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Old 11-05-2011, 11:38 PM   #1
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Heading South from Illinois....Soon!

Since we have finally brought our new tow vehicle home, we've decided our maiden voyage will be to head South from Northern Illinois towards New Orleans after Thanksgiving.

We'd like to spend time camped along the Gulf during December, January, February while the North enjoys the frigid weather, but we have never been before. We will be bringing our three Dachshunds...the M.O.D. Squad...and would like suggestions for your fave campsites and attractions please!

Are we completely nutz for doing this? Is it crowded? Expensive? Anyone been to the Keys during winter and NOT spent a fortune to camp?

Always appreciate AS owners' frank comments
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Old 11-06-2011, 12:28 AM   #2
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I don't think the trip south in itself is crazy, but I'd recommend at least some extensive driveway camping to catch existing problems before you're 100% dependent on the trailer. It'll give you another reason to keep the inside of the trailer heated for any freezing night before you make your getaway at the end of the month!
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Old 11-06-2011, 12:29 AM   #3
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During the winter season, the campgrounds in the Florida peninsular get pretty full, and it's the height of their season, so there aren't many bargains. The Florida Panhandle and the Alabama and Mississippi coastal areas are much less slammed, and the winter weather is usually quite bearable.

Everything in Key West is expensive in the winter time.

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Old 11-06-2011, 03:14 AM   #4
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FL Panhandle

We like Henderson Beach @Ft. Walton Beach and also Fred Gannon-Rocky Bayou State Park. There is lots to see in the area, beautiful beaches and fun things to do.
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Old 11-06-2011, 03:48 AM   #5
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The state parks and National Sea Shore campgrounds are great along the Florida panhandle. Most save a certain number for non-reserve sites. All the state and national campgrounds have online reservations. Some to check out that we really like: Pensacola- Ft. Pickens National Sea Shore, Panama City - Top Sail (State Park I believe), St. Joseph's Peninsula state park, St. George's Island state park. There are many others that are very good. A National Park Golden Age Pass will save you a significant amount of money when staying in national campgrounds. If 62 or older, you can buy a Golden Age Pass at the gate of national recreation areas.
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:56 AM   #6
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Headed south out of Illinois you can stop at Rend Lake ST PK up till Dec. 1 or Johnston City Park for $8. Birmingham is a push the 2nd day but there is Oak Mountain ST PK there. Stop and see the Hyundai plant at Montgomery. Mystic Springs makes a third night($13 I think). Tour the base and Museum at Pensacola while you scope out what is available at the Coastal parks. There is a nice Florida ST PK at the Caves close by. Other parks are along the coast.
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Old 11-06-2011, 11:01 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moosetags View Post
During the winter season, the campgrounds in the Florida peninsular get pretty full, and it's the height of their season, so there aren't many bargains. The Florida Panhandle and the Alabama and Mississippi coastal areas are much less slammed, and the winter weather is usually quite bearable.

Everything in Key West is expensive in the winter time.

Brian
ditto to all of the above

We love Gulf Island National Seashore for camping, and the drive along the Gulf through to the Florida panhandle is very, very pretty. Biloxi and Ocean Springs, MS are worth exploring.

The Everglades is fun to explore, too, gators everywhere.

Key West will be expensive, but if you've never been the drive down alone is worth the trip. Spend a couple of days at Boyd's and see the town. Beautiful, funky, end-of-the-earth kind of place, although with the usual touristy nonsense that detracts somewhat.

Key West Campground, Key West Camping, Key West RV Park and Tent camping. Key West,FL camping, koa camping and Camping in Key West

Have a great trip!


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Old 11-08-2011, 04:27 PM   #8
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Thank you all for your suggestions; we'll map them out. Hopefully, we' ll send photos as we go along next month.

Best,
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Old 11-09-2011, 05:40 PM   #9
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Last March we spent some time in Everglades Nat. Park. Plenty of spaces in both of their campgrounds. One has hookups and one does not. They are both very nice, we stayed a few days in each. Really enjoyed the everglades and are planning on going back this year. May spend some time exploring the west coast of Fla this time around depending on the weather.
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