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click to enlarge Flagler Beach Pier

Photo via Adobe Stock

Flagler Beach Pier

Stroll along Flagler Beach's six miles of cinnamon-red coquina sand facing the Atlantic Ocean 

Vacations this year are ... well, not easy. At press time and for who knows until when, many countries are closed to American travelers – and many states are closed to Floridians, unless you're up for a 14-day quarantine first. That makes road trips your most likely option for any kind of getaway fun. But even there, who feels 100 percent safe in a hotel room? So: Camping it is. Pack up that tent, or if you're not quite that gung-ho about sleeping on the ground, look into renting an RV or camper. If #vanlife is good enough for thousands of hot young Instagrammers, it's good enough for us. We've highlighted three of our favorite Florida cities this year, making sure to choose those with state parks that welcome campers. At present, no walk-in overnight stays are allowed, so you'll need to plan ahead and reserve a place to pitch your tent or park up.

click to enlarge Flagler Beach - PHOTO BY GREGORY WORKMAN
  • Photo by Gregory Workman
  • Flagler Beach

Sun bunnies: Flagler Beach offers six miles of cinnamon-red coquina sand facing the Atlantic Ocean, and there's nary a high-rise hotel in sight. The old-fashioned pier stretches out over the water, casting sun-dappled shade beneath; up top, there's no alcohol allowed, but you can watch for dolphins, pelicans, even right whales between December and March. Best of all, the beaches are pet-friendly and the parking is free.

If you do decide to vanlife it, Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area has 34 beach-dune campsites and 34 sites on the Matanzas River side of the long, skinny barrier island. The beach here is quiet and windswept, good for surfing and shell-hunting. Canoe and kayak rentals are available and the Intracoastal Waterway is yours for the exploration. Exhale: You're on vacation.

click to enlarge Gamble Rogers plaque - PHOTO BY MYFWC
  • Photo by MyFWC
  • Gamble Rogers plaque

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