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Old 12-05-2013, 08:37 PM   #29
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I read on another thread not on this site that all fl parks are required to save at least one and in some cases up to 20% of sites for walk ins and not allow them to be reserved. Anyone have
Experience getting these? Any tips?
Yes, you are correct. Look up Fort Desoto Park in Pinellas county FL. You will not be disappointed. There is a section, pet friendly, right on the Gulf as well as other areas for non pet owners.
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Old 12-05-2013, 08:46 PM   #30
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We've been actively camping for the past six years and each year it's getting harder and harder to "just go" on a thursday for the weekend because of the snowbirds. They come in November and leave in late April. Anything state park south of Tampa is booked from now until April. Even the county parks, that don't take reservations are filling up.

We have to go north if we want to camp in the winter when the weather is perfect, or we have to plan like snowbirds and reserve our weekend spot 6 months in advance.

Sorry, I'll dismount my soap box now.
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Old 12-05-2013, 10:01 PM   #31
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We've been actively camping for the past six years and each year it's getting harder and harder to "just go" on a thursday for the weekend because of the snowbirds. They come in November and leave in late April. Anything state park south of Tampa is booked from now until April. Even the county parks, that don't take reservations are filling up.

We have to go north if we want to camp in the winter when the weather is perfect, or we have to plan like snowbirds and reserve our weekend spot 6 months in advance.

Sorry, I'll dismount my soap box now.
Guess what, we get the reverse in Minnesota each summer. They come in May and leave in October.
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Old 12-06-2013, 06:17 AM   #32
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We've been actively camping for the past six years and each year it's getting harder and harder to "just go" on a thursday for the weekend because of the snowbirds. They come in November and leave in late April. Anything state park south of Tampa is booked from now until April. Even the county parks, that don't take reservations are filling up.

We have to go north if we want to camp in the winter when the weather is perfect, or we have to plan like snowbirds and reserve our weekend spot 6 months in advance.

Sorry, I'll dismount my soap box now.
All the more reason to stray a bit to the west and check out Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. We don't get as many snowbirds because the eastern snowbirds all seem to go to Florida and Texas. The weather isn't quite as nice as Florida, maybe, but it's still better than the great frozen north. And the only time you need reservations six months in advance is for Mardi Gras (Mardi Gras is March 4th for 2014).
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Old 12-06-2013, 07:34 AM   #33
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To address another question the OP poised:
yes, certain parks in FL set aside a percentage of sites for walk ups. It's my experience, however, that you have better (or at least easier) chances of winning the lottery. People line up at midnight of Wednesday to get a weekend site. Some campgrounds don't allow people to line up until Friday @ 0000, but you better believe they're just down the road hanging out.

I really wish they'd save some for Florida residents.

No offense to the other fine states of the gulf coast, but I live in Florida so I can enjoy the weather in the winter and I know how much colder it is in the panhandle and west... I lived in Panama City Beach for 10 years before I moved to Tampa. I was stationed in Mississippi and spent my fair share of time in Sweet Home Alabama as well. This winter we'll be exploring all the state parks north of Tampa, specifically the ones in the panhandle. Looking forward to it!
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Old 12-06-2013, 09:37 AM   #34
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All the more reason to stray a bit to the west and check out Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. We don't get as many snowbirds because the eastern snowbirds all seem to go to Florida and Texas. The weather isn't quite as nice as Florida, maybe, but it's still better than the great frozen north. And the only time you need reservations six months in advance is for Mardi Gras (Mardi Gras is March 4th for 2014).
The Mississippi gulf coast does get a lot of snowbirds. Even the more inland parks get snowbirds. There are snowbirds at the North Abutment campground in Grenada- 200 miles inland. There are certainly more campsites available inland. The coast campgrounds do tend to book up. The inland parks are sometimes half empty.
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Old 12-06-2013, 10:23 AM   #35
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There are certainly more campsites available inland. The coast campgrounds do tend to book up. The inland parks are sometimes half empty.
Kind of what I meant. I booked a stay at Lake Lincoln State Park in Mississippi for December 21st-25th, and pretty much had my choice of sites; the place had hardly any reservations at all.

For Natchez State Park in Mississippi for December 28th-January 1st, there were 21 spaces left out of 50 before I made my reservation.

Still trying to figure out someplace reasonably close by to go for Martin Luther King Day weekend, that I haven't been to before.
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Old 12-06-2013, 11:10 AM   #36
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The Mississippi gulf coast does get a lot of snowbirds. Even the more inland parks get snowbirds. There are snowbirds at the North Abutment campground in Grenada- 200 miles inland. There are certainly more campsites available inland. The coast campgrounds do tend to book up. The inland parks are sometimes half empty.
Actually now that you mention it, there were a lot of snowbirds at Edisto and Jekyll Island too when we were there. Darn snowbirds are everywhere! ha.
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Old 12-06-2013, 11:14 AM   #37
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Darn snowbirds are everywhere! ha.
Kind of like pigeons. Can't live with 'em, can't shoot 'em.
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Old 12-06-2013, 11:20 AM   #38
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...and laughing gulls...
Hold on to that sandwich, boy!
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Old 12-07-2013, 02:13 PM   #39
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Can anybody comment on the Padre Islands, Big Bend NP, or Mexico as winter destinations? Concerns about their personal safety have switched some of our snowbird neighbours from Mexico to southern California or cruises.
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Old 12-07-2013, 03:17 PM   #40
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North Texas definately not a winter camping destination THIS weekend!

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Old 12-08-2013, 07:23 AM   #41
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Can anybody comment on the Padre Islands, Big Bend NP, or Mexico as winter destinations? Concerns about their personal safety have switched some of our snowbird neighbours from Mexico to southern California or cruises.
Padre Island..specifically South Padre Island is a snow bird haven(Mc Allen, Brownsville and surrounding communities) . Lots of RV parks and resorts that cater specifically to snowbirds (activities and tours). The northern end of Padre Island is near Corpus Christi, which is a medium sized city on Corpus Christi bay. Both have good climate and lots of RV facilities.

Big Bend is a National Park. Limited RV (very limited) in the park. Some facilities in neighboring communities but you will have to do some research as some are very good and many are very poor. Climate during winter is not as warm but much drier than the coastal areas..and the wind blows like crazy during the winter.

Mexico..your on your own. I quit going several years ago..just not enough reward for the risk, in my opinion. I think that you will find people who disagree with that..and that is certainly OK. Just my two cents worth.
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Old 12-09-2013, 12:03 PM   #42
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Thanks for the advice. We are hunkering down this winter but hope for another southern trip in the winter of 2014-15.

We encountered severe wind this past February/March in the California and southeastern Arizona deserts. The temperatures were light jacket weather when this happened, but you couldn't eat or read a book outside.
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