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Old 06-22-2014, 02:56 PM   #1
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Florida destinations for the winter - family of four

My family(wife, son-7, daughter-4) is attempting to locate a RV park on the gulf side to spend this winter coming up. We would very much appreciate any helpful advice that parallels with your experience. This will be a 5 month stay.
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Old 06-22-2014, 03:10 PM   #2
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We are partial to the Venice, FL area and have rented condos and homes in the past. Here are two private RV parks we checked out for a possible future trip with the Airstream. Royal Coachman is closer to town but a bit "crowded" for our taste (typical for private parks in FL,) Rambler's Rest was a bit less crowded and a bit further out of town, but seemed nicer to us. We would definately stay at Rambler's Rest. It will be darn near impossible for you to stay in State Parks in FL during the winter season since they book up nearly a year in advance and limit your stay to two weeks at each park. It would be impossible to coordinate a whole winter of State Park camping in FL, which is too bad because they are quite nice.

Royal Coachman RV Resort | Encore RV Park in Florida | Sarasota

lodging, camping, rving - Ramblers Rest RV Resort

If you want to try something a little bit "funky" I can suggest this place:

Sunset Isle RV Park and Motel. Cedar Key, Florida. On the bay right off the Gulf of Mexico. RVs and campers. Entertainment. Bar-B-Q. Street Legal Golf Cart rental.
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Old 06-22-2014, 03:22 PM   #3
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Perhaps for part of your stay you might consider different spots if you are mobile during your winter; 1) Santa Rosa area (panhandle). It is cooler so you could time that one perhaps and 2) As, AnnArborBob said, the Venice area. I like the state park, Oscar Shearer. There is the Scrub Jay, it's woodsy and just south of that point via driving is the beach Nokomis Beach- very nice beach with clear water.
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Old 06-22-2014, 06:35 PM   #4
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I second Rodsterinfl's comments on Oscar Shearer SP. Even if you can't get in there to camp, it's worth a visit.

The general area between Sarasota and Punta Gorda is generally less congested than the rest of the Florida Gulf coast that is suitable for a winter stay. The panhandle is superb in so many respects, but is colder in winter and will generally not be "beach weather" from December to March.

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Old 08-04-2014, 06:42 AM   #5
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Paradise Park is an Airstream park in Punta. Gorda. It's a nice spot with a 9 hole golf corse, pool, rec hall. The people are friendly. You can get a spot for the night or season.


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Old 08-04-2014, 12:49 PM   #6
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Looking at Paradise "Condo Association", there doesn't appear to be an area set aside for "transient" RVs. Just curious, where are the sites that are assigned to those only staying for a night or two?
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Old 08-04-2014, 01:15 PM   #7
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Old 08-04-2014, 01:50 PM   #8
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Old 08-04-2014, 03:15 PM   #9
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We have a permanent place in Dunedin (Clearwater) now, but spent a number of winters at Sherwood Forest in Palm Harbor. There are several more RV parks in the area. All are pretty nice. They are on Alternate 19 North. They are very close to the coast. Check the local maps.
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Old 08-05-2014, 07:34 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoenix View Post
Looking at Paradise "Condo Association", there doesn't appear to be an area set aside for "transient" RVs. Just curious, where are the sites that are assigned to those only staying for a night or two?
Look at the Maps page Paradise Park Condo *Home Page - Welcome At the bottom left of the map.
There are about 20 full service sites for daily rental.
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Old 08-05-2014, 09:05 AM   #11
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Topsail State Park in Destin can't be beat. You will be near lots of services and the location and beach are prime.
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Old 08-05-2014, 09:45 AM   #12
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Well some spots we have liked with our children.

Top Sail: nice but Pricy $50 a night

Springs:

Mantee Springs, state park, no sewer hook up. In Cheifland, very nice spring.

Otter Springs: full hook up, long term stays possible, nice covered heated pool, spring on site. Outside of Cheifland. I did a review on this site.

Salt Springs: in Ocala National Forest, very nice full hook up, great spring. Very tight on their rules, might not be a good fit with kids.












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Old 08-28-2014, 06:20 PM   #13
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Geiger marina at Key West, reservation needed, fantastic
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Old 08-28-2014, 07:19 PM   #14
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Florida is full up this year.



Other idea post- my second suggestion. With children I would suggest two options (mix and match how you like) 1) the commercialized stuff and 2) nature.

Santa Rosa's Topsail State Park very nice on the panhandle but can be cooler in the winter as is most of northern FL in the winter. If you want spring/summer temps go south of Tampa.

Depending on how far you are willing to venture off the main highway here are some options for a caravan vacation.

If you are on the move drop in on Anastasia State Park St Augustine. This will take you far to the eastern Atlantic coastline but it is a good visit.

Go to the Lighthouse, the Fort, the oldest schoolhouse, the Lightner museum and the old general store. The beach in the park is fabulously natural so there is a few days. I never have found any really good place to eat there so eat cheap when out and about.

Leave St. Augustine and head to Orlando via Daytona I-4. You are in the are of several springs parts like Silverflames mentioned though in the winter you may not be able to swim because of the manatee in the water, etc. Check. The springs are really cool to see. Clear water. You can book a stay for 2-3 days or so at Lake Louisa State Park on the west central side of Orlando. Go do Dizzyworld. If you want to spend more and be AT Disney, stay at Fort Wilderness. BTW all the campsites are nice it is just how close you are to the restaurant and launch areas that makes the cost difference between the campsites- REALLY. If you stay at Disney, eat at the wilderness restaurant- cheaper than across the pond. At Disney there is Blizzard Beach water park top rated if warm enough. The campground area has boat rentals, games, pools, horseback riding, archery with lessons, etc. The prices for that stuff are not too steep. Heck they have most of your dough already! with that over, head further south.

If you are into more amusement parks. Busch Gardens Tampa is roller coaster heaven. Depending on the age of the kids that park may be too much. I go with 5th graders every year there and some of them are afraid of the rides. On the west coast south of Venice until you get to the Fort Myers/Naples area, it is quieter and less urban but there is also less to do outside of the camping experience. Nokomis has beautiful beaches. Oscar Shearer which I mentioned in the first post. Fort Myers' has two campgrounds too the state park without full hooks is Koreshan, close to shopping, etc. Then there is a private owned Woodsmoke on the main drag but also close to shopping and sites. There are also rural sites like Upriver campground that is nice too but more remote. It depends on what you will be doing with kids. If the southern visit becomes your final spot for the most of your trip time, there should be something to do. Most parks require some driving to get to anything which means that they could not just venture off and enjoy. If you go to Fort Myers you could take the Key West Ferry from either there or Naples. It is about a 3 hour boat ride and you would have to stay at least one night in the Keys$$$ but you could ride the conch train, see the five-toed cats at Hemingways house, look around and GET OUT. I am not a fan of south east FL cities with kids- lets just say "urban issues". If you are from NYC then OK but thongs, attitude and well, you know what I mean. The drive is unbelievably long usually heavy traffic for hours. Unless you boat or scuba or fish, it is just a bar-ridden, town on an island that takes a long time to get to. Sorry book, I just share my opinion too.
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