Florida State Parks new reservation rules

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NY_Dutch

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Florida has made it official that they don't want out of staters in their state parks. I received this in my email today:

Hello,

We are excited to share a new benefit for Florida residents about making reservations for overnight accommodations at Florida State Parks.

Effective Jan. 1, 2024, at noon Eastern time, only Florida residents may make reservations for cabins and RV, tent, boat and equestrian campsites 11 months in advance. Non-Florida residents will be able to make reservations 10 months in advance.

To take advantage of this new benefit, Florida residents will need to provide a valid Florida driver’s license or ID card number at the time of booking. Starting today, Florida residents may update their profile associated with the Florida State Parks Reservation System to add their valid Florida driver’s license or ID card number. This information, which will be validated with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, will need to be verified annually.

Before making a reservation 11 months in advance, Florida residents be asked to attest to the following statement:

I understand and attest that this camping reservation is being made under the Florida Residents Preference provisions outlined in s. 258.014(2), Florida Statutes. I am a Florida resident, and I agree to provide my Florida driver’s license number or Florida identification card number issued under s. 322.051, Florida Statutes, as proof of Florida residency while making this reservation and upon arrival in the state park during check-in. I also acknowledge that this reservation is not transferable. Any attempt to use this reservation by anyone other than this account holder will result in cancellation, forfeiture of all fees associated with this reservation, and assessment of the cancellation fee pursuant to the Florida State Parks Fee Schedule. Furthermore, any attempt to circumvent the spirit and intent of Florida Residents Preference by this account holder, including the sale or transfer of overnight park reservations, may result in suspension of the account holder’s ability to make future reservations.

We are excited to welcome you to our beautiful state parks.
open
 
That's still not so bad. In Indiana you can't make a reservation at any state park / recreation area more than 6 months out.

Actually, I don't think the new rule is so bad. First priority for any state resource SHOULD go to the people who are supporting it via their taxes first.

According to the current rules, campsites are reserved for a max of 14 days and with exceptions as much as 56 night. And "Campers are permitted up to 56 nights of total occupancy in any one park in each six-month period, defined as Oct. 1 - March 31, and April 1 - Sept. 30."

So, State Parks in Florida have never been a good choice for Northern Snow Birds in the Winter months for long term stay anyway.

But those rules do not apply to private run campgrounds or RV "resorts". And it seems, that where the majority of Northern Snow Birds like to flock to.

Yea, it might be a little more restrictive for non-residents, but I defiantly understand the reason why.

If you are a Florida resident and disagree with this decision, then only YOU can raise issues with your state government and get it changed. The rest of us, there's not a thing we can about it.
 
Personally I'm not a huge fan of government reservation systems in the first place but it is becoming our reality. Since I live in a tourist area I can say that I am fully in favor of local residents getting to take advantage before tourists. Hopefully Florida State Parks still have first come first serve sites as well.
 
I don't think Florida thought this through about how much out of state money area businesses will lose. When a Florida resident goes to a Florida State Park, all they do is move that Florida money from one place to another within the state. When someone from Ohio for instance, goes to a Florida State Park, they bring Ohio money into Florida. It's that simple. In my opinion, this change was not needed. Every Florida State Park we've ever stayed in had at least half the sites occupied by Florida residents anyway.
 
When a Florida resident goes to a Florida State Park, all they do is move that Florida money from one place to another within the state. When someone from Ohio for instance, goes to a Florida State Park, they bring Ohio money into Florida.
True, but one would argue that if it wasn't for the Florida residents tax dollar, the state park would not be like it is to draw out of state tourists. I have no interests in Florida State Parks, we have wonderful state parks in my area heavily populated with out of town license plates, and they no more patronize the local community than those of us in state.
 
True, but one would argue that if it wasn't for the Florida residents tax dollar, the state park would not be like it is to draw out of state tourists. I have no interests in Florida State Parks, we have wonderful state parks in my area heavily populated with out of town license plates, and they no more patronize the local community than those of us in state.
You do know Florida has no income tax, right? But the out of staters do bring in outside money.
 
I don't think Florida thought this through about how much out of state money area businesses will lose. When a Florida resident goes to a Florida State Park, all they do is move that Florida money from one place to another within the state. When someone from Ohio for instance, goes to a Florida State Park, they bring Ohio money into Florida. It's that simple. In my opinion, this change was not needed. Every Florida State Park we've ever stayed in had at least half the sites occupied by Florida residents anyway.
Florida has become completely overrun by people seeking refuge from the cold weather in the winter. In the summertime or not peak season for temporary residents, camping in Florida is not a favorite pasttime. So I don't think its anything personal to non-residents.

We do know that its much cheaper to camp in Quartzsite in the winter time. So there is an alternative for escaping white grass and frozen tongues that gets stuck to light poles, you know. :D
 
There was a long discussion of this when the bill passed earlier this year. Since I won’t go to Florida, it is no skin off my nose, but it is somewhat similar to some states that charge out of state visitors much more for the sites. The type of situations guidelines have plusses and minuses each way, and the state will see the result, either good or bad. But I know I have heard a lot of complaints from Florida residents that they can’t find open sites in their own state parks.
 
There was a long discussion of this when the bill passed earlier this year. Since I won’t go to Florida, it is no skin off my nose, but it is somewhat similar to some states that charge out of state visitors much more for the sites. The type of situations guidelines have plusses and minuses each way, and the state will see the result, either good or bad. But I know I have heard a lot of complaints from Florida residents that they can’t find open sites in their own state parks.
I don't think Florida residents are going to see any significant change in campsite availability. There's just too many people for too few sites no matter who want them. But keeping out of staters out, even for a month, just costs Florida money. Some states charge a premium for out of state reservations, although it seems some are excessive, but that strikes me as a more effective way to deter some out of staters than flat out denying them the opportunity to compete for sites. Personally, I no longer have a dog in this fight since I've been medicaled off the road, but before that happened, I already had a schedule laid out for next winter using only southern Georgia State Parks, most with full hookups that I would have already started the reservations process since GA allows 13 month advance bookings. Florida would not have seen a dime of my money...
 
I had heard about this change a few weeks ago while staying at a Florida state parks. Florida does give older and disabled residents a big discount, so that may cause a decrease in park income, but I do have sympathy with Florida residents who want to stay in Florida parks. As an older Ohio resident, I get a discount in Ohio state parks, but I am not sure how many other states do that.

This will probably be the last year I spend in Florida for a while, anyway. I have been alternative the west with Florida for winters, and will probably spend at least the next 2 or 3 years out of Florida anyway, for several reasons, one of which is political and one is due to the difficulty of getting a state, county, or COE campground reservation. Traffic is also a lot worse in this state than most of the western state areas, which is also a consideration. Florida is just becoming too urban with too many people, in my personal opinion.
 
I whole-hardheartedly agree with the new rules. If FL state parks operate at capacity all winter, why be concerned with pandering to out-of-state visitors??
Indiana charges out-of-state visitors more than in-state, and rightfully-so IMO.
Part of my state taxes allowthe Indiana DNR to function. Indiana DNR is tasked with managing our state parks.
I agree; FL state parks are a great place to spend the winter, but not at the cost of FL residents denied the opportunity to enjoy a long weekend camping..
 
My vote is for preferred treatment for residents. Whether that's in the form of a reduced fee or ability to reserve before non-residents. It's the fair way to doing things. What I have a problem with is when those same campground managers let those same campsites sit empt from Sunday thru Thursday during the off season. Makes no sense and the additional revenue they'd receive by offering reduced rates for those days would likely provide the needed revenues to keep the parks properly maintained.
 
"Effective Jan. 1, 2024, at noon Eastern time, only Florida residents may make reservations for cabins and RV, tent, boat and equestrian campsites 11 months in advance. Non-Florida residents will be able to make reservations 10 months in advance."

So Florida residents get a one month head start? Big deal. Everyone agrees the preferred sites are full hence the demand is already outstripping supply so I don't think there is gonna be a dramatic revenue fall off.

If I was working, and only had a window of vacation to go camping it would be very frustrating to have to go to Alabama or Mississippi because my state is full.

Even at that I am terrible at planning 12 months in advance. When I was resident in Ohio it was also tough to get preferred sites but I was usually successful finding something 2 weeks out.

I think there must be also some "boomer" dynamic going on as more and more retire and hit the road - demand appears to be definitely up.
 
Well gang - not everything you read is aimed at you.

Florida residents already live here and want a chance to have a weekend or vacation getaway that will likely be for a short time - not a 5-6 month contiguous snowbird camping experience.

I've seldom met anyone from Florida that "moves in" for months blocking others from enjoying our parks.

If one of those shorter-term residents are in a site in the middle or a snowbird's planned five month homesteading monopoly adventure then the out-of-staters may have to move to another site to achieve the months long exile from their real home - just as we often have to do when we travel the USA.

If anyone thinks they are a target that's unfortunate.

And yes, we do like tourists and bring more money - and BTW, if you don't live here, please don't let the politics ruffle your feathers you can return to your normal when you get back home with a lovely tan.
 
And yes, we do like tourists and bring more money - and BTW, if you don't live here, please don't let the politics ruffle your feathers you can return to your normal when you get back home with a lovely tan.
Its really easy to find yet another reason to be outraged these days, no matter the location. Heck in many places in Florida your small dog is at risk of being eaten by alligators. So folks better not go to Florida if you have any ankle biters.:p

When I camp in Florida or anywhere else, the only thing I care about is the scenery, facilities and a safe location that I plan to sleep at in the evening.

I remember when Key West was a mecca of alternative lifestyles which is now well accepted. Not a single person thought about boycotting the place. We had a blast when visiting and It has not changed a bit, just a few more people flooding the town now. It got so overloaded that the crowds have back filled back up the road to Miami.
 
Florida has made it official that they don't want out of staters in their state parks. I received this in my email today:
I believe that you are overreacting just a bit, there.
I never plan that far ahead, anyway.
If I did need to book something that far ahead, though, we have some family and friends down there that would gladly put our stake in the ground for us early on.
 
I believe that you are overreacting just a bit, there.
I never plan that far ahead, anyway.
If I did need to book something that far ahead, though, we have some family and friends down there that would gladly put our stake in the ground for us early on.
Did you read the email? Your friends and family can't do that without breaking the rules.
 

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