The Golden Age of Camping

After World War II, more and more Americans took to the open road to explore the nation and spend vacations in their vehicles. Although the increasing number of hotels and resorts eventually caused a decline in camper-traveling, ever-more-sophisticated trailers and campers allowed people more comfort and convenience as they sought to combine leisure with their love of traveling.

Camping area at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park: Monroe County, Florida (June 10, 1969)

Camping area at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park: Monroe County, Florida (June 10, 1969)

Image number: C673506

Dick Layton at Layton's Cottage, Trailer, and Fishing Park during construction of cottages: Riviera Beach, Florida (1935)

Dick Layton at Layton's Cottage, Trailer, and Fishing Park during construction of cottages: Riviera Beach, Florida (1935)

Image number: PR30427

Unidentified woman standing in front of building at Layton's Cottage, Trailer, and Fishing Park: Riviera Beach, Florida (ca. 1938)

Unidentified woman standing in front of building at Layton's Cottage, Trailer, and Fishing Park: Riviera Beach, Florida (ca. 1938)

Image number: PR30420

IView showing visitors with their boat trailer at the Pahokee State Park: Palm Beach County, Florida (June 1974)

View showing visitors with their boat trailer at the Pahokee State Park: Palm Beach County, Florida (June 1974)

Image number: COM00828

Residents at the pool at the Belle Haven Trailer Park: Miami, Florida (1953)

Residents at the pool at the Belle Haven Trailer Park: Miami, Florida (1953)

Image number: C017589

Fred and Violet Holtzman in the office of the Tampa Municipal Trailer Park (1939)

Fred and Violet Holtzman in the office of the Tampa Municipal Trailer Park (1939)

Image number: RC13592

Fred and Violet Holtzman are manager and business manager of the trailer park.

View of the Flamingo camping area at Everglades National Park: Everglades National Park, Florida (1960)

View of the Flamingo camping area at Everglades National Park: Everglades National Park, Florida (1960)

Image number: C032102

Young woman prepares a meal at a camping convention: Gainesville, Florida (1962)

Young woman prepares a meal at a camping convention: Gainesville, Florida (1962)

Image number: C038613

Evelyn Stillwell teaches a ballet class: Sarasota, Florida (1953)

Evelyn Stillwell teaches a ballet class: Sarasota, Florida (1953)

Photo by: Charles Barron

Image number: C017581

By the middle of the century, state and national parks equipped themselves to accommodate various types and sizes of camping vehicles. Resorts and villages catering to camper travelers and seasonal residents offered amenities such as art classes and music and dance lessons, as well as leisure and sport facilities such as exclusive covered swimming areas and shuffle board courts.

Residents at the beach: Hollywood, Florida

Residents at the beach: Hollywood, Florida (1953)

Photo by: Charles Barron

Image number: C017601

Square dancers at the trailer park: Sarasota, Florida (1957)

Square dancers at the trailer park: Sarasota, Florida (1957)

Photo by: Stokes

Image number: C024600

Accompanying note: "Square dancing is but one of dozens of activities on the weekly program of a Florida trailer park. These couples are taking dance instruction in the community clubhouse of the mobile park."

Car and trailer crossing a bridge: Astor, Florida (1957)

Car and trailer crossing a bridge: Astor, Florida (1957)

Photo by: Francis P. Johnson

Image number: C024681

Visitors at the campground of the park: Thonotosassa, Florida (1961)

Visitors at the campground of the park: Thonotosassa, Florida (1961)

Image number: C035204

Campers in Ocala National Forest: Ocala National Forest, Florida (1961

Campers in Ocala National Forest: Ocala National Forest, Florida (1961)

Photo by: Stokes

Image number: C037658

Mr and Mrs. Herbert Smith camp at Apalachicola National Forest: Leon County, Florida (1961)

Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Smith camp at Apalachicola National Forest: Leon County, Florida (1961)

Photo by: Stokes

Image number: C037366

View of the Briny Breezes Trailer Park: Delray Beach, Florida (1963)

View of the Briny Breezes Trailer Park: Delray Beach, Florida (1963)

Photo by: Johnson

Image number: C640329

Campsites at Knights Key Park Campground: Marathon, Florida (1965)

Campsites at Knights Key Park Campground: Marathon, Florida (1965)

Photo by: Johnson

Image number: C650521

Family in their camping trailer: Monroe County, Florida (1966)

Family in their camping trailer: Monroe County, Florida (1966)

Photo by: Johnson

Image number: C651605

Family with their travel trailer: Monroe County, Florida (1966)

Family with their travel trailer: Monroe County, Florida (1966)

Photo by: Johnson

Image number: C651610

Campers at unidentified Florida Key's campground: Monroe County, Florida (1972)

Campers at unidentified Florida Key's campground: Monroe County, Florida (1972)

Photo by: Johnson

Image number: C679227

View showing area for camping at the Hillsborough River State Park: Thonotosassa, Florida (197-)

View showing area for camping at the Hillsborough River State Park: Thonotosassa, Florida (197-)

Image number: COM00351

The Hillsborough River State Park opened in 1938 as one of Florida's first state parks. It is divided by the swiftly flowing Hillsborough River. Fort Foster, a replica of an 1837 fort from the Second Seminole War, is located on the park grounds, adjacent to the river.

Unidentified people camping at Torreya State Park: Rock Bluff, Florida (1976)

Unidentified people camping at Torreya State Park: Rock Bluff, Florida (1976)

Image number: C683328

People picnicking near camper at St. Andrews State Park: Panama City, Florida (1977)

People picnicking near camper at St. Andrews State Park: Panama City, Florida (1977)

Image number: COM00940

The park opened in 1951 and now consists of more than 1,260 acres. During World War II, it was part of St. Andrews Military Reservation. Circular cannon platforms are still in place on the beach near the jetties.

View of visitors feeding ducks near campers at the Busch Gardens amusement park: Tampa, Florida (19--)

View of visitors feeding ducks near campers at the Busch Gardens amusement park: Tampa, Florida (19--)

Image number: COM01441