Florida residents get top priority at state park campgrounds now that Governor Ron DeSantis has signed HB 109 into law. Introduced in response to complaints that third-party booking sites were snatching up reservations, the bill received unanimous support from Florida lawmakers.
When does the new law go into effect?
The law, which takes effect January 1, 2024, mandates state park reservations for residents open 11 months in advance. Non-residents will be able to make reservations ten months ahead. The rule applies to cabins, campsites, and various other recreational sites.
To secure a campsite ahead of the general public, residents will need to present a valid Florida driver’s license or ID number.
Why the change?
Florida State Park campsites are notoriously hard to nab, especially during the winter months when many snowbirds head south. Frustration from both residents and non-residents has grown as Florida campsites often book up the minute the reservation window opens.
32 million people visited a Florida State Park during the 2021/2022 fiscal year and that number is expected to increase in 2022/2023.
Is Florida the only State favoring residents?
Florida isn’t the only state making attempts to focus on its residents. In 2021, popular Idaho State Parks doubled in price for out-of-state visitors and Texas took measures to address the no-show problem that plagues most state park campgrounds.
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