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Old 08-28-2014, 10:08 PM   #1
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Planning a Trip to Florida - Need Advice & Suggestions

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.)

Never having been to Florida, we have been considering a trip for several years. However, there always seems to be something on the news to discourage us from going. Now that watching a space shuttle launch is no longer on our bucket list (missed it), and that about the only things I think I'm interesting in seeing are Ernest Hemingway's old haunts in the Keys and Epcot/Disney World, is a roadtrip justified? Or, should we just fly there (from Arizona), rent a car, and stay in hotels for a week or two?

I welcome any advice and/or suggestions...
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Old 08-28-2014, 10:19 PM   #2
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No take your Airstream, tour the complete state and then upload your impressions and campsite reviews to Google Earth (like you did in the west).

See now you have a purpose. not just some holiday....lol
Once done, please send it over to me as you did in the past.

But what ever you do watch out for the herd of Canadians that invade Florida every winter....lol they can be down-right hostile!

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Old 08-28-2014, 11:24 PM   #3
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Just stay in Arizona. You probably will not like green grass, rolling hills with trees, crystal clear springs, and pristine white sand beaches. You will miss the dirt blowing in your ears.

Key west is a long haul. I like the idea of just flying there if you want to go. If you fish, dive, drink beer, and have a whole bunch of money to spend at it Key West is your place. I bought a poor drink and watched the sun set and went home. Read the Old Man and the Sea again and go to Marco Island instead.

I spend 3 months a year in Dade City and like the rural areas in central Florida. Horse and cattle farms and orange grooves ( at least for a while). There are a whole lot of old folks to deal with when you try to eat out though.
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Old 08-29-2014, 03:45 AM   #4
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Actually, my wife and I are pretty adventurous, and have survived camping in remote sites with wild animals, earthquakes, volcanoes and calderas, and all kinds of snakes, creepy-crawlies and bugs, on our roadtrips in the Rockies and the West. So, we figure Florida will just be a different kind of adventure. However, we have never encountered hurricanes, alligators or spring-breakers.

If you could pick a month or two when the weather is relatively calm (especially, no hurricanes, tornados or hail), when would be the best time to go? We planned on visiting Florida this past spring, but the black ice and tornadoes in the southeast delayed our departure so long that we couldn't make the round-trip and return to Arizona in time to meet other commitments.

Last year, I bought the old classic movie, "The Old Man and the Sea"; and Hollywood just doesn't have any actors like Spencer Tracy anymore. We just want to see some of the places associated with Hemingway.
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Old 08-29-2014, 05:07 AM   #5
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We're going in October and staying through January. This will be our first extended winter in the Airstream. We're starting out in Gulf Shores, AL and working our way east. I don't like to stay in one spot more than a week, so we're planning on moving about every 7 days trying out different state parks and private campgrounds. I use RV Park Reviews a lot for recommendations. We'll probably hit Disney for a few days. If you look at their calendar, they price Ft Wilderness according to the demand. We're looking for the cheapest days possible knowing that's when there will be the fewest people in the theme park. Naples is one of our stops. My kids have rented a house on Marco Island for a week after Christmas so we'll be close to them for a few days. The state parks on Key West are almost impossible to get into. If someone knows a trick on how to book a site at Bahia Honda State Park, please let me know. I go into Reserve America 11 months to the second their calendar is open, and everything is booked already. After Florida we're drifting over to LA and doing the Mardi Gras caravan with the Airstream folks. A few weeks after that, we're doing the LA Bayou caravan. After finishing up in LA, we're heading to Texas and places west. Time frame? Haven't figured it out yet. 6 months? Year?
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Old 08-29-2014, 06:55 AM   #6
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if you've got the flexibility, the "shoulder seasons" of October & November and April & May are very nice, decent weather and fewer snowbirds. April & May will be hurricane free, guaranteed. October & November is in the peak hurricane season but these things aren't like tornadoes that spring up without warning.
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Old 08-29-2014, 06:56 AM   #7
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I vote for flying there, too.

You can probably get a cheap flight into/out of Orlando, rent a car, and make the absolutely beautiful drive down thru the Keys to Key West. Explore that area, and come back up.

The drive down is worth the trip, and you'll want to stop a lot. Easier without pulling a trailer.

Another time, when you want to explore the east coast, come thru the panhandle, which is also beautiful, see St. Augustine, etc., and move north.


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Old 08-29-2014, 07:00 AM   #8
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How long is this trip going to last and how much of it do you want to spend getting there? The best time to go to FL is in the winter months if you don't like heat and humidity. October is not a bad time either but it will still be a bit warm. You don't want to be down there at spring break or around Christmas time. Also the complete summer vacation season would be a bad time. Camp Wilderness at Disney is supposed to be real nice for camping.

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Old 08-29-2014, 08:33 AM   #9
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Whether you go to the Keys or not is up to you. I vote yes and think it's worth it. If you are retired military you can camp very reasonably and stay at the Navy base there. Great place. If not, yes, camping in winter season can be $$$$$$. Whatever you do you must include a few days around the Everglades. The national park and the surrounding area is a must and you'll love it.
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Old 08-29-2014, 08:44 AM   #10
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Having lived for some time in AZ and FL I can tell you that there is a world of difference as far as terrain and weather. You're already used to urban sprawl so the city centers and traffic will feel the same.

If you have the time (4-6 weeks) taking the trailer would be worth it as there is a lot to see and do on the way and you should allocate time for getting there and back. If you don't have the time then flying is an alternative. But Florida is as long as TX is wide and driving from motel to motel may keep you from experiencing alot of the remote and historical spots. Key West has a lot of history as does St. Augustine and Tampa. There are a lot of nice campgrounds in north and central FL and most have hookups. There are many neat coastal towns that share a refined elegance and backwoods "cracker" style.

Crowds start arriving from Thanksgiving and stay til Easter but January and February are best between Christmas and spring break.
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Old 08-29-2014, 08:58 AM   #11
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WOW - This sounds like one heck of a trip. you should start a blog so we can follow along!

Cheers
Doug



Quote:
Originally Posted by jbroedlow View Post
We're going in October and staying through January. This will be our first extended winter in the Airstream. We're starting out in Gulf Shores, AL and working our way east. I don't like to stay in one spot more than a week, so we're planning on moving about every 7 days trying out different state parks and private campgrounds. I use RV Park Reviews a lot for recommendations. We'll probably hit Disney for a few days. If you look at their calendar, they price Ft Wilderness according to the demand. We're looking for the cheapest days possible knowing that's when there will be the fewest people in the theme park. Naples is one of our stops. My kids have rented a house on Marco Island for a week after Christmas so we'll be close to them for a few days. The state parks on Key West are almost impossible to get into. If someone knows a trick on how to book a site at Bahia Honda State Park, please let me know. I go into Reserve America 11 months to the second their calendar is open, and everything is booked already. After Florida we're drifting over to LA and doing the Mardi Gras caravan with the Airstream folks. A few weeks after that, we're doing the LA Bayou caravan. After finishing up in LA, we're heading to Texas and places west. Time frame? Haven't figured it out yet. 6 months? Year?
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Old 08-29-2014, 09:13 AM   #12
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We have a place in Marathon in the keys. Over the years we have been to every nook and cranny in that fine state and a lot of it camping or sailing. As someone suggested, fly into Orlando or like we prefer, Miami and rent a car. On the east coast campsites can cost as much as a motel room. West coast is not as bad. You will never see it all in two weeks so prioritize what you want to see. The Keys always have a breeze so anytime is good except when it really blows. Oh yah, carry a walking stick so you can move the critters off the trail.
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Old 08-29-2014, 09:23 AM   #13
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We tried to get into Bahia Honda on the keys for the longest time too. I was just perusing the site one day and found 4 days open in mid/late May this past spring. We found it to be too hot and sticky for us at that time of year and were disappointed in Key West - lot of tourists and cruise ships. Maybe we didn't search enough for the remote areas and there are quainter areas - I don't know.

I love the Ft Wilderness campground at Disney. Expensive, but worth it. Because you're staying on property, you can take advantage of the extra early and late hours in the parks for Disney guests only. We bring our bikes and bike to the campground boat launch for the boat to the Magic Kingdom or hop on the Monorail to get to the transportation center to hop a bus for the non- monorail parks. Much more enjoyable than using the bus system in Ft Wilderness. Their bathrooms are immaculate and air conditioned

Last time we were there we dud the Segway event at the campground. It was expensive ( there seems to be a theme here) but fun and worth it for us as we had never ridden Segways before.

My favorite months in Orlando are October, late April and early to mid May

Hope that helps!
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Old 08-29-2014, 09:30 AM   #14
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As someone who has lived here for 3 years, I would highly advise you to avoid this state at all costs, and pretend it doesn't exist at all. Nothing to see here.




Snowbirds start arriving from Thanksgiving and stay til Easter but I feel from December till February are best. The weather is nice an cool over here on the gulf coast. We pretty much leave our heat & AC off and have the house fully open most of the winter. It's the only thing I do like about Florida.

What I don't like is the urban sprawl. I also didn't enjoy Disney. Let me just put it to you this way, everything is over priced and with an annual attendance of over 47 million, an average of 130,000 people visit the four Walt Disney World theme parks each day. Over one-third of those visitors will be in the Magic Kingdom.

So just picture yourself walking around with 130,000 people. Pass.

Ok, maybe I'm a bit pessimistic about this state. I can't wait to leave personally.

As soon as you escape the urban areas, there are nicer smaller areas of Florida. The Key's are beautiful. Lots of smaller beach towns and beaches.

Personally I think the gulf coast side is prettier.

Actually I think you'll enjoy visiting. We visited Florida and family about 3 times, and everytime we had a restful peaceful time. We thought we could live here. But living here has been different from visiting.

I need mountains and country. And I have to drive over an hour just to see some trees.
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