Boat-In Camping

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Basic Information

Boat-In backcountry camping is allowed at the Perdido Key Area in Florida and in Mississippi on Petit Bois, West Petit Bois, and Horn islands, as well as the National Park Service owned portion of Cat Island under the following conditions:

  1. Campers arriving by vessels do not need a camping permit; exception for large groups on wilderness islands - see below.
  2. Campsites must be on relatively flat, level beaches without vegetation or dune structure being damaged.
  3. Camping on dunes, fore dunes, or on vegetation is prohibited.
  4. Camping, cooking, or other activities are not allowed in areas closed for the protection of shorebirds, osprey, or eagles, including any area within 300 yards of any nest which is being used by adult or juvenile osprey or eagle.
  5. Fires may be built on beaches only and must be placed no more than five feet above the high tide line, and they must be below any vegetated area. Only driftwood washed up on the beaches may be burned in these fires; dead and/or down vegetation from the interior of the islands may not be used.
  6. Authorized fires on beaches, after being extinguished with water, are to be disposed of by removing burned and unburned material from the area or by burying all materials under at least six inches of sand.
  7. Practice Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics.
  8. Keep a respectful distance from wildlife.
  9. Follow all National Park Service regulations found on the Laws & Policies page, as well as those within the Superintendent's Compendium.
Large organized groups of 10 or more people must have a Wilderness Permit to camp on the wilderness islands, Horn and Petit Bois islands.

Camping Suspended on Ship Island

Ship Island (formerly known as East and West Ship Islands) was reconnected by the US Army Corps of Engineers earlier this year as part of the Mississippi Coastal Improvement Projects. Though the island has been reconnected, the restored area and the area formerly known as East Ship Island remain an active construction area. For visitor safety, camping and beach fires will not be permitted on the area formerly known as East Ship Island and no visitor use will be permitted in the restored area until construction is completed in Spring 2021. The National Park Service is developing a comprehensive plan for Ship Island to be implemented in 2021.


Last updated: March 18, 2020

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1801 Gulf Breeze Parkway
Gulf Breeze, FL 32563


(850) 934-2600

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