Free RV Camping in Florida – It Does Exist!

September 30, 2017

Wait a minute. Did you say “free RV camping in Florida?”

Yes, yes we did. And we’re not talking about Walmart, Cabela’s or Cracker Barrel. We’re talking about free RV camping in an actual campground. With a bathroom. That has a shower. With hot water.

Whaaat?

free RV camping in Florida at Dupuis WMA

Where is this free RV camping in Florida?

We’re talking about Dupuis Wildlife Management Area. You’ll find the campground just to the east of Lake Okeechobee off of Kanner Highway.

We initially found Dupuis on AllStays.com. We were looking for somewhere to hang out after the Everglades and in the vague direction of Orlando since we had plans to go to Disney’s Fort Wilderness for a few days to meet Kevin’s brother and family. Dupuis fit the bill.

How to make reservations at Dupuis WMA Equestrian Campground

Now, when we first made reservations at Dupuis, you sent an email requesting your reservation and then you were sent back the gate code and a permit to print out and put in your window.

But between our first and second stay, they implemented an online reservation system. The website might tell you it’s cool to just show the camp host your permit on your phone, but if you don’t want him banging on your door, print it out and put it in your window anyway.

What’s Dupuis WMA like?

Dupuis WMA is an equestrian campground which means people come camp with their horses. There are barns and pastures for the horses. And tons of horse trails. During the week it wasn’t full but seemed to pack out during the weekends. One night, way too many tent campers showed up late and partied into the evening. But most of the time it was pretty chill.

dupuis wma campground

dupuis wma campground

There were no marked off sites as of February 2017 when we visited. Signs point equestrian campers to one area, but we ended up camping there both stays. It’s a little chaotic. You’ll probably have a better time getting situated if you arrive early in the week.

bird visitor at dupuis WMA

working at dupuis wma

sunset at dupuis wma

trail at dupuis wma

2nd site free rv camping in florida at dupuis wma

Our first stay, we were right under a Great Horned Owl nest, and they had a newborn baby in there! Every day we’d check on the baby’s progress peering through binoculars at him. Such a cute fluffball!

great horned owl baby

great horned owl at sunset at dupuis wma

There are bathrooms. The women’s had a residential style shower stall. And yes, there was even hot water. And there were outlets if you wanted to dry your hair. There is water but no dump station.

There are plenty of trails for walking and biking. The fire roads are too sandy for walking or biking very far. While we did hike the trails a bit, to be honest, it’s boring. The landscape is scrubby with some pine trees and palm trees. We saw some raccoon poop but nothing else of note. But I’m a bit biased because I like there to be a water feature on my hikes.

pine tree with huge bark

raccoon poop

dupuis wma trail

no hunting

We didn’t go over to Lake Okeechobee, but there’s a trail that runs alongside it for walking or biking. We used our time at Dupuis to work while not distracted by too much other fun stuff.

Close to civilization, but not too close

Dupuis WMA is about 45 minutes from Stuart, Florida (we’ve written about vegan options there before) and about an hour from West Palm Beach. We visited each during our two stays there.

Visiting Stuart

One evening, we headed over to Stuart with The Learning Banks for tacos at The Taco Shack. Vegan, gluten-free, no problem. We covered Taco Shack in the post linked above. The owner was a hoot and said some hilarious things that she probably doesn’t want to be repeated in a public forum.

Right by the Taco Shack is a kava bar called Island Root Kava Bar. Kava bars always yield interesting stories, and this one was no exception. The guy behind the bar grew up in the RV park in Pacifica where  Taylor and Beth stayed. So there was much discussion about that. Also, the kava to drink that night was apparently the Wow. And the experience of enjoying this particular kava was called a “sick Wow sesh.” Mmmkay.

wow kava at Island Root in Stuart

Kava is just relaxing. It’s similar to drinking an extra strength chamomile tea. Kratom messed up my sleep, so I avoid it now. But you may react differently. Seriously though, if you’ve never been to a kava bar, it’s something you need to do at least once. Even if you don’t drink kava, they’ll have other beverages, the people watching is superb.

Business in West Palm Beach

The keyboards on both of our MacBooks started sticking, so we took them to an Apple authorized repair shop in West Palm Beach. They had to send the computers off which meant we’d be making two visits to West Palm Beach.

The first visit, we went to the Grilled Cheese Gallery. It’s not a vegan restaurant, but they have vegan options. The Disco has tofu, marinated cucumber, kimchi, sriracha aioli, and vegan cheese. What a delicious combination! And the presentation is outstanding.

Grilled Cheese Gallery West Palm Beach

Disco vegan grilled cheese at the Grilled Cheese Gallery

vegan grilled cheese

Then when we went back, we hit up the Veggie Love Truck. Pictured are the Pesto Grilled Cheese, the Dosarito (curry sweet potatoes, ginger cabbage salad, cilantro and coconut chutney, and cashew cream sauce wrapped in a dosa), and peanut butter cups. Everything is vegan, gluten-free, organic, and made to order!

veggie love truck

veggie love truck side

veggie love truck menu

veggie love truck grilled cheese

veggie love truck dosarito

veggie love truck peanut butter cups

We also tried Darbster, an all vegan restaurant, for dinner. We had kombucha, cashew mac and cheese, the black and blue burger, HOP cake sandwich, and I don’t remember what kind of cake this was for dessert.

drinks at Darbster

mac and cheese side at darbster

black & blue burger at darbster

HOP cake at darbster

food at darbster

darbster cake

In between, Disney World

In between our two stays at Dupuis, we spent a couple of days at Disney’s Fort Wilderness so we could meet up with Kevin’s brother’s family. Disney is super accommodating for special diets.

Before we even get to Disney though, let’s talk about Orlando. We made it a point to arrive in time to get brunch at Ethos Vegan Kitchen. Because it is amazing. Protip: if you get the skillet, get a side of gravy and dump it all over the top. You’re welcome.

Ethos Vegan Kitchen Orlando Florida

cappuccino at Ethos

breakfast skillet at Ethos

cinnamon roll at Ethos

breakfast skillet with gravy at Ethos

baked goods at Ethos

Now, on to Disney. Trail’s End doesn’t seem like it would be vegan-friendly, but Chef TJ hooked us up! Instead of eating off of the buffet, he made us special dishes, and they just kept coming. So much food! And all of it was incredible.

vegan salads at trail's end

trail's end vegan food

trail's end vegan food

trail's end vegan food

trail's end vegan food

A post shared by VeganRVr (@veganrvr) on

vegan soup at trail's end

vegan corn at trail's end

vegan tofu and vegetables at trail's end

vegan dessert at trail's end

Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Villas also had delicious vegan and gluten-free options. They even had vegan and gluten-free naan!

chutneys at sanaa

vegan glutenfree naan at sanaa

vegan options at sanaa

more vegan options at sanaa

They even have vegan and gluten-free beignets! So we grabbed some just before we left. I mean, you’ve gotta try that! I promise, there was powdered sugar on it. This beignet might have been day old.

vegan glutenfree beignet

Danielle found these options on the Vegan Disney World blog. It’s a great place to start your research for vegan food at Disney.

It’ll be interesting to see if Dupuis continues to be an option for free RV camping in Florida. Their website doesn’t say anything about damage from Irma. I’d recommend calling before you make reservations online just in case it’s not a good idea to camp there right now.

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Laura Nunemaker

About the Author

Laura Nunemaker

vegan. digital nomad. cycling. scuba. intj. former vegan bakery owner.

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