Big Bend - Saltwater Paddling Trail - Camping Permits

Primitive campsites have been established on the Big Bend Wildlife Management Area for use by through paddlers on the Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail. Paddlers must possess an approved permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to use these sites. Permits are required in order to conserve and protect this beautiful but fragile coastal wilderness, and to ensure adequate camping space for paddlers. The use of the Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail guide is strongly recommended. This unique guide may be purchased on-line.


We now have a new reservation system for the Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail.  Go on-line to check trip availability, reserve campsites, and download permits.

For safety, FWC will not issue camping permits for canoers or solo kayak paddlers.

photo Butler Island

Separate reservations must be submitted for each trip.

Reservations may be made up to six months in advance with the exception of single nights which may be reserved no more than 1 month in advance.

If you are unable to complete your paddling trip please cancel your reservation on-line.  This will give another group the chance to use the campsites you no longer need.

There is no fee at this time for permits.

One permit will apply for each paddling group.

You may purchase a copy of the  Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Guide on-line or by calling (850) 488-5520.

An applicant may apply for no more than one trip per month.

Permit Provisions

We ask you to abide by the following permit rules to ensure protection and the future enjoyment of this paddling trail.

  1. Camping is allowed for only the permitted dates and sites and only within defined camping areas on designated sites. All sites are limited to a capacity of 8 people and 4 tents.
  2. Fires shall be built within established fire rings; keep them small and monitor at all times. Collect only dead wood from the ground that can be broken by hand. No cutting of standing trees. Extinguish fires completely when leaving the campsite.
  3. Solid human waste shall be deposited in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep and located at least 200 feet from water, campsites and trails. Cover all waste completely and pack out all toilet tissue and hygiene products.
  4. Food and trash should be stored securely to avoid attracting animals. Repackage food to minimize waste and pack out all food and trash.
  5. Wild animals should be observed from a distance and never fed. If animals move away or appear disturbed, you are too close.
  6. Pets are not allowed at any campsite.
  7. The permittee must have this permit in possession while camping on the area.
  8. Emergencies - if emergencies such as severe weather force paddlers to remain at a campsite beyond their permit limitations, campers must accommodate other permitted parties.
  9. The permit is Nontransferable.
  10. See the Big Bend Recreation page for detailed rules and regulations. Rock Island - (Hickory Mound Unit); Spring Warrior Creek - (Spring Creek Unit); Sponge Point and Dallus Creek - (Tide Swamp Unit); Sink Creek and Butler Island - (Jena Unit). All units are part of the Big Bend Wildlife Management Area.

Make a Reservation


FWC Facts:
Cranes are quite omnivorous. They feed on seeds, grain, berries, insects, earthworms, mice, small birds, snakes, lizards, frogs and crayfish, but they do not "fish" like herons.

Learn More at AskFWC