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Old 07-07-2012, 03:27 PM   #1
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Camping options in Florida/AZ in Jan and Feb

Next winter we plan to take our 25' Sovereign to a warm place for January and February. Do we need to make reservations or can we expect to find spots to camp while we explore? We are thinking either Florida or Arizona. Do folks have a preference or experience with exploring either state in Jan. and Feb.?
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Old 07-07-2012, 04:57 PM   #2
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In Fl you will have to have a reservation for any of the state parks in the southern 2/3s of the state. Private parks you should be able to find spots on a walk in bases. PP have weekly and monthly rates that may be what you want

A completely different experience is camping on the BLM lands in AZ. It is free if you are not close into town and then it is $40.00 for 2 weeks. At Quartzite Az. the population goes from 5,000 in the summer to 250,000 in the winter. Great fun if you have a generator and like boon-docking. Water, free, and pump out, at a fee, is available
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Old 07-07-2012, 05:04 PM   #3
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Arizona has great camping weather in January and February. Lots to see and do; and reservations are usually unnecessary, except during big events, like the RV/Car/Gem & Mineral/Craft Show in Quartzsite, AZ, from end of January through first week or so in February.

Please indicate your camping preferences (RV resort, boondocking, big or small towns, etc.) and interests; and those familiar with the area will provide suggestions.
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Old 07-08-2012, 09:36 AM   #4
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We usually like more wild and natural camping areas. But that's when we are escaping the daily routines. Spending part of a winter away, we are looking for areas where we can take classes (painting, mosaic .....) we also would like an area with active cultural events dance, plays; and of course coffee houses. It looks like Mesa has a lot of these amenities but isn't it quite crowded? We are in the exploration stage. Retired and like to travel but not interested in sitting around or just playing. Maybe an area with a nature center where we can volunteer. Sorry for the ramble. I thought I would put our thoughts out there and see what places others have found.
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:11 AM   #5
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If you contact the volunteer cordinator for the State of Fl. in Tallahassee you will find countless areas that you can volunteer in. Also the Everglades National Park looks for volunteers for several nature programs. These offer free camping.
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Old 07-08-2012, 04:55 PM   #6
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Phoenix and Tucson have a lot of the things you mentioned. See suggestions below:

* We usually like more wild and natural camping areas -- Phoenix and Tucson are large metropolitan areas, but both are only short drives from many interesting outdoor areas. Both are near mountains and open desert, with lots of camping opportunities. Arizona has several National Park/Monuments and numerous state parks that have campgrounds, picnic tables, fire rings, etc.; some have hookups, while others do not. Also, there are a lot of dispersed camping areas that provide beautiful boondocking opportunities on well-maintained dirt roads that do not require 4WD.

Most lower elevations are cool in the daytime and above freezing at night (typically, 60-70 day and 40-50 at night), which is great for camping! Also, there are numerous lakes with excellent fishing; some within an hour or two of metropolitan areas. One of our favorite camp spots is at Lake Pleasant, which is only about 45 minutes from our house in northwest Phoenix. Lake Powell National Recreation Area (northern Arizona border, near Page) is beautiful in the winter, with relatively warm days. However, nights can be close to freezing. You can camp on a long sandy beach at Lone Rock with your Airstream right at the water's edge, and there are very few campers in the winter months.

* Take classes (painting, mosaic .....) -- Both cities have very nice RV resorts that include club houses where craft classes are offered, golf courses and some have country club type amenities. Also, there are lots of craft classes hosted by local businesses and community colleges.

* Active cultural events, dance, plays -- Both cities have symphony orchestras, opera and active theater groups, dinner theater, and spring training baseball. Also, many concert and theater tours perform in Phoenix and Tucson, including Phantom of the Opera, Cirque du Soleil, Lion King, Madonna, Neil Diamond, Willie Nelson, Yani, Crosby/Stills/Nash, the Wiggles, Bare Naked Ladies and about whatever your tastes might be. Plus, Phoenix has many professional sports teams, including Cardinals football, Diamondback Baseball, Suns Basketball and Coyotes Hockey.

* Coffee houses -- Lots of upscale coffee, wine and gourmet food establishments. Scottsdale and Phoenix are also noted for fine dining, Arabian horse shows, the Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Show, Fifth Avenue Shops, etc.

* Mesa has a lot of these amenities but isn't it quite crowded? -- Mesa and Apache Junction are big snowbird destinations, where many retirees and full-timers spend their winters. Both are within the Phoenix metropolitan area, but on the far east side, near the Superstition Mountains. They are suburbs that have a small town feel, but are only minutes from downtown. One of the RV resorts in Mesa sponsors a community concert band of retirees, and they have free monthly band concerts on site (donations accepted). Some of their members come from the armed forces bands, and the big bands of the 40's and 50's.

* Nature center where we can volunteer -- There are many cultural volunteering opportunities including docents for the Phoenix Symphony, Phoenix Zoo, Desert Botanical Gardens (in Phoenix), Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (living museum, more like a wildlife zoo, in Tucson) and many more.

Bob Bondurant has driving schools in Phoenix with high-performance go-carts and automobiles. Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) periodically hosts Indy Car and NASCAR races. Pima Air Museum (in Tucson) displays old war planes and includes a deactivated, underground, Titan Missile Silo where tours are conducted. Plus, Flagstaff has snow skiing and winter sports. And, don't forget the Grand Canyon, the Grand Canyon and Verde Valley Narrow Gauge Railways, Lake Powell, Indian Casinos, the Heard Museum (Southwest Indian Art & Barry Goldwater Kachina & Photo Collections, in Phoenix) and much, much more...

Also, we are only a day's drive to Disneyland, San Diego, southern California, southern Colorado/New Mexico/Utah ski country, Karchner Caverns (in southern Arizona), Carlsbad Caverns National Park (southeastern New Mexico), Bryce and Zion National Parks (southwest Utah), Mesa Verde National Park (southwest Colorado), Las Vegas and Laughlin (Nevada), and OMG, much, much more...

============

Link to Arizona tourism site: Arizona Tourism & Travel - Vacations in AZ | Arizona Office of Tourism
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Old 07-08-2012, 09:44 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the great suggestions.
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Old 07-09-2012, 12:47 AM   #8
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We spend winter months in Sarasota, FL. It is considered the cultural center of Florida and brimming with theaters, restaurants, an opera house, art galleries, excellent libraries, the Ringling Museum, Mote Marine (a research aquarium) Historic Spanish Point (all of which are heavily dependent on volunteers).. To put the icing on the cake, so to speak, Sarasota has three barrier islands which are all very different but equally wonderful. One of the three, Siesta Key, has one of the whitest powdered sugar beaches in the country. Another features St. Armand's Circle.

We rent a lot from a private owner at Sarasota Lakes RV Resort, which is an urban setting, but clean, nice, with lots of social events & amenities (and good winter neighbors!) You need a reservation between January & Easter. Many of the resorts lots are privately owned and sometimes available for lesser fees. It has wonderful smooth paved roads, great for bicycling.

There are other campgrounds in the area which are "out" of town. There is even one right on the beach- but it can't take pets because they're forbidden on that particular beach.

Try Sarasota. It has everything, including a swamp campground outside of town a bit that's crawling with alligators. (Myakka State Park). Another popular outback resort is Peace River Campground. All of the state & private campgrounds are full in the winter. Reservations are essential.

It is very easy to find opportunities to volunteer.
Sarasota was our year-around home until 2006, but now we only winter there. I'm still in love with the place.
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Old 07-09-2012, 07:15 AM   #9
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Check out Land Yacht Harbor, in Melbourne, FL. This Airstream park is within the city of Melbourne close to the Atlantic Ocean and convenient to many Eastern Florida state parks and amenities.
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Old 07-09-2012, 07:43 AM   #10
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Arizona has great camping weather in January and February. Lots to see and do; and reservations are usually unnecessary, except during big events, like the RV/Car/Gem & Mineral/Craft Show in Quartzsite, AZ, from end of January through first week or so in February.

Please indicate your camping preferences (RV resort, boondocking, big or small towns, etc.) and interests; and those familiar with the area will provide suggestions.
X2, fewer travelers in Arizona last year and we could always get in any of the commercial parks. We always called ahead a day or so in advance just to make sure.
Arizona has a network of nice state and county parks with water and electricity. Suggest Catalina State Park near Tucson as the setting is beautiful and the camping area is on a large tract of public lands. McDowell Mountain county park near Scottsdale is equally nice.
The public parks fill up fast and I suggest making reservations online for those this summer. There is a two week stay limit.
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:53 AM   #11
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If you contact the volunteer cordinator for the State of Fl. in Tallahassee you will find countless areas that you can volunteer in. Also the Everglades National Park looks for volunteers for several nature programs. These offer free camping.
That's my younger brother!
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:02 AM   #12
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Jeaton72 I sent you a private message not wanting to publish our winter travel plan.

doug k
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Old 07-12-2012, 11:27 AM   #13
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Jeaton72 I sent you a private message not wanting to publish our winter travel plan.

doug k

Oh man, you must have something good planned!
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Old 07-12-2012, 02:38 PM   #14
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Oh man, you must have something good planned!
We do and it ain't in Texas Just kidding, great place, a neighbor loves the fishing at Corpus Christi and keeps a boat there. We're headed for NM, AZ, and CA but not crazy about telling the world when we're not a home. I guess the snow-filled driveway does that, but have security system, family next door, and Sheriff on the other side. Good luck.

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