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Old 04-26-2007, 05:24 PM   #1
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Good dry-camping in Florida?

Hey again,

Still debating the AS issue. We live in S. Fl and I am an avid tent-camper. If I lived where I wanted, such as out West someplace (instead of where my wife led me too ) this would be a no-brainer....I'd just pull the trigger on this decision. Trying to get the wife into camping and an AS seems to be the way (if any!).

We have 2 small kids (both under the age of 17 months!!!). Was wondering if I could hear from an FL AS'ers out there. Are there any good camping spots in Fl, that would allow for peace and quiet. I'm talking real outta the way spots. Places outside the standard 30-40 unit campground. Wilderness spots. Nothing against campgrounds/RV parks, just want some more solitude than that. If there are, how painful are these spots as far as mosquitos go? Is camping in such remote areas (if any even exist in driving range of S.FL) a hassle with bugs? I'm used to camping out in the AZ/UT desert or in the mountains, without fear of being sucked dry by skeeters.
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Old 04-26-2007, 05:50 PM   #2
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Corps of Engineers campgrounds are clean, quiet, and secluded. Depending on where in S Florida you are, there is the Ortona South Campground, the Franklin Locks Campground, and Palm Beach County has a nice campground called South Bay, at the far south end of lake okechobee.
There is Myakka River State Park, and Alafia River State Park, near Sarasota and Tampa, respectively. There is also Fort DeSoto county park in Pinellas County, and campgrounds in the Ocala National Forest. All these are reasonably priced and quiet, as well as clean, mosquito incursions range from minor to huge clouds of them, depending on park and time of year. Winter is best for less skeeters, but the campgrounds are much more crowded with snowbirds.
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Old 04-26-2007, 09:23 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63
Winter is best for less skeeters, but the campgrounds are much more crowded with snowbirds.
I hear that them thar snowbirds are more dangerous than them skeeters!
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Old 04-27-2007, 06:49 AM   #4
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Thumbs up Ocala National Forest

The Ocala National Forest comes to mind. Fore Lake camp ground east of Ocala off hiway 14 is a favorite. It has new bathroom a showers - a small lake for swiming and fishing - fresh water and a dump station avalible. There are several other outback campgrounds available in the forest. A little more upscale is the Salt Springs camp ground with the springs avalible. It has all hookups. The Florida state campgrounds are some of the best in the nation and this is a super time to use them as most of the snow birds have flown.
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Old 04-27-2007, 06:52 AM   #5
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63
Palm Beach County has a nice campground called South Bay, at the far south end of lake okechobee.
I thought this campground was takenover by FEMA and closed to the public?
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Old 04-27-2007, 07:29 AM   #6
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When you get your AS, you might want to purchase a small Honda generator (EU-1000) to charge your battery/s. This makes dry camping or "Boondocking" more enjoyable.
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Old 04-27-2007, 08:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Alan
I thought this campground was takenover by FEMA and closed to the public?
I just checked, it is, but FEMA is expected to be done with it soon. Palm Beach County has promised to let me know as soon as it is open again. Not that I doubt their intentions, but I'll call them again in a few weeks to see when "soon" is.


On edit, I just spoke to the onsite caretaker there, and she says the FEMA trailers are supposed to be removed by the first week of May, although she is not holding her breath. She also said the refugees there had exacted a toll on the park, and they will be spending the next three months cleaning up and repairing the infrastructure after they are all gone.
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Old 04-27-2007, 09:13 PM   #8
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The Florida State Chamber of Commerce won't appreciate my comments - but be very cautious about seeking out remote "wilderness" areas in Florida for camping. If you happen to find one, be advised that there are a lot of unsavory transient types drawn to these very same areas. It's not just a matter of casual concern that most of the rest stops in Florida have 24-hr armed guards on duty. You can't appreciate how much camping in Florida has changed unless you've lived it. There are beautiful campgrounds, in beautiful locations - but, IMHO, stick with the crowds to enjoy the best the State has to offer - in safety!
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Old 06-14-2007, 05:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cracker
The Florida State Chamber of Commerce won't appreciate my comments - but be very cautious about seeking out remote "wilderness" areas in Florida for camping. If you happen to find one, be advised that there are a lot of unsavory transient types drawn to these very same areas. It's not just a matter of casual concern that most of the rest stops in Florida have 24-hr armed guards on duty. You can't appreciate how much camping in Florida has changed unless you've lived it. There are beautiful campgrounds, in beautiful locations - but, IMHO, stick with the crowds to enjoy the best the State has to offer - in safety!
Cracker, (how did someone from Maine get a name like that?) what you say is only partly true. In the Ocala National Forest, there are several campgrounds without hookups. They are only afew bucks per night and a lot of charactors (unsavory?) tend to stay there. Many are vets who could well be homeless if not for their old van or other accomadation. I'm sure that others have things in their past that have made them socially unacceptable and unemployable.
Having said all that, back in my full timing days I stayed in these campgounds alot. Many nights I would put on a pot of camp food and invite my neighbors. Most brought something to share and the stories at those campfires brought many-a tear. Some would not join and I would leave a bowl of stew. In the morning, that bowl would be on my table washed and clean. I never had a problem or anything missing and I'm sorry to say, it was not that way in some of the upscale campgrounds. I have been more worried when overnighting at some Walmarts than in the forest.
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Old 06-14-2007, 07:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Alan
Cracker, (how did someone from Maine get a name like that?) what you say is only partly true. In the Ocala National Forest, there are several campgrounds without hookups. They are only afew bucks per night and a lot of charactors (unsavory?) tend to stay there. Many are vets who could well be homeless if not for their old van or other accomadation. I'm sure that others have things in their past that have made them socially unacceptable and unemployable.
Having said all that, back in my full timing days I stayed in these campgounds alot. Many nights I would put on a pot of camp food and invite my neighbors. Most brought something to share and the stories at those campfires brought many-a tear. Some would not join and I would leave a bowl of stew. In the morning, that bowl would be on my table washed and clean. I never had a problem or anything missing and I'm sorry to say, it was not that way in some of the upscale campgrounds. I have been more worried when overnighting at some Walmarts than in the forest.
David:

I'm a native Floridian - with family roots on the Gulf Coast going back to the early 20th century. Your remark with respect to "Cracker" tells me that you know the definition thereof. I camped extensively in Florida while raising my family - and frequently at Juniper Springs, Myakka State Park, Ft. DeSota, Collier Seminole,etc. Work took me to Maine in 1993 and, although we tried to do the "Snowbird" thing after we retired in 2005, the difference today in quality of life between Maine and Florida was more than we could handle. We settled permanently in Maine. Your experience, camping in places such as Salt Springs, may have been satisfactory - however, in the '60s and '70s it would not have been my choice for a family place. I'm not currently familiar with Salt Springs. Crime is now, and has been for some time, rampant throughout the State - and out of the way spots that you might consider for dry camping just don't meet my standards for safety. Again, they simply make damn good retreats for unsavory characters - not withstanding those you referenced who are down on their luck. Life is easy, the weather is warm, and opportunities abound. I'm not trying to bash Florida - but when people that are not familiar with the State - or any other area foreign to them - start asking questions I try to give an honest opinion.
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Old 06-14-2007, 08:37 PM   #11
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Camping in Florida

Hi,

I live in Miami and have for all of my 53 years (except for the odd military tour).

I have to admit that there are areas in all the major cities (esp Miami and Jacksonville) where you don't really want to be. Fortunately, there are no campgrounds in those areas.

That said, we have camped all over the State and have had a grand total of one night where we would have preferred to be elsewhere. The State Parks are pretty well managed and policed and, IMHO, are among the finest anywhere. Best we have found so far are Anasthasia, Myakka River, Curry Hammock. Flamingo in Everglades NP is a dry camping location and is excellent in the Winter (totally uninhabitable in the Summer).

Salt Springs is the nicest campground in the National Forest Service. Full service sites, beautiful location, excellent kayaking and swimming. The manager told us last year that there were but a handful of days in a given year where there wasn't a walk-up site available.

Ft Desoto is a county park at the very southern tip of the peninsula that St Pete is located on. Majority of sites waterview. Two miles away is a beach voted in the ten best many many times.

As noted the Corps of Engineer parks, especially St Lucie Locks in Stuart are extremely well maintained. Caught a very nice Snook there this Spring.

As for being the only camper in a pristine woods setting or on the beach, I can't think of a single place where such isolation is possible in an RV. You can tent camp in the back country of Everglades NP or on two of the islands in Biscayne National Park. I believe there is also island camping in the Indian River and over by Pine Island Sound. So if privacy is your main concern, you may well want to forego an Airstream

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