Birding and RVing are an incredible match of activities. RVing allows you to stay in parks during the right times of the year to see birds in their summer or winter habitats or along the way as the birds are migrating. Plus, camping at a park gives you the ability to step outside your RV early in the morning to watch birds during peak observation times.
With binoculars and a guide or app for bird identification, anyone can enjoy the hobby and stop at whatever level you want.
I know that many serious birders have a life list of all the species they have seen and identified. But casual birders can just try to identify a few birds.
A few of birders’ favorite guides are Sibley Guides, the National Geographic Guide, and Peterson Field Guides. There are quite a few apps available to smartphone owners, including BirdsEye, iBird Pro, and the Audubon Field Guide to North American Birds.
Birds can be seen at almost all state and national parks, but some are better than others. Of course, you should attend bird walks to learn what species are at the park or what areas of the park have more sightings.
Here are some great parks to visit in the Southeast while you are hiding out from the northern snow. The parks in italics have camping for RVs.
Purple Gallinule hiding in Shark Valley.
RV snowbirds visit Florida during the winter while birds are wintering there too. However, many birds stay the whole year, so birding is a year-round hobby. Some places to visit are listed here.
Everglades National Park — This park is on every birder’s wish list. Summertime can be too hot and muggy, but the park is wonderful to visit in the winter (November to March). More than 400 species have been recorded at the park.
Audubon lists this as the most significant breeding ground for wading birds and as a stopover for birds migrating on the Atlantic Flyway. The Anhinga Trail and Shark Valley are popular areas to see birds. Campsites are available both with and without electricity.
While the Everglades are the gold standard, many species of birds can be seen throughout Florida’s parks.
Savannas Recreation Area— This is a great park to see birds while on a walk. Alternatively, you can rent a canoe to explore the area and get up close and personal.
Sandhill Crane at our campsite at Moss Park.
Moss Park — This is a county park with great camping. The highlight is the Sandhill Cranes that walk through the campground. Be prepared to hear their loud calls, which can sound like an elephant bellowing.
Jonathan Dickinson State Park — Be sure to canoe the Loxahatchee River when you visit this park. You can see alligators, air plants, and lots of birds along the river.
J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge — The refuge is listed as one of the top birding spots in the United States. There is no camping at the refuge but there are several RV parks in the area. While you are there, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is nearby and well worth a visit.
View from a campsite at St. Andrews State Park.
The top of the Gulf of Mexico coast and its curve include many state parks where birding can be enjoyed.
St. Andrews State Park — This park has campsites on the water so you can watch birds feeding just a few feet from your campsite.
Other great parks for birding within Florida include Henderson Beach State Park, Grayton Beach State Park, and Big Lagoon State Park.
Gulf Islands National Seashore is a terrific place to observe shorebirds any time of the year. Camping is at Fort Pickens Campground (Florida) and Davis Bayou Campground (Mississippi). Both campgrounds are excellent.
Dauphin Island — There is no camping at the state park but there are a couple of RV parks here. The island is home to Audubon Bird Sanctuary. The best time to visit is during spring migrations in April and May when warblers and tanager visit but many species of birds make this island home.
Grand Isle State Park in Louisiana is best known as a place for thousands of warblers to rest during their migration in the spring. Another 100 species of birds also visit this park.
You can enjoy your winter while you observe the birds that are also enjoying the weather.