground Trail
North Hurricane Lake Recreation Area along the Florida Trail (Wiregrass Trail)
OCEAN TO LAKE
No permits are needed to camp in DuPuis or Corbett WMAs.
Mile 31.6 to 43.1: If you plan to camp anywhere east of Corbett WMA and west of Riverbend Park, you must contact Palm Beach County (land manager) in advance for permission to camp on their lands. Contact Mary Canada at 561-233-2503 (M-F 9-4) or by email. You may also call 561-233-2400, their main number. Palm Beach County law enforcement patrol after dark so you must have permission for camping. No ground fires are permitted, stoves only.
Mile 51.3 to 59.3: Reservations and prepayment of camping fees are at Jonathan Dickinson State Park. Call 772-546-2771 for details. Designated campsites are at Kitching Creek (mile 53) and Scrub-Jay (mile 56.4). No random camping. There is a state park entrance fee. Drop it in the iron ranger along the Ocean-to-Lake Trail after you cross Hobe Groves Canal.