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Old 08-29-2014, 08:48 AM   #15
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Went there every summer as a child. Been back several times since then. It keeps getting progressively worse.

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Old 08-29-2014, 09:12 AM   #16
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I am from FL and probably would not go there that much if it were not for my folks living there. I prefer the northern part of the state best. It is not as zoo like as central FL and further south. There are some nice state parks. If you hit the parks during the week things are much more calm. All camp grounds and theme parks are going to be a zoo on the weekends. St Joe State park in the panhandle is a must see and we also like Manatee Springs near the gulf further south is nice. There are some county parks that are hidden gems. We went to Ft Desoto in St Pete and were not real impressed.


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Old 08-29-2014, 09:26 AM   #17
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You never said how long you will have for the trip... If you have the time, bring the 'Stream. Start in the panhandle, beaches there are the prettiest sand in the state. St Georges Island or St Joe's State Park are nice. Come over into North Central Florida and check out the springs along the Suwannee and Santa Fe rivers. Ichetucknee Springs is a fun river to float down on an inner tube if its warm, or canoe if it's cold out... Go on over to St Augustine from there. The old fort is pretty cool, and Anastasia State Park is another nice stay at the beach. Or, if you'd prefer to camp right on the beach, Beverly Beach RV Camptown at Flagler Beach, just south of St Augustine, is my favorite. You back right up to the beach, and it's not a touristy area... You'll have a little drive back up to St Augustine to see the fort, and it's a little pricey, but it's RIGHT ON THE BEACH! If you see a guy sitting by a '74 Sov, drinking a Corona, that's probably me. Stop in and say "Hey!" From there, ease down to Daytona Beach, just because, while you're down here, you might as well be able to say you went to Daytona Beach. After a half hour on the beach, take out for Ft Wilderness. As others have mentioned, it's pricey, but a really nice campground, with plenty to do without even going in the parks... but I just have to go in the Magic Kingdom while I'm there. Plan on two days in the park so you don't have to kill yourself trying to see everything in one day. After that, mosey on down to the Keys. Plan on staying a week and relax and enjoy. I'd make my way back up the west coast after that. Some beautiful sunsets to be had out over the gulf...

As for time of year, October through February, unless you just enjoy muggy and hot... Snow birds really aren't as bad as all that, we just like to complain about them. I pull The LoveStream at 55, so the snowbirds have something to complain about. Most private campgrounds raise their prices during the winter months though. State Parks down here have never disappointed me, and they are relatively inexpensive, if you can get in...

Hurricanes give us so much warning that you should have no issue at all with it, except that it might cut a vacation short, or change your route a bit...

When you get into Central FLorida (I-4 corridor from Daytona to Tampa/St Pete), it's going to get crowded. Pay attention to what time of day you're getting on the highway, and avoid rush hour traffic.

On your way back home, stop in and pick up a couple of these grumpy Gus' (Gusses...Gus's?) that don't like it down here, and deposit them back over the state line.

Or, you could fly into the Keys, and be like every other tourist ever... your call.

-Red, thinking of getting a job on the tourism council...
Somebody ought to clean these windows. There is a tremendous buildup of gook all over them...
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Old 08-29-2014, 09:49 AM   #18
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We have both been here all of our lives. We have lived in Miami, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and the Central Time Panhandle. We have both traveled the state extensively during our working years. This is our assessment of a visit to Florida.

By all means, come in your Airstream. Nice private campgrounds abound in all parts of the state. The Florida State Parks are some of the finest in the country. In recent years many of our state parks have added sites with three point hook-ups. Our roads are very good. Don't be afraid to use Florida State Roads. They are very well maintained.

The thing to keep in mind about a Florida visit is that are are two Floridas. There is a winter season Florida and there is a summer season Florida. The winter season Florida is generally everything from Orlando and south. During the winter, this area is generally slammed with snow birds and tourists. The summer season Florida is the northern part of the peninsular and the Panhandle. The campgrounds and beached here are generally more crowded in the summer months. Orlando is like New York City; it is always crowded.

In our opinion the very best time to visit Florida is in October. Most hurricane activity is over, although, historically, there have been some severe hurricanes in October. The weather has cooled off somewhat, but the ocean and gulf water temperatures are still warm from the summer. In the morning, there is a slight coolness in the air and the humidity is south of 80%. The summer season crowds have gone, and the snow birds have not yet made their migration.

The best way to see Florida is in an Airstream. Trying to see Florida by flying into Orlando and renting a car is a pretty tall order unless you just want to see the Orlando area. Florida is a very large state. From Orlando, it is 400 miles to Key West, and it is 450 miles to Pensacola. By car it is further from Pensacola to Key West than it is across Texas on I-10.

There are so many things to see and do in Florida that it would take it would take at least several weeks to cover the state.

By all means, do visit Florida and try to see the whole state, no just Orlando as many folks do. I know that I am starting to sound like paid advertising. So, I will stop here and leave you with a couple of pictures of the beach in the Florida Panhandle near Destin.

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SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
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Old 08-29-2014, 09:51 AM   #19
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Consider time at Fort Clinch State Park, the northeastern-most tip of the state. Beach and river campsites, beach, fishing pier, Fort, and super clean facilities. Joe

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Old 08-29-2014, 10:01 AM   #20
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I pray reincarnation is not true...I never want to have to go back to Disney World again.
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Old 08-29-2014, 11:05 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by fmrcaptevil View Post
I pray reincarnation is not true...I never want to have to go back to Disney World again.
There is a trick to having a good time visiting Disney World. Look on-line for the blocked dates for the Florida Resident's Seasonal Pass. If the date is blocked for the use of this pass, you DON'T want to be there. We have found that Disney World is wonderful when it's cooler and not crowded.

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Old 08-29-2014, 04:33 PM   #22
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Way to give away state secrets Brian... Well, now Disney is ruined for all us locals.

Totally agree with you about Port St Joe. Have camped there numerous times, on the shady side, the sunny side, and in the youth camp area. Beautiful, secluded beach, and pretty good trout fishing if you want to wade on the bay side.

Somebody ought to clean these windows. There is a tremendous buildup of gook all over them...
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Old 08-29-2014, 05:06 PM   #23
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Thanks for all of the tips! My wife and I retired last year, so time isn't a problem. Florida will just be a side trip on a longer adventure; and we will probably do this with our Bambi in tow, as I've always wished we had it on the few trips that we've left it at home. Same thing with our boat. About the time we get our Bambi set up on the beach at Lake Powell, I look out at the water and say, "Dang, we should have brought the boat!"

Unfortunately, last summer, we lost our two granddaughters to the "call of the mall"; and they are no longer interested in riding cross-country, held captive in the backseat of a pickup that's lost in America, piloted by two white-haired, old f@rts. Heck, I wouldn't want to go cross-country with the other grandparents, either! -- Oh, they don't have an RV? Do you think they are talking about us?

Anyway, we will definitely visit EPCOT and Disney World, just so we can say we've been there. However, it won't be the same without our grandkids.

I'm putting everyone's suggestions on Google Earth, so we don't miss anything. -- Keep the tips coming!
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Old 08-29-2014, 05:11 PM   #24
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[QUOTE=moosetags;1503098]There is a trick to having a good time visiting Disney World. Look on-line for the blocked dates for the Florida Resident's Seasonal Pass. If the date is blocked for the use of this pass, you DON'T want to be there. We have found that Disney World is wonderful when it's cooler and not crowded.


Hi Brian,

We plan to be hanging around the Gulf Coast (aka the Redneck Riviera) from late November through New Years until our house rental in Venice, FL becomes available. What kind of temperatures are we likely to encounter during that period of time?

Thanks for your insight,
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Old 08-29-2014, 05:23 PM   #25
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Taking into consideration hot and cold weather, hurricanes, red tides, alligators, anacondas, mosquitos and giant bugs, crowds (e.g., spring break), high cost of tourist attractions, crime, and other negative detractions, what are the best times to visit Florida? (Good grief, I think I may have just talked myself out of this trip.)
Hey! Don't knock our wildlife! Just because we have water spiders the size of your hand and snakes that can eat you and lizards the size of a Bambi doesn't mean you need to skip out on la Floride. Where else in the US can you go swimming and watch for eyes on the surface looking at you or have your back covered in spiders as you walk through the woods or hear a swarm of mosquitos coming? At night you can shine your flashlight across the ponds and look for golden eye reflection and know that you are not alone!

To answer your question, the best time to come to Florida begins in November, usually around Thanksgiving. By that time the hurricane/rainy season is over and the cooler weather begins. That lasts all the way through till about the end of May. June is iffy and July-October are not good unless you like warm and toasty with a dash of wet. If you will be on the beach, go for it during that time. You can go in the morning, get a few hours and get in and do something else before the afternoon rains come. It is more expensive and crowded in the fall winter time for sure.

I am not Brian Ann Arbor Bob but Venice is about an hour or so north of me via I-75. Expect 75-80 degrees daytime and night about 70ish. Not much change from day to night because of humidity. There will be cooler days usually in Dec/Jan but not too many December maybe 69-70 but January there is usually a brief cold snap that dips down to about 40 degrees at night then sixties in the day.

It is funny reading Moostag's post. I concur with most everything except the October time frame. That is most likely the northern part of FL. Here, October is just the beginning of the cooler, from the nineties, month- usually the last two weeks and we are SO happy to have lower eighties back temp-wise. The west coast has some beautiful white sand beaches. The towns vary from small rural backward to urban party and of course metropolis areas like St Pete, Sarasota, Fort Myers and Naples. I prefer the west coast but have a few spots on the east coast I like too. I stay away from the southeast corner. It is a different world there. I am 35 years in FL and counting- lived here more than anywhere else. There are many hidden treasures in FL. Beautiful small towns like Deland and some interesting things like the Swamp Cabbage Festival- you can eat some cabbage soup and vote for the Swamp Cabbage Queen! The wildlife is unsurpassed- really as per wildlife documentaries as having the most variety of plants and animals (bugs included). It all depends on what you want to do and how much time you have.
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Old 08-29-2014, 05:28 PM   #26
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We welcome you and your tourist dollars to FL! We originally bought our Safari to do just that (go on Safari) here in FL while we were living in NC. In fact, we were camping on Little Talbot Is the week we bought our retirement house in Fernandina Beach. Had spent a week here,first attending the Gamble Rogers festival (now held in St Augustine), and then up the coast a bit. Both Anastasia SP and Ft Clinch have been mentioned, but the Talbot Islands are great too!

We have a real bias for the Atlantic (the real ocean) as it has SURF! Great for the grandkids to boogie board. While the gulf waters are beautiful, they are also BORING. No surf and little "play" value unless you kite board or rent a watercraft. Here in the NE corner of the state, the beach on Amelia Island was rated BEST by Conde Nast magazine for family vacations. We call it the "First Coast" of Florida. First Place thats for sure. The beach is VERY accessible (free parking) and traffic is non-existent compared to the traffic jams on the Gulf Coast.

Agree with the others about the keys... I used to camp in Bahia Honda in the 70s and Key West was a free for all with the Bikers running everything... Now its so Disneyfied we never go anymore... The day they closed off the West Pier with hotels ruined everything (they still celebrate Sunset, but believe me, its a joke compared to the carnival it once was.)

Now that we live here, we found we were using the stream less and when our Granddaughters come to visit, we have the beach here where they like to go. So we recently moved the airstream and TV out to California so their family (our daughter and her husband) can use it, as well as for my wife and I when we fly out to the West coast. The plan is to take the grandkids out ourselves on a few trips (without having to drag them along on a cross country trip ;-)

While some of the campgrounds in FL look expensive (The State Parks are still a great deal but plan ahead), just wait until you get the final bill for a stay at a hotel! That added tourist tax is a real eyeopener for first timers to FL. Its how we get by without paying Income tax, which was all the more reason we moved here in the first place... that 6-9% compared to other states stretches the 401K out that much more! So by all means COME and stay awhile!
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Old 08-29-2014, 05:57 PM   #27
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I have little use for the Atlantic coast of Florida. Just too many tourist that are lost in their version of paradise. I have always had a soft spot for the Gulf Coast side. There are still a few spots that are not totally over run by tourist or cement. I go down to Cedar Key every year for the Small Boat Mess About. Usually camp on the beached boat. Next year I plan on taking the Airstream down staying at Sunset Key RV Park. In my younger years I spent a lot of time in the Keys. That was before a certain form of politics took over and cruise ships starting showing up. Still can be a fun place to visit for a few days but the stumbling cruise passengers, drunks, ect. get old quickly. The Navy trailer park is really nice to stay at, but can be tough to get reservations for certain parts of the year.

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Old 08-29-2014, 06:51 PM   #28
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florida trip

As a south Florida resident, I have been unable to get camping reservations in the keys for the last 7 years, too many snowbirds in the winter and way too hot in the summer. Private campgrounds are very expensive and rigs are one on top of the other. Keys are great for fishing, water sports etc. If you go, take the boat to dry tortugas. Key west is very historical and was wealthiest city in America at turn of century 115 years ago. Henry Flagler is incredible man and a Florida treasure. Try to come in winter/spring for best weather. Ft wilderness is great campground. Pricey but worth it. Forget west coast state parks in winter. Snowbirds rotate thru parks and book 12 months in advance. I just made reservations last week for first 4 months of 2015. Only got some of what I wanted. County parks by Kennedy space center are nice. One in Titusville on the river is great, right across from space center. Tour is wonderful. Walk in the footsteps of your childhood heros. Cape Canaveral city park/campground on cocoa beach is also ok. Raised my daughters on this beach. Take glass bottom boat in pennekamp state park, and take tour boat to dry tortugas. Fantastic experience. Air boat in everglades. As beautiful as Arizona is in the spring, Florida is year round, but especially in winter and spring. plan wisely, have fun. Drink colada and visit me on Miami beach! The most beautiful beach in the world! So much to see, never enough time to see all the natural wonders of our beautiful state. Our state parks are incredible!

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