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Old 02-03-2016, 03:53 AM   #15
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I hope this isn't hijacking this thread...

We may be heading from Phoenix towards Key West, Florida, in a month or two (late spring). I'm mainly concerned about camping in Florida. However, advice on other states is welcomed.

A couple of questions:
  • How difficult will it be to find campsites by just calling ahead a day or two before arrival?

  • Is travel without advanced reservations do-able, or will this trip be doomed to boondocking in Walmart parking lots?

  • Would chances of finding campsites be better in specific months, or at another time of the year?

  • Would it be wiser to delay this trip until next year and schedule camping locations far in advance?
Note: Our camping style is to stay at a location 3-5 days while visiting local attractions, then select the next campground the day before departing on the next wandering leg of our trip. We have no travel schedule, and only a vague idea of where our next stop will be. Trip planning is usually just pointing our TV in the general direction of "not where we just came from", although we sometimes backtrack to see something of interest that we missed.
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Old 02-03-2016, 06:59 AM   #16
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If you are looking in the Tampa/St. Pete area, Dunedin./Palm Harbor has some nice parks along Route 19A we have used. Close to the gulf and biking/hiking. Sherwood Forest. Bay Aire,Caldesi, etc Reasonable rates.
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Old 02-03-2016, 07:18 AM   #17
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Phoenix
In a couple of months you will find south Florida spots easier in general but panhandle and beach spots harder if not impossible on weekends but can probably find spot on weekdays.
I would recommend seeing if Henderson, Grayton, Topsail, St Andrews (TCT rally there at end of April), St Joe or St George have spots and grabbing a few advance reservations.
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Old 02-03-2016, 07:22 AM   #18
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Hi all! We are planning to spend a month or two (January/February) 2017 in south Florida to get away from the cold northeast weather. This is our first attempt to find a good place that is clean with nice ammentities. Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance!
I sent you a private message (PM) a few minutes ago. We live in USC south of PIT and are going to FL next winter for three months.

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Old 02-03-2016, 11:24 AM   #19
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Suggest you narrow down your area some then ask the question again. Florida is a large state with many campgrounds and RV parks. And if you want to be sure to get warmer weather stay in south Florida. Central and northern Florida can be cold in January and into February.
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Old 02-03-2016, 12:45 PM   #20
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Hi:
Anything around Marco Island? Thanks.
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Old 02-03-2016, 01:27 PM   #21
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The OP suggested "south Florida" which to Floridians is anything south of about Palm Beach. Still a large area... but defined.

There are lots of options for camping however January and February are the very busy time of year here. So...

1. Plan ahead. Reservations are a must at that time of year. As of tomorrow at precisely 8am, Reseve America will open for Florida State Park reservations beginning 1/4/17. If you want a waterfront spot at a park in the Keys you have to be hitting the "book it" button as fast as your browser will refresh starting at 7:59:30 and you will probably still get shut out (I succeed about one time out of 10 using that method for winter waterfront spots). 8:01 is certainly too late
2. There are some recommendations in this thread for commercial parks that sound good. They tend to charge more, but be more flexible than the state parks.
3. There is an Airstream park in Melbourne. We've never used it because it's too close to home and they don't allow pets. It's central Florida, not south but worth looking into
4. Courtesy parking is scarce and more so as you head south. AllStays shows that no WalMarts south of Miami allow rv overnight parking and only a few between Miami and palm beach.
5. There is another option worth exploring. Some Florida counties have rv parks (e.g. DeSoto near Tampa and Long Point near Palm Bay . Allstays shows them (they carry a "CP" icon) but Reserve America does not. They are less known and may be a good choice for you.

Best of luck!
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Old 02-03-2016, 01:45 PM   #22
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My wife and I spent a week at Wickham Park in Melbourne, Fla,. Sites were spacious, good showers and laundry facilities. No pool or camp store, but many nearby shops and restaurants. Nice rates and weekly and monthly available, pets ok
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Old 02-03-2016, 01:49 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by GammaDog View Post
The OP suggested "south Florida" which to Floridians is anything south of about Palm Beach. Still a large area... but defined.

There are lots of options for camping however January and February are the very busy time of year here. So...

1. Plan ahead. Reservations are a must at that time of year. As of tomorrow at precisely 8am, Reseve America will open for Florida State Park reservations beginning 1/4/17. If you want a waterfront spot at a park in the Keys you have to be hitting the "book it" button as fast as your browser will refresh starting at 7:59:30 and you will probably still get shut out (I succeed about one time out of 10 using that method for winter waterfront spots). 8:01 is certainly too late
2. There are some recommendations in this thread for commercial parks that sound good. They tend to charge more, but be more flexible than the state parks.
3. There is an Airstream park in Melbourne. We've never used it because it's too close to home and they don't allow pets. It's central Florida, not south but worth looking into
4. Courtesy parking is scarce and more so as you head south. AllStays shows that no WalMarts south of Miami allow rv overnight parking and only a few between Miami and palm beach.
5. There is another option worth exploring. Some Florida counties have rv parks (e.g. DeSoto near Tampa and Long Point near Palm Bay . Allstays shows them (they carry a "CP" icon) but Reserve America does not. They are less known and may be a good choice for you.

Best of luck!
I'm from Gainesville and south Florida to us is anything south of Orlando-Tampa. Here's a funny. My mother in law from ft Myers doesn't consider anything north of Orlando to be Florida. She calls it Georgia. We tell her anything south of Orlando is Cuba. It's an ongoing joke. Sorry for the hijack.
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Old 02-03-2016, 03:24 PM   #24
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I second Mister J. White's opinions, above. The Big Bend area of Florida is the least developed, and some of the most beautiful area, of Florida. Not only grew up in Tallahassee and worked 20 years in Gainesville, but have spent 6 weeks the past several years in said Big Bend area...starting (west to south) with the beautiful Panama City and Grayton beaches, St, Joe Peninsular State Park (you will not find a more beautiful, white sugar-sand, uncrowded beach anywhere stateside), St. George Island (ditto), Appalachicola with its antique stores and brewery, Alligator Point, St. Marks NWR, and places like Cedar Key and Steinhatchee. Consider it, and safe travels. jon
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Old 02-03-2016, 04:28 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoenix View Post
I hope this isn't hijacking this thread...

We may be heading from Phoenix towards Key West, Florida, in a month or two (late spring). I'm mainly concerned about camping in Florida. However, advice on other states is welcomed.

A couple of questions:
  • How difficult will it be to find campsites by just calling ahead a day or two before arrival?

  • Is travel without advanced reservations do-able, or will this trip be doomed to boondocking in Walmart parking lots?

  • Would chances of finding campsites be better in specific months, or at another time of the year?

  • Would it be wiser to delay this trip until next year and schedule camping locations far in advance?
Note: Our camping style is to stay at a location 3-5 days while visiting local attractions, then select the next campground the day before departing on the next wandering leg of our trip. We have no travel schedule, and only a vague idea of where our next stop will be. Trip planning is usually just pointing our TV in the general direction of "not where we just came from", although we sometimes backtrack to see something of interest that we missed.
We travelled east from Tucson in late March/early April two years ago. We found it impossible to find a state park or National Park (Fort Pickens) along the Florida panhandle, all were booked up so we had to skip that area. Too bad, as it's a beautiful area as we found out last winter when we headed west along the same route.

Land Yacht Harbor in Melbourne is a nice place as long as recreational amenities are not important. It's very well maintained and inexpensive with decent sized sites; we stayed there for five weeks and would consider doing so again. We found lots to do outside of the park.
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Old 02-03-2016, 04:49 PM   #26
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Well, I'll throw you another idea. As a fifty-year resident of Florida I can tell you that there are more areas of interest in the state than you could possibly see even from four different destinations. The panhandle has some beautiful and uncharacteristic terrain compared to the rest of Florida. The area around Jacksonville is within short distance of some very different environments as well. Move a little south and you have the Gainesville and Ocala National Forest areas with their fresh water springs. Crystal River is always popular in January and February for watching and even swimming with manatees. The other coast has Daytona and New Smyrna beaches. You could also spend (busy) weeks in the I-4 corridor between Daytona and Tampa. When you look in SW Florida, my back yard, there are a number of very fun things to do between Bradenton and Naples along the west coast. Sanibel and Captiva islands are in that mix. Then there are the Everglades and the Keys.

Guess I'm suggesting that you plan to make as many stops and drive as many miles as you are comfortable with, because you miss so much otherwise. If you plan to come back year-after-year, you can plan accordingly.

I have to admit that the Florida State Parks have a very good and consistent formula for campgrounds. The all include water and electric and generally have good separation and vegetation between sites. We find it hard to rank any other state's parks as high, on average, as what we find in Florida. If you research our state parks you find them in every area you would want to visit. They do have a one-year window for reservations so don't delay too long.
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Old 02-03-2016, 08:15 PM   #27
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Traveler's Rest Resort

You may wish to consider Traveler's Rest Resort near Dade City, just off I-75. Beautiful campsites, golf course, large swimming pool, tennis courts and "Branson" type entertainment most Sunday and Wednesday evenings. Beautiful setting surrounded by orange groves and beef cattle ranches located 35 miles North of Tampa.
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Old 02-03-2016, 08:30 PM   #28
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We like key largo as it gets warmer as you go south. We're there now, weather has been off all winter so far, but currently in the high 70's. Expensive in private parks, crowded, and state parks are full 11 months in advance, high cost of living for food, etc.. Some deals around if you shop, but all are very near water so there is nothing really cheap.
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